Trails: Austin Brook Trail, Dryad Fall Trail, Dryad Fall Spur, Peabody Brook Trail, Bald Cap Peak Ledges Trail, Giant Falls Spur, roadwalk
Mileage/time: 10.5 miles, ~2500 feet of gain, book time of 6:30, actual time of 5:31
For the second hike in a row, I forgot my camera. It's a problem. I planned on getting up earlier than I did (5:15), but there we have it. I managed to get out of the house quickly enough, but again, in Gorham, the important piece was found to be missing. There was a grimace, and a flash of anger, then I turned around, and fought with traffic on the way back into Portland. Camera retrieved, I set out... again. I made my way up through Evans Notch, for the third week in a row, and my GPS didn't like it. It kept telling me to backtrack, and that I had another 60 miles to go. Idiot technology.
There were a few glimpses of sun on my way up, but the cloud ceiling hung low when I pulled into the trailhead, but it wasn't raining! I was basically ready to go when I arrived at the Austin Brook Trailhead, so I set off through the turnstile, and up the trail at 8:39. There's a dam just off the trail, at the beginning, and the sound was nice to have, right off the bat.
The Austin Brook Trail follows a road for quite a while, before turning off into the woods for a bit. The trails up to this point were fairly dry, but that would soon change. The woodsy portion was nice and soft, but didn't last long, and just after I had a tricky crossing, it merged with another road.
Continuing up the road, I soon came across some cut over areas. While I understand that cutting of the forest is necessary, it's pretty ugly when you see the fairly recent after-effects, up close and personal. Though I will give it one thing, it does allow for some views.
|View up to Dryad Fall from Austin Brook Trail|
Just after making the turn, the sun came out, and stayed out for a while. Curses. I descended the spur to Dryad Fall, for great effect.
Next up, was more wetness. While the next two of pictures might belie dryness, it was not the case. Any non-rock area was saturated, and a stream occasionally ran in the trailbed. I gave up trying to stay on rocks, and found myself in 3-6 inches of water and mud at times.
My next objective was Dream Lake, and I was thankful when Dryad Fall Trail came to an end, and Dream Lake was visible through the trees. I decided to redline out Peabody Brook Trail, to its junction with the Mahoosuc Trail, and was treated to awesome views over the lake to Madison, and then to it and Washington.
Once returning to the junction, things got interesting. There were a bunch of bog bridges, but they were dangerously slippery. My wet shoes didn't help. I ended up with both arms out, shuffling when I was on them, and I slipped around a lot. On one section, still close to the lake, the bog bridges were about an inch above the water level. Until I stepped on them. Once I did that, they sunk in about four inches. It's lovely standing in three inches of water.
|Slickery bog bridging|
Leaving the ledges, I returned to Peabody Brook Trail, which started to descend steeply, on slippery rocks. Fun times. Clouds were rolling in as I descended, and I found a nice trailside vista looking towards the Presidentials.
|An old trail marker|
|A unique view of Washington and Madison|
At the junction with Middle Mountain Trail, the Peabody Brook Trail turned into a road, and the sun came back out briefly.
I then reached the road, where the trailhead isn't really well marked, and I don't think you could even see it unless you were traveling east on North Road. Then began my 1.9 mile roadwalk. Only two vehicles passed me, but the second one decided to mess with the hiker, beeping as it went past, the passenger yelling something unintelligible. Constantly harassed.
Reaching my car at 1:10, I had time, and I contemplated more redlining. But with the forecast, and the building clouds, I erred on the side of caution, drove to the Moat, and had a couple of Tripels... delicious. Thus ends my hiking for this week. Next week will be consumed by moving preparations (I leased a new apartment just yesterday!), and on Saturday, I'll be taking a go at a one-day Pemi Loop (excluding North Twin). It's going to be tough, but if the weather is good, it should be an epic day!