Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Cardigan, Firescrew, Mowglis Mountain, Oregon Mountain, Bear Mountain, Sugarloaf, Little Sugarloaf, NH
Trails: Holt Trail, Mowglis Trail, Elwell Trail, Oregon Mountain Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 23, 2015
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking with a nice, dedicated lot at the end of the Elwell Trail across the road and north from Wellington SP & the usual gravel slope offering at AMC Cardigan Lodge 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes:  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: A few blowdowns. Some recent logging cuts make care/attention necessary for following the trail. NOTE: Elwell Trail has been re-routed slightly due to logging cut in the col between Bear and Sugarloaf mountains, near where trail crosses the old Hebron-Alexandria Turnpike (now a logging road extensions of current Bear Mountain Road). (The re-route moved the trail out of a boggy/swampy area, so not a bad thing.) 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Low temps & wind kept the bugs away for most of the day, until Sugarloaf where we were suddenly mobbed by mosquitos.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Traverse of Cardigan and the Elwell ridge. Up via the Holt Trail and across the ridge easterly down to Newfound Lake via the trails and peaks listed, RGoH, party of 12. This was a FANTASTIC HIKE with lots of open ledge, interesting forests, views, and varied, rugged terrain. The Elwell and Oregon Mtn. Trails, which have received much maligned reports in recent guidebooks and gossip (the fire lookout on Cardigan was particularly dire in his depiction of the route) were well blazed, cairned, and signed, with an obvious (but lightly used) footway in most areas. There were some blowdowns here and there, but nothing too snaggley. We did have trouble at one recent logging cut on the W flank of Mowglis Mountain where we lost the trail for about 0.4 and bushed through the cut back to the blazes below the first open ledge, but that may have been due to a momentary lapse of attention on our part--or not (finding oneself in the same circumstances, one might want to bush uphill, favoring slightly toward the south face of the ridge where the trail can be picked up on the way to the summit). The other two logging cuts (between Oregon-Bear and Bear-Sugarloaf) have little impact on the trail, other than opening up views and bettering wildlife habitat. The cuts are relatively brief--most of the ridge has not been impacted. The most recent AMC map of the ridge is crap--a good, detailed topo is a better help in navigation. Yellow blazing is used for the Elwell and many of its cross trails (the most recent AMC-SNH guide does have a good in-page closeup of the trails around Sugarloaf). The trails seem to have been relocated over the various summits of Oregon and Bear, in contrast to what is described in certain publications. The long, knee-buster fall-line descent of Bear to the Sugarloaf-Bear col was deep with dry leaves and VERY slippery & unstable for a long way down. Dry spring weather and light foot traffic have kept the leaves fluffy. The descent of Bear would be no joke regardless, but the views of the lake from Bear and the Sugarloafs were extraordinary. Overall, the ridge is bumpy with many false summits. Drought has evaporated all but one puddled stream along the ridge.  
Name: Shoeless Paul 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2015-05-23 
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