Date of Hike: Mar. 13, 2013

Trail Conditions: The primary concerns today were that the only significant crossing was going to no longer be securely bridged and that water levels would be too high to allow an easy crossing. As it turned out, neither concern proved to be an issue. The snow bridge was still intact (and should get stronger now that cold weather is again inbound) and water levels were just slightly elevated. Bunnell Notch Trail was a bit soft so we used snowshoes and all was fine. Some of the runoff crossings further up were broken or breaking so care should be used. Kilkenny Ridge Trail, being at a higher elevation, was even firmer, but the snowshoes stayed on. We noted two navigation deviations on this segment of the hike. The first is a split and hikers should go down to the left as that is the proper branch. The second, soon after, goes the other way so hikers should take the upper branch to the right. Mt Cabot Trail was better still and was tested with spikes on the way down by some of my party, but later they switched back to snowshoes after one or two postholes (which we did our best to fix). There was another deviation or two or three (Owl's Head like) between the old fire tower spot and the summit, but I'm not sure which one is proper -- just aim north. There were no difficult blowdowns on any trail. Over all the trails were in great shape.

Special Equipment Used: We used snowshoes for the entire hike except for those who briefly tested spikes but soon changed back. Once things chill again, this trail should be firm enough to support a boot track. Do use care on the bridged crossings as they are weak or missing. Due to the snow depths (the snow pack on the trail must still be a good four-five feet up high), much of the higher trail's canopy is now at face level making things tighter in places; there are sections of trail in which wearing glasses might not be a bad idea so as to prevent eye injury. At least be aware of this possibility when you're up there.

Comments: Hiked this one leading a Meetup group (Random) accompanied by Bill Robichaud and Inna Radzihovsky. It was a great hike and the weather proved very nice for it.

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
Nottingham NH