My duties will be to remove blowdowns, keep any draining structures clear, cut those annoying hanging branches in the trails back, paint blazes where needed, fix cairns, and anything else to keep the trail well maintained, enjoyable, and easy to follow.
The Sphinx Trail branches off from the Great Gulf Trail at 3,619 feet and ascends 1,367 feet in 1.1 miles to the Sphinx Col at 4,975 feet inbetween Mount Clay and Jefferson. There will be two ways to access this trail, from the east it's a 5.6 mile hike in from Route 16 via the Great Gulf Trail or from Pinkham Notch Visitor Center via Old Jackson Road, Madison Gulf, and Great Gulf Trail. This will be the easiest way to access the trail with no steep elevation gains, no above treeline hiking, and no high winds to worry about. From the west I can access the Sphinx Trail by hiking up the Jewell Trail and the Gulfside Trail (4.5 miles) a more enjoyable hike on a nice weather day but more strenuous.
Trail Description (From AMC White Mountain Guide Online) :
The trail branches northwest from the Great Gulf Trail near the crossing of the brook that flows down from Sphinx Col through the minor ravine between Mt. Clay and Mt. Jefferson. It soon turns due west and ascends close to the brook, first gradually, then very steeply, crossing the brook four times and passing several attractive cascades and pools. Just before the third crossing the trail runs along the steep edge of a flume-like formation. For about 100 yd. above the fourth crossing it runs directly in the brook bed, where the rocks are extremely slippery. At the foot of a broken ledge with several small streams cascading over it, the trail turns left away from the brook and angles up across two more small brooks with a couple of short tricky scrambles. It climbs a small, fairly difficult chimney where views out from the scrubby slope start to appear, then scrambles up ledges with several rock pitches of some difficulty. About 100 yd. above the chimney, after a slight descent, the trail crosses a small meadow where there is usually water under a rock just downhill to the north of the trail. The trail then climbs steeply up a rocky cleft, ascends easily over the crest of a small rocky ridge, and descends into a slight sag. It finally climbs to the ridge crest and traverses a grassy passage at the base of a rock wall to the Gulfside just north of Sphinx Col.
Sphinx Trail outlined in red (image from google earth)