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    I'm contemplating a hike tomorrow. Crunching the numbers/ doing map study at the moment on elevation gain and mileage.

    Looks like it's about 19.1 miles for the whole thing with about 6240' of elevation gain. Leach trail looks to be a bit of a meat-grinder, I'm counting elevation gains of :
    1640, 630, 820, 220 and 700' heading south to Nippletop. Easy to bail out and just loop back via lake road if I'm toast at the junction between the Colvin trail and the Elk pass trail. Turning left adds on the last 5 miles and gains of 860, 600 and 660' or so for a total add of 2120'.

    This will be a harder hike than anything I've done this year. I did Esther and WF on Saturday via Marble Mtn in 5:30 which I have calculated at 10.4 miles and 3670'. Wasn't sore afterwards which was a good sign that all the training I've done is paying off. Camel's Hump in VT in under 2 hours a couple of weeks ago. Running 9 minute miles up to about 5 miles a few times a week with lots of hills. I've always found that there's a bit of a wall though so I'm prepared to adjust as needed.

    The big advantage of going clockwise will be knowing what I have in the tank at the bail out point and getting the "harder" of the two hikes behind me. Plus the long walk out via the lake road, I'll be more able to zone out and not have to use my hip flexors or knees much which are the most likely body parts to be cranky after ~15 miles of hiking. Is this reasonable thinking?

    Conversely, leaving the last 810' feet of elevation gain all in smaller, bite sized pieces on the way down the Leach trail (120',220', 220', 250') will allow for greater "downhill/ flat" recovery time between uphills. Which, from past experience, allows a tiny bit of additional juice. I'm quite sure I'll be bonking on the 600' climb of Blake and the 660' re-climb of Colvin. 10 steps and rest kind of business. I'll have to be sure to take actual breaks earlier on in the hike which I don't typically do.

    Guessing there will be ample water for treatment which will also help. I carried extra water on WF just in case and ended up not drinking more than a liter. I'll plan to treat water and go a little lighter.

    Not afraid of mud but just how muddy is the expectation of these trails? Anything worse than Esther (which was fine IMO)? I've done Cliff and Couchsachraga so...

    Thanks for any counsel.

  • #2
    Of course "your mileage may vary." But I'm thinking is you were to look at DN and CBC as individual hikes, CBC is the "harder" hike. I'd be tempted to do that first, and then if you need to save one, it would be the shorter one.

    I haven't been there in a while, others will have more current info. But IIRC, it's muddy in several places near Dial, but they're isolated (20' long stretch of mud, then better) not long continuous mud. Also muddy and slippery down the back side of Colvin. And Blake always seems further away than you expect.


    • #3
      Dangit the parking was available as of two days ago now it's greyed out through October 12th? What a bummer. Dislike parking situation...


      • Inko
        Inko commented
        Editing a comment
        You can park on the other side of 73 at the Roaring Brook TH. It is literally right across the road from the AMR lot.

      • MTVhike
        MTVhike commented
        Editing a comment
        You can't enter the AMR lot without a permit, even on foot. Why didn't you grab it when it was available?

      • greenmountaingoat
        greenmountaingoat commented
        Editing a comment
        I figured that only the weekends were booked up because that's how it seemed when I perused it a couple of days ago. Booked myself on the 13th. We'll have to see if the weather, work and family cooperate!

    • #4
      I would take the relaxing stroll down Lake Rd and do CBC via Gill Brook first. Then if you are feeling too tired upon arriving at the junction toward Elk Pass, you can just head back toward Lake Rd, but definitely detour over to Fish Hawk Cliffs and Indian Head along the way if you have not been to them.

      However, if you are feeling good about yourself upon arrival at the junction after CBC hike, then head right up the grueling ascent of Nippletop from Elk Pass while looking forward to the long, relatively boring, mostly downhill march over Dial and back to the parking lot.

      FYI: My july 2019 notes from CBC say “Tons of mud and wet rocks. South side of Colvin to Blake was slippery.”


      • #5
        Originally posted by Inko
        You can park on the other side of 73 at the Roaring Brook TH. It is literally right across the road from the AMR lot.
        This is incorrect- you can't park across 73 and still access the AMR without a permit. No walk-ins are permitted (with a single exception for anyone who can prove they arrived by public transit, i.e. bus ticket).


        • Inko
          Inko commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh yes, that's right. Walk-in's not really welcome despite there being a public easement to access the land. I never parked there under the reservation system and never will. Thanks for the correction.

      • #6
        Oh well, I should probably be working anyway... I'll go somewhere else on Saturday. The mountains will still be there in a few weeks.


        • #7
          If you're comfortable with off-trail navigation, there is always the Gravestone Brook approach to Dial and Nippletop.

          Similarly, there's been an increase in the past couple of years of folks accessing Colvin and Blake from Elk Lake. But this is a long approach with substantial added elevation gain... in particular, PUDs (Pointless Ups and Downs) along the ridgeline north of the Pinnacle.


        • #8
          I've contemplated Gravestone Brook before. I'm moderately comfortable but not quite where I'd want to be yet. Feels like a bit of a reach. At least for now. Endurance test plus likely being slightly turned around a few times = not fun for me. Been there and found it pretty stressful.


          • #9
            Thank you all for your thoughts. Reserved for the 13th and we'll see if weather ect cooperate. I'll be checking weather and trail reports, assuming hillsounds will be a smart addition to the pack.


            • FlyFishingandBeer
              FlyFishingandBeer commented
              Editing a comment
              I pack the hillsounds for anything after the first week of October. Will you need them? probably not, but you never know...

          • #10
            This past Sunday I hiked in from UW to Redfield and then Marshall on the way back to the car. 6:30 am - 6:00 pm. I had it calculated at about 19.4 miles with ~4600' of elevation gain. I figured this was a good gauge of my level of fitness for the possibility of doing these 4 in a day, for me.

            Let's just say I won't be attempting 20.0 with 6000+ feet anytime too soon. I was pretty gassed toward the top of Redfield but knew I'd have time to go "slow" up Marshall. Slow it was! 2:45 up and down a 1.6 with 1600'.

            It still blows my mind that the "maintained" trails in this area are in such poor shape. I don't really mind it myself but there's a lot of folks widening the trails to avoid the neverending onslaught of mud bogs. Saw quite a few clean sneaker hikers. The ladder above the suspension bridge on the marcy trail is destroyed. The suspension bridge itself is missing part of it's cable handrail. I'm up for the challenge. But there's almost no difference between a maintained trail and a herdpath in terms of the footbed. It's kind of a shame to have one of the most beautiful natural areas have trails that are receiving what appears to be so little funding for maintenance. Like dirty shag carpeting in a cathedral. It doesn't have to be the Acadia carriage roads but damn, put in some turnpike or steps or whatever.

            I'm not complaining per se, it's more of an observation that I see the threads here about funding for neverending studies or whatever when it's blindingly obvious what should be happening.