We got to the trail head off Big Hollow Rd around 12:00 pm. Temps were low but the cold wasn't much of competing factor due to the clear skies and bright sun. The first stream crossing was a little tricky and took a few minutes to find a safe spot to cross. We took the red trail to the blue, most of the way up the trail was clear with minimal ice. We were fine with boots and poles. As we approached the ascent to Blackhead, spikes and poles were necessary. The whole way up the trail was covered with sheets of ice, one member of our group had a broken micro which made his ascent significantly more difficult than ours, although he still did a great job. The climb was just the right amount of challenging and was very rewarding. Lots of great views while heading towards the top made it a lot easier too. Once we got to the top and rested the cold temps really started to settling in, so we didn't break for much longer than ten minutes. On the way back we followed the yellow trail, some ice on the descent but could easily be avoided by walking on the outside of the trail. The view of Black Dome was spectacular and the sun was coming down on the face and gave us a really nice view. We were very tempted to continue to Black Dome but decided against it due to time restrictions. After we passed the markers for Black Dome spikes were were absolutely needed. I thought I was doing well on the switchback with just my poles and careful footing, but one misplaced step led to me eating **** and landing on my hip. From the yellow we transitioned to the red trail and headed back down to the parking lot. The rest of the trail was easy to cover, there was ice and snow but again it could easily be avoided. Overall it was a terrific hike and we cant wait to come back and hit Black Dome and Thomas Cole.
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