Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Truman, Mt. Lincoln, Owl's Head, NH
Trails: Old Bridle Path, Greenleaf Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, bushwhacks, Lincoln Slide, Owl's Head Path, herd paths, Lincoln Brook Trail, Black Pond Trail, Lincoln Woods Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, August 1, 2020
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Lincoln Woods was full with cars parked all the way to Big Rock Campground at 6 AM. Beyond there when we returned in the afternoon. Still some spots remaining at Lafayette Place northbound at 6:30 AM, but going fast. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All easily rock hopped at current levels. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: I think I recall a large blowdown on lower Old Bridle Path with a herd path going around it. Massive trail creep. Trail creep also becoming a big issue on Franconia Ridge, with people trampling on the alpine growth to "socially distance." I don't recollect any blowdowns on Lincoln Brook, Black Pond, or Lincoln Woods. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Bugs: Picked up a deer fly near the bottom of the Lincoln Slide. Random flies atop Owl's Head. Some black flies and mosquitoes on Lincoln Brook. 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Lots of random stuff left behind. 
Comments: Old Bridle Path was mostly dry. Hut was closed, but there was a spigot for water and there were restrooms available (around the back, not through the main entrance, and I think they required masks). Greenleaf Trail was crowded, as was the summit of Lafayette, despite the early start.

Franconia Ridge was also crowded and it was unfortunate to see people trampling around off trail on the alpine vegetation to "socially distance." I don't believe there's a recorded case of COVID transmission while hiking anywhere in the world. Yet, this trampling may cause permanent damage to the alpine growth.

After tagging the busy summit of Lincoln, we doubled back to Truman and took the herd path (mainly rock hopping to avoid stepping on alpine growth) to the top of that finger of the Lincoln Slide. The slide was dry and loose, but nothing worse than the Tripyramid South Slide under current conditions. We continued in the brook bed at the bottom for a little while, then climbed out of the drainage (initially in scrappy woods) and into decent woods down to the ponds/marshes. Great view from the eastern pond. Decent woods from there down to the trail.

We went back into the woods a little bit north of the outflow from the ponds and climbed up Owl's Head proper, again in generally decent woods (occasionally some moss postholing). We came across a well marked trail (no evidence of cutting) near the ridge. We yanked most of the flagging tape, but there's a fairly decent footbed at this point. On the plus side, it consolidates the traffic and avoids some blowdown.

After seeing no one since leaving Franconia Ridge, we encountered 110 people from the summit of Owl's Head to the Lincoln Woods bridge. Wow.

Owl's Head Path was its usual mess. Brutus is a full blown path at this point, which is causing issues now (particularly because the Owl's Head Path is not marked), as people were going down Brutus thinking it was the trail and getting separated from their groups. The drop out of the softwoods into the birch glade on Brutus is way too steep and will become an issue pretty soon. It's time to get a properly designed trail up this peak, to mitigate the environmental damage.

Lincoln Brook Trail was fairly smooth sailing with a few mud bogs in the usual places and the annoying sidehill from storms years ago. Much better hiking now than a few years ago, thanks to the removal of blowdowns and brushing by the volunteer maintainer.

Black Pond "bushwhack" is also a fairly well established footbed that should be redesigned a bit and turned into a formal trail to mitigate the environmental impact. Black Pond Trail was generally okay and Lincoln Woods Trail was a jam packed conga line.

Nice summer weather.  
Name: rocket21, bria, nordic gal, bryan, Eric 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2020-08-01 
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