Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Mt. Madison, NH
Trails: Howker Ridge Trail, Osgood Trail, Valley Way, Lower Bruin, Brookside, Randolph Path
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Mine was the first car at the Howker Ridge lot at 6:15 am and there were 4 additional cars when I returned at 11:45am. Probably could have parked at least 3 more in the lot.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: This is why I am posting. The water crossings are just perfect. The main one on Howker Ridge barely slowed me down. I didn’t come down Watson (see description) but that Duck Falls crossing looked easily passable. I had a lot of trouble where Kelton hits Brookside earlier this year but it would have been no trouble today. And the crossing on Brookside was easy, and the one where Randolph Path crosses the brook - also easy. I am terrible at water crossings; if I am saying this then they really are currently easy!! 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Oh my gosh, GIANT shout out to the RMC!! Your trails are fabulously maintained!! Seriously, I was super impressed. If someone wants to use loppers then that section of Howker Ridge Trail about 3 miles from the parking lot might need a small bit of love but I only noticed THAT because everything else that I was on, today, was so completely fabulous!! No blowdowns that seemed concerning or new, lots of evidence of recent axe work and meticulously brushed water bars. My hats off to you guys!! 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Saw one on Valley Way; it seemed to be having a good time and it didn’t bite me or jump on me so it was a good day.  
Bugs: Not any that were biting. Bring on fall!! 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: N/A 
Comments: I have been waiting for ideal conditions to attempt Howker Ridge, and today was finally the day. Low winds, cool temperatures, blue skies and low water. I am writing this post mainly to pass along that now is an ideal time for this loop. The water crossings were super easy, most of the mud at the junction of Pine Link and Howker has dried (there is still a bit, but nothing like the quagmire that that was in July!!).
I went up Howker. Wow, that trail is just fabulous. The first time that I had any sort of view was at 3 miles, noting that I am 5’3” and probably some of you tall people would have views before that point. When I got above tree line, I was concerned about following the trail based on the description in the 29th edition WMG but found the trail to be incredibly well marked.
Osgood to the summit was easy. I was planning to go down Watson to Brookside but there was just enough wind to make my eyes water continuously, so I went down to the Hut and down Valley Way to Lower Bruin. I love that bit - Lower Bruin to Brookside and down. It is “rough” in a super fun way. I have been on those trails down to the Kelton junction.
Below there, Brookside turns into a hiking trail. What?! It was incredibly pleasant footing and beautiful scenery. I was not expecting the former!!
I continued down Brookside to Randolph Path to the trailhead. Fabulous route; I will definitely hike this again.
And by the way, fall is upon us! Reds and yellows are just starting to pop!!  
Name: Bikecamphikegirl 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2021-09-14 
Link: https:// 
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