Date of Hike: Jan. 10, 2013

Trail Conditions: We began with a 3/4"-1" dusting at the trailhead (the end of the road, actually). Starr King Trail was well tramped under the new dusting and blown snow, which filled it in in a couple of spots. It was firm enough with snowshoes, but the trail side snow, at the base, was roughly 8"-1' and not well consolidated due to the warmer temps. The snow built in depth as we climbed peaking out on the ridge with about 2' with some deeper drifts -- a couple blazes were hip high. The trail up there was filled in quite a bit in from the wind and was a bit firmer thanks to the wind and cold. We re-broke it, so to speak, but I'm sure it'll fill right back in again. The spring didn't seem to be running, though not frozen either. There was a lot of snow in that nook so it was hard to tell. There were no crossings, no blowdowns, and no surface ice. An easy snowshoe hike on a very nice trail. Expect this trail to degrade further in the next few days unless we get more snow.

Special Equipment Used: Microspikes and crampons weren't needed (though we had the former), but snowshoes were certainly required as the snow is softer and less consolidated than it should be, especially at the edges of the tramped part. Trekking poles helped with balance on the snowshoes, as well as probing filled-in parts of the trail for hardpack location whenever it wasn't clear visually.

Comments: Hiked this one with Bill Robichaud (brobichaud here on the VFTT). We didn't run into anyone until we met a bushwhacking local woman near the trailhead, but we did start and finish fairly early planning to do Cannon after lunch. The weather wasn't as nice as predicted, but it sure was an awesome day, hitting Cannon after this hike for >5000' feet of gain in a bit over 11 miles at the end of the day. We wore base layers up top the entire hike, didn't even need gloves or a hat really. Very fun day!

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
Nottingham NH