Friday, July 13, 2018

Mt. Israel (2620 Feet)

Approaching the  Mt. Israel summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Sandwich
DESTINATION:Mt. Israel
ELEVATION: 2620 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 50.741, W71 28.316
TRAIL: Wentworth trail
DISTANCE: 4.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1480 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 11, 2018
WEATHER: 80 degrees, clear

PARKING: Parking can be found at the Mead House Conservation Center at the end of Diamond Ledge Rd. N43 49.715, W71 29.035.

Drive time from Manchester is 1 hour 45 minutes

USGS QUAD: Center Sandwich Quad

MAP: (Mt. Israel)
Wentworth Trail to Mt. Israel


DESCRIPTION: The Wentworth trail starts at the log gate and heads into the woods behind the Mead house. It appears to follow a former artifact as I found evidence of metal stakes or posts in the ground at lower elevations. The trail parallels a stone wall then ascends steeply and unrelentingly for 1.5 miles. The trail is well trodden and easy to follow although there are several blowdowns that need to be navigated over or around. At 2350 feet there is a directional outlook with excellent views towards Lake Winnipesaukee and the surrounding hills. The steep ascent continues a few tenths of a mile before reaching a 2618 foot sub-peak. The summit is a short distance away over easy terrain. You've ascended almost 1500 feet in 2 miles making this peak feel much taller than 2620 feet. The panoramic views from the summit are worth the effor.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Mead House - Summit 2.0 2.0
Summit - Mead House 2.0 4.0

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Mead House - Summit 1 hour 1 hour
Summit - Mead House 40 minutes 1 hour 40 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Mt Israel is deceiving in elevation (2620 Feet) and trail distance (2.0 miles to summit) and appears to be a easy summit to attain. The rise is 1500 feet from parking putting it as the 54th most prominent peak in NH. In addition the open summit and panoramic views give merit for it's inclusion as #46 on the NH 52 With a View list. The summit is obvious and includes a cairn at the highpoint.

Mead House Conservation Center

Views from Mt. Israel


Mt Hitchcock, South (3500 feet), Mt Hitchcock, Middle Peak (3600 Feet)

Middle Hitchcock
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Lincoln
DESTINATION: Mt. Hitchcock, South
DESTINATION: Mt. Hitchcock, Middle
Hitchcock, South ELEVATION: 3500
Hitchcock, Middle ELEVATION: 3600
Hitchcock, South SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 03.998, W71 31.692
Hitchcock, Middle SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 04.468, W71 32.363
TRAIL: herd path, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 7.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2085 feet
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 45 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 12, 2018
WEATHER: 70 degrees, bluebird skies

PARKING: Parking is available at the Discovery Center off the Kancamagus Highway. There are parking spaces for approximately 10 cars plus a bus or two.

Drive time from Manchester is 1 hour 15 minutes

USGS QUAD: USGS Osceola Quad

MAP: (Middle Hitchcock)



DESCRIPTION: From the Discovery Center follow the interpretive trail looping around the trail system. You can head either right or left on the trails, both directions are approximately 0.5 miles and will bring you to the overgrown path angled into the woods at N44 02.870, W71 33.293. The path begins in heavy overgrowth but soon clears and widens as it gradually ascends 1.3 miles to an open field (shown on Google Earth) at approximately 2100 feet. The beta I found suggested crossing the stream and taking a NE bearing to the col between South and Middle Hitchcock however I found a faint herd path on the north (left) side of the field that continued another 0.5 miles along an extremely overgrown logging road following the right side of a small stream branch (see map) to 2400 feet. I crossed the stream and set a bearing for the col finding some clean lines with better than expected bushwhacking through brutally steep woods. Things got thicker with 0.4 miles to the col but would result in 100 yards of moderate woods then 100 feet of (not long enough to be frustrating) thick woods (still brutally steep). Once reaching the col it was a 0.2 mile high-step over pencil thin blowdowns to the South Hitchcock summit. I followed my path to the col and attempted to stay along the northeastern side of the col but the woods kept pulling me to the southwest. I zig-zagged through Ok woods to about 3250 then things got thicker, steeper and heavier with blow-downs and evidence of bear, lots of evidence. The final pitch was a challenge, but the relief of knowing it was the final pitch was motivating. I signed the log approximately 3 hours after beginning the trek.

I followed my track log back to the col then made the mistake of making a bee-line directly to the end of my marked path. These were the thickest, heaviest and longest duration of heavy bushwhacking I've encountered and can understand the mountains nickname of 'Bitchcock' because if anyone attempted to ascend this route it was completely full of nastiness and I'd understand the cussing. I eventually found the stream branch, crossed and ascended to the path retracing my steps back to the Discovery Center.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Interpretive Trail to woods road 0.5 miles 0.5 miles
woods road to field 1.3 miles 1.8 miles
field to end of herd path 0.5 miles 2.3 miles
Bushwhack to South Hitchcock 0.8 miles 3.1 miles
South Hitchcock to Middle Hitchcock 0.9 miles 4.0 miles
Middle Hitchcock to herd path 1.4 miles 5.4 miles
herd path to Interpretive trails 1.5 miles 6.9 miles
Interpretive Trail to parking 0.5 miles 7.4 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Start - South Hitchcock 2 hours 2 hours
South Hitchcock - Middle Hitchcock 45 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes
Middle Hitchcock - herd path 1 hour 30 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes
herd path - parking 30 minutes 4 hours 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

There are a total of 5 Hitchcocks on the NH3000 list, South at 3500 feet, West at 3064 feet, North at 3194 feet, East Hitchcock (or West Hancock) at 3331 feet and the 3600 foot summit of Middle, Hitchcock being the highest and only peak on the NH 100 Highest list (South, Hitchcock was removed from the list due to a lack of col (~180 feet) however due to inaccuracies in surveying equipment and current contour lines the elevation is marginal and the col depth is marginal giving it the potential of being a formally listed NH100 peak. The bushwhack to the Hitchcocks is regarded as one of the most difficult in the state. I was glad to find the herd path leading to 2400 feet and my chosen bushwhack route was challenging due to the steep incline but I found some clean lines and only patchy sections of thick woods. There are no views from either summit. Both have PVC summit canisters (I've heard South Hitchcock has several (more than 2)). Middle Hitchcock has a sign. I feel good about getting the two highest peaks out of the five NH3000 footers.

Woods road

View during ascnet

South Hitchcock summit canister

Sandwich Mountain (3980 Ft), Jennings peak (3440 Ft), and Carroll County High-point

Sandwich Mountain
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Sandwich
DESTINATION: Sandwich Mountain
DESTINATION: Jennings Peak
Sandwich Dome ELEVATION: 3980 Ft
Jennings Peak ELEVATION: 3440 Ft
Sandwich Mountain SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 54.012, W71 29.876
Carroll County HP COORDINATES N43 54.014, W71 29.888
TRAIL: Sandwich Mountain Trail
DISTANCE: 8.3 miles (round trip)
ELEVATION GAIN: 2480 Feet
HIKING TIME: 3 hours 20 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 10, 2018
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 70 degrees. Perfect!

PARKING: From Exit 28 take route 49 for 9.8 miles to the dual trailheads for Drakes Brook and Sandwich Mountain on your right. Parking is available for 8-10 cars.

Drive time from Manchester is 1 hour.

USGS QUAD: Mt. Tripyramid Quad

MAP: (Sandwich Mountain)



DESCRIPTION: This was a revisit to Sandwich Mountain. My first visit (May 2005) was focused on completing the NH Hundred highest and I didn't stop at the nearby Carroll county highpoint (30-40 Feet from the summit) or make the short side trip to the 52 With a View summit of Jennings Peak. At the time I wasn't aware of a 52 WAV list and didn't look at any county HP locations before planning my trip. The purist in me couldn't log the CoHP knowing I didn't event attempt to locate it during my 2005 visit and I've always wanted to return and experience the gorgeous outlooks from Jennings Peak. This trip report covers the trip to Sandwich Mountain and includes the supplemental locations.

The trailhead on Route 49 is for both Drakes Brooks trail and Sandwich Mountain Trail. The Drakes Brook trail is on the north (left) side of the lot and the Sandwich Mountain trail is on the right.

Descend through the field passing a fenced electrical power station and descend towards Drakes Brook. During summer months Drakes Brook should be easily (if dry) rock hoppable. this is the only water crossing on the Sandwich Mountain trail. Continue across the brook through a hardwood forest passing a severely misplaced "Entering a Sandwich Wilderness" sign. (the wilderness boundary is actually near the Jennings Peak spur trail). The Sandwich Mountain trail ascends steeply 1.7 miles to 2976 foot Noon peak. There are several ledges with outlooks presenting spectacular views towards Flat Mountain (east) and Sandwich Mountain (south) and are a great spot to take a break after the steep ascent. The trail drops slightly then becomes more gradual and passes a few open ledges continuing south. At 2.5 miles you reach the junction with the Drakes Brook trail. Continue on the Sandwich Mountain trail to the ridge line meeting the 0.3 mile spur trail to the "NH 52 With a View" peak of 3440 foot Jennings Peak. I would recommend the short side trip as the directional views from several outlooks are photo album (or Facebook) worthy. The extremely well maintained trail transitions to a beautiful green of moss covered rocks and spruce as passing the junction with the Smarts Brook Trail at 3.3 miles (3415 feet). Begin the 0.5 mile final pitch to the summit. You'll reach the junction with the Algonquin Trail slightly before the summit dome. The Sandwich Mountain summit is marked a 3 foot cairn at the high point and a bent rod protruding from the granite. I encountered a pill bottle full of inspirational notes and traded words of wisdom.

The Carroll County high point is a smaller cairn is approximately 30-40 feet from the summit.The plethora of herd paths cant be missed.

Descend the way you came or take the Drakes Brook trail which makes the trip slightly longer but is makes a nice loop hike (3.2 miles to parking). A good choice for red-liners.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Sandwich Mountain trail - Noon Peak 1.7 miles 1.7 miles
Noon Peak - Drakes Brook Trail jct 1.0 miles 2.7 miles
Drakes Brook Trail jct - Jennings Spur 0.1 miles 2.8 miles
Jennings Spur - Jennings Peak 0.3 miles 3.1 miles
Jennings Peak - Sandwich Mountain trail 0.3 miles 3.4 miles
Sandwich Mountain trail - Smarts Brook trail jct 0.4 miles 3.8 miles
Sandwich Mountain trail - Sandwich Mountain 0.6 miles 4.4 miles
Sandwich Mountain - Parking 3.9 miles 8.3 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Sandwich Mountain trail - Noon Peak 45 minutes 45 minutes
Noon Peak - Drakes Brook Trail jct 25 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes
Drakes Brook Trail jct - Jennings Spur 5 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Jennings Spur - Jennings Peak 5 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes
Jennings Peak - Sandwich Mountain trail 5 minutes 1 hour 25 minutes
Sandwich Mountain trail - Smarts Brook trail jct 10 minutes 1 hour 35 minutes
Sandwich Mountain trail - Sandwich Mountain 15 minutes 1 hour 50 minutes
Sandwich Mountain - Parking 1 hour 20 minutes 3 hours 10 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

3980 foot Sandwich Mountain is ranked #69 on the New England Hundred Highest list and the primary reason visitors will make the journey. I was surprised at how close the Carroll County High Point (30-40 feet) was to the summit. I expected a short herd path leading into the spruce. Essentially, the County border is a line that crosses the peak. It is extremely challenging to accurately find the exact coordinates of a line across a slope and the precise purist in me can honestly say that I'm not sure if I touched the highpoint. I can say that I was within 5-10 feet but can't guarantee I touched the exact spot. I'd need surveyors equipment to get closer and am calling it as close enough.

Jennings Peak is ranked #13 on the '52 With a View' list. I didn't find any markings (sign, benchmark) indicating I reached the summit but it's a pointed peak with an obvious bump. Several directional outlooks offer amazing views.

Trailhead sign

Spur path to Jennings Peak

Sandwich Mountain Summit cairn

Views from the Top

Cairn marking the Carroll County High Point 


Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mt. Success (3565 Feet) and a DC3 crash site

Mt. Success from the Outlook loop
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Berlin
DESTINATION: Mt. Success
ELEVATION: 3565 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 28.290, W71 02.353
TRAIL: Success Trail, Mahoosuc trail (AT)
DISTANCE: 6.3 miles (Round Trip)
ELEVATION GAIN: 1950 Feet
HIKING TIME: 3 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 1, 2018
WEATHER: Hazy, hot and humid.  90 Degrees

PARKING: From route 16 in Berlin cross the Androscoggan River on the Unity street bridge. Bear left onto Hutchins street and follow to (dirt) Success Pond Rd on the right.  The road is marked "ATV trails" coming from the south, if you drive too far and U-turn there is a sign defining the road entrance. Road coordinates N44 28.711, W71 09.847.

Follow Success Pond road 5.35 miles to the trail head.  Look for a wooden AMC trail head sign, the side road is marked with a standard street sign however the overgrowth makes it difficult to see.  There is a single large boulder blocking an eroded drainage washout. Park along the roadside.

Driving time from Manchester is 3 hours.

USGS QUAD: USGS Shelburne Quad

MAP: (Mt. Success)


DESCRIPTION: Follow the sandy road 0.15 miles to a Y intersection.  Bear right and continue another 0.25 miles to an open field. Stay to the right and look for a small Success Trail sign leading east into the woods following blue blazes. The incline begins gradually but soon transitions to moderately steep showing signs of erosion down to the granite slabs that can be slick when wet.  At 1.7 miles you reach the "Outlook loop" which offers a nice reprieve from the steep trail. The views are worth the short 0.3 mile side trip. Follow the mustard colored blazes to a precipice with great views towards Success Mountain and the east.  Continuing along the 0.3 mile loop returns you to the Success trail. Continue east to the crest of the ridge and descend into a boggy area over decaying log bridges before a short and steep incline to the Mahoosuc Trail (AT).  Follow the Mahoosuc Trail (AT) 0.6 miles south to the rocky Success Summit. 


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Success trail - The Outlook Spur 1.7 miles 1.7 miles
The Outlook loop 0.3 miles 2.0 miles
Success Trail - Mahoosuc Trail (AT) 0.7 miles 2.7 miles
Mahoosuc Trail - Success Summit 0.6 miles 3.3 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Success trail - The Outlook Spur 45 minutes 45 minutes
The Outlook loop 10 minutes 55 minutes
Success Trail - Mahoosuc Trail (AT) 20 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Mahoosuc Trail - Success Summit 10 minutes 1 hour 25 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3565 feet Mt success is ranked #93 (depending on what list you refer to) on the list of New Hampshire highest mountains. It is trailed all the way to the vastly open summit making it a popular destination for hikers.  It is #8 on the NH 52 With a View list and additionally, on the trailwrights list of 100 mountains.  The summit is marked with a trail junction sign post and there is no indication that you're at the summit other than a golden benchmark embedded in the granite and the knowledge that you've reached the highest point.

Following the Mahoosuc Trail south approximately 0.25 miles will lead to a blazed spur path leading another 0.1 miles to the impressive wreckage of a DC3 plane crash which occurred in 1954. It's a ominous feeling to encounter a rather large crash site just off the AT corridor with a plethora of debris all over the place and a large section of fuselage is still intact.  All passengers and crew survived the initial crash due to pilot creativity and ingenuity however, two members passed on while waiting for rescue.  My directions to the crash site are intentionally vague. It's an incredible story that should be researched.

Success Trail head on Success Pond Road
View from The Outlook
Wooden bridges through a boggy area
1954 DC3 crash debris
fuselage still intact





Monday, June 18, 2018

Stub Hill (3627 Feet)

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Pittsburg
DESTINATION: Stub Hill
ELEVATION: 3627 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 06.407, W71 05.870
TRAIL: Fisherman's path, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 1.2 miles (round trip)
ELEVATION GAIN: 480 feet
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes (round trip)
SEASON: Spring
DATE: June 16, 2018
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 55 degrees

PARKING: Navigating the dirt logging roads to access Stub Hill is the most challenging aspect of this adventure. I'll try and be as detailed as possible with driving instructions. From route 3 in Pittsburg turn onto Magalloway road (marker 1) and drive 1.1 miles to (marker Stub 2) N45 07.078, W71 12.521.  Turn right onto Smith Brook road and continue 2.7 miles to (marker Stub 3) N45 07.721, W71 09.643.  Turn right and continue 1.6 miles to (marker Stub 4) N45 07.071, W71 08.316. Continue 0.9 miles to an intersection (marker Stub 5) at N45 07.002, W71 07.349. Most 2wd vehicles will make it to this point without issue and this would make a suitable parking spot (2.1 mile road walk) if you are hesitant about continuing further. From here continue left along a narrower ans steeper logging road to the height of land at N45 06.884, W71 06.067 (Stub Park)

Drive time from Manchester is 4 hours.

Driving map 1
Driving Map 2









USGS QUAD: Bosebuck Mountain Quad

MAP: (Stub Hill)




DESCRIPTION: 

From the col follow the fisherman's trail towards Stub Hill Pond.  I encountered relatively open woods adjacent to the trail and in hindsight, started my bushwhack a little early through beautifully open waist high fern glades. I'd recommend continuing all the way to the pond. The entire 0.6 mile trek took 15 minutes to reach the summit.  The tree with sign and canister had fallen making them difficult to spot.

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3627 feet, Stub Hill is (subjectively) ranked #81 on the list of New Hampshire 3500 footers. It is also the highest point in the town of Pittsburg. It is a relatively short and trivial bushwhack through very open woods and the difficulty of this mountain is navigating the plethora of logging roads that all appear identical.  From the col I'd recommend ascending Stub Hill North peak and driving to nearby Diamond Ridge.  Both are on the list of NH 3000 footers. 

Entrance to the Fisherman's Path from parking

Fisherman's trail

Open woods bushwhack

Stub Hill Summit sign and canister


Friday, June 8, 2018

Stinson Mountain (2840 Ft)

Views from Stinson Mountain
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Rumney
DESTINATION: Stinson Mountain
ELEVATION: 2840 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 50.079, W71 46.756
TRAIL: Stinson Mountain Trail
DISTANCE: 1.75 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1310 Feet
HIKING TIME: 2.5 hours
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 25, 2018
WEATHER: Sunny, humid, 75 degrees

PARKING: Follow Route 25 from Rumney 5 miles to Stinson Lake Rd. Continue 5 miles to the Stinson Lake then turn right onto Cross rd for 0.8 miles to the T intersection. Turn Right for 0.25 miles to the parking area on the left. There is room for 5-6 cars plus overflow on the roadside.

USGS QUAD: USGS Rumney Quad

MAP: (Stinson Mountain)



DESCRIPTION: From the trailhead the Mt Stinson trail begins over an easy grade paralleling an old carriage road to an intersection with a cellar hole. Continue east as the trail moderately ascends then merges with a wide snowmobile corridor at 1900 feet elevation. The trail follows the corridor to approximately 2100 feet where, at a bridge bears right and ascend steeply, switchbacking to the summit. There are a set of three stairs and concrete cornerstone pieces of the firetower remains. Excellent views to the East and South.

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Stinson Mountain seems taller than 2840 feet due to the steep trail and substantial views. It's ranked #38 on the NH 52 With a View list and #28 on the NH 1000 Ft Prominence list.  It's also a fun hike with children.

The Stinson Mountain trail along the snowmobile corridor

Sign marking the trail split

Stinson Mountain firetower remains




Monday, June 4, 2018

Sable Mountain (3519 Ft) and Chandler Mountain (3335 Ft.)

Mt. Sable from the Chandler
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Chatham, Jackson
DESTINATION: Mt Sable, Mt. Chandler
Mt. Sable ELEVATION: 3519 Feet
Mt. Chandler ELEVATION: 3335 Feet
Sable SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 12.901, W71 05.740
Chandler SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 12.150, W71 06.366
TRAIL: Fire Road 17A, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 6.75 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2475 feet
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 24, 2018
WEATHER: 65 degrees, sunny, clear

PARKING: From route 16 in Glen turn onto Town Hall Rd for 7.0 miles to the gated end. Fire Road 17A is the left fork.

USGS QUAD:  USGS Chatham Quad

MAP: (Chandler Map) (Sable Map)




DESCRIPTION: 

This was a relatively docile and trivial bushwhack.  From the gated parking area follow Fire Road 17A approximately 1.75 miles towards Chandler. The road seems to continue along a contour but begins to trail away from the peak and the hardwoods were mostly open so I angled in setting a course for Chandler.  The 0.75 mile bushwhack through mostly open woods was enjoyable with a moderately steep incline in places. The Chandler summit was open with great views to the north and west.  Continue north descending through a fern birch glade full of moose sign to the col where the woods get a little more moderate but still easy whacking 1.0 miles to the Sable Summit.  I intended to head due east and pick up the Slippery Brook trail but the open woods were so beautiful that I chose to bushwhack 2.0 miles back to FR17. At 2200 Feet I encountered an open logging slash with lots of thick and thorny underbrush. It was easier to avoid the open clearing and continue through the moderate hardwoods back to FR17.  From here it was a 1.25 mile walk along the fire road back to parking.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Fire Rd 17 to bushwhack 1.75 miles 1.75 miles
bushwhack to Chandler 0.75 miles 2.5 miles
Chandler to Sable 1.0 miles 3.5 miles
Sable to FR17 2.0 miles 5.5 miles
Fire Rd 17 to Parking 1.25 miles 6.75 miles


NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3519 Feet, Sable mountain is ranked #100 on the list of 3500 footers. Chandler is on the list of NH 3000 foot peaks and the open bushwhack makes it a very easy two-fer.  Both peaks contain a PVC summit canister although the one on Sable is a much smaller diameter.

Faint traces of a trail leading towards the Chandler Summit

two of many moose antlers

Chandler Summit

Sable Summit