|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Brad’s Bluff, Lila’s Ledge, NH|
||Tuckerman Ravine Trail, Old Jackson Road, Crew Cut Trail, George’s Gorge Trail, Liebeskind’s Loop, Lila’s Ledge Spur|
|Date of Hike:
||Saturday, December 21, 2019|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Got to Pinkham Notch Visitor Center Around 10-10:30am. Still plenty of spots open even if those closest to the visitor center were taken. Lots of open spots when we left around 4:30pm. |
||Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Ice - Blue, Snow - Packed Powder/Loose Granular, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow - Unpacked Powder |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Only very small ones the most notable being one of the brook crossings around Chudacoff Falls. Went slightly off trail here and didn’t originally realize it. The crossing had a bog bridge across it that’s very narrow and wouldn’t be doable in snowshoes. We crossed on ice bridges/snow. The ice cracked beneath us but it was no problem. A couple other spots like this where you have water beneath a thin layer of ice on the trail. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||One awkward and annoying small straddler just past Brad’s Bluff if traveling east on Liebeskind’s Loop. It hadn’t been delimbed so I tried to break many of its limbs. Still a few but it’s easier to straddle now. That’s the only one I recall although my father told me to watch out for a widow maker (I never saw one...) somewhere around Chudacoff Falls I think. It was probably hanging off trail. Old Jackson was blazed in white for the AT and also in blue diamonds a very short way in as it’s also used as a ski trail. No problems following it as it’s generally wide with blazes often enough. I think George’s Gorge and Crew Cut were blazed in blue and Liebeskind’s Loop was yellow but I could have gotten those mixed up. All were blazed consistently and somewhat frequently. Only times when it took us a minute to find the trail was around one of the brook crossings along George’s Gorge Trail where we had to look for blue blaze and we crossed the brook at a different spot than the trail intended (see water crossing notes - look for blaze and a bog bridge) and on Liebeskind’s Loop where the trail turns right and zigzags after the trail turns away from a large rock face. |
||Dogs would probably be fine on these trails. |
|Lost and Found:
||Did a little redline with my father to finish this little trail network north of Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. I’d already done Crew Cut Trail from 16 so I just needed the loop and an out-and-back along George’s Gorge Trail between Old Jackson Road and Liebeskind’s Loop. My father did everything other than the out-and-back which was 2.8mi with 650ft of elevation gain whereas my hike with the out-and-back was 3.4mi with 800ft of elevation gain. We did the loop in the direction the guidebook describes which is clockwise|
The only part of this hike that had seen traffic was the 50 yards along. Everything else was packed powder. A few spots such as at the top of Lila’s Ledge and the steep and rocky part of George’s Gorge just north of Chudacoff Falls where the snow depth was minimal enough that snowshoes weren’t ideal but generally speaking you needed snowshoes. Now that it’s broken, snow depth was minimal enough that you could get away without them but the trail would benefit from a few more snowshoers before people started barebooting it. There is no base beneath it, not even ice usually. Other than at water crossings, no ice was seen although there was occasionally snow covered rocks with ice underneath the snow that you had to be careful descending but this was minimal. The snow was generally very dry and easy to slip and slide on particularly in my Beheameth XL snowshoes. No snow on the tippy top of Lila’s Ledge. Just frozen ground and I imagine the snow has receded even more given yesterday’s warm temps.
My mom was supposed to come with us today but in the end we were glad she didn’t as this hike was significantly harder than we anticipated. I thought this would be a good hike for us to do given it’s very short distance but since the trail wasn’t broken it was pretty grueling for my father. Snow depth made it extra difficult for him as it wasn’t quite deep enough to smooth things out so he had to hoist himself up rock steps and such with snowshoes. The only really challenging spots for him were along George’s Gorge Trail after Chudacoff Falls and the long sidehill section that’s steep before it. Everything else was doable but still challenging for him namely because it was less steep and he was going downhill although there’s some narrow spots where you don’t want to slide down. This hike took us 5.5-6hrs so we averaged less than a half mile per hour. In summary, i wouldn’t recommend bringing a 73 year old with a knee replacement on this hike unless they’re a regular hiker (although someone working at the visitor center told me he heard of that loop taking a group of schoolchildren 8 hours which made us feel a little better).
Warm(ish) day and the wind wasn’t too bad but still felt a bit cold moving slow and not having the sun out also made a big dkfffwrence. Nice way to spend time with my father :)
||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.