What a glorious day last Friday was and since I had to work the evening shift, I took advantage of it and got out for my first spring hike!!! I headed down to my stomping ground in Evans Notch (ME Route 113 is open!) and hiked Spruce Hill on the side of Speckled Mountain. I got a nice early start so that I could take my time and thus I began in some chilly temperatures with a steep climb next to a seasonal water flow. Got my heart rate going and there was a fair degree of mud on the trail due to the seasonal flow and this past week’s rain. Soon enough however I started to side hill up the side of the ridge. Caught a couple of views through the trees due to lack of leaves but the trail itself did not boast many. What it did boast was a number of different wonderfully beautiful zones. I went through one whole slope covered with…guess what!…spruce trees! A bunch of babies under more mature ones!
Soon after I ascended into a slightly more boreal forest with the ledges, moss, lichens and evergreens of that zone! It’s part of what I love about the Evans Notch region, that you get into this zone at a relatively low elevation! I crossed over the summit of Spruce Hill and descended into a sag just to see the entire length of this particular trail. I turned back at the junction with the Bickford Brook Trail. I actually saw 4 other people which rather surprised me but if I had continued I would have eventually summitted the slightly higher and with better views Speckled Mountain. My assumption is that that was where the others were heading.
What I did not see was any ice! I was on a wet and muddy trail with a northern aspect at times, in deep and cool notches and in a northern location and still…below 2500 feet appeared to be totally clear! So take heart…spring is coming! I got a report from a guest today that they summitted South Moat at 2,700 feet with the same experience…wet trails but no ice!
Folks are still skiing in Tuckerman Ravine although the crowds have just never materialized. We have a small handful every weekend still heading up to Left Gully and the lower bowl. Conditions are slowly become more mushy with the warming temperatures, and light snowfalls on the summit do not appearing to be refreshing the situation much.
To hike Spruce Hill, use AMC Map #5 for the Carter Range and Evans Notch. You can find the hike under the Spruce Hill Trail in the White Mountain Guide. The entire trail is just 3.8 miles long, just perfect for a half day in the woods!
As always you can check AMC conditions for the latest report and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we’re seeing out our windows and for the best trail advice we can give you!
We are available by phone at (603)466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm.
AMC Backcountry Information Specialist