Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Little Sugarloaf, Sugarloaf, Bear Mountain, Oregon Mountain, Mowglis Mountain, Firescrew, Mt. Cardigan, NH
Trails: Elwell Trail, Oregon Mountain Trail, Mowglis Trail, Clark Trail, Holt-Clark Cutoff (Cathedral Forest Trail), Holt Trail, Manning Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, April 17, 2016
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking at the Elwell Trail trailhead across from Wellington State Park, and also at the AMC Cardigan Lodge. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Not an issue. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Elwell Trail is in remarkably good shape now, including the less-oft-trod portions between Bear Mountain and the Back 80 Trail. All sections of this trail are well-blazed and relatively easy to follow. Mowglis Trail is in good shape, as well, with just a bit of winter deadfall that needs clearing. Other trails are in decent shape, too -- Cathedral Forest Trail (Holt-Clark Cutoff) could use some clearing of leaves from waterbars/drains. Other specific items about the Elwell Trail:

1. Elwell Trail from Wellington trailhead to Sugarloaf -- in good shape.

2. From Sugarloaf to Bear Mountain -- some deadfall/minor debris to clear; we cleared as much as possible. Note that there's a bit of handsaw-able deadfall on the tricky scramble (west) up to Bear Mountain.

3. From Bear Mountain to intersection with Oregon Mountain Trail -- some deadfall/minor debris to clear; we cleared as much as possible, but a few pieces we left require a hand saw and bit more time than we had. Power line cut needs brushing (raspberry canes).

4. From intersection with Oregon Mountain Trail to Mowglis Mountain -- some deadfall/minor debris to clear; we cleared as much as possible, but a few pieces we left require a hand saw and bit more time than we had. A couple of large duck-under blowdowns would benefit from chainsawing; at present there's only about four feet of clearance. Hobblebush needs clearing on section between Carter-Gibbs Trail and Mowglis Mountain. Some minor brushing on this section has been done in the past couple of months, though, and this was a nice surprise, as for the past couple of years one had to wade through some of the small softwoods that were obscuring the corridor.

5. From Mowglis Mountain to intersection with Mowglis Trail -- this section received a complete and thorough brushing/cleaning last year, and is in great shape. There is some new deadfall and a couple of small, new blowdowns that will require a handsaw and some loppers to clean up, but nothing major. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: A few small flies here and there -- but nothing biting. Did not see any ticks, either (yet). 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: We enjoyed the nice weather with an Elwell Trail traverse from Newfound Lake to the Mowglis Trail (with a side trip to Oregon Mountain), and then on to Firescrew and Mt. Cardigan, and finally down to a car spotted at the AMC Cardigan Lodge the night before. It's a bit over 15 miles total (with just over 5200 feet of elevation gain) and during that time we saw all of three people (one near Newfound Lake and two on Firescrew) until we summited Mt. Cardigan, where the crowds accumulate. We really had the trails to ourselves.

Other than a bit of winter/spring deadfall, a bit of brushing and a blaze refresh here and there, the Elwell Trail requires very little work right now and is in the best shape we've seen it in for some time.

Note that something more aggressive than Microspikes (Hillsounds, for instance) is needed for a couple of very steep sections of thick blue ice (one about 50-60 feet and then another of about 20-30 feet) on the Mowglis Trail just past Crag Camp, headed south toward Firescrew. Bushwhacking around this would be a pain.

There were a few other short sections of blue ice on the Mowglis Trail, as well as heading down the Clark Trail from Mt. Cardigan, but they're not on an incline and be worked around or traversed without traction.

Quite a bit of spring beauty in bloom in the open woods near Oregon Mountain, as well as some first leaves of trout lily poking through.

A lovely hike in some quiet, unspoiled woods.  
Name: Pancks and Tesco Heaney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2016-04-18 
Link: http:// 
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