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Ski
Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Snow Mountain (Chain of Ponds) (attempt), ME
Trails
Trails: ATV trail, stream bed, herd path
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, July 4, 2020
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: North Road is located 13.2 mi N from ME16/ME27 Jct in Eustis and 9.6 mi N of Cathedral Pines Camping. End of road is cleared with wide apron and very visible from either direction. Road sign "North Road" very visible from southern approach. Several other signs clustered here as well, including a warning to watch for big trucks (Sand/Gravel pit located along North Road. My GPS wouldn't find a North Road address, but did accept 2999 Arnold Trail, Jim Pond Township that exactly coincides with the North Road junction. (Technically this junction is in Alder Stream, not Jim Pond, according to town road signs.) I had several sets of driving directions to the trailhead, but some had conflicting directions or benchmarks. These are the results I observed - As everyone noted, North Road turns sharply right at about .2 mi beyond yellow gate, while another road bears left. Many people mention a bridge at 1.5 miles. I saw no sign of a bridge here. The significant landmarks on my trip with mileage from ME27 - .4 mi wooden bridge (good shape); 1.1mi a road intersects on the right, 2.2mi a road intersects on the left, 2.8 mi entrance road to sand/gravel pit on the right, 2.8 mi wooden bridge (right after gravel pit entrance, more sketchy than 1st), 3.2mi Sports Carry Road (signed) on left (gated, but I wouldn't cross that bridge with a vehicle anyway), 3.7mi wooden bridge (more sketchy than second, I drove across with 3900 lb vehicle with no problems), 3.9mi a road intersects on the left, 4.3mi pass logging landing area, soft spot in road that may puddle up or be muddy (take care), 5.0mi parking area and trail sign on left, road continues through logging area, 5.1mi start of trail marked with boulders, but parking is not good here, no trail sign, but can see turn and first bridge of ATV from the boulders. You can easily drive the .1mi into the logging area, but parking off road can be difficult here, so recommend parking at 5.0 and walking to start of trail. No one else at 7AM. One other brave Mainer parked when I left at 2:30PM. Didn't see anyone on trail, but as described below, I took the scenic route, so he/she/they must have passed while I was bushwhacking. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Major water crossings are bridged, all others are stepovers 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Supposedly unmaintained, but evidence of blowdowns being cleared on ATV trail, many blowdowns on streambed section, easy walkarounds for the most part. Upper herd path to 3000 feet fairly clean, but many wet areas. The streambed section I took had many sections of waist high ferns and other vegetation. The correct streambed section does not have any significant plant encroachment. ATV trail is pretty clear, but many muddy sections and a handful of areas with some logging debris. Upper herdpath section has many areas of knee-high to waist high vegetation, primarily grass.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: None seen. Hike along ATV portion passes several running streams, streambed section had moderate amount of standing, or low volume running water, upper herdpath section has several large puddles of standing water; didn't summit but understand summit section is very steep and contains rock scramble, might not be suitable for dogs; also no info on water availability for this section.  
Bugs
Bugs: Swarming and buzzing, several biting deerflies and others. Breezes helped keep them away when present. Swarmed when stopped for water breaks, particularly in wooded areas. Put on headnet after leaving ATV trail. Wore long pants and long sleeve shirt not knowing vegetation status on herdpath and for bug protection. Uncomfortable due to heat and humidity, but benefit was not having to constantly apply repellent. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Lost my way during streambed section due primarily to taking wrong streambed, but found the upper herdpath eventually. I also found a moose crossing ME27 shortly before North Road jct. Fortunately when she saw the car, she just hurried to finish her crossing. No other family members appeared, but did see lots of poop in the woods on Snow. 
 
Comments
Comments: First part of ATV trail passes through the logging area and trail is partially covered in debris, but can follow by carefully looking for ATV imprints. There are 2-3 logging cuts that cross the trail over the first .2-.3, with various amounts of debris. Most can be easily bypassed or stepped-over. Probably the least amount of damage and debris of any logging area I have visited, so thank you loggers for minimizing the impact on hikers.

Second, I missed the streambed cutoff due to not paying attention carefully and I took an alternate route that was terribly difficult. I kept trying to get back on track, but I had not activated the GPS track and I was navigating to the traditional trail that is marked on my base map. When I realized this, I loaded one of 3 tracks I had downloaded from websites and was finally able to navigate to intersect the upper herdpath. By that time I had managed to bushwhack more than a half-mile further up the mountain than where the streambed path intersects. On the plus side, it was easy going through the woods, few thick areas and those that were had easy bypasses. The problem was the easy paths faded out and I had to try different ones, sometimes going away from my target hoping they would curve back in the right direction. (Sometimes yes, sometimes no) On the descent, I found the correct path and found the arrow marking and cairn on the ATV trail as described by many. The correct path is fairly easy to follow, so at least that lesson learned will pay off on the return trip.

The other problem I had was that when I got to about 3000 feet the herdpath leveled out for a while and then started to descend and move away from the summit. I was also off the track at this point. When I returned to where the track appeared to bend toward the summit, I saw nothing that resembled a herd path. By then my legs were shot (first hike of the season) and the humidity and bushwhacking hadn't helped either. I decided for safety reasons I should camel-up and head back down so didn't take time to search for the summit path. None of the written reports I used for research indicated it is difficult to find, so if any of you have some advice, please email me. I will be back for this one.

One last bit of info, there are many wet sections on each of the three parts I hiked and some of these are difficult to bypass. I don't know if this is a result of the recent rainy weather or if they are naturally wet. I fortunately had my waterproof boots on, but I wore them for the summit scramble as they are my grippyest hiking footwear. Plan how you do for wet trails.  
Name
Name: SpartyHikerfromME 
E-Mail
E-Mail: spartyrules1855 dash hiker at yahoo 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2020-07-04 
Link
Link: http:// 
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