Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Firescrew, Mt. Cardigan, Mt. Cardigan (South Peak), NH
Trails: Manning Trail, Back 80 Trail, Elwell Trail, Mowglis Trail, Clark Trail, Vistamont Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Plenty of parking at the AMC Cardigan Lodge -- main parking area was shut off to cars mid-day for helicopter landing for ferrying firewood up to the High Cabin. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, 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: Not an issue -- but water levels are high enough to have some decent (and picturesque) flow. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Trails generally in good shape, but Clark Trail is more eroded than at any time we can recall in the past 10-15 years (see notes, below). 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Not an issue. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Although fall colors are past peak now in the Cardigan area -- significant leaf drop in the past few days -- there are still some decent patches of orange and yellow. Reds are pretty much gone, dropped, but now on the trail are very pretty.

Beaver ponds along the Back 80 Trail are quite full; always interesting to see these. Over the years, the resident beavers have repaired burst dams, built new ones, or simply let others fall apart, and the results alter the look and feel of the area. One dam is starting to encroach on a section of trail -- might result in another of the numerous trail relocations over the past decade.

Back 80 Trail from the cellar hole to the Elwell Trail intersection is getting some nice attention with brushing, blowdown removal, etc.; it's appreciated. It's a quiet, away-from-the-crowds route that's very nice at this time of year and in winter.

On the summit of Cardigan, we saw the recent graffiti on one of the ledges about 20 feet from the tower. It's pretty good-sized (maybe 15 square feet?) and looks like it will take a bit of gray paint to cover or some hard scrubbing to remove.

The Alexandria Ski Trail has gotten so much hiking use this past summer and fall that it now looks like a regular trail with a very clearly defined footbed. The "no hiking" signs that were posted at either end last year have disappeared, too, so that may have something to do with the increased hiking use.

Later, heading down the Clark Trail, we noticed more erosion and herd path trail-widening than we can recall ever seeing; this side of the mountain seems to be getting some of heavy use that the other (Canaan) side has experienced for years. Trail maintainers have made a concerted effort to brush in a number of these herd paths, but it appears to be an ongoing struggle as folks try to avoid the mud in the middle of the trail. Several fine sets of rock steps have herd paths on either side, as people appear to be avoiding the hardscape.

A nice day out -- and pretty quiet, too; saw only a handful of people all day.  
Name: Pancks and Tesco Heaney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2018-10-11 
Link: http:// 
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