West Royce, 5.14.16

I had never been to West Royce, much less the Wild River Wilderness, so when my friend JohninNH suggested a loop in that area, I agreed that it sounded like a good idea.  JohninNH don’t get to hike together very often anymore, our families are busy and our schedules don’t always line up, so when we both had a free day, we went out for another adventure.

We drove up to the trailhead for the Burnt Mill Brook Trail, which was on the Wild River Rd., off Rt. 113 or Evans Notch Rd.  This is up near Gorham, and we went in and out of Maine during the ride to the trailhead.

Trail head for Burnt Mill Brook Trail - the start of our loop.

Trail head for Burnt Mill Brook Trail – the start of our loop.

The Burnt Mill Brook Trail was pleasant and not too difficult in the first section.  We were able to enjoy hiking near the brook for most of the way up to The junction with the Royce Trail.  The second part of the trail steepened, but we knew that we’d have to hike up to the saddle ahead between East and West Royce at some point.

JohninNH taking a photo of one of the many cascades along the Burnt Mill Brook Trail.

JohninNH taking a photo of one of the many cascades along the Burnt Mill Brook Trail.

We got to the junction and took some photos.  The area looked pretty rugged and wild and the damage from wind and/or ice to the trees added to the look.  We headed up to West Royce, enjoying the rugged trail, spruce forest and moss.  At West Royce, we picked up the Rim Trail and were able to cruise along through more mossy forest.

Junction with the Royce Trail.

Junction with the Royce Trail.

The trail to West Royce from the junction goes up this rugged little hill.

The trail to West Royce from the junction goes up this rugged little hill.

 

An interesting ledge to descend, nearer to the four-way trail junction.

An interesting ledge to descend, nearer to the four-way trail junction.

Easy walking on the Rim Trail through mossy forest.

Easy walking on the Rim Trail through mossy forest.

We stopped at an outlook close to the Rim junction – a junction for 4 trails, all headed different direction – for lunch.  At lunch we saw a few ladies out enjoying the nice day, the first people we’d seen all day.  We headed down to the junction, and out to another outlook before going back to the junction and heading into the Wild River Wilderness and down the Black Angel Trail.  We checked out a former Blue Brook shelter site, which is now a tent site and then headed up on last hill before the hike down to the Wild River and the Wild River Trail.

Lunch views, eastward toward Maine.

Lunch views, eastward toward Maine.

Eating lunch and checking out the map for the next section of trail.

Eating lunch and checking out the map for the next section of trail. Photo courtesy of JohninNH.

Officially headed into the Wild River Wilderness, using the Black Angel Trail at Rim Junction.

Officially headed into the Wild River Wilderness, using the Black Angel Trail at Rim Junction.

Very large bracket fungi on the Black Angel Trail. Neither of us could remember seeing one so large.

Very large bracket fungi on the Black Angel Trail. Neither of us could remember seeing one so large. Photo courtesy of JohninNH

Once at the height of land, the trail became wider and easier and we cruised for the rest of the hike.  The Wild River Trail was very pleasant, with hiking right along the Wild River.  We only found one washout out area of trail and then one section that was full of debris and water channels – neither was hard to negotiate, but showed us the power of a large volume of water.

One washed out section of the Wild River Trail. JohninNH is on the other side of the worst of the eroded side hill.

One washed out section of the Wild River Trail. JohninNH is on the other side of the worst of the eroded side hill.

We stopped to check out a bridge that was out of commission.  It lead across the river to the Moriah Brook Trail, but until it can be repaired it is closed.  While it looks good from above, the real damage is below, where the embankment is eroded away from the bridge supports.  Not sure when that will get fixed, but JohninNH scouted out some possible places to ford the river when he comes back to the area.

Closed bridge to the Moriah Brook Trail. It might look good, but the embankment below where the footings are set is eroded away.

Closed bridge to the Moriah Brook Trail. It might look good, but the embankment below where the footings are set is eroded away.

We reached then Wild River campground, and the walked the road back to the car.  It was one of nicer road walks I’ve done – gravel and not paved.  A nice easy end to a fun day in an area of the Whites I’ve never been.

Special thank to JohninNH for an excellent day exploring the Wild River Wilderness! 

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2 thoughts on “West Royce, 5.14.16

  1. Summerset,

    It was great to explore a new wilderness area with you! I have come to appreciate these quiet official wilderness areas more and more as the 4k areas of the Whites get more and more crowded. You forgot to mention the spruce grouse we got within 15 feet of for about 10 minutes, that was a nice game of peekaboo with that animal. Great outing!

  2. Oh yeah, John, the spruce grouse! Hard to get a good photo of that bird – but was a pretty great experience. It was a great hike – we’ll have to find another new place for our yearly hike!

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