Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Kineo, Three Ponds, NH
Trails: Hubbard Brook Trail, road walk, Mt. Kineo Trail, bushwhack, Donkey Hill Cutoff, Three Ponds Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 2, 2014
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Not far south of the Ravine Lodge Road on Rte 118, small brown hiker sign on tree marking forest road, plenty of parking at the end but don't worry you'll be the only car. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, 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: Rock hop-able and Beaver Dam crossing on Three Ponds Trail (north)was quite easy today. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Ha ha, this isn't a hike to expect any trail maintenance! Hubbard Brook surprisingly clear and not difficult as long as you find the faded yellow blazes don't follow anything else! Mt Kineo Trail a few mud pits and not well blazed. Donkey Hill Cutoff well used and has mud pits. Three Ponds has millions of mud pits, blowdowns, grown-in trail and blazes far and few between. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Heck dogs will like this more than you. 
Bugs: Bugs on Kineo summit unbearable, some horrible fly in your eye bugs near the ponds and somewhere in the middle of Three Ponds Trail they were just down right blood thirsty. Enjoyed a breezy no bug picnic on shore of pond after crossing beaver dam--pleasant surprise.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: If we had tried to do this hike in the reverse direction we would have never made it--Three Ponds Trail (north) should be classified as abandoned. We motored right up Hubbard Brook Trail, I tried to take a wrong turn after crossing difficult muddy brook by first beaver pond because of a well worn treadway and some orange flagging. In a short while I realized there were no more faded yellow blazes and did a quick backtrack and went straight and found blazes again the whole way. We enjoyed Hubbard Brook and didn't have any more issues, some good mud by height of land but trail is decently marked and no blowdowns. Roadwalk to Mount Kineo Trail was okay and up the trail we went(mud pits and hobble in places and very few blazes). We did pass a game camera before reaching the height of the land and the beginning of our bushwhack. We headed into the woods and tried to stay north, there are at least three good bumps to go up and down before reaching the summit, Moose paths, blowdowns and rocks made it difficult to make a beeline but woods are open but rates pleasantly high on the bushwhack scale (compass is your friend)! Back on the trail downhill was fine but when we popped out on snowmobile trail we hunted for the trail, back and forth we went and finally relented by heading down the newly graded snowmobile trail. If it were rainy we would have been up to our necks in mud but thankfully it was just a little muddy and we were glad to get back on the trail with yellow blazes to lead us to the intersection of Donkey Hill Cutoff. At the intersection we met a distressed backpacking young couple that was sure glad to see us--they spent the night at the shelter and it appeared they were not having a good time and wanted to get back to Stinson Lake Road. They were confused by snowmobile and hiking trail intersection as they stood next to the hiking trail sign (yikes). Donkey Hill Cutoff is well used and a few more bog bridges would be nice. Beaver Dam was simple to cross and we passed some nice bootleg camping spots that look super nice especially compared the dingy shelter. From this point on the Three Ponds Trail is very interesting and hard to follow. We crossed a long marshy area that was completely misearable and I hoped I was going the right way. Then the trail looked like an old road up until we crossed a brook and it got more muddy and grown in. We then popped out on new snowmobile trail at the point that was once the old trail/road(?) that ends near campground according the man working on the snowmobile bridge. Nice snowmobile man pointed us to trail or should I say what is left of a trail. This was as bad as a difficult bushwhack, a few worn blazes that were of little help, boggy grown in wet areas, blowdowns and difficult mud and water crossings (and bugs). If we had started up this trail first we might have called it a day after the first hour, HA! We had to walk carefully and I had to focus hard on the not so well worn treadway to find the way. Near the end we were back on snowmobile trails (saw very purple bear poo, raspberries he was eating). The sign pointing to Three Ponds Trail was laughable since there really isn't a trail for most of the way. There are abandoned trails out there in better condition. Super Day (but I am not going back any time soon) and a huge thank you to Becca for joining me today, she was surprised how much more the trail had grown in over the past three years since the last time she had been there.  
Name: Nordic Gal, Becca Munroe 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2014-08-02 
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