Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Chandler Mountain, Sable Mountain, Round Mountain, Slope Mountain, NH
Trails: FR 17A, bushwhack, FR 5046, Slippery Brook Trail, FR 17G, FR 17B
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, September 17, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: There was a major blowdown on 113, just south of Evan's notch. Had to turn around and get to Jackson via Rt 16 instead. H/T to the forest service crew out there cleaning up Town Hall Rd after the tropical storm winds on a Sunday morning. Road all the way to Slippery Brook TH was in remarkably good shape - doable with low clearance for sure.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Crossed Slipper Brook on FR17A was non trivial, and would be tricky in higher water. Other crossings (Slippery brook on FR5046, Mcdonough Brook twice) were straight forward.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes:  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Didn't have the pups with me today. 
Bugs: A few whenever I stopped. Thought we were done with them for the year. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: Aimed to hit Chandler, Sable, Slope and Round in that order, making a clockwise loop. I opted to do Slope before Round as FR17B seemed useful in getting to Slope from the north, but not so much from the west or south.

From Slippery Brook TH, started up FR17A, which was very overgrown at times and I contemplated hiking parallel to it at times. At least it was dry. Got to about 1950 where it bends left and headed off into the woods. Lovely woods here, and such a pleasant comparison to Huntingtons two days prior. Found some lovely dry drainages that I could follow for awhile. Aimed for the flatter area to the ESE at about 2600, then cut WNW towards the summit. Got a bit thicker in places but still, overall great woods. About 1:45 from TH to summit.

From Chandler to Sable, definitely got denser in places. Some boggy ponds to avoid in the col and some pleasant scree fields / slabs on the ascent up Sable, as well as a herd path at times, particularly close to the summit. About 75 mins between the two.

Descended Sable via the SE ridge. Followed what seemed like a once maintained trail for the first third of a mile or so before it petered out amidst fern fields. Whacked down from there, falling off the ridge to the south into what I can only describe as perfect woods for awhile. Then I intersected and old skidder road around 2600 ft, that seemed to follow the contour. I followed that east and it was also lovely - dry, spacious, good footing. Popped out right at the landing visible from satellite at the end of FR 5046. If you're trying to find this skidder road while ascending from FR 5046, it's about 2/3 of the way through the clearing, on the right. Very easy to miss and you'll need to pop up into the woods to confirm you found it. FR 5046 was overgrown and muddy in places. Worse than the skidder road, but can still make good time. Took about 60 mins to get from Sable down to Slippery Brook. Refilled water there and enjoyed the short stint south on an actual maintained trail.

Followed Slipper Brook Trail to the the intersection with FR17G, which I missed at 1st due to it being so overgrown. Once I found it and pushed through the initial mess, it turned into a surprisingly nice forest road for awhile, unstill it turned due south, when it got very muddy. I pushed through this to the sharp turn with FR17B, and followed 17B, again, pretty overgrown in places, but net better than the woods. Followed this to the point where it petered out, then started whacking towards Slope, aiming just north of the summit. Not bad woods, and made it to the summit in about an hour from my initial intersection with Slippery Brook.

Decided to descend down the steep western ledges for fun. Went maybe 100 ft north, then straight down. Then aimed for the 1675 contour and FR 4593 intersection, but I kept getting pulled further south than I intended, and totally lost my sense of direction. When I finally hit FR4593, I followed it north a bit to re-align, then whacked up to FR17B, just south of east of Round. Started with a pretty direct route towards the summit of Round, but found myself on a ridge with a small gully to the left, then some really cool and massive cliffs/rock formations (worth checking out) that I had to navigate around to the west. Finally made it to the summit and found the obvious high point (there's a massive maple or oak tree, which aligns with caltopo and the USFS map) but no cannister to be found. Spent a good 30 mins looking and have my comical GPS tracks of wandering around the summit looking for it. Confused bc I read it should be easy to find. Oh well, 1st summit I haven't signed in on this year.

From the near summit of Round, aimed a little bit north of the Slippery Brook Trail junction. Woods got stick-y in places and bouldery. There's probably a better route to be had here. Was relieved to finally hit the trail, and a quick jaunt back to the car, followed by a dip in Slippery Brook off FR 17A.

All in all, a relatively easy day - about 7hrs total, of which 20mins were at the summit of Round looking for the canister. The type of woods where you always had multiple relatively easy paths to choose from and you can kinda zone out, not worrying about hitting nasty patches. Only Pliny remaining for my NHHH!  
Name: Big Al Dente 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-09-18 
Link: https:// 
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