Sample condition of the trail. The last 1/4 was practically submerged.
View from the lake (mid-trail)
Fallen trees covering the trail. Some of them areeasier to tackle by going under the trees. There is one massive clump
early on the trail, if you pass that one, you are pretty much on the clear.
View of the dirt road (20 miles) that leads to the trail-head.
As you can see the rangers and forest workers did an excellent job of opening the roads early the morning after the storm.
I was there during the July 4th storm, and hiked the trail to the summit
the following morning (July 5th).
For the benefit of your readers I want to clarify:
1) I hiked the trail with my wife, 8 yr. old daughter, and 11 yr. old
son. My children have enjoyed the outdoors with me since before they
could walk but nonetheless, they are still children and were able to do
the hike to the summit.
2) Yes, it is true that the first 1/3 of the trail is strewn with fallen
trees. But the rest did not see any wind damage. People doing the trail
will find 2 major clumps of trees early on, on the trail, then another 2
that are easier to walk through. If you can make it through these, you
will be on the clear.
*DON'T BE DISCOURAGED BY THE FALLEN TREES EARLY ON !*
3) Parts of the trail are under water, so expect a challenging hike.
4) You *MUST* bring mosquito repellent and plenty of water!!
It took us around 5-6 hours to get to the summit and back. We were
probably the first to hike it after the storm, except for a man from
Virginia license plate "2 KLYM 50" who made the summit about one hour
Regarding the permits, I filled mine right at the parking lot, and
deposited it in the "drop box" right there. I don't think any
extraordinary wilderness permit was, or is required. Just fill out the
form and drop - no charge, no wait.
I don't want to belittle the effort it took to get there, but if my
children and I were able to hike it at its worst (~5 hours), hikers in
good physical shape should be able to do so - no problem.