Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Paugus -- South Peak, NH
Trails: Old Mast Road, Lawrence Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Monday, July 8, 2024
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: My first trip to this area. Good directions in latest White Mountain Guide. Room for lots of cars (20 or more) if properly parked. This is main parking area for Old Mast and Kelley trails, but also several of the trails going to Whiteface and Passaconaway (requiring road walk to trail heads), so it can fill up quickly. Port-a-potty at far end of parking area (set into the woods) needs servicing, badly. No TP.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Old Mast - 2 bridged, handful or less of easy step-overs (little or no flow and shallow) Lawrence - Trail goes through several headwater streams and other drainages. All of these are wet and/or muddy, but water is shallow and can rock hop or walk through streambed without issues 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: All blowdowns cleared or easily managed. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Probably OK for most dogs. Many of the streams on trail were barely trickles today.  
Bugs: Yes, but mostly bothersome on descent. Did use DEET on legs and Picaridin elsewhere, applied at start. One scary looking red-eyed bee at summit came to visit. I requested he go elsewhere and he complied. Butterfly landed on trek poles at summit providing some entertainment as he/she exercised wings. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: NA 
Comments: Old Mast Road - No blazes seen on Old Mast road, either non-existent or invisible. No other issues.

Lawrence Trail - Only 2 badly faded blue blazes seen, one on ascent, one on descent, both between low point after Cabin junction and summit. Several other trails in the area are also lightly blazed, maybe because most of this route is in wilderness area? Trails are generally easy to follow without them, but there are a few tricky turns, some on rocky areas, where the correct direction is less obvious, especially coming off the "summit".

Most muddy areas have stones or branches to avoid worst of it, but need to use trek poles to find some of the submerged stones. Several areas of steep dirt footpath are badly eroded. The worst are in the switchback and last stretch to summit areas, but there are a few others between Old Mast jct and low point that would benefit from more erosion control. A few more seasons of erosion and this could be added to the Terrifying 25.

All blowdowns cleared or easily managed.

All trail junction signs in good shape.

I was surprised at the erosion of some of the steep dirt sections on Lawrence, although it is a wilderness area. There are some mitigation devices in place, but more is needed. If your trail design allows a lot of erosion and/or causes hikers to create bypasses, doesn't that conflict with wilderness principles? Also if lack of blazing creates herd paths from hikers going off trail, doesn't that also conflict with wilderness principles? Which is worse, more blazing or more plant life destroyed by mis-directed hikers? My opinion is you should do all you can to ensure hikers stay on designated footpath in order to maximize preservation of the wilderness area. Rant ended.

Also the WMG says that there is only 50 feet of elevation gained between low point and Cabin. This climb is cetainly longer, steeper and has more gain than the climb between Cabin and Old Mast Road, which is listed at 150. I had to stop and rest my knees 10 times during the first climb and only 3 times on the second, so that gives you some idea. And that was after the first climb had drained even more energy from my poor knees. Two GPS both show 200 feet more gain for entire hike than guide.

Name: SpartyHikerfromME 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2024-07-08 
Link: https:// 
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