Many folks do a loop hike over Mt. Moosilauke using the Tunnel Brook Trail, Glencliff Trail and Benton Trail. But on this particular day, my objective wasn't to do a loop hike. Instead, my simple goal was to hike a portion of the Tunnel Brook Trail and do a short bushwhack up the eastern slope of Mt. Clough to what I call the "Cliffs of Clough".😃
(As most locals know, the pronunciation of Mt. Clough rhymes with words like "rough" or "enough".)
The Tunnel Brook Trail runs through the deep valley between Mt. Moosilauke and Mt. Clough. As indicated in Steve Smith's book (Ponds & Lakes of the White Mountains), up until the 1920s there was an automobile route through this notch which served to connect the New Hampshire communities of Benton and Easton with the Glencliff/Warren area. Considering all the ponds and bogs that are now present here, you'd expect that the road was closed due to flooding from beaver activity. But apparently, landslides were the main reason that this roadway was closed and never reopened! I would assume that these landslides originated from Mt. Clough, given the unstable nature of the landscape on its eastern slopes where the “Cliffs of Clough” are located.
And lastly, shown below is a map, and here’s the reason why I opted to including it in my posting. Tunnel Brook Road (located on the WEST side of the brook) was permanently closed to vehicular traffic in 2011 due to extensive damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene. As a result, hikers now must park at the junction of Tunnel Stream Road and Tunnel Brook Road and walk over 2 miles along the once-drivable road to access the northern terminus of the Tunnel Brook Trail.
So, considering the above, imagine my surprise when I encountered a guy in a pickup truck upon my arrival at the Tunnel Brook Trailhead! As it turns out, the guy is a logging company employee who had driven in on a logging road. He informed me that two previously-unconnected segments of logging roads that run parallel to Tunnel Brook Road (on the EAST side of the brook) are now connected. Currently, this road has a locked gate at both ends. But I wonder if someday, once logging operations are complete, this road MIGHT be made available to the public? It would surely be nice to once again be able to drive to the Tunnel Brook Trailhead.😃