Bog Brook Trail Attempt

April 29, 2017.

It's spring in southern NH but who knows what it is like up north. Reports are still 3-4 feet of snow up in the mountains. Hoping to get lucky with one of the few low trails I have left but one never knows as this is one of those trails I rarely see a report on. I was last up in this area back in November when I did Carter Dome via Wildcat River Trail. The trails were pretty mild then from the bits I did see so keep the fingers crossed.

Reaching the upper end of Carter Notch Road and I begin to doubt my decision. This portion of the road is closed during the winter but snowmobilers use it during the winter season. The road is packed down ice and I slowly make my way in without any problems. I did have concerns for the drive out as one section was a steep downhill, which would be uphill on the exit, covered in ice. I get to the trailhead just before eight and no surprise the only one here. A few minutes later and I am on Bog Brook Trail again for the second time in five months. Some small patches of snow on the newly relocated portion of the trail and also on the old trail.


At the first crossing, Wildcat Brook, it's kind of what I expected for this time of year. It's flowing and much higher than last November. The rocks I used last time are submerged and the current is pretty swift. No worries as I pull out my waders from Wiggy's and gingerly make the crossing being careful not to let the current pull my leg downstream as I step.


The next brook crossing wasn't bad and just before the Wildcat River there was a spruce tree down across the trail. No problem as I had just bought a foldable saw for just this occasion. At the river was a totally different scenario. The water was a lot deeper than last year and it was really roaring.


What was a wicked easy crossing before was no longer. I was pretty nervous about wading this one as I looked across to the other side seeing how deep the water was and the flow rate. A quick look upstream and I didn't see any options. Downstream it looked possible with the rocks protruding but once walking to them I noticed it was deep with pockets of rushing water.


Feeling like I made a tactical error, I had already done this portion of the trail and did not need to do it today, I started to wonder if I should turn back for safety sake. But first I needed to exhaust all options so I headed upstream to see if there might be a way across. About a hundred feet up the river and I did see a spot where the current wasn't as strong nor the water as deep. So putting one foot slowly in front of the other I set out crossing the river. I took shuffling steps and walked diagonally up the river so my foot wouldn't get swept downstream as I took each step. Thankfully I made it across without incident but it probably was not one of my smartest moves I have made out in the woods. Making my way back to the trail and I reach the junction where Wildcat River Trail leads off to the left. Bog Brook Trail heads to the right and for the next couple of miles this is all new trail for me.


Bog Brook Trail leads up into some nice open hardwoods which leaves the trail snowless. Hitting some spruce sections and the conditions are different. The patches of snow are easy to get around or through as they are only a few inches deep.


Across the logging road and the traveling is still pretty good. Further up the trail skirts through a wetland area and through the naked trees a good view of Carter Notch.


A little over ten minutes later and the conditions take a dramatic turn. What were once splotches of snow is now pretty consistent and now one foot deep. From here on out it is all snow and getting deeper as I go.


I make it to the first crossing of Bog Brook and stop dead in my tracks trying to figure out which way the trail goes. The brook is split in two here and nothing looks obvious on which way to go. I take a look at my GPS and only have another mile before the junction with the Wild River Trail. I did the portion of that trail back in November up to the Rainbow Trail and kind of hoped it would be less snow being in the open woods. But there's no guarantee and first I have to get through all this snow assuming I can find where the trail goes. Looking all around and I finally spy a blue diamond up in the distance. It looks like the trail skirts to the right of the stream in the picture but the snow is two feet deep in here and who knows where the stream ends and the trail actually is. I can see myself stepping right through the soft snow into the stream. I weigh my options and decide that it's not worth the effort to keep going. I kind of knew coming in to this hike that it would be a hit or miss and I got the confirmation I was looking for in regards to the conditions. Rereaching the logging road and it was an easy decision to take the road back to the parking lot. Still covered in a sheet of packed ice from the snowmobile season the trip back went pretty quick.


Not a complete loss as I did finally make it to 90% being done on my redlining. Only 144.4 miles to go! Unfortunately quite a few of the trails I have left are in worse locations than this trail and might be mid June before I can get into them. But I'll take what the trails give me and someway I will finish this project this year. Oh and the small icy hill on the way out was soft enough that I made it up with no issue.

Final numbers: 4.6 miles, 3 hours and 5 minutes.

Redline Miles: 1.2, Total to Date: 1296.0