On 13-Sep-2011, I did a trek of about 10.5 miles. It involved the two aforementioned trails plus a number of other trails. My route is shown on the map below. (The map, and other images in this report, can be enlarged by clicking on it.)
The first leg of my journey was on the well-maintained Edmands Path. This is such a picturesque and pleasant pathway to the southern Presidential Range.
Two Scenes along Edmands Path
My route took me within a few tenths of a mile from the top of Mt. Eisenhower, however I bypassed the summit side-trip. I've been there on several occasions, both summer and winter. I opted to stay focused on the main purpose of this venture which was to hike on two trails that were totally new to me, i.e. Mt. Eisenhower Trail, and Dry River Cutoff.
While travelling the ridgeline to access the Mt. Eisenhower Trail, there was a nice view southward. Of course, the dominate feature in this scene is Mt. Eisenhower.
Southward View Toward Mt. Eisenhower
When looking northward up the ridgeline, the vista was not quite as clear as it was to the south.
Northward View Toward Mt. Washington
After my short trek along the treeless ridgeline, I soon arrived at the junction for the Mt. Eisenhower Trail. The signposts on the ridge take some punishment from the harsh weather conditions that often exit here!
At this trail junction I took a snapshot looking southward over the Dry River Wilderness. This would be the area where I'd be hiking for the better part of the day.
Southward View over the Dry River Wilderness
After taking the photo shown above, I began my first-time hike on the Mt. Eisenhower Trail. In less than 5 minutes, I went from an above tree-line experience to a total immersion into the wooded environment of the Dry River Wilderness. Photographs generally seem to be an inadequate means of capturing the beauty and splendor of places such as this. It's something that you need to personally experience to gain a true appreciation. And to have this appreciation, you must be able to take delight in even the smallest works of nature, such as a lowly mushroom sprouting from the forest floor!
I hiked the Mt. Eisenhower Trail down to point where it crosses the Dry River. The water level was low enough such that I could have easily crossed the river and linked up with the Dry River Trail. As tempting as it was, I opted to stay "legal" by obeying the Forest Service mandate about closure of the Dry River Trail.
Dry River at Crossing Point for Mt. Eisenhower Trail
The next leg of my trek took me along the entire length of the Dry River Cutoff Trail, as well as a short segment of the Mt. Clinton Trail. Once again, this was just a pleasant walk in the woods where one can take delight in the simple beauties of the forest. There are no sweeping vistas from ledges or mountaintops.
There are a two of items of possible interest relative to my travels along the Dry River Cutoff and Mt. Clinton Trail (as well as the Mt. Eisenhower Trail). For one thing, I was somewhat surprised at the amount of recent hiker traffic on these remote trails. Although I didn't actually meet any other hikers, there were plenty of fresh boot prints seen in muddy areas along these trails.
The other item of possible interest is that none of these trails suffered any significant hurricane damage. Overall, the trails were actually in good shape. There were a few minor blowdowns scattered here and there, many of which were likely there even before the storm. Also, there was some trail erosion detected at a brook crossing on the Dry River Cutoff, and also at a brook crossing on the Mt. Clinton Trail (see photo below).
Trail Erosion on Dry River Cutoff, and on the Mt. Clinton Trail
On the Mt. Clinton Trail, not far from the Mitzpah Hut, I took a photo which shows some magnificent axe-work performed on a huge blowdown.
Nice Job of Blowdown Removal!
Once I reached the Mitzpah Hut, my adventure was basically over and done! All I had left was a downhill trek of a little over two and half miles to the Highland Center. This is where my wife had agreed to pick me up after having left me off earlier in the day at the Edmands Path trailhead. I'm most appreciative of her willingness to do this. It was only shortly out of her way to incorporate this into her work day, and it saved me a lengthy road walk between trailheads.
On my way down to the Highland Center, I did make a brief stopover at Gibbs Falls.
To sum it up, for me this was a totally awesome adventure which was made even more special by hiking on two trails that were totally new to me! The majority of this trek was spent tramping through the woods. It's perfectly understandable that some would find this less than satisfying. Regardless, for anyone who has yet to experience the Mt. Eisenhower Trail and/or the Dry River Cutoff, please be assured that both trails provide pleasant pathways through the wilderness that are very easy to hike.
ADDENDUM (Added 15-Sep-2011)
This addendum is being added in response to the comment posted by Ellen Snyder.
The route shown in the map below is another variation to the route that I followed. This alternative plan has several advantages over my route. It begins and ends at the same trailhead, PLUS it takes you over the summits of Eisenhower and Pierce. The only minor disadvantage is that it's slightly over 2 miles longer than the route I followed.
I had seriously considered hiking the alternative route shown below. However, since I was unable to find any recent reports for trail conditions on the Mt. Eisenhower and Dry River Cutoff, I was uncertain if I might encounter conditions that would eat into my time. So, to give myself every advantage of completing the hike within a reasonable time frame, I opted to go with the route having the shortest distance. It seemed to make sense at the time, but knowing what I now know, I'd go with a route such as that shown below.
(Clicking on the map will enlarge it.)