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Ski
Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Mt. Washington, Mt. Clay, NH
Trails
Trails: Great Gulf Trail, Gulfside, Clay Loop, Sphinx Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, September 4, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Parking at the Great Gulf trailhead was mostly empty on this Labor Day weekend. 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Water is running pretty high for September. There are a couple of spots where waterproof boots or water shoes are recommended because you have to step in a few inches of water. Around Spaulding Lake, you have to splash up the flat brook for a distance. There is one spot around 5 miles in where the trail is under a foot of stagnant water and a rough bypass has developed between the old trail and the river. 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Kudos to the Great Gulf Tr maintainer(s) for brushing out that trail -- just a wonderful job. I salute you! The Sphinx Tr is starting to get brushed in, especially up high. There are blowdowns on both of these trails, most are quite big, but mostly they are step overs so not too much of a problem. I had a saw and did remove 1 sizable birch crown that had fallen in the lower Gulf and a pair of blowdowns that were about chest and head high in the upper Gulf that were especially inconveniently placed. There are some route finding challenges on the headwall, as markings are faint and cairns are diminutive or nonexistent, but the general way up is fairly obvious in good weather. 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Would be a very long trip for a pooch; the rocks on the headwall would be pretty tough on foot pads, and there are some big jumps coming down Sphinx (like the 2 chimneys), but a strong agile dog with a lot of endurance could probably do it. The section on the ridgeline is one of the few places in the northern Presidentials that would be pretty easy for dogs. Only saw one dog - at the parking lot. 
Bugs
Bugs: It was so windy that they were not a problem. Saw maybe one mosquito? 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Found a small white comb. 
 
Comments
Comments: Camped up in the Gulf on Friday night, and it rained pretty hard most of the night. The winds down low were howling into Saturday morning and it was near hurricane force above treeline, so delayed the final ascent until later in the day on Saturday. This was the right choice. The Great Gulf is a marvelous trail - easily one of the best in all of New England. I cannot think of another place in the East where you are so completely surrounded by high mountains. The high water levels meant beautiful waterfalls the whole length of the trail. The sense of remoteness is real -- I did not see a soul above the AT crossing for 2 days in the Gulf, although there was the usual conga line on Gulfside. Had some nice conversations on Mt Clay. Final trek for the T25, and this trail was worth the wait.  
Name
Name: The Castle 
E-Mail
E-Mail: jeffreychristianmeehan@gmail.com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-09-07 
Link
Link: http:// 
Bookmark and Share 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.

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