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Mt Clinton Trailwork, Mt Pierce
October 10-11, 2008

Route: Crawford Path, Mizpah Cutoff,
Mt Clinton Trail, Webster Cliff Trail
Map:
 
Elevation: Mizpah Springs Hut - 3800 ft
Mt Clinton trailwork - 1900-3800 ft
Mt Pierce - 4310 ft
Vertical Climb: 5130 ft
Distance: 12.2 miles
Who Went: Paul (solo)

Day 1

Due to an injury (bruised ribs), our family's 2-week vacation on Cape Cod in August, and a long bout of unusually rainy weather, I hadn't been up to the White Mountains since the beginning of July. I was running out of time for finishing my trail work for the year. With the weather predicted to be great over the Columbus Day weekend, it was now or never.

I made reservations to stay at Mizpah Springs Hut for on Friday night, so I hiked up the Crawford Path in the morning and deposited my sleeping bag and extra clothes in my bunk. It wasn't supposed to be crowded that night, and I was lucky to get one of the smaller bunkrooms all to myself. After picking up my tools from where I had stored them in the hut's basement, I headed out to work on my trail.

I expected to do a good deal of brushing, and maybe remove a few blowdowns farther down on the trail, below where I had last left off. But the reverse turned out to be true. All-in-all, I removed 17 blowdowns, many of them higher up on the trail, and only did a little bit of brushing, but I did cover the entire 3 miles of the trail, all the way down to the junction with the Dry River Trail. I also built several small cairns to mark some obscure brook crossings. Unfortunately, there was one huge huge birch tree that had fallen to block the route of the trail at the last brook crossing before crossing the Dry River. My small bow saw was no match for it, so it had to stay.

Along the way, I stopped for lunch at a legal campsite that's located about halfway between the hut and the Dry River. It's a pleasant-looking campsite, marked by a small brown Forest Service sign on the trail. It's got a nice clear flat area for a tent (or maybe 2), a large and well-used fire ring, and the back of the campsite abuts the brook.

After lunch, I continued to work my way down the trail. As the elevation decreased, birches began to replace the stands of conifers, and the woods took on a bright golden and emerald hue. The brook crossings were also more obscure, so it was in this section that I did built most of the small cairns. The couple of tenths of a mile or so of the trail was also hard to follow in places, so I did a little brushing and dragged a few branches to block places where someone might tend to wander away from the correct path. This would be more of an issue going uphill rather than downhill, as the loud gurgling of the Dry River provided a strong clue as to the right direction.

Trailhead and historic Crawford Path sign. As the sign says, the Crawford Path is the oldest continuously-maintained mountain trail in America.

Mt Clinton Trail campsite sign. This marked campsite is about halfway between the Dry River Trail and Mizpah Springs Hut.

Closeup of campsite area. The back of the campsite abuts the  brook which is behind the trees at the center of the picture. The fire ring is to the left and the cleared tent area is to the right.

Stone fire ring. This is the apparently well-used fire ring viewed from the tent area.

Self-portrait at the campsite. I ate lunch  and rested here a little while before going back to work.

Looking up at the treetops at the campsite. This seemed like a peaceful place to camp.

Looking down the Mt Clinton Trail. Below the campsite, as the elevation decreased, birches started to appear in the woods.

Dry River Trail junction. After crossing the Dry River, the Mt Clinton Trail climbs the bank to this junction.

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