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

The Captain (3520 Ft.)

The Captain from FR86A
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Livermore
DESTINATION: "The Captain"
ELEVATION: 3520 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 05.042, W71 27.744
TRAIL: Sawyer River Rd, FR86, FR86A, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 16.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2620 Ft
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Spring
DATE: June 3, 2018
WEATHER: 70 degrees, sunny, clear. High pollen counts.

PARKING:  At the date of posting Sawyer River road has been closed indefinitely due to a trivial washout making the closest parking lot at the entrance to Sawyer River Rd on Route 302. This adds a 3.75 mile distance to access the standard trailhead at the end of Sawyer River Rd.  I'd recommend a bicycle.

Driving Time from Manchester is approximately 2 hours.

USGS QUAD: USGS Mt. Carrigan Quad

MAP: (The Captain)


Blue lines represent the distance cycled.  Light blue is the 3.75 miles to the traditional parking area on Sawyer River Rd and the darker blue is a 2.33 mile pedal on Fire Roads 86 and 86A to a large open field.

The red line represents a 2 mile bushwhack.

DESCRIPTION:

This was a revisit to The Captain after a poorly planned failed attempt in 2017 ending up on hiking to approximately 3200 Ft elevation and but on the wrong side of a significant drop-off. This was my opportunity to correct those errors unfortunately, Sawyer River Rd suffered a washout over the winter of 2018 and currently the USFS has hesitated to repair the damage leaving Sawyer River Rd closed indefinitely. This adds a 3.75 mile road walk to the trail head. I biked the 3.75 miles to the start of Fire Road 86 and was able to continue biking another 2.33 miles along the Fire Road to a large open field at N44 03.840, W71 25.146. I parked, changed into the hiking boots and with burning legs, followed the overgrown rock-climber herd path 1.5 miles to a small clearing at N44 04.749, W71 27.288. The herd path is overgrown in several placed and the last 0.5 miles is challenging following a dry stream bed making it difficult to navigate. Once at the clearing I set a bearing for Carrigan Pond and encountered thick woods which transitioned to heavy spruce then extremely steep inclines and occasionally all three combined. It was nice to reach the somewhat level col with a short stint of open woods before a steep and thick 0.2 mile final pitch to the summit canister.

There are some steep drops and thick woods and I did my best to follow my footsteps most of the way back down.


TRAIL DISTANCES: (Biking in blue, hiking in red)

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Bike to Sawyer River rd parking area 3.75 miles 3.75 miles
Bike Fire Rd 86 to open filed 2.33 miles 6.1 miles
Hike herd path to open area 1.55 miles 7.65 miles
Bushwhack to The Captain 0.55 miles 8.2 miles

HIKING TIMES: (Biking in blue, hiking in red)

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Bike to Sawyer River rd parking area 40 minutes 40 minutes
Bike Fire Rd 86 to open filed 20 minutes 20 minutes
Hike herd path to open area 45 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Bushwhack to The Captain 1 hour 2 hours 45 minutes
Summit - Bike 1 hour 15 min 4 hours
Bike to parking 30 min hour 4 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The bike was a smart decision allowing me to make great time. I pedaled over 6 miles and cut a 4.5 mile bushwhack into about 2 miles. The pedal in was almost all uphill and I spent most of the time in the easiest gear range as possible churning my legs with each pedal. After parking my quadriceps were burning and I questioned the decision to bike. At 3520 Feet, The Captain is ranked #99 of the NH 102 peaks over 3500 feet.

The Captain's prominence is listed at 220 feet due to the nearby Mt. Carrigan but don't let that fool you. The elevation at the start of Sawyer River Rd is 900 Ft and 1640 Feet at the Trailhead kiosk. Making the elevation increase over 2600 Feet from the road or almost 1900 feet from the kiosk.

The summit offers no views but contains a canister, a couple pints of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum (they looked significantly watered down and I didn't sample the goods). There are also a couple pirate eye patches in the canister providing some mild entertainment at the summit.  There weren't a lot of photo opportunities (unless you like a close up view of spruce boughs). 

The bike ride return to the parking area was absolutely incredible. A 6 mile high speed downhill ride that made the incoming uphill churn completely worth it.

The Captain summit canister


Friday, October 20, 2017

Long Mountain (3661 Feet), West Long (3661 Ft)

Long Mountain profile, Photo © Bill White
STATE:New Hampshire
TOWN: Odell
DESTINATION: Long Mountain, Middle Peak /Long Mountain, West Peak
ELEVATION: 3661 Feet, 3661 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Middle Long - N44 40.802, W71 22.791
SUMMIT COORDINATES: West Long - N44 40.194, W71 24.140
TRAIL: Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 6.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1935 Feet
HIKING TIME: 3 hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Fall
DATE: October 19, 2017
WEATHER: Cool and clear. 55 degrees

PARKING: From route 3 in Groveton follow route 110 for 2.6 miles to Emerson Road. Take Emerson Road 2.5 miles to the Y intersection and turn left onto Nash Stream Road. Drive Nash Stream Road 5.0 miles to the junction with Trio Ponds road (unmarked). Merge right onto Trip Ponds Road and follow it 2.5 miles to a gated road junction. Limited roadside parking is available.

View from parking of the gated road entrance
Driving time from Manchester is 3 hours.

USGS QUAD: USGS Percy Peaks Quad

MAP: (Long Mountain, Middle) , (Long Mountain, West)




DESCRIPTION:

Research states to follow the gated road east for 0.3 miles to a hunters cabin (left) and look for a poorly defined fisherman's path on the southern side of the street. The fisherman's path is definitely poorly defined, overgrown and peters out in a clear cut after a few hundred feet. I'd recommend cutting dierctly through the clear cut which brings you to an old and abandoned logging road. This former road (shown on Google Earth maps) was a nicely defined fisherman's path with moderate elevation gain and limited blowdowns to hop over. Other than some muddy sections it was an ideal route. I anticipated the path to peter out at some point but it kept going, and going and going. I was able to follow it 1.75 miles to the height of land near Long Mountain Pond where the trail continued (I'm assuming to the pond) but I broke off and headed through very open terrain towards the West summit of Long Mountain. The open woods contained dead knee tall spruce for the entire .9 mile whack to Long Mountain, West. It was some of the best and most ideal extreme open woods I've ever encountered. The Western summit is marked with a PVC canister at the indistinct highpoint.

From West Long I debated about returning through the beautifully open woods the way I came taking a slightly longer and northerly route around the pond to my next destination but was concerned about wetlands and swampy conditions on the northern side of Long Mountain pond. Instead I proceeded towards the southern outlet and followed the 3400 foot contour (startling a moose) through clean woods towards the pond however it did get a little scrappy as I got closer to the pond. These were the worst conditions I faced all day and the scrappy sections weren't long, frustrating, or memorable enough to complain about. My good luck finding extremely open woods continued the next 0.6 miles to Long Mountain. Long is marked with a "M Long" sign and larger PVC canister.

I descended in a northwesterly direction making a lollipop loop through more open woods picking up scrappier and bigger dead spruce as my approach neared the fisherman's path retracing my steps back to the road. A gorgeous day to hit the woods.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Gate to start of bushwhack 0.25 miles 0.25 miles
fisherman's path to col 1.75 miles 2.0 miles
Col to West Long 0.85 miles 2.85 miles
West Long to Long Mountain Pond outlet 0.8 miles 3.65 miles
outlet to Middle Long 0.6 miles 4.25 miles
Middle Long to Fisherman's path 1.0 miles 5.25 miles
Fisherman's path - road 1.0 miles 6.25 miles
road to gate 0.25 miles 6.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Gate to start of bushwhack 10 minutes 10 minutes
fisherman's path to col 50 minutes 1 hour
Col to West Long 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
West Long to Long Mountain Pond outlet 30 minutes 2 hours
outlet to Middle Long 30 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
Middle Long to Fisherman's path 30 minutes 3 hours
Fisherman's path - road 25 minutes 3 hours 25 minutes
road to gate 5 minutes 3 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Long Mountain and Long Mountain, West are ranked 77 and 78 on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest peaks. With 1711 feet prominence, Middle Long is ranked #54 on the most prominent peaks index. I was unable to obtain any views during the open woods bushwhack however, encountered a large moose int the col. Additionally, I would have liked to see Long Mountain Pond but my route kept me far enough away to keep my toes dry. Both summits contain a PVC canister and Middle Long had a summit sign.

Fisherman's Trail 

Open woods bushwhack

3661' West Long

3661' Middle Long

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bear Hill (830 Ft) - Allenstown NH

The Bear Hill Summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Allenstown
DESTINATION: Bear Hill
ELEVATION: 830 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 07.352, W71 21.866
TRAIL: Bear Hill Trail, Ferret trail, Podunk road
DISTANCE: 1.5 miles (total loop)
ELEVATION GAIN: 160 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 hour
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 28, 2017
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, humid

PARKING: Bear Hill is located within Bear Brook state park and a day use fee applied to anyone entering the park. Currently the fee is $4 for adults and $2 for children and is payable at the ranger kiosk at the Podunk Rd entrance. From Route 28 in Suncook drive 3.1 miles to Deerfield Rd on your right. After 3.2 miles turn right onto Podunk road. Follow Podunk road for 2.10 miles to a small parking pull off on the left side of the road. The Bear Hill trail is a few hundred feet to the north and on the opposing side of the street.

USGS QUAD: USGS Candia Quad

MAP: (Bear Hill)



I would also recommend printing a trail map of Bear Brook State park. This map is also available at the ranger kiosk.

DESCRIPTION: From parking backtrack on Podunk road a few hundred feet to the Bear Hill trail on the west side of Podunk Rd. Cross the rock wall and follow the double track ascending moderately a short 0.24 miles to a signed trail junction marking the Ferret trail. The summit is a few hundred feet away. The summit is filled with about a dozen one to two foot tall ant hills. The highest point contains the cement footing remains of where a fire tower once stood. This was a quick ascent and I decided to make it a bit longer by descending the Ferret Trail for 0.6 miles in a southerly direction to it's junction with Bear Hill Road. From Bear hill road it's a short walk to the junction with Podunk road and approximately 0.5 miles back to parking.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Bear Hill trail - Ferret trail 0.24 miles 0.24 miles
Bear Hill trail - summit 0.01 miles 0.25 miles
Summit - Ferret trail junction 0.01 miles 0.26 miles
Ferret trail - Bear Hill Rd 0.60 miles 0.86 miles
Bear Hill Rd - Podunk Rd 0.10 miles 0.96 miles
Podunk road walk - Parking 0.50 miles 1.46 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Time is subjective on this adventure and can be a quick 20 minutes up and down using the short Bear Hill Trail. My loop took approximately 1 hour and includes a 10-15 minute 'rest' at the summit trail junction.

The purchased day pass can be used for all areas of Bear Brook State park and I would recommend visiting the Catamount pond beach or exploring other areas of the park.

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Bear Hill is the highest point in Allenstown and once contained a steel fire tower built in 1939. The 45 foot tall tower was used until 1980. The summit is cleared but has no views due to surrounding overgrowth.

Ant hills on the Bear Hill summit
Cement footings are all that remains of a 1939 fire tower. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mt. Muise (3615 Ft)

Mt. Muise summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Odell
DESTINATION: Mt. Muise
ELEVATION: 3615 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 47.151, W71 22.672
TRAIL: Cohos Trail, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 3.7 miles (one way)
ELEVATION GAIN: 1550 feet
HIKING TIME: 3.5 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 13, 2017
WEATHER: 60 Degrees, overcast, off and on rain

PARKING: From Route 3 in Groveton follow route 110 for 2.6 miles to Emerson Road. Continue on Emerson road staying right at the 1.5 mile Y junction to it's terminus at 2.2 miles. Turn left onto Nash Stream Road (gated in winter) and follow it 11.0 miles to a hunting camp and dual gated Y intersection at it's end.

Driving time from Manchester is approximately 3 hours 15 minutes. Plan on 20-30 minutes on Nash Stream Rd itself.

USGS QUAD: USGS Bunnell Mountain Quad

MAP: (Mt. Muise)




During the research process I found the Cohos Trail map one of the best resources available and would recommend picking up a copy.

DESCRIPTION: 

From parking take a left at the Y junction following the Cohos Trail along a woods road.  The trail is wide enough for a vehicle and at the time of my trek the grassy road was recently mowed.  Follow the Cohos Trail for 3 miles to the open field where the mowed path stops and trail becomes a single track just before the crossing of Nash Stream.  This is where the dashed road markers end on most topo maps.  Find an open area and begin the bushwhack.  The first 200 feet were scrappy but the woods opened up nicely to moose trails through fern glades for most of the 0.75 miles.  The last pitch to the summit was steep through scrappy and thicker woods.  Footing becomes slippery over moss covered stones and downed trees.  The summit is an obvious highpoint marked with a small cairn and summit canister containing only enough room for 1-2 people.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Cohos trail to Nash Stream crossing 3.0 miles 3.0 miles
Nash Stream crossing - Summit 0.75 miles 3.75 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Cohos trail to Nash Stream crossing 1 hour 1 hour
Nash Stream crossing - Summit 45 min 1 hour 45 min
Summit - Nash Stream crossing 30 min 2 hours 15 min
Cohos trail to parking 1 hour 3 hours 15 min

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3615 feet Mt. Muise is the 83rd highest peak in New Hampshire and #45 on the 100 most prominent. It's incorrectly listed as Whitcomb Mountain on Peakbagger.com. Follow the Cohos Trail a significant distance then bushwhack is a straight line southwest to the summit making the bushwhack to Mt. Muise a good experience for the novice whacker to hone their map and compass skills. Starting the bushwhack slightly before the crossing of Nash Stream should make for open woods and a plethora of herd paths leading most of the way to the summit. The summit highpoint was an obvious bump containing a PVC canister and small cairn. There are occasional directional views from the open fields along the Cohos Trail, the summit contains no views.

The gate at the end of Nash Stream Rd and Cohos Trail

Mt. Muise summit canister

Fern-whacking on descent