|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Tumbledown Mountain, ME|
||Brook Trail, herd paths, Tumbledown Ridge Trail, Pond Link Trail, Little Jackson Trail, Little Jackson Connector|
|Date of Hike:
||Thursday, July 15, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||People like to park on the road been when the lot isn't full. Apparently walking 100 extra feet is too difficult. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Everything was easily hopped |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||The Brook Trail is extremely eroded and overused, most other trails were better. All trails were easy to follow and clear |
||Some, especially near the summit, but not terrible |
|Lost and Found:
||Beauty and Destruction on Tumbledown|
I got an early start today with the goal of being on Tumbledown before the crowds arrived. Upon arrival at 6:20, I was happy to see that I was the first car in the lot at the Brook Trailhead. Immediately upon starting out on the Brook Trail, you can tell that it's not like most other hiking trails. The lower section of trail follows a very old logging road, which now resembles an eroded ATV trail more than a hiking trail, due to the extremely high amounts of foot traffic that the trail sees. After leaving the old logging road, it gets worse. Instead of a footpath through the woods, the trail is a 15-30+ foot wide swath through the woods where careless herds of hikers have trampled all of the vegetation in sight. Although I had the trail to myself, it was a sad sight to see and not a very enjoyable trail to hike.
Upon reaching the pond, I was treated to great undercast views to the south. Unfortunately this area has also been heavily impacted by careless visitors. There were many areas where vegetation had been removed, trees had been cut, fires had been set, and rocks had been stacked. It's really unfortunate because they significantly detract from the beauty of the area. Luckily, things got better as I continued on.
Somehow, I lucked out and had the entire summit area to myself for over 2 hours. In that time, I made a loop using the herd paths up over the highest, and most scenic, of Tumbledown's peaks. The herd paths were mostly easy to follow and only got confusing where the paths branched in multiple directions. This side of the mountain was much less impacted and I was treated to amazing undercast views in all directions from the summit.
After returning to the Tumbledown Ridge Trail, I made a short side trip to West Peak, then followed the ridge back towards the pond. Around 10:00, the first other people started arriving near the pond, which I took as my cue to head down. I decided to give the Pond Link Trail a try, which ended up being a great choice! This lightly used trail has a soft footbed, narrow corridor, and moderate grades, which makes for a much more pleasant experience than other trails on the mountain as it passes through beautiful areas of forest, ferns, and grass. After reaching the Little Jackson Trail, I followed it and the Little Jackson Connector back to the Brook Trailhead. Although these are also relatively heavily used trails, I didn't see anyone for my whole hike down. Upon arrival at the parking lot, it was a completely different scene from when I left, with many cars in the lot and along the road.
While Tumbledown is still for sure a beautiful mountain, I will continue to be very selective about when I visit in order to avoid the crowds. It's very disappointing to see the destruction that has taken place on the mountain, and even with the ban on camping, I don't see it ending any time soon. For all of those who are reading this, please respect this beautiful place and educate others so hopefully they will do the same.
||Sam Shirley |
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.