Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13, 2019
Elevation gain: 1150′; 1834′ (total: 2984′)
Mileage: 7.5; 16.6 (total: 24.1)
GPS tracks: day 1; day 2
Parking: The Tully Lake Campground
After work on Friday, I drove out to the Tully Lake Campground, where I packed up and left my car in their parking lot. I then hiked up the road and took the left into the forest, following the yellow blazes. The trail meandered through the forest for a while, before climbing up towards Jacobs Lookout; on the way to the lookout, I passed by Spirit Falls, which was flowing well.
After the outlook, I followed the trail down and around, eventually arriving right by Royalston Falls. I managed to get across the creek without completely soaking my feet, though it was very difficult and I was glad enough just to not fall in.
From there, I hoofed it up to the shelter. Just after I arrived, a large group of NH BSA Scouts showed up. Thankfully, only 2 adults stayed in the shelter; the rest of the group stayed in tents strewn on any flat enough surface (which included directly on the trail). I gathered water, had dinner, and pre-dug a cat hole for the morning. It rained all night and well into the morning, providing a lovely white noise. I slept soundly on my new cushy Big Agnes 3.5″ air mattress. In the morning, I packed up and headed out by 7:30am. It rained until around 9am, and then stayed overcast and misty until around noon.
By the time I started climbing up Tully Mountain, the sun had started coming out and burning off the morning mist, and I was able to get some solid views.
The blazing around the mountain wasn’t very good. It just ended at the street. Because there are two different, undated maps hanging out on the internet, I ended up accidentally bushwhacking my way through the woods after the blazes seemed to trickle out. I made it back to the road and found blazes to follow for the remainder of my hike. Once I got to Tully Lake, the trail dips in and out of its inlets, which made for some very wet sections of trail.
The first section (pictured above) was about thigh deep and icy cold. I got across without incident, deciding to just leave my shoes on since I was within half a mile of my car. The second section, was getting close to waist deep and far enough across that my legs started having trouble functioning in the cold water. I made it without soaking my pack or falling in, and then shortly thereafter, arrived back at my car.
For what it is (a small-town rarely maintained trail), it was a nice gentle hike, offering a great overnight shakedown. It’s good terrain for beginners (not much elevation gain and not technical), with a well-placed overnight spot. However, given how damp the trail is, the bugs would be horrifically terrible for most of the spring and summer, which would seriously detract. and when I hiked the NET/M-M trail a few years ago and stayed over at the shelter, the water source was almost dry, so later in the summer, water can actually be an issue.