On Firiday 2/23 I left Thornton for Manchester Center, where I was spending two nights, to do Stratton on Saturday and Dorset on Sunday. Five of the six hikers doing Stratton were staying at the same motel, three of us got there early enough for an excellent dinner at "The Perfect Wife" restaurant.

On Saturday morning all five of us went to "Up for Breakfast", a breakfast place in the center of Manchester Center, getting there at at 7:01, since the place opens at 7AM. We were the first in and had a hearty breakfast.

We left around 7:45, and took about an hour to get to the trailhead. The first six miles of the Arlington-Stratton Road were completely snow free, the last mile had some snow and ice, but was so heavily sanded that the driving was very easy for any vehicle.

The part of the trail we could see looked completely unbroken, but walking on it showed a solid base under some blown snow, We put on our snowshoes, expecting a decent base all the way.

We discovered that the conditon of the trail depended entirely on its exposure to the wind (it had been very windy for the previous couple of days). In protected areas we found a deep furrow, elsewhere it varied from a partially filled in furrow to a barely visible depression. At all times, though, there was enough of a solid base underneath for the going to be easy, to the point where we made no attempt at a disciplined rotation.

It was cold when we started, and windy almost all day. The summit was particularly windy; we bagged the peak and rushed back into the shelter of the trees.

On the way down we found stretches where it was hard to believe that six snowshoers had packed the trail down a short time ago; the wind had almost obliterated our tracks. Snowshoes are definitely still required on that trail.

Back at our cars by 1:45. Two of the group had only signed up for that hike, so they went home. The four of us who were doing both days started the drive back to Manchester Center. We stopped for coffee at a country store, and bought a blueberry pie for the post-dinner dessert.

After very leisurely showers we met in one of the rooms for a drop of wine, then left for an early (6 PM) dinner reservation at "Henry's Bistro", where we had another excellent meal. No dessert there, we were going back to our blueberry pie at the motel! On the way back we stopped to buy utensils, and while we were there bought some ice cream to put on top of the pie.

Back in the motel the question arose: How could we heat the pie so that the ice cream would soften? After some thought we used the electric kettle we had brough to boil water; we put some water in the kettle, left the lid off, and put the pie on top! There was enough wine left for us to have a nightcap with our pie. A very satisfactory ending to a fine day.