PDA

View Full Version : Grafton Loop, Mahoosuc Trail, Wright Trail 7/18-7/23 2009



MichaelJ
07-25-2009, 08:58 AM
Baldpates, Long, Puzzle, Bald, Stowe, Sunday River Whitecap, Slide, Old Speck, Mahoosuc Arm, Fulling Mill, Goose Eye ... via AT, Grafton Loop, AT, and Wright Trail (south).

July 18 - 23, 2009

AT from Grafton Notch to East Baldpate in fine condition. Some slick rocks and mud down low but no issues.

Grafton Loop East from East Baldpate through Town Corner Campsite in fine condition. Good footing, minimal erosion, well-marked. Crossings of Wight Brook and others no problem. East Baldpate Campsite in nice condition, looks like good place to stay. From Town Corner to Stewart Campsite is still well-marked, but many deep mud holes, roots, wet areas. Travel in this area is slower than topo would indicate. Chase Hill Brook is running deep and has only a few step-stones to begin with, but we got across dry. Up Puzzle Mtn and down to Rte 26 the trail is in fine shape.

Stewart Campsite feels abandoned. There's encroaching vegetation, and once you even find them, the earth pads are not raised: one has a huge gully cut through it. The only place to set a tent was the cooking area and even there the ground was very wet. Not recommended. Privy has lost its door.

Grafton Loop West from Rte 26 up to Sargent Brook Campsite in good condition. Nice campsite, with truly raised earth pads. Pathways need a brushing. Good privy. The treadway is very light for the first few miles after leaving the snowmobile road but the blazing is good. No problems with any crossings and very little mud. Trail continues in fine condition all the way to Old Speck, except for drop from Sunday River Whitecap into Miles Notch, which has eroded sections with many small stumps and roots messing up footing.

From Old Speck to Speck Pond Campsite was incredibly slippery slab with no help (rungs, steps, notches in the rock). Use caution and move slowly. Some "detours" had been brushed out but no repairs or viable options created.

From Speck Pond over Mahoosuc Arm a lot of standing water. Watch out for loose puncheons and mud puddles. Down Mahoosuc Arm is pretty bad. Ascent is preferred here. Tons of wet and running-water slippery rock with no traction whatsoever. Trail is being torn to bits by detours which are subsequently eroding. Area badly needs trail management: steps, rungs, handholds, something.

Mahoosuc Notch is, well, Mahoosuc Notch. Give yourself gobs of extra time. Poles nearly useless in there. Some crawl-throughs have developed nice go-arounds, but you have to look for them. Area badly needs a re-blazing.

Continuing from the Notch has some lousy erosion in the first 1/4 mile then gets nice. Across Fulling Mill and beyond towards Goose Eye alternates fine condition with underwater, under-mud, and outright missing puncheons that need badly to be fixed/replaced as side paths are being cut through the krummholz.

Wright Trail south branch in good condition but steeper sections up high are loose mud and exposed roots and require care. Below the junction are some huge mud pits being actively worked on by trail crew. At trailhead we found sign indicating "South Loop is closed - use the North Trail, Enjoy! Trail work by Maine Conservation Corps"

A lot of new growth vegetation everywhere - the forest is vivid green and holding a lot of moisture. Brushing is going to be necessary all over the place.

Poles and gaiters recommended for crossing brooks and mud puddles. Good-traction footwear recommended for open slabs and alpine areas. Waterproof footwear recommended for down low. Ground cloth recommend if camping. Filter necessary for water; water sources between Town Line and Stewart not recommended, poor quality and possibility of pesticides from adjacent clearcuts. Camera recommended for beautiful views.

Full trip report and photos coming soon.