Thursday, June 3, 2010
Three Rivers Revisited-Lincoln National Forest
When I last visited Three Rivers in September 2008 (2 months after the devasting flood), I saw no fish in the stream.Since that time I had heard from 3 different sources that there were still a few brookies left. On Wednesday I returned with a vague intention to fish. Well, I now can confirm they are there ,but it is definitely not a fishable population at this time. I saw about seven or eight small,but plump ones in one clear green pool, and I expect there are a few scattered in similar pools throughout the first 3 miles of stream above the campground, at least one can hope that's true. Restocking may be needed if the fish are no longer above a series of waterfalls about 2 miles in,but I'm just glad to see them,somehow surviving a disastrous flood followed by a year of extreme drought.With the notion of fishing pushed aside, I decided to hike on. I suppose the idea of reaching the crest was there all along, but I really didn't commit to doing it until I was switchbacking high on grassy hillsides almost to the top.This was my third time up on the always magnificent ridgeline of the White Mountains Wilderness, and it was surely the hardest won. It took about 5 hours to get there: six miles of hiking with approximately 3,500 feet of elevation gain. On the return,my feet were like raw meat and the increasing heat as I decreased in elevation was exhausting.Trail 44 is not in the greatest condition either. There are numerous log falls ranging from the tiny to the enormous.So there was quite a bit of the over,under,around or through. There are few confusing washouts as well. Most of the crossings were easy to find and negotiate without soaking your feet,but several times I had to go either upstream or downstream to find something more manageable.