|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Spruce Hill, Ames Mountain, Speckled Mountain, Durgin Mountain, Butters Mountain, Red Rock Mountain, ME|
||Spruce Hill Trail, Bickford Brook Trail, Blueberry Ridge Trail, bushwhacks, Red Rock Trail, Miles Notch Trail, Haystack Notch Trail, Route 113|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, May 27, 2017|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Only one other car @ the East Royce trailhead on Rt. 113 early Satruday morning. It was pretty full when I got back Sunday afternoon. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||At the moment on the Haystack Notch Trail you will get your feet wet at the eastern-most major crossing and you likely get your feet wet at various other water crossings heading west. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Much of this route is in the Caribou-Speckled Wilderness and trails are maintained to a 'lower standard' than other trails - some less so than others....more on that below. Junctions and trailheads are signed. I encountered six members of the Chatham Trails Association doing work on the Bickford Brook Trail Saturday - I thanked each one for their efforts. |
||Didn't see any. |
||Most of Saturday black flies varied from moderate to horrendous but Sunday they only varied from moderate to heavy. Mosquitoes also started making appearances this weekend - oh joy. Two ticks found after finishing - almost certainly from the Haystack Notch Trail. |
|Lost and Found:
||NOTE: this was an overnight hike - I posted the date for the day I climbed the peaks.|
I came here wanting to avoid the Holiday weekend masses and to try a new tent. The route was a simple counter-clockwise loop only briefly diverting onto the Blueberry Ridge Trail below the Bickford Brook junction to the elbow heading south to whack to the Ames Mountain summit. I spent the night well off the Miles Notch Trail where there is enough water around - at least on the northern section I hiked.
Spruce Hill Trail: a fine trail heading up and over Spruce Hill. It is easy to follow and is in nice shape. One of the CTA members asked me how it was as I'm told they worked on this trail last year - it shows.
Bickford Brook Trail: the last pitch from the Spruce Hill Trail to the Speckled Mountain summit had some water running on the trail. No issues here.
Red Rock Trail: much of this trail is obvious but there are some small cairns along the way near the summits. If in doubt you can follow the incredible amounts of moose skat in some sections. I recall some mud in the cols and a few trees down. However I flicked, tossed and heaved aside quite a few twigs, branches and limbs along the way - but there are plenty more.
Miles Notch Trail: The northern section on this route was mostly a gradual and pleasant descent which I found quite nice to start the day. The footbed is mostly obvious and the trail criss-crosses Miles Brook a few times (no issues).
Haystack Notch Trail: the 'fun' begins at the giant field on it's eastern end where the trail sign points left - which leads you into a mini-maze of logging roads and paths. The actual trail is obscured by growth and a felled tree - a preview of to what was to come later. The WMNF property does have blazes to follow but once on the trail they're not needed. Once into the Wilderness area however the 'trail' changed character and at times became impossible to follow. I lost the trail several times in this section between the numerous downed tress, the leaves cloaking the footbed and the growth obscuring it. At a couple of points I considered just whacking WSW toward Route 113 - and maybe I should have since in some spots there really was no difference between being on trail or off. Once out of the Wilderness area the trail became more obvious with occasional blazes again.
Other than the 6 CTA maintainers I only saw one other person in two days - near the summit of Butters Mountain on Saturday. The tent passed muster and I managed to avoid the crowds for two days in the Whites on a Holiday weekend...yes, it can be done.
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.