|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Whiteface, NH|
||Dicey's Mill Trail, Tom Wiggin Trail, McCrillis Trail, Flat Mountain Pond Trail, McCrillis Path|
|Date of Hike:
||Friday, June 12, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Ferncroft had 3 NH plates when we arrived; overflowing with Mass Plates parking incorrectly when we returned. |
||Dry Trail |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Brook at start of Tom Wiggin we had to ford at calf length; we lost an axle wheel and Katherine got dysentery, but we made it. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||All trails in pretty great shape overall. |
||Mild; did a quick wipe with natural bug repellent when we got to Tom Wiggin and that lasted most of the day without issue. |
|Lost and Found:
||Great day to get to a popular mountain by some unpopular routes. Only saw 2 people all day with the exception of the last ledge before Whiteface where we saw 4 people, but plenty of room to social distance there. |
Tom Wiggin is steep as described, but we found the footing much better than expected. Based on the trail description we were expecting a North Hancock-style experience, but we didn't have any loose gravel or slippage problems at all. Like South Hancock however, it is unrelievedly steep once it starts. McCrillis Trail starts a bit steep but levels out fairly quickly, only the last ledge at the very top should prove a problem in wet conditions. This was where we met our only hikers of the day; their first comment was how we sucked at breaking spider webs (as we didn't go up that way), which they said in jest and we've had a good laugh about all day. The last mile or so of the trail the undergrowth is starting to take over in places; more people should use this trail to keep it maintained.
The Wonalancet River crossing on Flat Mountain Pond trail is rock-hoppable with some slight leaps of faith. The trail diverges away from the river exactly opposite the sign pointing across the river (and at the remains of an old bridge pier), so if you can't cross there (we couldn't), make sure to get back to that point to find the trail, as the forest is open enough here to have a litany of herd trails that could be mistaken for the actual trail, as this section is very lightly blazed.
Coming to the Flat Mountain Pond parking area was a treat, with an attractive fern undergrowth, and dozens of Canadian Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies flapping all over the parking area. This continued on a VERY attractive road walk (the best we've done yet) towards McCrillis Path. Monarchs mixed in here as well, and large swaths of the field the road was beside were covered in Lupines in Bloom, with view of Whiteface and Chocura as a backdrop. We also saw a Tree Swallow nesting in a birdhouse. It was a great roadwalk, and I'd hike this loop just to do that part again.
McCrillis Path isn't noteworthy, though it is lightly used, and the new section (2012) could really use some more feet on it to make the route clearer. It hugs the WMNF boundry for half a mile or so before dipping in, so you're going to see a lot of trees marked in red. We couldn't really see the "old road" from the early 1800s that we were supposedly walking on in the last part of McCrillis Path, but admittedly, we do not have a great eye for that sort of stuff.
It was a good 12+/- mile hike; great weather and a large amount of different scenery and some great wildlife. Terrain is also easy after Whiteface, the last few hours on Flat Mtn Pond Trail and beyond are essentially flat; we completed it in less than 6 hours with just a normal walking pace. In the future we'd swap Tom Wiggin for Blueberry Ledge, and make it an even more attractive hike, but redlining mandated we check that trail out. Perfect day!
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.