|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||West Royce , ME|
||Basin Trail, Hermit Falls Loop, Basin Rim Trail, Royce Trail, Mad River Falls Spur, road walk|
|Date of Hike:
||Friday, May 22, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I was the fourth car in the lot at 9:15am. Room for maybe a dozen. A few more when I returned at 6pm. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Snow - Spring Snow, Leaves - Significant/Slippery, Snow/Ice - Postholes, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||All crossings were barely rock hop-able except for the first which was of Basin Brook. This is a very shallow wade (well below the knee but NO rocks to hop on). You could have walked across a log, then jumped on a little island and hopped on some rocks to the other side upstream but I just opted to wade. This crossing was also very hard to see. More on that below. I found most all the crossings of Cold River, tributaries, and Mad River, a bit tricky and none much harder than the others but they were all rock hop-able with long legs. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||All trails I was on were blazed in yellow. None were blazed all that well but they were okay. I noticed that the lower portion of Basin Trail was blazed fairly infrequently but it became more common as you ascended. Nothing should be too hard for someone with a bit of experience to follow. There were two places where I lost the trail. The first was at the crossing of Basin Brook mentioned above. You have to turn right to cross whereas I continued straight and eventually realized the footbed was becoming obscure until it disappeared altogether. There is a small pile of old debris there blocking you from continuing straight but it’s very old, small, and rotten so it’s pretty easy to miss. Gaia showed me I was off course and showed me where I went wrong. It’d be nice if they placed an arrow, large cairn, or blaze at this point. There was only a small cairn on the opposite side. Coming down Royce Trail, near the base of the insanely steep 450ft of gain over 0.2mi section, there is a sharp right turn on the trail that is only natural to miss on the descent. Completely obvious on the ascent and no way to see it on the way down. Both myself and the group I was following continued straight past this right turn to where the trail disappeared. We looked back and saw blaze right above us (right where the trail turns left if ascending) and figured we had to be on it but we weren’t. A short bushwhack solved the problem and then I followed the trail upwards to where we missed the turn. Again, an arrow, blaze, or cairn would be appreciated here for those descending. I don’t recall much in the way of blowdowns as I’m writing this trail report so late, sorry. I do recall there was a mid-sized one, newer, that came down across the trail right by the viewpoint on Basin Trail just before you come to Rim Junction. Easy to walk around but it hadn’t been delimbed. Probably several others I’m forgetting about as well.., |
||Didn’t see any. Very fit hiking dogs cold probably handle this hike. A couple scrambles that may be tricky. The very rocky and steep parts on Royce Trail May be a challenge. I don’t recall there being much water on Basin Rim Trail so you’d probably have to bring a lot for them. |
||They were out from the start and just got worse as the day went on. Black flies and mosquitos were pretty much both out at all elevations. One maybe a little more prevalent at some elevations than others but they co-existed and shared my blood quite nicely 😜 Picardin wasn’t really cutting it either. |
|Lost and Found:
||I don’t recall anything. ||
||Sorry for a very late trail report. My memory of conditions is a bit shaky at this point unfortunately. About 2/3 of this hike was in NH and 1/3 was in Maine so I can post here too right? ;)|
I can tell you that the snow began on the shoulder of West Royce around 2900-3000ft. There were some small patches before that (I didn’t check the elevation where I first saw snow but I’m guessing it was 2300-2500ft) but you didn’t start getting wet feet and postholing until just shy of 3000ft. Luckily where there was snow on this side of the mountain wasn’t steep. Also, although it lasted for awhile, it came and went all the way to the summit so you weren’t postholing the entire way to the summit. My guess is that it’s pretty much gone at this point given the warm weather. The snow on the north side of the mountain seemed to last a bit longer (all the way down to the Burnt Mill Brook jct) but was generally less deep and less problematic as it had already been travelled some and you could use others postholes. There was some tricky footing on the sidehill coming down to Burnt Mill Brook Trail with the snow though. There was also a bit of ice there. The snow faded shortly after the jct with Burnt Mill Brook Trail and never came back. Very cool to see how all the snow had melted around the jct with Royce Connector where there was still significant snow just a week and a half ago when I was there last.
I tried using precip pants and considered using gaiters but a group of four passed me around the summit in trail runners and I figured that if they could go without so could I and it didn’t make an appreciable difference. This group of four was the only other people I saw on trail all day.
I don’t recall too much about ground conditions beyond where the snow was. There were of course some significant mud pits, mostly up high with the snow melting and I recall one large puddle of water on Royce Trail just after the Burnt Mill Brook Trail jct. The steeper portion of Royce Trail between Laughing Lion and Mad River Falls also had a lot of leaves. Although dry, I slipped and fell badly there once. The footing on the upper portion of that trail is often gravelly and wasn’t my favorite. The lower part of that trail below the falls was a real treat though! The Hermit Falls Loop and the spur to Mad River Falls we’re both well signed.
This hike took me 8.5hrs which was much longer than I predicted. The heat really took a lot out of me. It was already in the 70s when I started at 9:30am. I drank 3L of water and could have drunk more. The hike was just over 10mi (including the road walk) with about 2800ft of gain. Not worth bringing spikes or snowshoes. I imagine the snow is pretty much gone five days later anyway. I can’t believe this was my first time to Basin Pond as a redliner. It’s beautiful there! Wonderful to run into my fellow redlining buddy and her hubby at the pond when I returned. See notes above about two hard to follow spots on the trail.
||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.