Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks North Hancock, South Hancock, NH
Trails: Hancock Notch Trail, Cedar Brook Trail, Hancock Loop Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, May 3, 2015
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: 3rd car into the lot at 8AM, the lot was mostly full but not completely so at 2PM. This is a USFS fee lot and they do collect all year here. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow/Ice - Monorail (Stable), Snow - Wet/Sticky, Snow - Spring Snow, Snow/Ice - Postholes, Slush 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes, Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: As expected, every single crossing, big or small, is wide open right now. The 3 main crossings on the Cedar Brook Trail are manageable but plan to step on rocks an inch or two under water at times. The rest were fairly easy. There were tracks from a few folks that crossed the stream/river at the reroute on Cedar Brook Trail. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: The same big duck-under that I remember from prior years. Cedar Brook Trail is a complete mess, washed out, mud pits, eroded, etc, and has been since Hurricane Irene blew through in 2011. Hopefully the promised work on this trail will actually happen soon. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Saw one somewhat shy pooch that seemed to be having a good time. Lots of sips-and-dips (emphasis on dips!) in the flats. 
Bugs: Saw a bug of some sort at the parking lot, and even a mosquito on the South Link! 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: I saw a report from yesterday that indicated the snow started on Hancock Loop, but it in fact starts on the Hancock Notch Trail less than 1/2-mile from the parking lot. Just past the first, early crossing the monorail becomes mostly consistent, but was actually pretty stable except near the Cedar Brook Trail junction in sun-warmed spots where it was a little mushy. The Cedar Brook Trail was a complete mess. The monorail was mostly stable in the morning, soft and questionably stable in the early afternoon (I slid off a lot, and occasionally punched through too). I punched through the icy crust twice into shin-deep water on this trail in the badly-eroded section in the morning. The Hancock Loop Trail was mostly stable in the morning to the loop split, and soft and squishy on the way out. The ascent to and down from the ridge was mostly solid, with some ice here and there on the North Link. Across the ridge was a mostly solid monorail except where the sun had softened a few spots.

I put light traction on just before the first crossing on the Hancock Notch Trail when the monorail became consistent, and stuck with them until the loop split. I put the snowshoes on for the ascent and the ridge, the televators are always a massive help on this section, and they were the best footwear for the job too. I put the spikes back on at the main crossing near the beginning of the Hancock Loop Trail and kept them on until the snow ran out. At least one person barebooted up the South Link and was hoping to be OK descending the North Link, and another person used 10-point crampons most of the day and that seemed to work OK for him. Saw several others out in the flats on my way out, no snowshoes and no traction of any kind to be seen. I'd advise bringing the snowshoes, especially with the warm weather this week, there is still an average of 3 feet of snow along the ridge!  
Name: madmattd 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2015-05-03 
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