Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Butterfield Mountain, VT
Trails: Snowmobile corridor 302, snowmobile corridor 302C, skidder roads, bushwhack
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Friday, February 9, 2024
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: VAST parking lot on Rt 302 for Groton SF. Could use a trash can for snowmobilers as someone dumped a large black bag of trash with coffee cups spilling out.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Drifts 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All bridged on the snowmobile trails, hit a minor drainage ascending the east face of Butterfield, seemed dry 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: All good 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: I wouldn't recommend this time of the year. Crazy amount of recent moose activity in the glades nearing the summit, also directly at the summit, there were moose beds.  
Bugs: Nope, not yet 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Not really, picked up trash from snomo trails - not sure if that was lost, but I found and packed out.  
Comments: VAST snowmobile corridors (302 + 302C), skidder roads, bushwhack

Yesterday was trash snow on neighboring Signal Mountain; today, conditions could not have been more different - rock solid footing for a majority of the off trail clamber up to the 3167' summit. Glad to have trekking poles, but the snow had a fantastic crust - all morning, I maybe sank 6"+ 3 or 4 times, mostly around snow-covered downed timber or near hobblebush - which was very sporadic.

Stunning glades up high, from which I could see a snow-capped Franconia Ridge, Moosilauke-South Peak ridge, Presi range - the highlight was a blindingly white Mount Washington way in the background - I had never viewed all of these mighty peaks from such a clear easterly view! Very inspiring view up there, a light haze had begun drifting out of the CT River Valley by the time of my 8:30am descent - which appeared to drift up from Glencliff.

This summit was a first - not only was I welcomed to a trio of various canisters, the old jar labeled "pot" is still up there, with a rolled joint inside. I had no desire to open this jar, but I did remove the lid from the Tostitos salsa jar to find the last registrant logged their ascent Nov 2023, I took the following page for my entry. Significant recent (like, this morning..) moose activity, tons of hoof tracks all over the recognized high point - they had even had stomped out a bed directly beneath the recognized balsam fir.

I chose this route up the SE ridge as I could see by aerial imagery that the entire slope was open hardwood - plus I confirmed this suspicion yesterday while roaming Signal Mtn, I could look over to totally open woods on Butterfield. Once on the ~2,700' reprieve in climbing, I could observe dense softwood to my left (south), but could easily remain in open woods, emerging from open softwood back into open hardwood for as far as I could see upslope.

The coniferous summit cap is more over the western side of the mountain (also noticed on aerial images), which made for 97% hardwood/3% softwood (roughly). From open glades, I entered well-spaced balsam/spruce for a leisurely stroll atop moose tracks to the summit, very brief stint in the conifers - but they are lovely. Great views to neighboring peaks, did not look for a westerly view today.

There is a brief write-up at the link below for those who seek more depth of the Butterfield Mtn bushwhack, enjoy!  
Name: Erik Hamilton 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2024-02-09 
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