Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Lowe's Bald Spot, Mt. Adams, Mt. Madison, NH
Trails: Old Jackson Road, Madison Gulf Trail, Star Lake Trail, Airline, Gulfside, Osgood Trail, Osgood Cutoff
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, August 24, 2014
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Parked at Pinkham, no issues at 6AM, but both it and the USFS lot overflowed slightly during the day. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Most were fairly simple rock-hops, the major river crossing has a nice suspension bridge. Hope the USFS doesn't decide to remove that one too.... 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: These were mostly Wilderness Trails, so a lower level of maintenence, but there was only one or two spots that took a moment to figure out, the main one being at an apparent stream crossing (actually you rock-hop up next to the stream for ~100ft before the trail crosses at an easy crossing). Some dead bog bridges scattered around, but otherwise no major problems. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Madison Gulf up the headwall would be tricky but very experienced boulder-hopping trail dogs could manage OK. Lots of rough, pointy rocks above treeline in the Northern Presis, keep an eye on their paws. 
Bugs: A couple odd bugs on Adams (isn't that always the case?). 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Found a gray wool hat on the Madison Gulf Trail (above Osgood Cutoff), tried to carry it out but I think it got ripped off my pack along the Osgood Trail in the scrub coming down. Oops. 
Comments: An long, epic, awesome way to hit Madison and Adams. The two of us took the Madison Gulf Trail all the way up the headwall, which was way easier than the WMG suggests it to be. Mostly boulder-hopping in the trees with one ledge near the start being the only major tricky spot. A beautiful trail, with nice footing until the headwall and lots of cascades to look at. Some nice views along the headwall. This could be one of my favorite trails now.

Once at the hut we waited for 1.5 hours for our thru-hiker friends that were taking their time on this awesome day. Once they arrived, we dropped packs and scrambled up Star Lake to Adams, then took Airline and Gulfside back to the hut. The two of us closed the loop with the Osgood Trail and the Osgood Cutoff, while our thru-hiker friends stopped at the Osgood Tentsite for the night. Osgood was predicatbly rocky and rough in footing, though shortly below treeline it mercifully got a lot better. That last 4 miles out from the tentsite seemed to go forever, and neither of us remembered the long descent from Lowe's Bald Spot that was now a long uphill!

What a fun day with awesome weather, and it was great to see our friends one more time before they enter Maine later this week for the final few weeks of their thru-hike!  
Name: madmattd 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2014-08-25 
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