We met at the Underhill Center park & ride at 8:30, unfortunately missing by only a couple minutes one person from meetup who got a little lost and was late.
We took two cars to the Underhill State park and were on the trail by around 9 under overcast skies with temperatures in the 50s F and the ridge completely in the clouds. We opted to climb Laura Cowles, saving Sunset Ridge for the descent, and many of us added gloves, hats, fleece, and other layers just before we reached the Sunset Ridge and Long Trail junctions around 10:45. We went up to the summit where we caught brief glimpses of views through gaps in the clouds, then headed down and got onto the Subway Trail around 11:30. We explored the canyon, ladder, and caves at the south end of Subway then dropped back down to Canyon North Extension and followed it, Canyon North, Canyon, and Lakeview to where they rejoin the LT just south of the visitor center.
Along the way we took a break around noon for lunch and some views to the left as the clouds began to lift, and the trip leader had an exciting moment when he stepped on a slippery rock and was suddenly on his back about 8 feet below the trail. Fortunately no damage was done.
The rock scrambling and caves were challenging and tight in spots, and the variety of moss on Lakeview was impressive. We took another break at the visitor center around 2:30, then took the Cliff Trail, which had some more challenging spots, rejoining the LT around 4. The clouds had lifted and we found great views and sun. We took our time on the way down Sunset Ridge, stopping for some views, and reached the cars around 6:30.
Participants: Robynn Albert, Jill George, Phil Hazen, Nick Krembs, Rick Biddle, David Hathaway (leader).
Photos: Robynn & David.