Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Cardigan, Firescrew Mountain, Mowglis Mountain, Oregon Mountain, NH
Trails: West Ridge Trail, Mowglis Trail, Elwell Trail, Oregon Mountain Spur Trail, Oregon Mountain Trail, Old Dicey Road, Back 80 Loop, Back 80 Trail, Holt Trail, Clark Trail, South Ridge Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, May 19, 2012
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes:  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All were bridged or easily rock hopped. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: West Ridge Trail was wide with some muddy spots that were easy to avoid, Mowglis Trail was in good shape, Elwell Trail is lightly used but well blazed, although a few spots made me stop and look around. It crossed a few skid roads but goes straight across them. There is a sign on Mowglis Mountain for the Oregon Mountain Trail but none marking the Elwell Trail. I missed the junction for the Elwell Trail at the eastern end of the Oregon Mountain Spur and went about a mile east on the Elwell Trail before turning around. The junction I missed has only one small sign facing east and a few small cairns on an open ledge area. Old Dicey Road is a rough road leading up to a wolf sanctuary. Back 80 Loop and Trail were easily to follow but lightly used. The start of the Back 80 Loop is across a temporary and to the left, just west of Old Dicey Road. Holt and South Ridge were in good shape. There were several trees down on Elwell Trail, Oregon Mountain Trail, and Back 80 Loop. A couple forced us off the trail and around. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: This was a long warm hike for Marlie. There were lots of puddles and streams for water but there were also long stretches where there was none. Be sure to keep your trail doggies hydrated. At one crossing I poured cool water over her back. All trails would be OK for most dogs except the upper Holt Trail -- the steep ledges could intimidate some dogs and less agile ones could have trouble. I had to point out a few routes for Marlie and spot her but she made it up on her own. It would be possible for a dog to end up in a dangerous position. 
Bugs: The black flies were out and hungry. I found two ticks on me as well. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Found a black and blue dog leash on Mt. Cardigan around 4:30. I left it on the West Ridge/Clark trail sign (near the summit). 
Comments: What looked not bad on paper turned out to be a pretty aggressive day. I have been up Cardigan dozens of times but never up the Holt Trail. Due to logistics I would have to start and finish at the West Ridge trailhead, so to scramble up the Holt Trail I would basically have to climb Cardigan twice. I figured if I had to do that I would check out some of the surrounding hills. After heading up the West Ridge Trail, I was treated with clear views all around; even Mt. Washington could be seen clear as day. Mowglis Trail was in good shape and the Elwell Trail is a nice ridge walk although care is needed to stay on the trail. There was trillium, trout lilies, and a lady slipper in bloom. I saw some sort of raven (?) near Oregon Mountain and even a moose while I headed a mile out of the way. There was also an excellent view to the south, east, and north about a half mile east of Oregon Mountain. From the summit of Firescrew Mountain to the Cardigan Lodge I saw only one person, a man who works at the wolf sanctuary. He was fixing his ATV on Old Dicey Road.

At the AMC Cardigan Lodge I took off my boots and socks, dumped out the pine needles and sand, then put them back on and headed up the Holt Trail to climb Cardigan for a second time. We saw a few people near the lodge but then no one until the summit. The ledges on upper Holt Trail are steep and would be difficult if it was raining. If you like that kind of trail it is very fun. At no time did I ever feel like I would fall to my fate. I did worry about skinning a knee. Thank you to the kind lady at the summit who let me use her phone to call my ride.

Total for the day: 15.7 miles 4500' elev + 9 hr 5 min  
Name: IQuest 
E-Mail: iandanner@hotmail com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2012-05-20 
Link: http:// 
Bookmark and Share 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.

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