This was my first trip of the season doing trail
maintenance on my adopted trail, the Mt Clinton Trail. It was
also my most frustrating trip of the year, as I had taken 2 vacation
days off of work for what turned out to be a huge waste of time!
AMC Backcountry Weather and Trail Conditions web report, which is
updated daily on the
Mt Washington Observatory website during snow
season, claimed that trails were merely wet below Mizpah Springs
Hut but required traction above the hut. Thus, I did not bring my
snowshoes, as I assumed the Mt Clinton Trail would be relatively free of
snow. In actuality, snow began around 3200 feet on the Crawford Path, and I postholed
up to my knees in many places, and even deeper in some, all the way to
Clinton Trail was even worse, as the snow had not been packed from
frequent travel, and I was unable to accomplish much of anything. I only
managed to remove 2 minor blowdowns between the hut and the Mizpah Cutoff. I would have postponed this trip or at least brought my snowshoes if the AMC’s published trail
conditions had been accurate. Needless to say, I was not very happy.
After working part of the afternoon, I spent
the night at the Naumann Tentsite, choosing a tent platform that was as
far away from the hut as possible. The hut was totally full of croo
members for the annual all-hut croo meeting, and the tentsite was
quieter. During much of the day, the AMC helicopter was also whirling
overhead, delivering the summer supplies to the hut.
After cooking and eating my freeze-dried
supper, I decided to climb Mt Pierce via the Webster Cliff Trail. Oddly,
there was actually less snow above the hut than below it, so I didn't
have too hard of a time making the trip up and back.
The next morning after breakfast, I quickly
packed up and headed back down. The snow hadn't done any perceptible
melting overnight, nor had it frozen into a more firm consistency as I
had hoped, If anything, the temperature had warmed up a few degrees and
the snow was actually softer and more difficult to stay atop.