|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Spruce Hill , ME|
||Spruce Hill Trail, herd path |
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, May 11, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Descent sized lot for about a dozen cars that serves the East Royce Trail and the Spruce Hill Trail across the street (it can be hard to see the start of it but it’s directly across the street). Only one other car in the lot when I arrived at 11am. No others when I returned shortly before 1:30pm or 5:30pm. |
||Dry Trail, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Wet Trail, Ice - Breakable Crust, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow - Wet/Sticky, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery, Snow/Ice - Postholes, Slush |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||A couple small drainages/streams to step across towards the beginning. Very easily rock hops. Likely seasonal runoff. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||The trail is blazed in yellow but not frequently. The blazes are somewhat faded as well. There’s a lot of small debris towards the beginning of the trail. That combined with the only occasional blazing could make it a little tricky to those without experience to follow. Shouldn’t be a problem for experienced hikers in the slightest though. There were a number of blowdowns. A large and old stepover maybe a quarter mile past the wilderness boundary. Another, newer, large blowdown maybe a quarter mile after that. It hasn’t been totally delimited so I believe the tracks went off trail, then stepped over it at an easier spot. Another smaller blowdown a quarter mile or so after that with a herd path around it. Another old stepover partially covered by snow. Don’t remember where that was. I think it was fairly close to Spruce Hill. |
||None seen but Spruce Hill Trail should be a fine trail for dogs. None seen. |
||None other than when I returned to my car. I’d start bringing bug spray and a head net though. I think they could start getting bad real soon. |
|Lost and Found:
||This was my first hike of the day. After a quick stop at my car, I then hiked East Royce using Laughing Lion and East Royce Trail (I’ll do that one in a separate trail report). Both hikes were for redlining. With Spruce Hill Trail done, I only have one hike left to close out the Caribou-Speckled Wildnernsss tab. |
A little snow began to appear on the side of the road (the road was totally clear and dry) just shy of the notch but between yesterday’s rain and today’s warm weather I imagine it’ll be gone by the end of the day. Snow was present from the beginning of hike but only in small patches to start. The trail had a good deal of small debris on it towards the beginning and not a whole lot of blazes which could make it a bit hard for some to follow. The trail was mostly dry towards the beginning although I slipped and fell on some wet leaves on my way down in this area. By the time you get to the wilderness boundary at 0.6mi the snow was more consistent although it was melting quickly and of minimal depth. I believe it wasn’t too long after , between 1800 and 1900ft that old snow also began to appear. I believe it was on a switchback that was out of the sun. It quickly disappeared. As it came back, off and on, as you gained elevation, the snow depth increased to around 18in or slightly more at its deepest. There wasn’t a monorail really but there was a packed trail although it was very choppy. A good number of shallow postholes to the side of the trail but I actually found it pretty easy to stay on top of it and didn’t post hole much at all. Lots of mucky, wet areas up higher too. With warmer weather and sun the next couple of days and then warm weather and rain Friday, I’d think the snow here would be mostly gone or of minimal depth of this trail by the weekend.
There was moose poop that looked relatively fresh but I couldn’t make out many prints as the bootprints that I’m guessing were from the day before likely went over them. Some snowshoe hare tracks as well.
The true high point is right next to the high point of the trail and the boot prints lead to it. Hard to tell with snow on the ground but it looked like a herd path. I noticed string attached to a tree but no canister. There’s some mini ledges but not much of a view although you can see Ames Mtn and Speckled Mtn through the trees.
From there, I continued on to where the trail ends and meets Bickford Brook Trail to finish the redline. There were tracks headed down towards Brickett Place and up towards Speckled Mtn here. The snow depth was minimal at this point. Snowshoes probably aren’t worth bringing if headed to Speckled but my guess is that the snow is deep enough that you will posthole some waterproof gaiters and boots are a good idea. I probably should have thrown my gaiters on just to do Sprice Hill too.
No need for snowshoes or spikes in my opinion. Some may prefer snowshoes still given the depth and inevitable post hiking but given the minimal depth and the current postholes and packed trail I don’t think it’s worth it personally. The snow was wet so I don’t know how much help spikes would be (they’d likely ball up) and I was fine without them. No ice other than a thin breakable crust over mud/water at times anyway. Slush of footprints could freeze overnight but it’s looking to be pretty warm this week.
||Liam Cooney |
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.