Exploring Lesser Known Trails in the Whites!

Mt Jefferson from the top of the Chandler Brook Trail
Hello All!  It's been awhile since I've written in here...my family went over to Vermont for a ten day trip on the Long Trail.  THAT was awesome but I've also been out several times since I've been back!
First I got up Peaked Mtn. out of North Conway.  I've climbed it before but this time took the Peaked
Views from the Peaked Mtn Trail
Mtn Trail all the way to the summit.  Greatly recommend this approach both for the beauty of the ledges and for the BLUEBERRIES!  So in case you've been wondering, blueberries are definitely out in the lower elevations...not in the upper yet, but the picking looks plenteous down below!
Now Peaked Mtn. Trail is a great hike for kids and it definitely does go SOMEWHERE ...you end up with a wonderful view of North Conway with the Presidentials behind.  However the next two hikes I did hold with them the question, "Why do these trails exist?"  Maybe just for crazy curious adventurers like
Rocks and Views off of the Chandler Brook Trail
myself but here they are...
Chandler Brook
Chandler Brook Trail begins 5 miles up the Great Gulf trail and goes .9m up to the Auto Road?  There are no connector trails from the trail head on the auto road, begging the question of its existence!  I cheated.  I drove up the Auto Road and hiked down and back up to check it out.  It is NUTS!!!  Take the top .5m of Tuckerman Ravine (the rocks), make it as steep as the Headwall without the switchback, add lichen and water from the brook and then take away all the people! If I haven't dissuaded you yet, it really really is pretty!  My guess is that maybe it came into being because someone camping in the Great Gulf or staying at Madison Hut wanted to walk up the river and they kept walking farther and
farther until finally they popped out on the Auto Road and voila...a trail was born!!!  We'll have to check in with AMC historians to see if that's actually correct but in the meantime...here's what you will find if you venture in the way I did!  The trailhead on the Auto Road is just past the 4 mile marker on the right.  There is only room for 2-3 cars total here so don't all rush out to do this!!! The first .3m is a very steep descent on uneven rocks until you arrive at the brook.  The next .3m is right along the brook, crossing it 3 times.  It is steep, muddy, rooty and rocky.  The last .3m is relatively mild, descending at a gentler grade until you arrive at the intersection with the Great Gulf Trail.  And then you turn around and climb back up! Happy craziness!
The Jewell Trail on the way to Boundary Line Trail
If that wasn't nuts enough I went out on the Boundary Line Trail over at Crawford Notch this past Monday, if you are staying at the Highland Center this is a quick 15 minute drive. The Boundary Line Trail also begs the question of its existence!  It begins .3m up the Jewell Trail and goes over in kind of a beeline to Jefferson Notch Road?  My theory on this one is that one could theoretically link Caps of the Ridge up Jefferson with a loop with the Jewell Trail and get back to their car using the Boundary Line Trail.  That's not appealing to me but it might be to you!!!  If so, the Boundary Line trail is wild and almost never used so is a rather pretty passage through the woods!  The craziness of it for me was the severe thunderstorms I hiked in!  It was the only day I had over my weekend for hiking and I REALLY wanted to stretch
The Bridge over the very high Franklin Brook.  This I would NOT cross!
my legs.  So out I went.  I also hadn't hiked the Jewell Trail since before the trailhead moved away from the Cog Railway so I began by hiking up to the Jewell Trail itself to see what the extension was like.  Unfortunately I didn't see much of anything with the torrential downpours going on but the rain did ease up on the downhill climb.  The Boundary Line Trail is mostly level with a dip down to cross Clay Brook. After all that rain I had to
One Green Trail in the rain!!!
cross Clay Brook and continued on through with 6 inches of water covering the trail.  All in all, it was a delightful day splashing in the rain in my extra large raincoat!
For all you intrepid hikers who call asking for conditions directly after rain, take note!  Very often you can still hike unless you don't want to get your feet wet at all.  Wear gaiters for no other reason than to protect your socks from the wet grass. Many of the higher rivers you can fjord if you are comfortable.  Take off the gaiters and your socks and put your boots back on.  Use hiking sticks or poles for balance, unhook your backpack belts and take it on carefully!
One soggy trail after the rain!!!

Clay Brook was not a difficult crossing.  I wasn't more than 1.5 feet deep at the deepest and the current wasn't strong.  More difficult water you may need to wait out for 24 hours for it to go down.  I would not have crossed Franklin Brook if there had not been a bridge!  Be more cautious if hiking alone and always err on the side of caution but high waters do not necessarily have to negate your hike!

Clay Brook
For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk. We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM or by email at amcpinkhaminfo@outdoors.org. To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm. Be sure to check weather conditions before you come and call us here with any questions! We'll see you up here!

Happy Hiking!!!

Backcountry Information Specialist

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