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Ski
Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Mt. Madison, NH
Trails
Trails: Great Gulf Trail, Madison Gulf Trail, Parapet, Star Lake Trail, Osgood Trail, Buttress Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Friday, October 31, 2014
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: We were the only ones on arrival and departure in the large Great Gulf parking area. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Rock hops, with wet boots on a couple. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: There were some blowdowns on Madison Gulf and Buttress, but nothing that forced us off trail. All signs in place but the Madison Gulf sign off Great Gulf has led us astray in the past, perhaps because several trails meet in a short stretch and it faces the viewer instead of pointing up the trail. Buttress not bad but it could use a brushing in places. Madison Gulf had a couple of stretches where it was as much brook as trail. In low light it is easy to miss the arrow on the lower Great Gulf where ski trails go straight while the Great Gulf takes off to the right. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Pepper was the mighty tough little dog today. The brook section of Madison Gulf was trickiest, and he lost his grip on some (for him) high jumps and fell back a few times, but got right back up and took a different route. Although there were only small sections of ice on rocks, I would say this is not dog friendly for most dogs at this time. On Buttress I went ahead and pointed out places where he could jump that were hidden from his low view, and this worked well. Buttress was mostly clear, and thus I'd say it was okay for experienced trail dogs. Pepper got a bit damp from snow brushed off trees and the water in the trail on MG, so I put his soft shell on for the area above treeline. He had 5 teeth pulled earlier in the week, but the vet said there should be no problems hiking, and he had a good time. As with a couple recent hikes, we came across a moose in the trail just ahead of us, and he drove it off in a short spurt and then came back quickly to announce the path was now clear.  
Bugs
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
 
Comments
Comments: We had partly sunny skies in the am, and overcast in the later afternoon, but almost no wind, even on Madison. We didn't see another hiker but some Boreal Chicadees joined as a couple of times. We had a civilized start and enjoyed several leisurely stops, and thus gave the head lamps some use at the end of the hike. We carried our older spikes, and at one point on MG where we found ice on the rocks, we wondered if we would need them but after that there never was any thought of using them. There was some snow higher up, and on MG and a few places on Madison it made the rocks slippery, but for the most part with a little care our boots didn't slip. These trails were picked because they get more sun and thus the obvious snow line was much higher than on the west side or shaded north sides.

Any day on the trails is a good day, as is a day off from work, but with such wonderful companions, good enough weather and trail conditions, some unique views, and a complete absence of hobgoblins (they know better than to mess with Pepper) it was just a great day. What a nice treat.  
Name
Name: Pepper and Me 
E-Mail
E-Mail: windriversjohn at gmail dot com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2014-10-31 
Link
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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