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 Spellman Trail -- Monadnock 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
Hey hey --

I had a surprise free day today! With conditions up north sounded decidedly unpleasant, it was time for a long-awaited trip up Monadnock via the Pumpelly Trail. Cool!

So the Spellman Trail sounds like fun too, though, and makes for a loop element rather than a straight out-and-back. The SNH guide says that it's best to ascend because of scrambles or whatever, and so no problem. I climb Pumpelly to the Cascade Link, and follow that to the Spellman. No problem, signed, blazed, obvious footbed, no worries. Before long I pop out on a viewless ledge with a short, broad cairn. Good enough. But where from here? Honestly, I spent probably a good 40 minutes searching anywhere I could. About 4 places looked vaguely trail-like for a bit here and there, but would very quickly deteriorate into "definitely not trail." The month old SNH guide mentioned that it "requires some care to follow." But it didn't say "disappears!"

If you've been there, what did I do wrong or need to do? I was pretty directly in front of big steep cliffs/boulder field/whatever that at some point I know I was to climb up, but it was big enough that I didn't want to just pick a spot and climb -- sounded like terrible judgement to me -- and I found no markings anywhere whatsoever. Ultimately I had to backtrack all the way and just out and back Pumpelly (still a nice day!), and of course to add insult to (psychological) injury, where Spellman meets Pumpelly was clearly signed and looked obvious and about 10 feet wide. I don't know that I'll be going back anytime soon, but it could happen sometime. Anybody have any help? I don't think I've EVER flat-out lost a trail like that, ever.

Or, even if you don't have any help here -- is anybody on the board at all? I know it's been quiet before, but for several days here it's just out and out dead. . . .


Mon May 04, 2015 8:05 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:40 pm
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
No answer for you on that, but it has been too quiet here the last few days. A few folks have injuries or sick spouses. Prayers and best wishes for all that things get better. Maybe since we had such a beautiful moon last night, GG will have gone and we'll get a nice report. Now I'm off to start a totally new topic!


Mon May 04, 2015 8:23 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
I think you got lost on the way to monadnock. You should have headed south towards something other than modadnock. :lol:

After being on the road now for 14 and a half hours I was hoping for someone to throw up a TR from an awesome looking weekend.


Mon May 04, 2015 8:37 pm
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
SORRY! Such a beautiful day yesterday! The only thing we could report on is The Walk For Hunger. That would be a "trail report" of a 20 mile loop beginning and ending in Boston, with thousands of other people; Franconia Ridge on Columbus Day weekend without the elevation :lol: :lol: :lol: !


Mon May 04, 2015 9:09 pm
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
I don't think it was your fault. State Parks list it as as footpath that may be more challenging. Probably one of those deals where the trail gets little maintenance if any. So there's now a few herd paths heading off in different directions, trying to find it.



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Tue May 05, 2015 6:36 am
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
This place has been unusually quiet, even for a usually quiet place. I'll have a big long trip report with way too many pics soon. I was out of cell range all weekend and surprised to see no reports from such a nice stretch of weather myself.

As for this one, the first thing you did wrong was go to Monadnock! :P Other than that I'm of no help, and that itself isn't much help either.


Tue May 05, 2015 6:55 am
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
Ah, gibba and GG, it's really a fun mountain -- this is my third trip, and I'm 3 for 3 on having really good days there. This frustration notwithstanding, I'm glad I went and I'm sure I'll be back again sometime.

Joe, it was really weird. The trail started VERY obvious, and a couple blazes were really faded (but I feel like I've followed plenty of faded blazes) and some markers were even nailed to trees. Then. . . nothing. In fact, last year I climbed from the S almost entirely on "footpaths" over Bald Rock and Monte Rosa -- no problems at all, I don't even remember having to work at it at all, just one foot in front of the other. This one. . . just seemed to vanish.

I know jamie's kind of our resident Monadnock expert that I know of -- I'm sure there have to be a couple others that come on here. Somebody's going to know!


Tue May 05, 2015 9:13 am
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
It might be worth reaching out to Steve Smith and asking him, he may know, if u don't get a response from someone. Yes that does sound weird!


Tue May 05, 2015 11:35 am
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
thegibba wrote:
I was hoping for someone to throw up a TR from an awesome looking weekend.


It was a beautiful weekend. But the trails in the Whites right now suck between ~2500 and ~3500 feet (well, as of this weekend. Given the warm weather to continue all week, I suspect the line will be above 3000 feet by this weekend.)

I'm no help on Spellman, sorry. But I did Pumpelley-Cascade Link-Red Spot as an ascent route last spring. I've been on a handful of the other "footpaths" shown on that map too, particularly around Monte Rosa, and didn't have too much trouble. And I did most of those in fall, with leaves on the ground.

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Tue May 05, 2015 11:38 am
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
Really?? With all the great hiking in the Northeast that is roughly the same drive time or less than the Whites and below or south of the snowline, people who truly enjoy hiking just for hiking sake looked at the spring crud in one small area and said, "you know what? The weather is spectacular, but because the higher Whites are cruddy in that zone I think I'll just stay home?!" WEAK!! :wink:


Tue May 05, 2015 2:12 pm
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
Granite Guy wrote:
Really?? With all the great hiking in the Northeast that is roughly the same drive time or less than the Whites and below or south of the snowline, people who truly enjoy hiking just for hiking sake looked at the spring crud in one small area and said, "you know what? The weather is spectacular, but because the higher Whites are cruddy in that zone I think I'll just stay home?!" WEAK!! :wink:


Did I say I stayed home? ;) Staying lower in elevation would have been a better plan though!

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Tue May 05, 2015 3:40 pm
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
Red Spot. Yes. I actually didn't notice until Joe posted the map here in this thread. Going over to Red Spot would have been closer, easier, more interesting, and less frustrating than backtracking the Cascade Link like I did. Unfortunately, I didn't even look at my map or consider anything else. Dumb! Ah well.


Tue May 05, 2015 4:06 pm
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
madmattd wrote:
Granite Guy wrote:
Really?? With all the great hiking in the Northeast that is roughly the same drive time or less than the Whites and below or south of the snowline, people who truly enjoy hiking just for hiking sake looked at the spring crud in one small area and said, "you know what? The weather is spectacular, but because the higher Whites are cruddy in that zone I think I'll just stay home?!" WEAK!! :wink:


Did I say I stayed home? ;) Staying lower in elevation would have been a better plan though!


Well I had a feeling it wouldn't keep you home Matt, so I don't feel bad standing by my statement that anyone it did keep home, probably doesn't like hiking all that much anyhow, or realize there's more than 48 mountains in New England. One or the other.


Tue May 05, 2015 4:19 pm
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
@Grindboy I don't know what to tell you. I've been up Spellman twice, the first time was near dusk, and don't remember any issues. Looking through my pictures(10/12) this is the first bouldery one I have so did you at least make it this far?

Image

I almost remember a hard left turn or two that weren't entirely apparent but can't be positive.

This past weekend sure was nice though.

Image


Image


Image


Wed May 06, 2015 9:53 pm
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 Re: Spellman Trail -- Monadnock
Thanks Walrus -- honestly it's hard to say, it's hard for me to gauge steepness on still photos. I probably made it .2 on Spellman without difficulty, some was uphill, probably on rocks but not unusually steep. . . then what I can't describe better than the "viewless ledge" with a cairn on which I did mostly try to take a hard left, the cairn seemed to indicate that way. . . but I spent probably 30 or my 40 wandering minutes that direction checking out anything I could. I definitely was never "bouldering" or scrambling or attacked the huge rocky cliffy whatever that had to be climbed. I don't know. . . I'm afraid it was something obvious and I'm a fool!

Great pics indeed -- Chocorua and Moat?


Thu May 07, 2015 7:42 am
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