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Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks
Peaks Mt. Meader, Eagle Crag, Blue Brook Shelter Peak, NH
Trails
Trails: Basin Trail, Basin Rim Trail, Meader Ridge Trail, Eagle Link, Wild River Trail, Black Angel Trail, bushwhack, Blue Brook tentsite Spur, Blue Brook Conmector
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Saturday, June 27, 2020
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: I took the last “normal” spot at the mid-sized parking area for Wild River and Basin trails at 12pm.. Room probably a dozen and a half cars there before it overflows. The pay station is shut down so it’s free at the moment :)  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Water is so low right now that even the usually tricky crossings were doable without wet feet yesterday. The hardest was actually the crossing of Red Brook on Wild River Trail because while it was mostly very shallow, there were few rocks to hop across on so it took a second of thought as did the crossing of the Wild River where the former Spider Bridge was located. Although the brook was dry, there is a very mossy and rocky area on Eagle Link where I assume water normally runs over...I’d imagine it’s very slick and treacherous with water running down it. Although we’re suppose to get some rain this week it doesn’t look like today’s rain did too much to raise water levels in this area so these crossings may still be easy enough (or even rock hoppable like yesterday!) for another couple days.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Basin Trail was clear of blowdowns as far as I remember. I think Basin Rim Trail and Mount Meader Trail only had a few minor ones. Eagle Link had several but that was expected given its reputation and the fact its in a wilderness area. I didn’t find it bad at all though. The blowdowns were not too numerous and none were that difficult. Wild River Trail was mostly clear except for one small but pain in the butt tree you either had to finagle tour way through or go off trail to avoid. There was at least one big leaner/widow maker on Black Angel Trail but I don’t recall much else. I’d guess that it was about a quarter mile before the height-of-land. I don’t recall any on the Blue Brook Connector. I believe all trails were I was on were blazed in yellow though some may have been entirely unblazed. Basin Trail’s blazes were very faded and could be replaced. They were often placed infrequently. The blazes were much fresher and at least a bit more often on Basin Rim Trail and Meader Ridge Trail. Eagle Link had maybe three bright yellow blazes the entire time but was mostly very old and faded blazes that were hardly discernible and even those were infrequent. I don’t recall if Wild River Trail, Black Angel Trail, or Blue Brook Connector were blazed at all but none were hard to follow on the sections of them that I was on. Do not expect blazes to be replaced in a wilderness area. The only trail that may be hard to follow is Eagle Link as it’s very overgrown and should be trimmed way back. At a few points the brush is entirely over the footbed but if you push the brush away, you’ll see that the footbed is clearly still there.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: These would be good trails for dogs assuming they can hike for 16mi. You may need to bring extra water for them along the ridge. Only one seen.  
Bugs
Bugs: I recommend bug spray. The mosquitos were pretty bad down low. Some black flies up higher but they didn’t seem as bad.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
 
Comments
Comments: Mount Meader (eastern knob), Eagle Crag, Blue Brook Shelter Peak

I parked at the Wild River campground and ascended the northern end of Basin Trail —> Basin Rim Trail (South) —> Meader Ridge Trail —> Eagle Link —> Wild River Trail (north) —> Black Angel Trail (East)—> bushwhack to Blue Brook Shelter Peak —> Black Angel Trail —> out-and-back on campsite spur and Blue Brook Connector —> Black Angel Trail —> Basin Trail back to car. The hike was about 16.5mi with around 3700ft of gain. It took me 8.5hrs starting at noon and ending at 8:30pm.

Basin Trail was a nice warm up with mostly easy grades, particularly at the beginning of the trail. Very impressive, long section of bog bridges toward its beginning and the trail passes underneath some small but imposing cliffs on the other side of the brook. I didn’t notice them on my way in but another hiker I met mentioned them and they caught my eye on the way down ;) . A pleasant ridge walk along Basin Rim Trail and Meader Ridge Trail. I did Meader Ridge Trail a couple months ago in later winter and it was cool to do it again and compare without the snow :) Great views from Eagle Crag before I descended Eagle Link. I’d heard a lot of not so nice things about that trail but I actually enjoyed it. The mud on it was not anywhere near as bad as I would have thought it would be. A few deep spots of mud to avoid but nothing crazy and they were few and far between and easy enough to avoid. There were a number of blowdowns of course but nothing excessive by any means. It was very overgrown at a few points but just keep tour eye on the footbed and you’ll be fine. Someone with some experience should have no trouble following it. Mostly nice grades and a few different areas the trail goes through. I found it enjoyable :) The crossings on Wild River Trail were nice and low. The elevation gain on Black Angel Trail was unwelcome at the end of the day but totally doable.

I started my bushwhack from the height of land on trail. You immediately ascend up a bump, the descend very briefly, before continuing the up, then coming to a very small bump that could fool a beginner as the high point, before continuing the rest of the way to the high point. It’s less than a quarter mile from the trail. The woods weren’t terrible but I didn’t find them particularly nice either. Lots of scratchy pine needles. There is a wide stand of them not long before the high point you have to push through unless you want to take the time to circumvent them. I found some better woods on the way down and what seemed a better line too before realizing I was off course and would end up on the west of the height of land and have to climb back up a short ways. Oh well. Still a good, easy, beginners bushwhack. The summit jar is new and in good shape. I was only the 7th person to and in I think! Felt good to have my name right underneath some of “The Greats” ;) It looked like there may be some views to be had a little further north of the jar but I didn’t go exploring.

Blue Brook tentsite appeared to be full by 7pm when I arrived. Water was so low and the mud was so avoidable and relatively minor that I was able to do this typically very muddy and wet hike in trail runners without getting my feet wet once! A great time to redline some of these trails :D Only saw a group of three on Basin Trail that I passed, one solo guy heading down, a group of two that seemed to be doing a crazy trail running loop at Rim Jct, one solo hiker on Basin Rim/Meader Ridge, a small group taking a break just off trail at the the eastern knob of Mt Meader, and a small group across the way at Eagle Crag :)  
Name
Name: Liam Cooney 
E-Mail
E-Mail: liamcooney96@gmail.com 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2020-06-28 
Link
Link: http:// 
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