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Ski
Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Little Sugarloaf, Sugarloaf, Bear Mountain, Mowglis Mountain, Firescrew, Mt. Cardigan, NH
Trails
Trails: Elwell Trail, Mowglis Trail, Holt-Clark Cutoff (Cathedral Forest Trail), Clark Trail, Holt Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking at the Elwell Trail trailhead near Wellington State Park, and also at the AMC lodge on Shem Valley Road. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Ice - Black, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes:  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Elwell Trail: from trailhead near Wellington State Park, all the way to the intersection with Old Dicey Road (between Oregon Mountain and Mowglis Mountain), trail is in good shape with an occasional small sapling blowdown from the recent wind storm. Beyond this section, to the summit of Mowglis Mountain, the trail needs significant brushing (corridor is almost completely grown in by small spruce trees in a couple of sections), debris removal, and attention to a large not-quite-duck under blowdown from two years ago around which a herd path has developed. From Mowglis Mountain to intersection with Mowglis Trail, trail is in good shape but there is a recent (rotted) leaning blowdown about 0.2 miles prior to intersection with Back 80 Trail. Entire Elwell Trail is reasonably well blazed (some recent).

Mowglis Trail: trail is in great shape. Recent blazing completely removes one confusing section in the softwoods about 0.1 miles east of Crag Camp -- thank you for this, trail maintainers.

Remaining trails from Cardigan summit to AMC lodge: in good shape, especially given the recent leaf fall. New walk-around blowdown, however, on Holt Trail about 0.4 miles from lodge. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs
Bugs:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
 
Comments
Comments: We car-spotted this traverse -- on the historic Elwell Trail, with the added bonus of the route over Firescrew and Mt. Cardigan. Total distance is just over 15 miles, with elevation gain of ~5200 feet.

Much of this route is not-often-trod and as a result, there are numerous sections of moss-lined corridors and footbeds thick with pine needles; very soft and easy on the feet. Even with the recent heavy leaf load on some sections, the corridor is obvious in most places and the trail not too difficult to follow.

Ascent of Bear Mountain from Old Alexandria-Hebron Turnpike took a bit of time, as usual, on the steep sections with the tricky footing -- but complicated a bit more yesterday by thick blanket of back-slidey wet leaves.

There is some tricky flow ice on steep sections of the Mowglis Trail heading up Firescrew -- thick enough to cause issues but not thick enough for even light traction. From Firescrew to base of Cardigan summit, occasional patches of thin ice on open ledges required care, but nothing too tricky. Past the base of summit, heading up, ledges are completely dry.

Ledges heading down Cardigan to intersection with South Ridge Trail are dry. Past that, some occasional patches of thin ice, all the way to PJ Ledge. Again, ice is too thin for even light traction.

Excellent day out, great views, and we saw no one else the entire day except a hunter near Wellington in the morning and a few people on the summit of Cardigan in the afternoon.  
Name
Name: Pancks and Tesco Heaney 
E-Mail
E-Mail:  
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2015-11-22 
Link
Link: http:// 
Bookmark and Share 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.

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