Old Speck Mountain - Grafton Notch State Park - June 17, 2021

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Rhody Seth

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I made my first foray to Grafton Notch State Park this past Thursday to begin three days up in the Whites. It's quite a drive from Rhode Island so I broke it up, stopping in North Conway to pick up some lunch and supplies before continuing on to Gorham and beyond. Finally I made it up there by 3 PM. There were a good number of cars in the lot but people also use this lot to head up Square Ledge so I didn't think I would see too many people. This proved to be the case.

I went up the Eyebrow Trail which had some good rock slabs. There was some steel cable and steps for the steepest parts. As it was a dry day they weren't necessary but I could see them being vital if the rocks were slippery. After this steep climbing there were some great views of the notch itself. The trail descended a bit before rejoining the Old Speck Trail and climbing again at a consistent but never excessively steep rate.

At the summit was a clearing with a fire tower. Thanks to my late start I had the place to myself. I don't love heights so climbing the ladder up the tower wasn't my favorite but I was fine once I got up there. I hung out for about 45 minutes until the bugs got the message and began to descend on me. I took the Old Speck Trail down which I preferred as it had falling water alongside much of the trail. Not surprisingly the parking lot was mostly cleared out when I finished at 7 PM and the bugs had set up shop there as well so I didn't linger. A beautiful area up there and I would certainly like to return and enjoy some backpacking.

 
I kind of wonder how many times did you have to walk back and forth to record this footage... Fun to watch!
 
I have a copy of the map from the sighting table from the fire tower on Speck. It has a hand drawn profile of the mountains around the summit out to the horizon. It has symbols for all the fire towers that were within sight of the tower in the US and Canada. Its quite surprising the coverage area for the tower was.

The Grafton Loop trail approach from the south up Speck is one of the more impressive pieces of trail building in the region. Super well graded with lots of switchbacks. Combine it with the maintainers path for Sunday River Whitecap and it would be nice alternative to the AT approach from Grafton Notch.
 
I kind of wonder how many times did you have to walk back and forth to record this footage... Fun to watch!

It's not too bad. :p My GoPro is attached to the shorty stick that doubles as a mini-tripod so it's easy to plop down, walk away from and then walk back. Each of those shots probably takes about a minute, if that.
 
I have a copy of the map from the sighting table from the fire tower on Speck. It has a hand drawn profile of the mountains around the summit out to the horizon. It has symbols for all the fire towers that were within sight of the tower in the US and Canada. Its quite surprising the coverage area for the tower was.

The Grafton Loop trail approach from the south up Speck is one of the more impressive pieces of trail building in the region. Super well graded with lots of switchbacks. Combine it with the maintainers path for Sunday River Whitecap and it would be nice alternative to the AT approach from Grafton Notch.

Its really surprising how nice that trail is coming down from Old Speck. The AT is all beat to death and then once you are on the GNLT you are on a nice, thick, soft, carpeted trail.
 
I did the west half of the loop one day and was amazed as how well graded that stretch from the col north of Sunday River Whitecap is to the top of Speck. I rarely if ever had to break stride, almost no steps, just slabbing contour. Runners probably appreciate it.
 
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