|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Passaconaway, Mt. Whiteface, East Sleeper, West Sleeper, South Tripyramid, Middle Tripyramid, North Tripyramid, NH|
||Downes Brook Trail, Abandoned Downes Brook Slide Trail, Dicey's Mill Trail, Rollins Trail, Kate Sleeper Trail, Mt. Tripyramid Trail, Sabbaday Brook Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, June 18, 2016|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Large lots at both Sabbaday Brook and Downe's Brook Trailheads, both are USFS fee lots. Sabbaday is a popular spot for tourists heading to the falls, so it likely overflowed during the day. It looked like Downe's Brook also filled up and slightly overflowed onto the access road. |
||Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Water levels are low right now. The first 4 crossings on Downe's Brook Trail (the only ones we did) were relatively easy rock-hops. Sabbaday Brook Trail has a huge number of crossings, a few of the main brook crossings down low were a little tricky, but we rock-hopped them all without incident. The lower 2 have a short, well-defined herd path that bypasses them. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Removed a pair of 3" blowdowns on the lower Downe's Brook Trail, and one on Kate Sleeper Trail approaching East Sleeper. No other issues remain on those trails. There are several blowdowns on the lower 2 miles of Sabbaday Brook Trail, a couple completely blocking the trail, of varied size (most small however), and a few short but significant mud pits that are steadily being widened. A couple flat stepping stones or a bog bridge would solve these. Some idiot has painted "mile markers" on boulders roughly every 1/4-mile up Sabbaday Brook Trail, though some are missing, and the mileages are slightly incorrect. Why do people think this is acceptable behaviour?
Side note: someone/someones are performing light trail maintenance on the old Downe's Brook Slide Trail. There were many spots with recent (this year, and recent years) light brushing in places on the slide and above in the woods. The "this trail is closed, do not maintain it under penalty" signs are missing at both ends, though the sign board itself is still present at the top. Note that any maintenance on this abandoned trail is illegal. |
||Some of these trails are rough and rugged, but hardy trail dogs ought to manage fine. There is little water along the ridge, only near the old Camp Rich site and at the Downes Brook/Kate Sleeper junction (and the latter was running weakly, though it should be reliable). |
||The black flies were horrendous from about 11am until we were almost back to the car. Any time we stopped we were swarmed and bitten, and even when we moved sometimes they kept up with us. There was a light breeze on the South Tripyramid Slide that helped stem the tide and give us a brief respite. |
|Lost and Found:
||A long, rugged, but fun day traversing much of the Sandwich Range. The abandoned Downe's Brook Slide Trail has been on my to-do list for a while, and with the recent dry spell it was time to give it a go. We found the start right where expected, and started up. The actual old trail corridor seems to follow the left side of the slide in the woods, but with the slabs being mostly dry, we opted to head right up the slide proper, ducking into the woods here and there to get around mini-waterfalls and slick angled slabs. Eventually the old trail hooks into the woods on the right, below a nice cascade into a pool, and heads up along the slide in the woods. Here it got a little interesting at times, we lost the corridor a few times, though never for long as we searched around for it (it stays fairly close to the slide, which gets very overgrown). The trickiest bit was the final crossing of the slide, which was not obvious, but it crosses to the left of the slide on a mossy series of slabs, the immediately hangs a right and heads up a mostly-obvious corridor. We lost that briefly at times too, but overall followed it just fine to the outlook below Passaconaway's summit. Most of the confusing spots were due to large blowdowns obscuring the old corridor. Only those experienced in off-trail travel should attempt this route, and only when it is dry as the lower slabs of the slide are quite slick in spots. The views from the slide, however, were magnificent, both up towards Passaconaway and back towards Potash.|
The rest of the traverse went as expected, with ups and downs and occasional rough footing. Anyone familiar with these trails knows what to expect. We were both feeling it at the end, but made it out which is what matters most. The upper 1/2-mile of Sabbaday Brook Trail was a bit of a surprise though, with some tricky slab sections to descend. Once below those, it was pretty easy going, albeit long with a few moderately tricky stream crossings. Thanks to Patrick for joining in the pain as we bagged a bunch of peaks and new trails for us both!
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.