On Saturday a group of us did Stratton Mountain, and four of us stayed in Manchester Center to do Dorset Peak on Sunday. After the four of us had returned from dinner and had our pie we were joined by the remaining two participants who were just doing Dorset Peak.

As docross had warned us that the going was difficult, and since we knew that he and others had broken out the Equinox trail I was thinking of Equinox as a Plan B. One of the two arriving participants had already done Equinox, so back to Plan A. I explained that there was a chance that we would not make it, but that we would give it a good try.

On Sunday morning we managed to pack up and get out of the motel almost on time, and reached "Up for Breakfast" at 7:15. After a hearty breakfast we were out, and got to the trailhead around 8:15. The drive was much easier than last year, the one two wheel drive car that came along had absolutely no difficulty.

We saw a very well packed out trail leaving the trailhead. Since docross had been there on Thursday we were sure that these were not his tracks, the wind would have filled them in at least partially. So we were pretty sure that one or more hikers had gone in after him; how far he/she/they went was, of course, the great unknown.

Shortly before the hunter's cabin we sensed a major change in the track; it was clearly less solid than before. We concluded that this was were docross had turned around, and also that the more recent group was a small one; perhaps even a lone hiker. We realized that we might well find that the newer tracks did not go all the way to the summit.

Beyond the hunter's cabin the trail got steeper, and the snow deeper. As a result we started rotating breakers even though we had a sort of broken trail. There were places were it was hard work.

A couple of hundred vertical feet below the col I started wondering how much further the tracks would go, and soon I had my answer: we were faced with smooth, unbroken snow. The first part was steep (presumably what had discouraged the hiker) and was very hard work. Soon the grade eased, and we were looking foreward to picking up the snowmobile trail from the col.

We reached the col, and sure enough found a well packed snowmobile trail coming up from the north and going towards the two summits. I do not remember how far it went last year, but this year it ended pretty soon, well before the spur path that leads to the tower on the south (lower) summit. So once agin we were breaking trail, with maybe a mile to go. We decided to bypass the south summit and continued to where the trail going between the two summits crosses the snowmobile route. Another half mile, with a bit of a climb, finally got us to the summit around noon.

There was quite a bit of snow on the summit; the remains of the old cabin were almost completely buried and the cannister (frozen tight shut, as usual in winter) was close to the ground. There was no trace of the Dorset Memorial Pitcher; last year we had seen two of them, very rusty and clearly near the end of their lives.

The temperature had become reasonably comfortable, but we still had a brief lunch. The descent, on a packed trail with gravity helping us rather than pulling us back, was pleasant and fast. We were back at our cars a couple of minutes after 2 PM.

Two good hikes in reasonable weather with good company. What better way to spend a weekend???