|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Old Speck Mountain, Sunday River Whitecap, Stowe Mountain, Bald Mountain, ME|
||Old Speck Trail, Eyebrow Trail, Mahoosuc Trail, Grafton Loop Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, September 7, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||We met at the southern end of the eastern section of the Grafton Loop Trail (no parking at the southern end of the western loop - 0.6mi between the two) at 5:30am and then drove to the Old Speck trailhead. I was surprised to see that the Grafton Loop trailhead overflowed yesterday although we got a spot at 5:30am. The lot for Old Speck is quite large and we had no problem finding a spot there either. Didn’t look like it’d overflowed today but did yesterday. There was no iron ranger but no fee envelopes we saw... |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Only some very small rock hops. I did notice lots of mossy rocks on some though that looked quite slippery so watch out! |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Old Speck Trail is blazed in white as it’s part of the AT. Eyebrow Trail is blazed in orange which was a bit surprising as it connects to the AT (Old Speck Trail) and thus would normally be blazed in blue...is that just an NH thing? Grafton Notch Trail was blazed in blue. Grafton Notch Trail and Eyebrow Trail we’re both blazed pretty regularly as I recall. One weird section of Grafton Loop that appeared to be blazed in orange. I would’ve thought it was a boundary marker but it was just west of Sunday River Whitecap. I don’t think the Old Speck Trail/AT was blazed that much but was easy to follow. Eyebrow Trail was relatively easy to follow but watch for a couple weird turns on it. At one point the trail goes straight, next to a blowdown. Grafton Loop wasn’t hard to follow either although was much more overgrown than I would’ve thought in several locations. It should probably be brushed back. I don’t recall any blowdowns on Old Speck Trail and I only recall the one on Eyebrow Trail mentioned above. There were a few on Grafton Loop but not bad at all. One hanging over the trail that a crew member said they’d be taking care of. Another large one that’s at an awkward height that I stood on to get over and my friend slid under. It’s a pain. Probably a few others I’m forgetting about. |
||I don’t think we saw any today but these would be good trails for an experienced hiking dog that could handle the miles. Bring LOTS of extra water though. |
|Lost and Found:
||We saw what we think was a hat in a tree from the tower at the summit of Old Speck. ||
||Old Speck and Grafton Loop West traverse to finish redlining my Mahoosuc tab today. This was my 5th tab to complete so only 7 more to go. Foggy in the morning so no views on Old Speck but got great views from Sunday River Whitecap later in the day although some surrounding peaks were still in cloud. Started out in the mid-forties at 6am but didn’t feel too cold. Got warmer and sunnier as the day went on. Threw on the fleece and rain jacket at Sunday River Whitecap though. The wind was maybe a bit uncomfortable but it wasn’t in the “blow you over” category. We ate lunch on top at the view spur that was mostly sheltered from the wind |
Eyebrow Trail made for a different sort of ascent. I really liked Old Speck Trail above Eyebrow Trail. It’d been years since I’d done it last and didn’t remember all the moss and nice woods. Grafton Loop is a very nice trail as well. Lots of pretty woods and mostly nice grades. Great views from Sunday River Whitecap too. All the spurs needed for redlining were obvious too as all the tent sites were signed (not shown on Gaia though) and the view spurs on the summit of Sunday River were obvious.
I don’t recall much mud heading up Old Speck but there was still some very deep mud on Grafton Loop Trail although it was rare. Beyond that, things were very dry. Grafton Loop was overgrown at times but not hard to follow nor were any of the other trails.
Great to hike with a fellow redliner today and meet another famous Maine hiker on the summit of Sunday River Whitecap!
||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.