Based on how things are at my house I would imagine we need another week or so in Central NH. You can bank on Franklin being ready first, the sandy soil there drains excellently and it will be ready almost immediately after the snow pack is gone.
I have tried to get in touch with the Spaulding trail guys about Spring-- note that this is their first Spring on the trails and they may or may not be open until all is dry. Highland's is private land and I do not know there policy for Spring, so just call or e-mail them. Can not imagine the snow, but especially the ice , has gone from those shady, hemlock, north facing areas of Franklin. Go with the Slav suggesting the following weekend, 19-20th.,as a possible Go..
First Hand Report on Franklin and Spaulding-today at noon-- Lots of snow and ice at Franklin, that's about 50-85% snow and ice coverage-ice up to 4" deep on Snowmo trails/roads and singletrack, compaction here. I walked Coleman Road and came down Sniper, my adopted trail. What is not snow or ice, is mud--- the fabled drainage at Franklin is still frozen below the surface from the 5 degree below normal Winter. Some of the snow is still 8-16" + deep. Sniper was a ribbon of ice from Winter compaction.So when the snow and ice go, another week at least, we will still have mud. And Lots of branches and debris from a stormy Winter. Two weeks looks better unless it is 70, blue skies, above freezing at night. It could be May 1...ditto Spaulding--I drove down to the parking lot, and saw the same amount of snow as Franklin--have pics of today if I figure out how to post them.
Update On Franklin Falls conditions: walked trails today at noon to clear brush--great improvement from last Friday, almost all the snow is gone, but still a fair amount of snow and singletrack ice, especially all North facing trails. What happened was 80 degrees on Monday melted most of the snow and a lot of the ice, but the ground was still frozen underneath so melt did not drain, and then Tuesday night it rained 1" and flash froze on Wed. morning, and is still frozen. Meaning mud when it thaws....soon. I went up Sniper, down Stump, over to Pine Snake, up Middle and out Whaleback. Every trail had some ice sections, especially banked corners. Lower Whumpus, Stump, Moose Gully, Bench, Mighty Chicken, Bee all have snow, ice and mud. Driest are Whaleback, Sniper, Coleman Road, and probably the rim section of Rogue. Weekend of 26-27 should be quite good. There is still a lot of branches and a chainsaw size tree or two or three across each trail I walked. This weekend will not be good with the mud , ice, snow, branches, trees....but if is sunny and warmish on Sunday the parking lot will be full.. good luck to all...just stop and remove some branches every so often and tread lightly!
Here is my Franklin Falls Report for Sunday April 20th:
I had an hour to burn this morning so I figured I'd go pedal the trails and clear some trees and brush. I ended up riding Moose Gully, Pine Snake, The Bee Trail, and Sniper. Each of these trails are nearly 100 percent dry, hard packed and rolling fast. There was one ice patch in the ravine that runs through the bottom of Moose Gully, roughly 10-15 feet long. Pine Snake had several small ice patches but no wet ground around them. The trail is draining as fast as the ice melts. Bee Trail was nearly 100 percent dry. Sniper had one section of soft loam and ice roughly 20 feet long, but it was easy enough to navigate around and the rest of the trail was fully dried. There was also one 30 foot, 12-15 inch diameter tree laying across the Sniper but it's visible enough to notice early without hitting it. Other than that these trails are just covered with loose leaves and are ready to be ridden.
I did take a walk up through the Chicken Ravine and there is still a bit of ice and sitting water so the Mighty Chicken looks like it'll need some more time before it's ready for riding. I'll be riding there later this week so I will report on the progress of other trails for those considering making a trip.
Franklin Falls- Monday.. most all is good, walked/rode Sniper, Whumpus, Heritage to lower level of Bench, Lost Wall. etc., up Bench, up Bee, Pine Snake, Moose Gulley, Rogue... the only bad ice left was the lower level of Bench where there was 200' plus of singletrack mud and ice and the bottom of Moose Gulley as usual- so avoid this. All should be primo for next weekend.
Quick note on Spaulding Woods: There website, spauldingwoods.org, just posted trail conditions- ONLY the bottom handful of trails are OPEN, closest to the parking lot and up to the junction of lower yellow dot and lower haul road, including Sharnado and Smallish Varmint. ALL trails above are CLOSED for now--please stay out and save these new trails. They will update on their site so stayed tuned.
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