|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Puzzle Mountain, ME|
||Grafton Loop Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Tuesday, March 9, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Authorized parking is at the Mahoosuc Public Lands parking lot off ME 26. This is a large dirt lot in summer. It is plowed in winter. Kiosk, no privy. One lovely blue SUV in the lot when I came. It had a paper sign inside saying “GLT.” I’m so jealous! |
||Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Wet/Sticky |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Huge pine tree fell right at the junction with the snowmobile trail at the start of the trail. All signs up and in great shape. Blazes are in great shape and clearly make the trail. Excellent job! |
||Great trail for dogs. |
|Lost and Found:
Out and back (O&B) on the Grafton Loop, Western Section to Puzzle summit.
Look, I had a hell of a shift yesterday. My legs were/are toast. I wanted, no needed, a hike that was easy to get to and hike. Puzzle always wins in this situation. Great, semi-tough hike to wonderful views of the Mahoosuc Range. Round trip time was 3h20m, and that’s after a 12 hour shift with 5 hours sleep...
Lovely, well blue blazed and popular trail to the summit of Puzzle Mountain. This “little” mountain offers excellent 360 degree views of the Mahoosuc Range on clear days. It is a great hike in any season.
There are two sketchy ledge traverses past the junction with the Woodsum Spur Trail. Today these did not present issues in my snowshoes. In freeze-thaw conditions a change of footwear may prove safer. I contemplated changing to my crampons on the descent from the summit. Today, I found fantastic purchase with my snowshoes by hiking down the steep segments backwards. Thus my trusty snowshoes stayed on.
I encountered all conditions found in late March/ early April. The footbed was a fantastically packed out trench with a plethora of pine leaf litter in lower elevations. It is slick, but firm. Past the first major viewpoint, snowshoes rule. At times it felt as if I was walking on cement. Other times it was a pleasant walk on fluffy snow. I can’t tell you what you’d encounter as weather patterns indicate a warming segment. Bring both snowshoes and spikes. This mountain has a talent for hiding ice slabs at inconvenient locations.
My obsession with the Grafton Loop was fed today as I could study the peaks of Bald, Stowe, and Sunday River Whitecap from this peak. I can’t explain my attraction to this trail. It is what it is. I love it!
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.