|Hiking Trail Conditions Report|
||The Subway, NH|
||Lowe's Path, King Ravine Trail, King Ravine Subway|
|Date of Hike:
||Sunday, June 28, 2020|
|Parking/Access Road Notes:
||Plenty of room at the hiker parking area at Lowe's Store. The store appeared to be closed. |
||Dry Trail, Wet/Slippery Rock, Snow/Ice - Small Patches |
|Water Crossing Notes:
||The crossing of Spur Brook and the two crossings of Cold Brook, on King Ravine Trail, were all fairly straightforward rock hops. Nothing else of consequence. |
|Trail Maintenance Notes:
||Lowe's Path and the lower King Ravine Trail were all easy to follow with no blowdowns, though they had a few eroded sections. King Ravine Trail between Mossy Fall and the Chemin des Dames has some very precarious sections of rock-hopping/scrambling, where there are large holes on practically all sides of the rocks that we have to use to get through. Some of these rock scrambles are just as difficult, if not more so, than anything on the Subway. I'm not sure what can be done about this - maybe filling in the holes with dirt or rerouting the trail around those sections - but it would definitely improve the trail. Subway was mostly well blazed, with only a few spots of uncertainty about where to go. All signs are in place. |
||Don't even think about trying to take a dog into King Ravine (past Mossy Fall). Many of the rock scrambles on King Ravine Trail before the junction with Chemin des Dames would be practically impossible for dogs. We met a couple with a dog who were descending King Ravine Trail - they told us it was because their dog was unable to do the scrambles. The Subway itself is similarly dog-unfriendly. However, any of the trails below and up to Mossy Fall should be fine for dogs. |
||Not too bad. I sprayed 30% DEET on my hat and shirt at the beginning of the hike, and I wasn't bothered too much. We all carried head nets, but none of us felt the need to use them. In general, the bugs were a little bit worse in the afternoon than in the morning. |
|Lost and Found:
||This was a strenuous and (in some parts) technically challenging hike. The hike up Lowe's Path to the junction with King Ravine Trail is straightforward. King Ravine Trail from there to Mossy Fall was also relatively easy, but know that it has several substantial downhill parts on the way up. The skies started out clear, but by the time we got to Mossy Fall it was mostly overcast. Undaunted, we continued up King Ravine Trail, and that's where the adventure began. We all knew that the Subway itself involved lots of rock-hopping, boulder scrambling, and cave crawling, sometimes with big holes as obstacles, but we didn't realize that King Ravine Trail past Mossy Fall has several sections like that as well. But it does, and extreme caution is required when traversing these sections, because in several places it is very easy to fall into a deep hole. This is why we do not recommend bringing dogs or small children into King Ravine. |
Eventually, 45 minutes after leaving Mossy Fall, we made it to the junction with Chemin des Dames. Views were very impressive, though the sky was mostly gray. The beginning of the Subway is right there, so we got ready to go through. I had purchased a 2-liter water bladder backpack the previous weekend, after seeing videos of the Subway and not wanting to bring my normal large heavy pack through. This was a very good decision - I never had to remove the bladder pack. None of us brought our big packs through the Subway. It was relatively well blazed, and nothing was seriously dangerous, though major caution had to be exercised at all times, and sometimes we had to look for alternate routes up onto rocks if our first idea proved unfeasible. There is one particular scramble up a steep rock, that relies heavily on a particular branch of a scrub plant that we could use as a handhold. If that branch hadn't been there, that scramble would've been extremely difficult. There were several very small patches of ice in the Subway, and two larger patches under rocks. We only had to step on one of the patches, and even then it was just for one or two steps - it was not difficult (and it did make those areas nice and cool temperature-wise). Ultimately, it took us about a half-hour to get through the Subway, and it did not rain.
The rock scrambles and holes on King Ravine Trail below the Subway were just as difficult (if not more so) to go down than up, and it did not take any less time to get down that stretch than it took to get up. There is one particular scramble on that stretch, the hardest, where you go down a crack that leads directly to a deep hole, and then have to swing your legs way over to the left in order to land on a fairly small piece of rock instead (that is surrounded by deep holes). One member of our group was unable to safely get down that spot, and managed to bushwhack around it. Definitely leave plenty of time for that particular stretch of trail.
The most notable thing about the remainder of our descent was that, contrary to my expectations, it didn't rain at all. This was despite the weather forecast showing an 80% chance of thunderstorms for most of the afternoon. We only saw four other people the whole day - I suspect that the weather forecast scared most people away.
Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.