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Mt Clinton Trailwork, Mt Pierce
June 15, 2012

Route: Crawford Path, Mizpah Cutoff, Mt Clinton Trail, Webster Cliff Trail
Elevation: Mizpah Springs Hut - 3800 ft
Mt Clinton trailwork - 2670-3800 ft
Vertical Climb: 3600 ft
Distance: 7.8 miles
Who Went: Paul (solo)

This was my first trip of the year to my adopted Mt Clinton Trail, and it was going to be a day trip, just enough time to do the upper part of the trail, leave my tools in Mizpah Springs Hut's basement, and climb Mt Pierce before heading home. Of course, it all depended on how much damage was done during the winter months, as more blowdowns meant more work.

Before beginning my ascent to Mizpah up the Crawford Path, I took a picture of the lupines that grow on the hillside above the Highland Center. They're always in full bloom in mid-June. I've tried to grow lupines in our own garden back home, but they only seem to bloom for a couple of years and then die out.

After stopping at the hut for a few minutes, I started down the Mt Clinton Trail and was pleasantly surprised to find that, since I had worked on the upper part of the trail after hurricane Irene last year, there weren't too many blowdowns. I guess Irene had already knocked down the more vulnerable trees and branches.

I was not surprised that the Mt Clinton Trail sign at the junction of the Mt Clinton Trail and Dry River Cutoff was quickly deteriorating. It was just resting against the upper bolt that was supposed to fasten it to the signpost, since most of the top left corner of the sign had rotted away. I did inform the White Mountain National Forest Service, but there's only so much money to go around, and the lightly-used Mt Clinton Trail is not high on their list of priorities.

At one of the perpetually-wet areas of the trail, an area where a large pool forms year-round, just before the short bypass I cut last year to avoid a section of the brook with which the trail had coincided, I dragged a couple of logs to form a rude bridge, secured at each end by bases of rocks. It wasn't much and it wouldn't last forever, but it was better than the alternative. I don't have the tools or ability to construct a proper bridge. And anyway, Mt Clinton is a wilderness trail.

After reaching the first (that is, when heading down the trail) major brook crossing, I stopped for a short rest and some lunch. This was my turnaround point if I wanted to have time to climb Mt Pierce before heading back to the car.

Returning to the hut, I stashed my tools safely away in the basement and then began to ascend the steep Webster Cliff Trail up to Mt Pierce. I rather like this section of the trail, especially if I'm not carrying a heavy load. When I stay overnight at the hut, I usually climb it after supper without my pack, and wearing my Crocs instead of my invariably wet boots.

As usual, I got some nice pictures in the direction of Mts Eisenhower and Washington from the summit of Mt Pierce. In fact, the sky was particularly bright, blue, and clear, with only a few puffy white clouds drifting by. It was definitely a nice day to be in the mountains.

Lupines in front of the Highland Center. Mt Tom is behind them.

Mt Clinton Trail sign. Every time I make this trip, the sign has deteriorated a bit more. It's barely holding onto the post now.

Makeshift log bridge. This area is perpetually wet. Not able to construct a proper bridge, I did the best I could with these logs and rocks.

Taking a rest. This first (heading downhill) major brook crossing was my turnaround point for the day.

Mountain sandwort on the Webster Cliff Trail.

Lone cloud. This view is looking southwest from the top of the steep section of the Webster Cliff Trail above the hut.

Mts Eisenhower, Monroe, Washington, and Jefferson from the summit of Mt Pierce.

Closeup of Mts Eisenhower, Monroe, and Washington, also from Mt Pierce.

Extreme closeup of Mt Washington's summit cone with a good view of the observatory buildings on top.

Unidentified flower. If anyone knows what this is, please let me know..

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