Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks West Royce, NH
Trails: Burnt Mill Brook, Royce, Basin Rim, Black Angel, Blue Brook Connector, Wild River, road walk, Shelburne (short section), spurs
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Friday, May 6, 2016
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Wild River Rd is open, in pretty good shape, and just a tad soft. Parking was fine at the modest lot. We were the only ones there. I didn't see anyone at the Wild River Campground parking lot either, but the campground is open at the caretakers were there. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Ice - Blue, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The many small brooks were easy. The Wild River crossing on Black Angel looked like it was doable at the trail but only with a good leap one way, or wet boots the other. The one good 5-6' leap would not be advisable for anyone with a larger backpack or who doesn't leap well. I didn't want to do it twice, nor force Pepper to do it twice either, so we crossed at the old bridge location. That requires some boulder hops, one of which is wet from spray and one just under water, but both gripped well, and we both got across with no problems. We checked out the crossing to get to Moriah Brook, since the bridge has a closed sign on it, but the only crossings we could see were wades in a bit of a current. We checked out the Shelburne crossing and it was the expected swimming hole with some current. We usually get that when it is a bit warmer since Pepper has to swim it. We also crossed the brook reachable by going to the tentsite and following the short herd path just past the sharp right that takes one to the campsite and it seemed to have a milky look to it which seemed odd.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: All signs in place. Burnt Mill Brook had a few new blowdowns, two step overs and a couple of larger broken yellow birch stems on the ground. No big deal. Black Angel had a few minor ones and one significant one that turned out to be pretty easy to get over up close. There's a few new minor ones on Wild River. There are some wet/mud spots on the Connector, and Black Angel, a few of the latter take some care to pick one's way through it and stay dry, but one can. Wild River's washout section, where the trail hugs a slope above the river, has sloughed off some more, leaving a short stretch of goopy clayish that didn't even support Pepper, but going up or down to get around it requires going through some brushy stuff on a slope. I bounced down on some rocks but they are sitting on the goop and aren't solid support. I removed a lot of broken debris from the trails, and on Royce and Basin Rim grabbed, scraped or punched through some leaf/needle dams on a lot of waterbars, but sometimes I don't think I did much good. Hiking poles aren't great waterbar tools. There is some erosion of Basin Rim on its descent to Rim Jct which shows how shallow and fragile the soils are, and how much nicer it is to hike on them than wet ledge or broken rock on a slope. All in all the trails seemed to me to be in pretty good shape for the season. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Pepper had fun. There were lots of sip n dips to be enjoyed, a few grouse and squirrels to excite the senses, and he loves hiking along a roaring brook/river. The path was gentle on the paws too. There wasn't much traffic on the road but having a leash is a good idea since it is narrow.  
Bugs: The Black Flies were out in places and slightly annoying when stopped and at the parking area, but they were not a problem if we kept moving or the wind was blowing well. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: I found one slightly frayed black liner type glove on Black Angel, dripping wet and a bit muddy, so I put it on a large blowdown running along the trail, tucked in to a small branch to dry. 
Comments: Being May, it is use them or lose them 2015 vacation days, so we were going to take a day off this work week to hike. Things didn't look good all week, but yesterday the forecast for today changed and it turned out to be beautiful. Burnt Mill Brook is a wonderful trail with a nice footpath, gentle slopes and lots of cascades; one of our favorites. Royce actually had some thick ice in spots going up West Royce. I had my older Hillsounds but by being careful and being on an ascent I didn't need them. Other than that the trails were ice/snow free. Royce and Basin Rim along the rim are also a delight to hike, with some views from various ledges. Black Angel's section had no real views but the hike down from the HOL is pleasant. The first time I did it I hadn't looked closely at the AMC Guide or map, and given the trails conditions back then, became convinced I was on the wrong trail due to the extended climb up from the tentsite to the HOL. The Wild River trail was also a delightful walk out before Irene, now it mixes nice with rough sections, but it's nice to have the Wild River nearby. The road walk is fine this time of year. The only people we saw all day were along the road. It was a great day and place to be out with the Mighty tough little dog. Thanks Pepper.  
Name: Pepper and Me 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2016-05-06 
Link: https:// 
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