|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Baldpate Mountain - West Peak, Baldpate Mountain - East Peak, Long Mountain, Puzzle Mountain, ME|
||Appalachian Trail, Grafton Loop Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, May 30, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||The parking lot for Puzzle Mountain (called Mahoosuc Land Trust) is 4 miles in on ME 26 just outside of Grafton Notch State Park. This nice, large lot is dirt surfaced and plowed in winter. Can hold 20 cars. There is an informative kiosk, no privy. Parking for the Appalachian Trail (AT) is off ME 26. This is a very large lot, with a 30 car capacity. This lot is paved and plowed in winter. There is a kiosk and two privies that are serviced twice daily by Rangers (thank you!!). Plenty of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Privies are closed in winter. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The brook crossing at the start of the northbound AT from the Old Speck parking area is bridged with bog bridges. All other creeks, brooks, and streams on the Grafton Loop, Eastern Section are rock hoppable. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Several new blow downs on Grafton Loop. Two are at least 2.5 feet in diameter. Those suckers are huge. The rest can be either hiked over, crawled under, or hiked around. The blow downs are not too numerous to slow one down much. The summit sign for East Baldpate has fallen off its post. It’s been laid on the summit carin. |
||Only one friendly dog seen this trek, but great trails for dogs. The AT to the Baldpates and the Grafton Loop, Eastern Section (GLT-E) to Puzzle mountain’s summit are popular trails. I emphasize that these are VERY popular and attract numerous novice hikers. Dogs must be leashed through the popular areas. The remainder of the GLT is much, much less travelled and friendly dogs could go off leash. See water notes in comments. |
||Dude, this is late spring in Maine. Prepare. Though they really were not as bad as I’ve experienced previously. |
|Lost and Found:
||Generic beanie found somewhere on the GLT-E. We figured someone might need it during this arduous hike one day, so we left it on a branch where found. Could be a future “and the trail provides” moment. ||
||This was a two day traverse of the Grafton Loop, Eastern Section (GLT-E) through the Mahoosuc Range in western Maine. |
Appalachian Trail (AT), northbound from Old Speck parking area > Grafton Loop, eastern section > end at Puzzle Mountain parking area.
AT: well blazed in standard white 2x6 blazes, ledges nicely marked with carins. Well travelled trail. No snow. The water point for Baldpate shelter was abysmal on Saturday. Poor AT thru hikers… Unless Monday’s rain beefed up the streams, plan on carrying all needed water if hiking the Baldpates. Most signs up, starting to show wear, but legible. See maintenance note about East Baldpate summit sign. The two ladders coming off the summit of West Baldpate are in good shape. I haven’t seen this trail without snow in so long it was like I was hiking a new trail!
GLT-E: this section is well blazed in blue blazes. All signs are up, intact and legible. Footbed simple to follow. This is a less travelled trail so the footbed is much more shallow than, say, the AT. But it should not be an issue. Open ledge segments are supplemented by nice, low carins. The iron rungs coming off the Long Mountain summit are in great shape. So glad they are here! That chimney would otherwise be a bit too much to descend/ascend with heavy packs. Very minor sections of mud. This has been a dry spring indeed. No snow anywhere.
Camping notes: we camped at Town Corner tentsite. Good camping site for 6-8 regular sized (2 person) tents. There is a privy. The water point had water. The side trail to this site was blazed in blue. No fires permitted. Don’t be that one… this area abuts private land. Just hike till dusk, make camp, eat, then go to bed. You’ll be asleep by 8pm anyway. This trail looks to be a moderate level on maps, but is deceiving. All Maine trails are hard. This one is no different.
The campsites on the GLT-E coming from the summit of East Baldpate towards Puzzle all had flowing water points EXCEPT for Stewart tentsite. This site was totally dry. There were no water points between Stewart tentsite until about 2 miles past the summit of Puzzle. Prepare. It was a very cool day and we were able to finish the last 10 miles on day two with 2 liters of water each (though we could have filled up at a good creek just before starting the final climb of Puzzle).
The GLT-E is truly an awesome trail. It was well constructed (except there are still hardly any switchbacks!! What is it with Maine and going straight up?!!?) 😉. Some of the landscape we traversed was the prettiest I have seen so far in this region. Many rock stairs built into the steep climbs. Thanks! We only encountered 6 other bacpackers on the GLT-E. I couldn’t believe it. I guess the cool weather and impending rain kept most people away.
There was a group of 6 or so trail runners out. Ha! So you’ve finally figured it out, have ya? This trail IS the “New Pemi.” I think the Pemi might be easier… 😛
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.