Sanguinary Summit Trail (south and north sections)

The Sanguinary Summit Trail begins at the height of land of the Sanguinary Ridge Trail. The Sanguinary Summit Trail takes off to the north and follows Sanguinary Ridge for miles. The southern section runs three-quarters of a mile before turning sharply west and dropping quickly into the valley to Abeniki Pond. The northern section continues north on the ridge all the way to Mud Pond Ridge and down the flank of that upland.

The southern section is very poplular with the Balsam's guests. The trail needs clipping each and every year and the necessary blowdown and debris removal. The overlook needs to be clipped a bit to improve the great view. There is a bog bridge in the middle of this trail that should be inspected. It has been in for eight years now. There is another bog bridge on the west slope half way down. This could have its surface roughed up, as it is on a slight angle and can be slippery.

Since the southern section is on the ridgeline, sometimes big trees fall across the trail, knocked down by heavy winds. These have to be taken out.

The northern section begins at a sharp left turn three quarters of a mile from the junction with the Sanguinary Ridge Trail. At this junction, blazing and singage have to be kept up. It would be wise to have a mileage sign at this junction telling people it's two miles to the Panorama lean-to.

North of the junction with the southern section, the trail rises ever so gradually in open hardwood forest. It is a very pleasant stroll in the lower end. The trail is quite good underfoot, requiring light clipping and blowdown removal. Blazing could be repainted along the entire route.

Eventually the trail enters an area of a big seep. This stretch was rebuilt by a professional trail crew and is in good shape. There is one spot where three of four logs are placed in a hole. It would be wise to bury those logs so the footing will not get slippery once the logs rot down and become covered with fungi.

The area just before the seep is an evergreen corridor that needs clipping every two years. Once across the seep the path reaches what looks like a steep intersection of sorts. A skidder path runs directly up the mountain. It is grown in with brush and berry cane. Here is the spot where the trail should begin a reroute corridor, climbing the ridge directly to the east in broad switchbacks until the steepness moderates. Then the trail should begin to drift north and mount the ridgeline. There is a demarcation between the Tillotson and Wagner/Mead Lands. The trees on the Wagner/Mead lands to the east are taller. The Tillotson land was logged only a dozen years ago. The reroute should stay in the logged corridor on Tillotson land high on the ridge and run a line somewhat due north until it meets the existing Sanguinary Summit Trail, high on the ridge, more than half a mile to the north.

By putting in this rerouted trail, the way should stay dry all year and require very little maintenance. Once the trail is cut, it should be blazed. Where the trail junctions are, brush should be thrown into the old trail and arrow signs erected ensuring people go in the right direction.

Once back on the existing trail, the way will cross over a little knoll where one gets a good view of Mud Pond Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Van Dyke Mountain. Drop off the knob and descend easily toward a tower. If you look carefully, you can see the lean-to roof in the distance.

Near where the forest gets taller, there is a wet area that needs one or two bog bridges or some earth moving to firm up the trail. The Cohos Trail then enters the taller trees, runs near some brilliant red blazing, skirts a logged area and the tower, and then pops out onto the tower access road.

The trail follows the road a quarter mile to a sharp left turn downhill. Just below the turn, the CT cuts away from the road (check the blaze post here) and drops to a moist low spot, turns due north and reaches the spring below the lean-to. At the spring there are bog bridges. These need to be inspected. They are single log bridges. They could be wider, but they suffice for hiking now.
The spring flow pipe needs to be followed a few feet uphill to the filter. It needs cleaning so the water flows well.

Above the spring, the trail needs quite a bit of clipping right up to the lean-to. A little erosion control in here would help.

Now you're at the Panorama Lean-to

This structure should be inspected for maintenance needs. It should be cleaned and the area around it clipped well. A few trees that are growing into the grand view should be taken down. Any fire ring should be dismantled.

The latrine at the lean-to needs to be replaced with a simple pit latrine, even if it's an open air one.

Just above the lean-to the trail curves hard right. Some debris should be placed at the head of the turn so people don't keep walking straight ahead. Cross two bog bridges that are in good condition and begin to climb the little summit nearby. Minor clipping is necessary in the spruce on the ascent.
Trail reaches a moist area that needs to be bypassed or drained with several ditches. Move into tight small hardwood. No clipping required now. Lots of forest debris comes down on the summit and needs to be thrown off the trail.

On the descent, remove blowdowns that occur in here often. Check for erosion in one or two spots and assess it. Check blaze paint.

Reach a little clearing where the trail turns right. Make sure blazing is adequate here so people make the turn. Continue down and clip where necessary before the trail reaches an old OHV route.

Follow the OHV route over the north side of the ridge and stay with it until the trail drops steeply downhill. Instead of falling downhill, stay straight in the turn. At the edge of the bank in the turn, check to see that the yellow-topped post is still standing. Drop over the edge and enter the woods. This short link between wide trails slabs Mud Pond Ridge. It often has skinny blowdowns in it and the route needs occasional clipping.

Reach a wide XC ski trail and turn downhill. This route down into the valley is unpleasant going underfoot in places, as the terrain is not firm and in some places is wet. It would be wise to pick one side of the lane or other to improve and keep hikers to one side. It does not need a great deal of work, but some effort with mattocks would improve things a bit. The Sanguinary Summit Trail ends at the Spruce Trail in the alley, a wide tote way that sees infrequent vehicle traffic.

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