|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Wildcat A, Wildcat B, Wildcat C, Wildcat D, NH|
||FR 233, Wildcat River Trail, Wildcat Ridge Trail, Wildcat Valley Ski Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, May 21, 2016|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Nice parking area at the gate on Carter Notch Road. Not a busy trailhead--yay. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||We avoided the 3 crossings on Bog Brook Trail by taking FR 233 (which is 0.4 miles longer per WMG). Bog Brook crossing was a rock hop, but rocks were mighty greasy! Wildcat River crossing was easy. Lots of water in trail on upper part of Wildcat Valley Ski Trail. Feet WILL most likely get wet! |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Trails in good shape. |
||In the last mile coming down WVXC Trail, black flies were making their presence known but not biting. |
|Lost and Found:
||Found the remains of a moose about halfway down WVXC Trail. All that's left is lots of fur, the pelvis, and a section of vertebra. A bit further down the trail was an intact leg.
O_O (Also passed a very young dead moose on Rt 302 just east of Zealand Road in the morning. Please, please SLOW DOWN people!!!) ||
||We very much enjoyed this loop! Wildcat Valley Ski Trail is on the Map Adventures map but not the AMC map. Had been on my to-do list for years and finally decided to do it before the summer growth takes off. The entire loop is about 12 miles; it is 4.25 miles--and about 2300 ft elevation drop--from the top of D back to the Carter Notch Road parking area.|
We started off on FR 233, bypassing the Bog Brook Trail section and its sometimes tricky crossing of Wildcat River, not feeling like playing in the water this early in the day. Met a nice local man out for a walk, then no one til Carter Notch Hut. Wildcat River Trail was a joy. Trilliums and trout lillies bloomed in abundance. Don't think I've ever seen that many trout lillies on one trail before--just gorgeous! I dubbed it 'Prettiest trail of the year' so far! Heard lots of ovenbirds and white-throated sparrows and followed fresh moose tracks for a bit.
At the hut we began meeting people... Between the hut and Wildcat D, we encountered 27 hikers. Wildcat Ridge Trail has lingering ice patches, but they are easy to maneuver for the most part. The massive ice bulge between C and D is slowly shrinking. Met a few who opted for spikes, but ours stayed in packs all day as we found the short stretches of ice not worth the bother of spikes on-off. (And the remaining ice is NOTHING compared to March and April conditions!!)
Once we hung a left on the Wildcat Valley Ski Trail, it was back to solitude. The trail is obvious. It is not signed at the top, but ~100 feet down the trail there IS a sign. The next ~100 feet was strewn with (presumedly) skier trash--beer cans, etc., sadly more than we could carry out today. Another few hundred feet down the trail is an old telephone and ski gun, each bolted into trees. Haha. This is not a hardened hiking trail. There are many mossy wet spots and some hidden holes lurking underfoot. (Reminded me of sections of the northern Cohos Trail actually!) The woods were very peaceful and beautiful. A couple miles down, we ran into the moose remains as mentioned above. A bit farther, the trail passes through a gorgeous birch glade--just keep straight and angle slightly to the left at the end of the glade.
There are potentially confusing intersections with Jackson XC trails in the last mile or so. Helpful to have a ski map, but basically keep choosing the downhill and/or lefthand option. I think navigation might be a bit trickier ascending vs descending. We also utilized Chris Dailey's hand-drawn map on his blog report--thanks Chris! :)
This was an awesome way to do the Wildcats! Now I need to ski the WV Trail--yeah!!!
||Snowflea & Fancypants |
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.