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Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Mt. Mansfield (The Chin) (attempt), VT
Trails
Trails: Road walk, Laura Cowles Trail, Long Trail, Sunset Ridge Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, February 11, 2017
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plowed winter parking lot - usually filled up on weekends, but one can park on side of road. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Ice - Black, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Drifts, Snow/Ice - Postholes 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Six or 7 in total easy-to-cross snow-covered bridges only. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Pretty good shape, thanks to the caretakers! 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: None. 
Bugs
Bugs: None. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None. 
 
Comments
Comments: Easy 1-mile hike on packed road from winter parking to the gate. Seventeen-degrees F, no wind. Then about a 1/4 mile to summer parking area and trailhead to Eagle's Cut Trail. We arrived at Laura Cowles Trail which we had to trail blaze all the way up. Snowshoes were a must. Thinly encrusted hardened snow which actually made snowshoeing quite comfortable. The trail is quite mellow at the beginning, but then starts getting steeper. The heel lifts on snowshoes were very helpful for Flo going up lots of steep bits. Also had good traction for some very packed, hard, almost icy ups. Some of the blue blazes on the trees were just ankle high. One tricky part to traverse on the side of a rock face about 3/4 of way up. Then we broke a tight, deep snowed-in trail through trees. The snow was so high and the stunted tree branches were curled over, making a tunnel and we had to crawl through now and again. At the exposed part, Joe did a great job with directions and cutting a trail, that was icy and deep snow, all the way to the signs.

On top, visibility was zero, so we decided to not do the Chin and instead find our way down Sunset Ridge. We carefully made it to the false summit. Visibility was only slightly better, but still pretty foggy and a little gusty at times. We went over a couple of cairns, but then found it difficult to continue because we couldn't see anything. We decided to turn around and started backtracking when we saw a younger couple in Microspikes who said they came up Sunset Ridge but got lost for over an hour near the summit and were heading back down, and relieved to see people. So we said we would like to follow them for a ways. After a couple false starts in finding directions, we made it to where hiker tracks could be seen and more familiar landmarks and distinct trail with better visibility. Quite a lot of ice covering the ridge rocks, which made footwork a bit difficult and uncomfortable. Almost coming down the ridge two larger groups of hikers were coming up and a couple. We did some butt-sliding to come off the ridge. Saw more hikers going up. Once past the Cantilever junction, it was an easy hike back to the parking area. Intense hike. Sitting in the car was so nice.  
Name
Name: Flo and Joe 
E-Mail
E-Mail: aloe@myfairpoint.net 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2017-02-11 
Link
Link: http:// 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

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