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Mt Clinton Trailwork, Mt Pierce
June 20-21, 2006

Route: Crawford Path, Mizpah Cutoff,
Mt Clinton Trail, Webster Cliff Trail
Map:
 
Elevation: Mizpah Springs Hut - 3800 ft
Mt Clinton trailwork - 2750-3800 ft
Mt Pierce - 4310 ft
Vertical Climb: 3730 ft
Distance: 9.4 miles
Who Went: Paul (solo)

This was my second trip doing trail maintenance on my recently-adopted trail, the Mt Clinton Trail. In addition to my small bow saw, I brought a pair of pruning shears as I was going to concentrate on trimming the branches of the small balsam firs and red spruce that had encroached upon the trail, nearly obliterating it in spots.

This time, Mizpah Springs Hut was open for the season, so I decided to stay there rather than lug my tent, sleeping pad, and cooking gear up with me. I got to the AMC Highland Center in the early afternoon, picked up a hard hat from the AMC trail crew stash at Crawford Depot, and immediately started up the Crawford Path. I was walking faster than normal because the clear skies of the morning had grown cloudy and had begun to portend rain. Then, About halfway to the hut, it began to shower. First, it was just a light but steady rain, but then it quickly turned into a torrential downpour, complete with frequent displays of lightning and loud cracks of thunder. I was rapidly drenched to the skin and, despite my gators, my boots began to fill with water. Quickening my pace, I made it to the hut a good half-hour sooner than normal.

In my assigned bunkroom, I changed into dry clothes and hung the wet stuff around to dry. As usual, supper at the hut was excellent and filling, and I was glad to crawl into bed and read for awhile before falling asleep.

The next morning after breakfast, I headed out on the Mt Clinton Trail to begin my work. I had been hoping for a drier trail than on my last trip, but the previous day's deluge had ruined any chance of that. As before, after I passed the Dry River Cutoff, the trail was overgrown and often very hard to follow. I was still waiting for my September training, so I trimmed branches sparingly, knowing that wilderness trail maintenance rules called for an extremely narrow and primitive path.

By the middle of the afternoon, I managed to reach about a hundred vertical feet lower than on my previous trip. But at least the trail was a little less obscure. I climbed back up to the hut, packed up my stuff, and headed back down by way of nearby Mt Pierce, a good steep hike up from the hut. The weather was much better than it had been the day before, and the views from Mt Pierce were excellent.

Self-portrait on the Mt Clinton Trail. I spent most of the time brushing the trail, which was very overgrown. I also removed a couple of blowdowns.

View north from the summit of Mt Pierce. Mt Eisenhower is directly ahead, with Mts Monroe and Washington behind it. Mt Jefferson is also visible at the far left.

Self-portrait on the summit of Mt Pierce. The sun was in my eyes at the time.

Looking northwest from Mt Pierce. Rt 302 and the Mt Washington Hotel are barely visible far below.

Closeup of the Mt Washington Hotel from Mt Pierce. With a zoom lens, it almost looks close enough to touch.

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