|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||Mt. Whiteface, NH|
||Downes Brook Trail, bushwhack, Rollins Trail, Kate Sleeper Trail|
|Date of Hike:
||Thursday, August 25, 2022|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Plenty of parking at 8:15am when I arrived and 3:30pm when I returned. About a half dozen or so cars there each time. Has room for well over two dozen before it would start to overflow which I imagine can happen on summer weekends and holidays. |
||Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The crossing of on Downes Brook Trail were rock hopable with care with dry feet. Took a little finesse though. Recent rain has definitely elevated them a little. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||As far as I recall, no blazing on Downes Brook Trail. Then again, most of the trail is in the Sandwich Range Wilderness. Not too overgrown though (some places could use brushing nevertheless) or hard to follow. As the guidebook notes, trickiest spots would be around some of the water crossings where there’s multiple (sometimes dry) stream bed. Kate Sleeper and Rollins Trail both have the occasional old blue blaze. The latter is very well trodden and easy to follow. The former somewhat so. There were a handful of blowdowns scattered throughout the trail including some duck under a and ones with herd paths around. Nothing too numerous or difficult though. One very badly eroded spot that now requires a scramble in the mid-upper portion of the trail. Would be nice if they could reroute that or do something about it. |
||Slides not recommended for dogs! |
||Not many |
|Lost and Found:
||2nd hike of the day after Signal Ridge Parking Lot Peak. I made the long trek in along Downes Brook Trail about 4.25-4.5mi to 2850ft or so. Many of the rocks around the stream crossings and on trail were very slick. I fell a few times though luckily never in the water. Note that, as fairly obvious from the contour lines, Downes Brook on Gaia is NOT shown in the correct place here and the trail is actually on the other side of the brook. We stuck to the trail and just descended to the brook however it sounds like there’s an old road you could follow from the previous water crossing to the start of the slide too. It was neat to see the slide through the trees though on the opposite side of the brook. The sort of thing where you could walk that trail dozens of times and never notice it but if you know where to look and peer through the trees it’s easily visible. |
We made our way down to the brook which was easy and crossed it. The fallout of the slide ends right on the brook and the slide starts right there above the brook. No bushwhacking involved! Easy peasy! Doesn’t get much easier than that :) we walked up the loose, gravelly slide. Some steep pitches down low. As we continued up we found ourselves stepping on a bit more rock though nothing too loose. We then came to the base of the slab section which constitutes most of the upper portion of the slide. We were on the right side of the slide and the slab above us was all wet. We carefully traversed to our left where the slab looked drier and possibly more broken. Indeed the slab was not smooth on the left slide and I made my way up with one slightly precarious spot due to some wetness. Up more broken rock with one part that looked more like a talus field, until we hit more wet slab. I very carefully finagled my way up one small piece of it (not as steep but still wet) to see if there was a way up but alas there was not so I traversed to the right and joined my friend in the woods. This was just below the top of the slide which ends a little below 3400ft. It would seem that Gaia pretty accurately shows where the slide is but says it’s at a much lower elevation than it actually is.
Much to our delight, the woods were not as thick as we thought they’d be! Certainly far from being open but they were quite tolerable and we made reasonable time in them. Grades were of course steep to start but moderated some before long. We ran into many large boulders/caves/minor cliff bands or whatever you’d like to call them. These generally pushed us to the right (south). Overall, our line was much further south than I figured we’d be. I imagined we’d roughly hit the trail in the minor col between Whiteface and the roughy 3660ft knob or just south. Instead we hit the ridge just shy of 3800ft in a place where the trail follows below the ridge on the east side.
We followed it to the true summit of Whiteface where we enjoyed lunch. Rollins Trail involved a lot of wet rock and mud though the rock wasn’t as slick as it was on Downes Brook Trail. Then it was time for the long trek out via Kate Sleeper and Downes Brook Trail. Nice to see the upper portion of Downes Brook Trail again. Not the nicest footing but scenic walking along the moss covered brook :) The total hike was about 12mi with 2750ft of gain. Thanks to old man and the saw for another great day of slackin’!
||Liam Cooney and Old Man and the Saw |
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.