We met at 8 AM at the Cambridge Park & Ride, and took 3 cars to the Rt 15 Long Trail crossing, dropped one, and headed up to the top of Smugglers Notch. The parking lot was surprisingly uncrowded, and we actually got two real parking spots, rather than having to park down the road as we often have for this hike. It was overcast with summits in the clouds with pleasant teamperatures as we started up to Sterling Pond around 9 AM. We were pretty fogged in at Sterling Pond and at the top of the Sterling lift, and were pleasantly surprised to find no one else there.
By the time we reached the Madonna summit things had cleared enough for a few views. Recent rains had left trails a little wet and rocks somewhat slippery. We continued down and across the ski runs, past Chilcoot Pass and Hagerman’s Overlook (the summit of Mansfield was still obscured by clouds), and reached Whiteface Shelter around 12:45.
As we were eating lunch, we were joined by a through hiker who’d started in Mass. and had come up from Barnes Camp that morning. We headed up to the Whiteface summit, and found the flagged path down to where the sailplane had crashed three days earlier, just south of the summit. Investigation and evidence recovery activities were still going on, so we were only able to view the scene from a distance. After a summit photo we continued north to Bear Hollow Shelter where we took a short break.
As we reached the logging roads just before route 15 we encountered another end to ender who’d started from route 108 two days earlier and was aiming to finish the last 60 miles of the Long Trail on this trip. We reached the car around 4:30, for a 7.5 hour total trip. Due to poor logistical planning on the part of the trip leader we’d only left one car there, so three people waited while the rest headed up to retrieve cars from the top of the Notch, then one went back to pick up the folks waiting at route 15 and take them back to the Cambridge park & ride.
Participants: Hannah Brown, Stephen Brown, Chris Luczynski, James Lambert, Anita Bugan, Greg Bostock, David Hathaway (leader).