Thursday, November 2, 2017

UNH TRAIL: 11/1/17

I spent a gray, chilly day assessing damage from the recent storm on the UNH Trail loop over Hedgehog Mountain and clearing some of the many blowdowns.

I encountered a group of blowdowns on the railroad grade near the start of the trail. I only took out the front one (the most annoying to get under) and left the rest for another day, not knowing what awaited farther up the trail.

A big hardwood blowdown.

For now, I cleared a route around its left side.

November is a fine time in the hardwoods.

A cluster of 6 blowdowns on the eastern loop. This one will take a couple of hours of axe or chainsaw work. Overall, though, this side had far fewer blowdowns than the western side (which happens to be my adopted section).

White Brook flows out of a mini-valley below Allen's Ledge.

Mossy spruce woods along the trail.

Approaching the East Ledges.

Mt. Passaconaway from the East Ledges.

Looking out towards Paugus Pass.

My favorite spot is the next set of ledges to the west, where the Sleepers and South Tripyramid are visible.

Looking up at Hedgehog's summit.

Time for a lunch break, gazing out at a brown and gray mountainscape.

Beyond the East Ledges I made a brief bushwhack excursion into a swath of hardwoods between the east and main peaks of Hedgehog.

Some interesting ledges were tucked into the forest.

A rock wall looms above the UNH Trail as it wraps around the west side of the main summit.

A prow-like ledge points out to Paugus Pass.

Zoom on the remote Paugus Pass area.

Another angle on Passaconaway.

The Sleepers and Tripyramids from a ledge near Hedgehog's summit.

Hancock and Carrigain in the distance under leaden skies.

East to Chocorua and Paugus.

Descending down the west side of UNH Trail, I worked on this blowdown for 25 minutes with my Silky saw, but gave it up as it was taking too long and I knew from two hikers I encountered that there was a really bad stretch farther down.

Another big blowdown farther down. I cut off limbs and stubs on this and several others to provide easier passage.

Approaching the bad spot the hikers warned me about. Big holes below the rootballs.

Looks like a microburst hit here. Yikes!

More devastation to the right of the trail. No way to fashion a bypass around the mess.

I figured a passable route had to be made along the trail corridor.

I was able to make one that involves clambering over two blowdown trunks.

More work awaited just below.

I was able to clear a passage through here also.

Looking back up. This section of trail certainly looks different now! I was able to clear a half dozen more blowdowns on the way down, the last one near the trailhead with darkness coming on. At this point the UNH Trail is fully passable, but along the way there are several blowdowns to duck or crawl under or clamber over. Some of these may not be cleared til next spring. There's going to be a lot of work to be done on the trails in the wake of this storm.


  1. good work Steve-O, but Whoa, what damage........

    1. Thanks - the most tree damage since the '98 ice storm, I'd say.

  2. Excellent work! No kidding about that being a bad storm. I'm glad I wasn't there when that storm hit. I've got to start cutting some of those bad boys down before they fall on my head.

  3. Thanks! The softwoods really took a hit with this one.