|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Webster, Mt. Jackson, NH|
||Dry River Trail, Saco River Trail, Webster Cliff Trail, Mt. Clinton Trail, Dry River Cutoff, Mt. Eisenhower Trail, spur path|
|Date of Hike:
||Monday, September 9, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||On the side of the road at the Dry River trailhead. My car was the only one there when I left in the morning. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||All on this route were rock-hopped. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||I'll get into that below. All trail junctions are signed. |
||Saw a couple on Mount Jackson. |
||Near zero. |
|Lost and Found:
||Found: a penny at Dry River Shelter #3...my lucky day! ||
||Day 1 of an overnight trip...|
Dry River Trail (302 --> Saco River Trail): the middle of the trail is eroded or becoming eroded in many spots - so you really have to walk on one side or the other.
Saco River Trail (--> Webster Cliff Trail): Holy Over-blazing Batman!! It starts at the junction of Dry River Trail where there are THREE different blue blazed trees within five feet of the junction on EACH SIDE. Further in there are at least two places where blazes are on BOTH trees on each side of the trail as you walk between them PLUS a fallen tree to be stepped over which has been blazed AFTER if fell (because the blaze is vertical as the tree lies; if the tree were blazed before it fell it would be horizontal with the tree on its side). Many rocks are (unnecessarily) blazed also. If I could take a few of these extra blazes with me for later on I would... In terms of trail maintenance it is in good shape.
Webster Cliff Trail (--> Mizpah Hut): No issues. Many NOBO's.
Mt Clinton Trail (--> Dry River Cutoff): This western section of trail has seen a good amount of maintenance and is passable. Lots of obvious tree work here.
Dry River Cutoff (--> Mt Eisnehower Trail): This feels like the trail that time forgot. While chatting with the Nauman caretaker before leaving Mizpah he told me of folks getting lost and/or getting turned around on this trail, suggesting that my destination (Dry River Shelter 3) is easier to access by heading N to Mt. Eisenhower Trail and descending into the valley that way. After hiking through this trail I can see where people would have trouble with navigation if not experienced. There are no blazes here so you have to be on top of your game and sometimes look for clues (like a long rotted bog log or a worn root on the ground). I found the path to be somewhat obvious much of the way but there was some chin scratching at a couple of points: a water crossing on the E side being one of them (small cairns assisted here). The trail is mostly very brushy and in a couple of stretches it is completely overgrown in addition to a some spots of deep mud.
Mt. Eisenhower Trail (--> Dry River Trail): no significant issues on this small section of trail. The water crossing here is doable but is done mostly on larger boulders so route planning is key. Once crossed the trail is not obvious: paths along the water peter out onto nothing - the trail inconspicuously goes up the bank on the opposite side.
Dry River Trail (--> Shelter 3): path is mostly obvious (again, no blazing) but you need to stay aware. Trail is very muddy and wet along with fallen trees. The (unmarked) spur path to Dry River Falls is eroded in places. The shelter is right on the trail (think Rattle River) and the structure is in excellent shape - but I'll never understand people's fascination with graffiti and carvings. If staying here there aren't many good places to hang your food. Water is not an issue.
Outside of Webster Cliff Trail I only saw three people: two camping out at a Wilderness tent site and another on Dry River Cutoff coming from the other direction (we traded intel). I had the shelter to myself and besides the water it was very quiet this night. These Wilderness trails are definitely remote feeling and are definitely kept to a lower standard.
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.