|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mount Hayes, NH|
||Pedestrian walkway, dirt roads, Presidential Rail Trail, Mahoosuc Hiking Trail Detour, Hogan Road extension, Mahoosuc Trail, Mascot Pond Spur, Popsy Spring Spur|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, December 1, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parking for this alternate route is at a small parking area 0.3mi north of the western jct of US 2 and Rt 16 on the right. Room for a half a dozen plus cars. Only one there around 10:45am and just one other around 4pm. |
||Dry Trail, Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Snow - Unpacked Powder, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Leaves - Significant/Slippery |
||Snowshoes, Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Just some small brook crossings; no problem. Crossings the Androscoggin on the pedestrian walkway underneath the bridge at the very beginning may ignite a certain fear in those who are afraid of heights... |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||The alternate route to access this trail (a bridge is out along Hogan Rd and you can no longer access the trail that way) is fairly well marked but more on that below. This southernmost section of the Mahoosuc Trail is blazed in blue as it doesn’t coincide with the AT. The trail was fairly well blazed. Other than on the ledges, there were only a few spots where you couldn’t spot at least one blaze from where you were standing. I saw the occasional blaze on the ledges but they were rarely spotted. I imagine most were underneath the snow on the ledge. Snow may have been covering them on the trees as well. Several cairns were at least partially visible but that will likely change with the snow we’re getting. One was already practically covered. I unearthed it a bit. Most importantly, at the jct of the Centennial Trail with Mahoosuc Trail, there is a sign (underneath a tree) for the Mahoosuc Trail in both directions but none for the Centennial Trail. I talked to a local back at my car later and he seemed to think it’d always been that way. The trail corridor was mostly easy to see. More blowdowns than I would have imagined on this low elevation trail though. A few of them I managed to go under/over, but several of them it was just easier to go around. I only recall one huge one; most or all of the others could probably be handled with a small hand saw. |
||Probably a good trail for dogs so long as they’re okay with the cold and deep unbroken snow higher up. Didn’t seem to be much water though. You might also have to be careful with them as you cross the bridge. |
|Lost and Found:
||A nice little solo Sunday redline :) 18F and sunny when I started and mid-high 20s I think when I ended. The clouds had also came in by then although they were high as Washington was still in the clear. Much less wind than the past few days but it still felt like it was a bit more than anticipated. |
The guidebooks directions on how to access this trail from the alternate parking area seemed accurate but a couple things you may want to note: 1) there is no AMC trail sign at the right fork at 0.3mi. It’s on the far side of the fork where you turn left onto the rail trail. If you haven’t memorized the directions you’ll want to keep an eye out for this as the sign is maybe 50 yards away, 2) make sure you go back the way you came here as I continued to the right in the reverse direction at this fork until I realized I was making a circle and going the wrong way, 3) the right turn at 0.6mi is only marked by an L-shaped blaze indicating you should go right on a small rock that will be snow covered soon and would be easy to miss on your return trip. Altogether, this is 1.1mi to the trailhead. The trailhead is facing the reverse direction and very easy to miss. I walked right by it. You’ve gone too far if you’ve come to a brick building (hydroplane whatever). The trailhead was right across from one of the many warning signs telling you not to swim/fish/boat in the water. As of yesterday, there was also a nice part of an animal carcass just past here 😂
The first 1.1mi has been trodden by a few different feet. The footprints have frozen up and leave blue ice much of the time. Otherwise you have crunchy snow of minimal depth. I didn’t wear them but I’d recommend microspikes here. Once on the trail, there’s much less ice. At 0.5mi you cross the 0.2mi spur to Mascot Pond. Really beautiful area and the spur is pretty flat. Great view to Madison and Washington here. Would love to revisit and go for a swim in the summer! The crunchy snow continues until shortly past where the trail crosses the gravel road at 1mi. Shortly after this I put on snowshoes.
There was no perfect place to put on snowshoes here as this trail was more rocky than the one I was on Friday. Where there was water, there often wasn’t snow either but the snow depth was definitely enough that you didn’t want to be barebooting. Like I said in Friday’s report, there is significantly more snow once you’re in Pinkham Notch and north.
The Popsy Spring Spur is signed but seemed overgrown. Hope I went the right way. If so, it was very, very short. The trail for steeper shortly before this but I never thought it truly steep. Nice grades for snowshoeing. Although the summit was flatter, it felt like much more than 0.5mi between the first views and the jct with Centennial Trail (which was unsigned - see above). Snow depth varied up there but it was never much more than 2ft at most.
The return trip was much faster and it felt great to be breaking Trail again :)
||Liam Cooney |
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.