Date of Hike: May 14 and May 15, 2013

Trails: Crawford Path, Eisenhower Loop, Monroe Loop, Trinity Connector, Gulfside Trail, Clay Loop, Jewel Trail.

Trail Conditions: Been hiking smaller stuff such as 52WAV and Fifty Finest peaks lately but decided to hike something epic for my birthday so a traverse from Pierce to Clay in time for sunrise really fit the bill. I will break the trails down in two parts: below treeline and above treeline. In other words, some of Crawford Path and Jewel Trail, plus some patches in the spruces above, then the rest. Below treeline we experienced a mixed bag: dry, wet, muddy, frozen, icy, and rock-solid monorail conditions due to the recent cold. All was easy to deal with, but the monorail sections were annoying: hard to walk on the skinny parts, yet still tough to avoid in many places. There were icy sections, but most were avoidable. Above treeline we encountered mostly bare rock with patches of ice, frozen puddles, and a few rock-hard snow fields. All was easy to walk on or avoid. No blowdowns (though one being cleaned up on Jewel) and no crossings.

Special Equipment Used: We brought microspikes, and I would recommend this, but we never felt the need to use them. Trekking poles are a nice option for balance. Warm clothing due to the cold and wind up there, still. We had 25 mph winds and the wind chill was 3F. Brrr. That said, it was night.

Comments: Hiked this one with a friend, David Chess. Celebrated my birthday on Monroe (midnight), and saw another friend, Samantha Brady, at MWOBS. Surprising the crowds thin right out at night, lol. Great way to turn 51, though this hike really aged me.

Mike "Tramper" Cherim
Nottingham NH