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Trail Conditions

Trip Log


Old Speck Mountain
Grafton, ME

Trailheads, measurements, times, distances, and maps are all approximate and relative to the hike(s) as shown below.
Looking down the Old Speck Trail
Looking down the Old Speck Trail

Route: Old Speck Trail

Wanting to hike out of state again, I decided to head up to Grafton Notch. With temperatures hovering in the lower single digits, it was a somewhat cold start.

I quickly found out that I was going to be breaking trail. While there was only an inch or two of new snow, the foot trough had drifted in and, up high, there were regular drifts, 1-3 feet in depth.

Walking alongside the brook near the beginning of the hike was pretty neat - in a time of massive runoff (after the rain), the temperature had dropped, resulting in a frozen icebed - pretty striking. Above the upper Eyebrow junction, I lost the trail. No foot trough visible and a lack of (inconvenient) white blazes. After some searching, I was able to find the next blaze (somewhat obscured by a leaning tree in front of it) and continue on.

My pace was much slower than planned - due to the trailbreaking, I was running a bit hot. However, the weather increasingly bitter as I climbed - cold temperatures and rough winds. Thus, I had to dial down my pace and try not to work up a sweat. This wasn't too hard to do, however, as I wasn't overly inspired by the occasional view of the summit hidden in the clouds.

While I remembered lots of false hope during my previous Old Speck hike, I still found myself constantly getting let down, as I kept thinking I was nearing the final climb to the upper trail junction. When I finally reached that junction, I figured it would be smooth sailing on the nearly-level walk to the summit. Not the case! The trail was filled in with blowdowns, resulting in some bushwhacking. Reaching the summit, I was happy to see that the ground-level viewpoint was in the clear, resulting in excellent views to the east. With the freezing fog and moderate winds, I opted not to climb the tower.

Other than the blowdown-laced top section of trail, the descent went fairly smoothly and quickly. Arriving at the parking lot in the early afternoon, I had enough time to perhaps do another hike.

Hike Ratings
Getting To Trailhead: Easy
Destination: Old Speck Mountain
Length: Moderate
Steepness: Difficult
Navigation: Difficult
Views: Excellent
Crowds: Minimal

Hike Stats
Date Hiked: Sunday, January 31, 2010
Hike Commenced: 8:17 AM
Parking Elevation: 1,496'
Destination: Old Speck Mountain
Ascent Commenced: 8:18 AM
Summit Reached: 11:20 AM
Time Elapsed: 03:02
Trailhead Elevation: 1,496'
Summit Elevation: 4,180'
Distance: 3.8 miles
Vertical Gain: 2,989'
Hike Ended: 1:35 PM
Hike Time Elapsed: 05:18
Hike Distance: 7.6 miles
Hike Vertical Gain: 3,304'

The Old Speck Trail trailhead
The Old Speck Trail trailhead

Looking up the Old Speck Trail
Looking up the Old Speck Trail

Looking at the Baldpates (left) and Mt. Blue (center) from Old Speck - Click to enlarge
Looking at the Baldpates (left) and Mt. Blue (center) from Old Speck

Topographic map of Old Speck Mountain - Click to enlarge

Directions to trailhead: Take US 2 East to Route 26 North into Grafton Notch. The hiker parking area is just below The Eyebrow. The Appalachian Trail departs southbound, diagonally left from the kiosk at the parking area.

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