|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Hale, Zealand Mountain, Mt. Guyot, South Twin Mountain, Galehead Mountain, Mt. Garfield, Mt. Lafayette, Mt. Truman, Mt. Lincoln, Little Haystack Mountain, Mt. Liberty, Mt. Flume, NH|
||Hale Brook Trail, Lend-A-Hand Trail, Twinway, Bondcliff Trail, Frost Trail, Garfield Ridge Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail, Osseo Trail, Lincoln Woods Trail, Pemi East Side Trail, Wilderness Trail, Shoal Pond Trail, Ethan Pond Trail, Zealand Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, July 11, 2021|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Parked at Hale Brook Trailhead lot off Zealand Rd. Zealand Rd is a good gravel road that is passable by any vehicle. Hale Brook can hold about 10 cars. Limited roadside parking. The lot is usually always full on weekends. This road is gated in winter. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||Shoal Pond Trail: the Guide talks about “difficult” water crossings on this trail. I had no issues at all. I chose to get my feet wet but I could have avoided the water completely with rocks. And this was after a solid day of rain. All other water crossings on other trails were no issue. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Thanks to the many maintainers that were out hard at work on the trails this weekend!! Trails are looking good! Shoal Pond could use a good brushing. It’s quite overgrown. Several of the bog bridges are deteriorating rapidly thanks to heavy moose… 🤨 |
||Noseems were the most pesky. Deer flies bombarded me at Shoal Pond. Mosquitos most prevalent in the evenings. |
|Lost and Found:
Hale Brook Trail > Lend-a-Hand > Twinway > Bondcliff to Guyot campsite > Twinway > Frost Trail > Garfield Ridge Trail > Franconia Ridge Trail > Osseo Trail > Lincoln Woods Trail > Pemi East Side Trail > Wilderness Trail > Shoal Pond Trail > Ethan Pond Trail > Zealand Trail > road walk on Zealand Rd.
Three days, 52 miles. I’ve probably forgotten many details as this trail report is late. I wish I had done this route in reverse but the rain made me do this in the above order.
Hale Brook: well blazed in yellow. Well defined footbed. Good signs and nice large carin at the summit. No views. Good peak for rainy days.
Lend-a-Hand: nicely blazed in blue. Well defined footbed. Much more moderate ascent to Hale but was also good for descent.
Twinway: this is the AT and is well blazed in white. Deep, much travelled footbed (mostly awkward footing on rocks). Lots of thru hikers and section hikers barreling through here. The 0.2 mile spur for Zealand mountain has a sign. Sign and carin mark the viewless summit.
Bondcliff: I travelled the 0.6 miles to the Guyot campsite spur. Not blazed. Simple to follow. All signs up and in good shape.
Guyot campsite: $15 fee per person payable to the caretaker. Cash, checks and credit cards accepted. On a rainy Friday the site was mostly occupied by AT thru hikers though there were still numerous other groups. 3 tent platforms empty. There are bear boxes, a privy, dishwashing station, and a gorgeous shelter. Water point flowing nicely. Bear canisters most welcome as the bear boxes fill up fast.
Twinway: between the Bondcliff and Garfield Ridge junctions the trail continues to be well blazed in white. South Twin has an open summit with 360 degree views. Steep, rough descent on that 0.8 to the Galehead Hut. Forgot how rugged that part was…
Frost Trail: not blazed, well signed. Simple to follow footbed. One viewpoint below the summit. Viewless summit with a carin.
Garfield Ridge Trail: this is also the AT but is not well blazed. I remember a few white blazes but not with the normal frequency. I was also concentrating all my mental energy on dealing with wet, slick, oddly angled rock that permeates this trail so I could have missed blazes. Difficult traverse and scramble to Garfield’s open summit. Met, and walked for some miles with, a great fella who turns 67 today. Happy Birthday! Though I was carrying a 30 LBS pack, he was still out hiking me. Awesome. Left my new friend at the summit and continued on down the Garfield Ridge. This was tough going with wet rocks, mud, and rugged trail. It will take you longer than you think to cover this section. Met two new trail friends who let me tag along with them to tree line at Lafayette. Thanks ladies! This helped distract me from the arduous hike in this part.
Franconia Ridge Trail: popular, beautiful ridge walk along the peaks of Franconia. This part is also the AT and has white blazes. The majority of trail is rock, but these were completely dry and made for fast travel. Due to the crowds I elected to bee line it to the Liberty Spring Trail junction.
Liberty Spring Trail: I only walked 0.3 miles down to the campsite. This is an AMC site with a $15 per person fee payable to the caretaker. Cash, checks, and credit cards accepted. Water point flowing well. Cooking area, bear boxes, privy, tent platforms and overflow tenting areas are at this site. Very popular and crowded site. Be prepared to share tent platforms (good way to make new friends too). Met two nice young ladies from Boston. Thanks for sharing your platform with my stinky Maine self!
Osseo: technically it is blazed in yellow. But blazes start with good frequency at the junction with Lincoln Woods then grow less and less until they are non-existent about a mile or so below Flume summit. Flume summit is semi-open, good sunrise hike. Awesome wooden stairs help with some very steep terrain. Rough footbed up top; nice wide, flatter footbed in the lower sections.
Lincoln Woods: flat, fast, crowded.
Pemi East Side: ok. Look. On the first sign for this trail it says “Pine Island Trail 0.6 miles —>.” There is no Pine Island Trail. I saw where an old trail may have gone off of and rejoined the Pemi East but there are no other signs or indications for Pine Island. Pemi East Side is not blazed but is an easy grade on a wide, gravel trail up to the Franconia Brook campsite. A blind person can follow this trail. After the gate past the campsite the trail narrows but is still easy to follow. I was nearly startled out of my skin when I heard rustling in the woods. I was convinced it was some kind of bear-coyote mutant. Then two humans and a dog appear. Oh, I really thought no one would be on this trail.
Wilderness Trail: not blazed. Easy grades. Simple to follow as it is quite wide in most places where it follows the old railroad grade. Fun old cast iron stove left over from the logging camp days.
Shoal Pond: not blazed except for a very few, very faded blue blazes in confusing areas. Shoal Pond now offers a new Olympic event: The 4 Mile Blowdown Hurdles. Lots of step-over or shin high blow downs on this trail. Lightly used trail but I had no issue staying on trail. The trail is really overgrown which kinda forced me to walk football player style through the brush. See water notes above. A couple of righteous backcountry campsites next to Shoal Pond. Thought about camping but I was 5 miles from my car… No other human around for miles.
Ethan Pond: this is the AT and is well blazed in white. After my solitude on the Wilderness and Shoal Pond I thought I was at hiking party. Many thru hikers making their way to Ethan Pond campsite. This is a great trail with easy grades and fabulous footing. After 23 miles it was most welcome.
Zealand Trail: popular, well blazed in blue. Muddy. So very muddy. Majority of water crossings bridged. That’s all I remember.
Road walk: and AGAIN I walk another mile on this gravel road back to parking.
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.