|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Boott Spur, Mt. Isolation, Mt. Davis, Stairs Mountain, NH|
||Tuckerman Ravine Trail, Boott Spur Link, Boott Spur Trail, Davis Path, Isolation Spur, Davis Spur, Stairs Spur|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, November 2, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||I met another redliner at 6:15am at the Davis Path trailhead where there was only one or two there cars. He was kind enough to leave extra early for his hike just so he could drive me to the start of my hike at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center :) Thank you Chris! Lots of parking at the visitor center at 6:45am. Less than a half dozen cars at the Davis Path trailhead at 5:30. |
||Dry Trail, Ice - Black, Wet Trail, Ice - Blue, Wet/Slippery Rock, Ice - Breakable Crust, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant, Leaves - Significant/Slippery |
||Light Traction |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Surprisingly very few on this long hike. All the ones on Tuckerman’s are bridged. The one on private property right before the southern end of Davis Path has a log bridge but was over what seemed like water at least a couple feet deep and if the water was just a few inches higher, it would have been overtop the bridge. The other one near the bottom of Davis Path was definitely high but hoppabls. Other than that, just some flowing water bars and little streams from all the recent rain up on the ridge. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Tuckerman Ravine Trail is very wide and well travelled. Only the very occasional and faded yellow blaze on a rock in its lower section though. One or two large(ish) blowdowns that hadn’t been taken care of yet too. I imagine they have been chopped up by now. Boott Spur Link is marked in yellow blaze below treeline and with cairns above treeline. No problem following it. The small part of Boott Spur Trail I was on was marked with cairns and was easy to follow. Davis Path was not blazed in the sections I was on except for below the spur to Mount Crawford as it’s mostly within a wilderness area. Still mostly easy to follow though. A couple spots had me briefly taking a look around (see my comments below). One of these was just due to a blowdown blocking a right hand turn shortly after descending from Davis Spur. Most of the blowdowns on Davis Path were on the section between Glen Boulder Trail and Isolation Spur. Most were a real pain and it was easier to go around. Some had herd paths around and others were more of whacks but certainly none that are impassable. Between Isolation Spur and Crawford there were a few blowdowns (including the one blocking the right hand turn) but not too many surprisingly. Not much undermined trail. Some spots could use more bog bridges and newer bog bridges. Better signage for Boott Spur Link might be appreciated as I walked by it; the sign is only visible if you’re descending Tucks. |
||One on Tuckerman Ravine Trail and one on Davis Path that was ascending to Stairs. Neither were leashes. The first one came up to me but didn’t seem aggressive. The owners quickly called it back. The second started barking and it seemed like it might be aggressive when it saw me but the owner quickly held it and got it under control. |
|Lost and Found:
||A great day out redlining and gridding. Got the section of Davis Path in between Mount Crawford and Isolation Spur I needed and only have a small section left to do :) Also redlined Boott Spur Link, Davis Spur, and Stairs Spur. My third time doing Isolation. |
Tuckerman Ravine started out dry but then quickly had sections that were wet with leaves or had running water on them. The water was roaring underneath the bridges. Surprised to see a bit of ice even on the lower section of Tucks. I missed the sign for Boott Spur Link. The sign for it faces the other direction as soon as you come into the clearing with the ski lodge. There was lots more ice on Tucks immediately after Boott Spur Link for the short section I was on before turning around. Too much of a pain to put on spikes though. Boott Spur Link also had some ice that required careful maneuvering without microspikes. Above treeline, there was very little ice though. Above treeline, Boot Spur Link and Boott Spur were dry. Once descending back into treeline on Davis Path, ice began to reappear. Running water just seemed to freeze into a mini luge run 😂 It was usually avoidable but not always and took careful maneuvering without microspikes. It was on and off like this for quite awhile but slick ice eventually gave way to breakable crust with frozen mud underneath. Ice appeared later in the hike as well but never as significantly and I never used my spikes (they would have quickly dulled) but was glad I brought them. When the water wasn’t frozen, there was often running water on the trail especially further north on Davis Path. It was often brief and just seemed to be a water bar or drainage though. Not as many fallen leaves today as Tucks doesn’t have many except where the trail is clogged with water and on a couple parts below Crawford on Davis Path. As Davis Path follows a high ridge, there aren’t as many leaf-bearing tees to dump leaves :)
Of all the long approaches to Isolation (the southern branch of Rocky Branch Trail, Dry River, and this) I’d say Davis Path is the easiest to follow although it’s the longest. Only a couple spots had me briefly looking around. As mentioned above, the biggest one was where the trail turned right not far south of the jct with Davis Spur but there was a blowdowns blocking the turn and trail just seemed to disappear in front of me. If this happens to you, on any trail, a good rule of thumb is to look for a blowdown and look behind it for the trail 😂 A group of overnighters I met between Stairs and Davis said they briefly lost trail and had to bushwhack a quarter mile before finding it again. I didn’t ave this issue but I knew exactly where they were talking about when I came to it: looking at a map, about a mile north of Stairs Spur, the trail turns right for about 0.1mi and then turns left and continues north. Those two turns and 0.1mi are a bit tough. Heading south you’ll come to an open(ish), grassy, watery, muddy area with (at least at this point) some puddles and streams flowing through. It’s not immediately obvious where the trail goes. I looked straight/left and it seemed open but after looking to my right the trail clearly went that way. It’s a little more obscure through this 0.1mi but still very followable for an experienced hiker.
Only saw one couple and there dog on Tucks surprinsgly. Saw a group of two headed to Boott Spur on Davis Path that split from another two I caught up with on Isolation, one of which was finishing their 48. Another couple I saw at the bottom of Isolation Spur that had just came down when I got there and a solo hiker just made it to the top as I was about to descend. Saw 3 groups that were doing overnights as well. One was the group of 4 that said they lost Davis Path and bushwhacked for a 1/4mi and they were heading up Davis Path to Isolation, then down Rocky Branch (south) to make a loop. The other two were doing smaller loops coming up Davis, then going down Stairs Col Trail and RB south. While all the day hikers I met came up Glen Boulder Trail, all the overnighters has done it were planning to do RB south surprisingly. The group that came up that way even said the water crossings were doable. A surprise to me!
Just below 30 when I started hiking. Hiked most of the day in just a base layer and hard shell on my upper half. Beautiful views above treeline and not very windy. Was probably in the 30s the entire time I was on the ridge. A wonderful day to be out but a bit tricky with the ice. Mostly frozen mud was a nice change from consistently deep, oozing stuff!
||Liam Cooney |
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.