|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Ice Gulch, NH|
||Ice Gulch Path, Cook Path, Randolph Road|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, June 19, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Lovely space across the road from the trailhead. Park wisely and several vehicles can be accommodated. Thank you to the neighbors for their gracious access. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Several easy ones. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Thank you, RMC. Great signs and God bless those who travel through to maintain this challenging jumble, because I saw evidence of cutting in this huge collection of slippery boulders. One little suggestion - a sign at both ends of the ravine which reads, "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here." |
||While the Cook Path and the first part of the Ice Gulch Path would be o.k. DO NOT BRING THEM INTO THE GULCH ITSELF. WMG says, "This trail is emphatically not for dogs." |
||A few Mosquitos. One tick (there is a small grassy area, must have gotten it there). |
|Lost and Found:
||Three things. 1. Water bottle fell into one of those irretrievable places. 2. Trekking Poles - ancient Lekis. If anyone finds them and finds them useful for something you can keep them. 3. My sanity - oh wait, I lost that for even thinking of coming here. ||
||Dickens described it best, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,.."|
Afternoon rains and possible thunderstorms were predicted, so no chasing wildflowers above treeline. I had heard of this place and thought we could do it and then go to the grilled cheese place on the way home. Should have reread the description, foolishness on my part. I had no idea it would take me that long to get through that mass of jumbled boulders. The first two miles are a deceptively lovely woods walk and there is a nice waterfall (this would be a destination in its own right). Actually one of the nicest wood walks I have been on. Then you come to the ravine itself and have nearly a mile of incredulous boulder climbing and you regret your foolishness in not rereading the description before you got out of the car. Self-confidence is needed, you have to have faith in yourself that you can figure a way out of the more challenging areas (which can be fun!).
Challenging for someone like me - short with short legs. This is not so much as a trail as a route. RMC has thoughtfully painted orange blazes, suggesting a route, but you may have to get creative and figure out your own. The temperature is at least 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the hike, which is very refreshing on a hot day. No matter how dry it has been, many of the boulders and logs are still going to be slippery, they never dry out due to being in the shade. There are many drops into small crevices that are at least 10 feet deep. Your fall may be gently broken by the snow (there's a reason this is called the Ice Gulch), but you are going to need assistance getting out. Like the book says, this is not a good place for your dog. And I would not do this alone. This is not like the North Tripyramid Slide where you can duck into the woods for a break when it gets too tough. I did step to the side when there were boulders that were insurmountable only to crash through spaces between rocks and vegetation.
So that's the worst of times, I'll end with the best. It is a gorgeous, wild place. When you're about halfway up, be sure to turn around and look at the view. If I were to do this again, I would start very early and I would pick a day where I did not have to drive home afterwards. The Cook Path (please don't do this as an out and back) is a lovely contrast on the way back. Gentle on the feet and (this time of year) bunchberry paradise. Even the roadwalk was nice. Beautiful views of the Northern Presidentials with their alpenglow. Some friendly neighbors had guessed where we had been.
||Beckie and Prema |
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.