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Old 08-24-2021, 12:24 PM   #3
Banjoe
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Join Date: Mar 2013
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I never posted a trip report of this same route because I went in March of 2020. While I was there the world shut down and sharing details of the trip didn't seem all that relevant to what we were dealing with. But I will report now that it was a much different experience.

The snow was at least 3' deep, except the few spots where the ground was exposed or the open creeks. Going in on a Thursday afternoon it was well above freezing but the trail was packed enough that snowshoes kept me on top. The couple stream crossings were tricky and I did end up with at least one boot full of water. There certainly were no signs of swamps anywhere. Once at the lean-to it started raining/snowing with winds that left me a few square feet of dry floor in a corner. Overnight it cleared and the temp dropped enough for the lake to be a smooth sheet of ice by morning and had me wishing for my skates.
The next day I hiked to check out the lean-to on Middle Branch Lake. I was able to just wear spikes because I didn't post-hole at all on the frozen snow. I was glad I hadn't chosen to go there to spend the previous night because the wind was blowing the rain straight into it off the lake during the storm. Of the two lean-tos, Middle Branch was trashed and Middle Settlement was pretty clean. During the hike I got a cell signal and learned I wouldn't be going to work for at least two weeks. I was wishing someone had left a bit of food so I could stay longer, but no such luck.

One question that arose was about an abandoned trail between the two hills on the northwest end of Middle Settlement. There were a few disks, but I couldn't find enough to get a grasp of where it went. Was there a time the trail went due north from MS to MB? If so, that looks like it would have been a route through some swamps.
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