Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Madison, Mt. John Quincy Adams, Mt. Adams, NH
Trails: Old Jackson Road, Madison Gulf Trail, Parapet Trail, Osgood Trail, Gulfside, bushwhack, Airline, Star Lake Trail, Buttress Trail, Six Husbands Trail, Great Gulf Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Friday, July 19, 2019
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Lots of cars but still lots of room at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center at 5:15am Friday morning. Big lot for a not too heavily used lot at Great Gulf trailhead. There were about 6-8 cars there Friday night around 9pm. There is a $5/day fee there.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: The crossings on Madison Gulf Trail were all easy enough as were the ones on the lower section of the Great Gulf that I was on and Buttress Trail. The one on Six Husbands Trail was difficult. I managed to do it with wet boots but no wet feet (yay waterproof boots) which was sort of miraculous. I recommend poles and avoiding this one at high water. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: The trails are in pretty good shape! While there probably were a few, I don’t recall any on Madison Gulf Trail. The tree branches are beginning to encroach on the trail a wee bit in the lower portion of Madison Gulf Trail. Surveyor’s tape is used to help you follow the trail on the upper part where it crosses brooks and such and is very useful (see note below in comments). We saw 3-4 very old red blazes on the upper portion of Madison Gulf Trail (it is no longer blazed as it’s in a wilderness area). Parapet Trail could really use trimming when it enter the scrub. It’s pretty thick in there. I don’t recall any blowdowns on Buttress and I believe it was fairly consistently blazed in yellow. Great Gulf seemed to have some recent trail work which is great but there’s still one large blowdown with a herd path around it. It is marked with surveyor’s tape.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: The majority of these trails, upper Madison Gulf and Buttress Trail in particular, are not suitable for the vast majority of hiking dogs. PLEASE do not bring your dog on these trails or even into the general area of the northern Presidentials unless you KNOW that they can handle the rough and weathered rock.  
Bugs: Not bad. Saw a few black flies but the strong(ish) wind kept them away above treeline. I don’t recall actually seeing any but I thought I was getting bit by a few mosquitos on my way out Great Gulf Trail later in the day.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None  
Comments: Glad to team up with another redliner for this one! Although they camped out the night before and after, it was great to have company on the hardest parts of this hike! As such, my itinerary below is slightly different from theirs.

From Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, I went up Old Jackson Road —> Madison Gulf Trail —> Parapet Trail (eastern section) —> Osgood Trail (over Madison and down to hut) —> Gulfside Trail —> Airline Trail —> bushwhack to JQ Adams for Trailrights 72 —> Airline to Adams —> Star Lake Trail —> Buttress Trail —> Six Husbands Trail —> Great Gulf Trail

Recently my trend has been overestimating the difficulty of trails. Today ended that trend 😂 I knew Madison Gulf was very tough of course but I was under the impression that it was a little bit easier than the ascent of the Great Gulf Headall. I was wrong. At least for me, Madison Gulf Trail was more difficult and probably a bit scarier as well. While the mud was fairly moderate, the rocks were VERY slippery throughout many points on this trail which was unnerving. We also got off trail at what I believe was Snyder Falls. There’s surveyor’s tape which we followed briefly and then we went too far to the left and ascended right up the brook. It seemed as if it was the trail after a while until it came to a fairly dangerous little crossing of the brook (to get back on the actual trail). We went back down afterwards to find the actual trail; we should have done so sooner as it really wasn’t that difficult to find. There’s surveyors tape and a small cairn where the trail enters the trees again. Lots of tough and wet scrambles up rock on the headwall as it’s beloe treeline and is on/on top of a brook.

I also underestimated Parapet Trail. I knew it’d be mostly over broken rock but damn was that a pain. We also lost it very early on but I think that was a freak thing. We backtracked a bit and found a large cairn. Same with Buttress Trail only worse. It stays above treeline continually rock hopping on broken rock for much longer than we realized (my bad). Once you get below treeline there is some very soft footing with nice grades where you can really cruise until the section of broken rock shorltly before the jct. You may have to take my complaining about Buttress and Parapet with a grain of salt though; we were pretty tired after Madison Gulf.

I never realized that I’d passed from Buttress Trail to Six Husbands Trail. Great Gulf Trail our was straightforward. Still have to go back for the western section of Parapet Trail...grrr. No rain or thunder which was great :) The summits were quickly going in and out of the clouds and the wind was a bit stronger than I imagined it would be (I don’t have a gauge but I’m guessing that wind gusts broke 50mph on Adams which was more than the observatory predicted).  
Name: Liam Cooney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2019-07-20 
Link: https:// 
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