Date: Sunday March 1st

Route: Firewarden's Trail up and down

Trail Conditions: Untraveled since at least before the last major snowstorm, and perhaps earlier. There was a warm weather crust on the surface much of the time, with another crust a few inches lower. We had to break trail the entire way. Christine is significantly lighter than I, so even when she was ahead I still had the "double clutch" walking conditions--through the top layer, encounter some resistance, tense leg muscles to load weight and break through second crust. Even with light summit packs from Moose Falls Tentsite it was tough and slow going. I think they make this trail steeper every year.

Special Equipment: Snowshoes necessary. Crampons unnecessary (and too much extra weight) except for the very top of Avery Peak. Our snowshoe crampons were enough. Sled helpful from parking area to part way up the first small ridge on the hiking trail.

Comments: There is now a maze of snowmobile highways in the lower part of this area. The old road to the Stratton Brook Pond outlet is marked only by the presence of a signboard with nothing on it. If you come to the powerline, you've gone too far.

Moose Falls Tentsite has quite a few flat spots good for sleeping level, and the outhouse was accessible. It's about a mile from there to Avery Col, and another 3 or 4 tenths to the Avery Summit. The West Peak summit is about 4 tenths in the other direction from the col.