Friday, August 31, 2012

Goose Eye (East Peak) 3790 ft. and Goose Eye (West Peak) 3870 ft. 8/30/12

This day involved many things. Returning to the site of a previous failed ascent, checking out an abandoned/closed/not recommended for use section of trail, and trying a new hiking partner on for size (terrible pun is terrible).

I first attempted Goose Eye on May 5th, and a variety of factors influenced the outcome. New boots that I didn't trust at the time, a new pack, and a backpacking setup in said new pack (for training purposes). All things conspired, it was wet, the streams were at capacity, and the heavy load... well... weighed me down.

I was not to be weighed down. Recent gear purchases, especially the trail runners and the pack, have reduced my carrying weight significantly. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bounding or skipping up and down the trail, but it feels like I'm more fleet of foot, and far more comfortable on steep/technical terrain. Glad I finally learned that burly/bomb-proof equipment isn't always the answer, and that more lightweight/minimalist gear can make a difference.

After a wait for my companion (I was at the trailhead, she was at the parking area a mile down the road... and I didn't see her when I went past... dammit!), we started up the Wright Trail at the gentlemanly/ladylike time of 10:20. It took us a little over an hour to reach the campsite and trail split 2.5 miles in. Along the way, we followed Goose Eye Brook past several small cascades and pools, and plentiful interesting woodsy scenes.

Goose Eye Brook


Goose Eye Brook

Just above the campsite, a small stream merges with Goose Eye Brook, and this is where the trail "splits". Last time, there was flagging tape between two trees, and with all the water coming through there at the time, and the mess of blowdowns, it looked like the north fork of the trail was closed. This time, no tape, no signage, no blowdowns, and a little cairn on the other side of the stream marking the entrance. The suggestion was made, let's go up the north branch! The story I had heard, was that due to erosion, the north fork had been closed, until it could be repaired. The MBPL (Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands) website now states that the north fork is eroded and damaged, and that its use is not recommended... doesn't say its closed!

So up the north fork we went. It was very nice in spots, but there were quite a few muddy sections, and plentiful blowdowns. Probably the biggest challenge of this trail was the blowdowns, they threw all kinds at us, mocking people of all heights. I didn't really see the erosion that supposedly caused the trail to be closed in the first place, and there were some beautiful cascades and slabby views from various points along and slightly off the trail. 

Climbed up a giant slab just off trail to glimpse Sunday River Whitecap

We popped out on the Mahoosuc Trail, and turned south on the AT towards our destinations. I wish I had gotten pictures of some of the ladders and trail structures on this section... all the more reason to come back. There were some small, fun scrambles on nice grippy rock, mica and quartz were everywhere! All too quickly, we were on East Peak, and the views were absolutely stunning.

The New Hampshire north country

Old Speck and West Baldpate

West from East

Presidentials from East
While the views were stunning, the wind was whipping and we had stopped to put on a layer just before cresting the summit. We kept these on as we wound our way down to the col, then up to West Peak... whos views were equally spectacular.

Alpine grass

Pilot/Pliny Ranges from West

Mahoosuc Notch and Old Speck

Success Pond from West

Lenticulars reforming over the Carters
We managed to get somewhat out of the wind, just behind the summit rock, basked in the sun, and ate. After a fashion, we headed downward, and checked out the south branch of the Wright Trail. I had made it up to the second set of ledges on my previous attempt, and I now found out that those ledges were significantly further than I at first thought. This section was a joy, views every once and a while, a few minor PUD's, and fantastic lichens.

East Peak

Beautiful lichens

More lichens

South Branch
We soon arrived at the split, and retraced our steps back to the cars. The golden afternoon light made the miles just fly, and when we checked the time at the cars... it was just after 4:30... killed it!

Goose Eye Brook



  1. awesome pics and report! thanks for the great hikeage. :D

  2. Your report is terrific! It was of particular interest since I'd just been to Goose-Eye (East/West Peaks) only 6 days prior to your report, and also launched my trek from the Wright Trail. However, unlike you, I didn't incorporate the North Branch of the trail into my hike. After having read your report, I regret not having done so. Ah well, all the more reason to make a return visit! :-)


  3. Great pictures and report. A friend of mine just mentioned doing this hike. IS this hike ok for dogs to do? MY golden ret. has hike many mountains with me.


    1. Thanks Cindy! I'd say this hike is dog friendly, though there are some scrambly sections that you'll need to take care on. I'd recommend an up and back via the south branch of the Wright Trail. Hope you have a good weather day, these are spectacular peaks.