Trails: Mill Brook Road to Austin Brook Trail to Dryad Fall Trail to Dream Lake and reverse
Mileage: 6.5 miles round trip (5 hours with breaks)
It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve been able to get a hike in and we both were feeling it, anxious to get outside and walk in the woods. We had just finished reading a blog of a hike up to Dream Lake and thought we should do the same, but we’d come up from another trail. It was already noon so we filled up on ginger carrot soup and paninis at the White Mountain Cafe before driving down to Shelburne, NH to see if the Mill Brook Road was open. It was and we were able to drive about 1 mile in, but still had about one more mile before the trail veered off of the logging road. The bridge had been pulled so we had no choice but to walk up the logging road. But first we had to cross the water.
We walked upstream a bit hoping the 20 foot wide riverbed would narrow, or we’d find a tree laying across, or possibly the brook would split enough for us to rock hop across. Instead we found this beautiful waterfall!
There would be no easy way to cross, so Andrew went for it, rock hopping and making it look so easy. Lindsay decided to take her shoes off and wade across. Brrrr, the water was cold!
Finally we were on our way up the logging road. The recent logging work provided for an excellent view of Dryad Fall, one of our destinations for the hike.
Soon enough we were at the Austin Brook Trail which looked to be an old road of some kind (logging or otherwise?). At the next junction we turned onto Dryad Fall Trail.
The hike up to Dryad Fall was a steady incline and became increasingly wet. When we reached Dryad Fall, Lindsay walked out to the ledge to get a good view, but Andrew nervously waited clutching a tree. This wasn’t our final destination, and we have been here before, so we didn’t spend too much time.
The trail continued to climb and we tried our best to not lose our boots in the muck. The trail weaved through moose country, stunted fir/hemlock and hobblebush indicate that moose spend the winter here. The wet leaves hid rocks and logs and we slipped and tripped to the ridge where we met up with the Appalachian Trail and Dream Lake.
At Dream Lake we ran into a group of men, section hiking this part of the Appalachian Trail. This being a small world, we of course knew one of them. The men continued on to Gentian Pond Shelter and we settled in at a nice sunny spot on the edge of the Lake. The clouds lifted on Mount Madison for an awesome view, but the winds picked up and the sun disappeared. We walked along one side of the Lake on the Peabody Brook Trail and found black spruce trees! These high elevation lakes are so beautiful with spruces, moss, and fir.
Beavers rule the area here and have done an excellent job damming up the small streams that lead into the lake, flooding parts of the trail.
As the sun started to set, we headed back down the way that we had come. Back through where the moose spend the winter, slipping down the wet trail and crossing brook after brook. Our boots were wet, but our feet were still dry. When we popped back out onto the logging road it was dusk and we waited for wildlife to walk out of the wood (but they never did).
It was almost completely dark by the time we reached the last water crossing and rather than walking upstream or taking shoes off, we both just decided to cross quickly. And with our now wet socked feet, we jumped in the truck and headed home.