Date(s) Hiked: 04/27/2008

Trails(s) Hiked: Ethan Pond, Willey Range, Avalon Trail

Total Distance: approx. 7.7 with side trip to Ripley Falls

Difficulty: difficult as of yesterday

Conditions: not bad low, a little bit of mud & snow on the spur trail to Ripley Falls, could bareboot it over mud & snow a bit beyond the Ethan Pond/Willey Range junction but after that a lot of snow, some bare spots, "the monorail" is getting narrow & hard to stay on. Almost went back down Willey as we had just about given up finding Willey range a couple of hundred yards from Willey's summit on the way to Field but eventually we found it (more later)

Special Required Equipment: aa sense of humor, good route finding skills or luck, snowshoes essential, crampons helpful some on the way up Willey, raincoat & determination. Not time for spring footwear yet.

Trip Report: - getting up Willey was hard, rotting snow & a few bare spots made gear choice a pain. I went without traction of floation up to Willey while Mike E used snowshoes at one point & crampons at another. It was a pain no matter what you had. On top of Willey we put snowshoes on (we should have waited 50 feet & added them on the bare ledge just west of the summit) A couple of 100 yards away, the trail is hard to find. - see prior trail condition reports. After adding our sets of tracks over the area, we decided to take five more minutes to try & find the trail before heading back the way we came. We were really dreading that but after falling in three spruce traps in the first two minutes I was almost ready to go back. The thought of descending Willey though was too much so I took the full five minutes & found the trail.

On the ridge & descending Field, snowshoes were the right choice. Fed a gray jay on Field & left the snowshoes on until the higher crossing below the junction with the A-Z trail. Water crossings were full but not too bad.

Willey was my 48th 4k in three different seasons. Oddly I have yet to do the 48 in a season. Next hike hopefully will be Wildcats which would finish the 48 in Spring. if there's too much snow I'm hiking elsewhere though!

Mike P. & Mike E