Sunday, April 16, 2017

Milan Hill Fire Tower (1720 Feet)

Milan Hill fire tower
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Milan
DESTINATION: Milan Hill Fire tower
ELEVATION: 1720 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 34.339, W71 13.391
TRAIL: Road Walk to XC ski trails
DISTANCE: 0.41 miles one way
ELEVATION GAIN: 190 feet
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes
SEASON: early spring
DATE: April 14, 2017
WEATHER: 45 degrees, clear skies

PARKING: 72 Fire Tower Road, Milan NH 03588.

From Berlin take route 16 north approximatley 10 miles to route 110B in Milan and look for the Milan Hill State Park sign on your left. Parking can be found at the gated entrance, if the gate is open drive a short 0.13 miles to the Nansen XC ski club parking lot with warming hut.

USGS QUAD: USGS Milan Quad

MAP: (Nansen Ski Club Map) (Milan Hill USGS Map)


DESCRIPTION:

The State park and campground typically open in May and the road was gated during my visit.

I parked roadside near the gated entrance and walked the plowed tower road to the Nansen XC Ski area parking lot. There is a warming hut and trail kiosk with trail maps available. The ski area is open to the public and accessible year round. Follow Pine Alley 0.1 miles to the junction with Hilltop. Continue on Hilltop for 0.12 miles and a junction with 3 other trails. From here the tower can be seen a few hundred feet away and is accessible via a short hiking trail.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
road walk - Nansen XC ski Parking 0.13 miles 0.13 miles
Pine Alley - Hilltop 0.10 miles 0.23 miles
Hilltop - 4 way junction 0.12 miles 0.35 miles
4 way junction - Firetower 0.06 miles 0.41 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
parking - Fire tower 20 minutes 20 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Milan Hill is one of the few standing and active fire towers in the state. It's a short hike to incredible views and definitely worth a visit if you're in the area. The state park is always open for recreational use and XC ski area is maintained by the Nansen Ski club, open to the public and welcomes hikers on the property.

The tower is marked with a benchmark disk (look under the right side steps) and has 4 smaller cement pilings inside the tower mount footings. Climbing the stairs to the lookout platform offers unique and spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area including Mt. Washington, the Mahoosuc range and into Maine, Westerly views of the Percy peaks, Nash Stream area and into Vermont as well as northerly views into Canada. The views are worth the minimal effort required to hike the summit.

More information about camping at Milan Hill State Park can be found on the NH State Parks Website

More information about the Nansen ski club can be found on the Nansen Ski Club website

Approaching Milan Hill 

Views east towards the Mahoosuc range and Maine

Views south towards Mt. Washington

Views north into Canada

Views west towards the Percy Peaks and Vermont

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Terrace Mountain (3655 feet)

View of Mt. Weeks from the Terrace summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Kilkenny
DESTINATION: Terrace Mountain
ELEVATION: 3655 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 28.637, W71 23.719
TRAIL: Bunnell Notch Trail, Kilkenny Ridge trail
DISTANCE: 4.9 miles one way
ELEVATION GAIN: 2155 Feet
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Early spring
DATE: April 14, 2017
WEATHER: 45 degrees, clear skies


PARKING: Parking can be found at the end of York Pond Rd past the Berlin Fish hatchery. This area is gated and posted open from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM however I arrived shortly after 7 AM and found the gate opened and buried in snow. It appears the gate hasn't been moved in a long time. The trailhead is clearly marked and contains room for 4 to 5 cars. There is ample overflow parking roadside.

Driving time from Manchester is approximately 2 hours 45 minutes

USGS QUAD: USGS Jefferson quad

MAP: (Terrace)


DESCRIPTION: Follow the Bunnell Trail 0.2 miles to the merge and departure of the York Pond trail. Continue on the Bunnell trail (right) as it descends and crosses minor streams that should be rock hoppable in most conditions. After approximately 1 mile and 25 minutes of hiking the Bunnell trail departs the logging road at a signed junction. From here the trail begins it's ascent paralleling the West Branch of the Upper Ammonoosuc River. There are dozens of minor tributaries flowing into the main corridor which makes the Bunnell trail muddy and keeping your feet dry will be moderately challenging. The trail is one of the main corridors to access Mt. Cabot and although poorly marked and blazed, foot travel makes the main trail relatively easy to follow. After 3.0 miles you reach the Bunnell notch height of land and the junction of the Kilkenny Ridge trail.

The Kilkenny Ridge trail departs left and is poorly marked with faded mustard colored blazes. With snow on the ground I struggled to follow the Kilkenny Ridge trail and found I followed trail for 100 yards then would lose it for anywhere from 20 to 200 feet before finding the corridor or cut tree branches and recognized trail. A short ascent takes you over the signed North Terrace summit then descends the col before gradually ascending Middle Terrace. The summit is a short distance off trail but easily attainable and recognizable. There are no markings on the Middle terrace summit. Descend the col and begin the ascent up Terrace proper. After 1.9 miles you reach a sign junction and 0.1 mile spur trail to the 3655 foot Terrace summit. The summit is not marked and offers directional views towards the Weeks to the south and Cabot to the north.

To make a nice loop descend 1.1 miles to the York Pond Trail. Follow the York Pond trail 2.4 miles to the junction with the Bunnell trail mentioned above and a short 0.2 mile stint back to parking.

Due to the poorly marked trails and lack of recent visitors I had concerns of potential trail breaking for approximately 3.5 miles and I chose to return by retracing my steps and descending the Bunnell Trail. Distance was slightly longer however following my tracks in the snow and the broken out Bunnell Trail was too tempting to resist.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Bunnell Notch Trail - Kilkenny Ridge trail junction 3.0 miles 3.0 miles
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - North Terrace Summit 0.6 miles 3.6 miles
North Terrace Summit - Middle Terrace 0.5 miles 4.1 miles
Middle Terrace - Terrace Mountain spur 0.7 miles 4.8 miles
Terrace Mountain Spur - Terrace Summit 0.1 miles 4.9 miles
Terrace Summit - Kilkenny Ridge trail junciton 0.1 miles 5.0 miles
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - Bunnell Trail Junction 1.8 miles 6.8 miles
Bunnell Trail - Parking 3.0 miles 9.8 miles

HIKING TIMES:


HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Bunnell Notch Trail - Kilkenny Ridge trail junction 1 hour 25 minutes 1 hour 25 minutes
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - North Terrace Summit 25 minutes 1 hour 50 minutes
North Terrace Summit - Middle Terrace 15 minutes 2 hours 5 minutes
Middle Terrace - Terrace Mountain spur 15 minutes 2 hours 20 minutes
Terrace Mountain Spur - Terrace Summit 5 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
Terrace Summit - Kilkenny Ridge trail junciton 5 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - Bunnell Trail Junction 45 minutes 3 hours 15 minutes
Bunnell Trail - Parking 1 hour 5 minutes4 hours 20 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3655 Feet Terrace Mountain is ranked #79 on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest mountains. It is also #79 on the YMCA Alpine club list. North Terrace is marked with a summit sign on the Kilkenny Ridge trail. There are no views. According to the White Mountain Guide North Terrace mountain contains a small clearing intended for helicopter landings. I was unable to locate the clearing however it wasn't the purpose of my visit and I didn't look very hard.

Middle Terrace is a obvious bump in the trail however not prominent enough to be counted on any lists. There are reduced views due to tree growth from it's summit.

Terrace Mountain has a col depth over 500 feet and reached bu a 0.1 mile spur trail. The summit is not marked but the obvious high-point offers limited directional views to the North and south.
Bunnell Trail head on York Pond Road
Terrace mountain from Bunnell trail


Mt. Cabot through white birch trees

Directional view of the Horn


Monday, April 10, 2017

Mt. Roberts (2582 Feet), Mountain View (2782 Feet), Faraway Mountain (2730 Feet)

Mt. Roberts Summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Moultonborough
DESTINATION: Mt. Roberts, Faraway Mountain
ELEVATION: 2582 feet, 2782 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Mt. Roberts - N43 45.394, W71 19.556
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Mountain View - N43 45.690, W71 18.682
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Faraway Mountain - N43 45.405, W71 18.646
TRAIL: Mt. Roberts trail, High ridge Trail, Faraway spur, High Ridge Trail, Faraway mountain Trail, Road walk
DISTANCE: 9.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1650 Feet
HIKING TIME: 3 hours 45 minutes
SEASON: Early Spring
DATE: April 8, 2017
WEATHER: 35 degrees, clear

PARKING: From NH 25 in Moultonborough turn onto Route 109 following it for 2.25 miles to the Y junction with route 171. Continue straight on route 171 another 0.5 mile turning onto Ossipee Park road. Drive up Ossipee Park Road past the stone house entrance to the hiker parking area with trail kiosk on the right.

Approximately 90 minutes drive time from Manchester.

Map kiosk at parking area
Mt. Roberts trailhead behind horse barn











USGS QUAD: USGS Tamworth Quad - Summits, USGS Melvin Village Quad - Trailhead

MAP: (Faraway Mountain Map)


In addition to the USGS Maps a hiker known as "Trail Bandit" has created a detailed Ossipee Map of the surrounding peaks and trails.

DESCRIPTION:

Follow the road adjacent to the trail kiosk through the gates toward Shannon pond. Continue up the hill toward the horse barn and follow signs leading to the Mt. Roberts trail which begins behind the fence. The trail is well marked with orange diamonds at regular intervals and begins along a wide carriage road before returning to the field follows the fence perimeter a short distance before turning right into the woods. Use caution at this junction as the trail is not signed and one could easily continue straight along the fence border. The Mt. Roberts trail ascends a knoll then levels off through hardwoods before reaching a rocky steep section. As you ascend, a short spur trail marked 'outlook' leads a short distance to the west and offers great views of Red Hill, Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap range including Gunstock Mountain ski area to the south. Both Red Hill and Belknap Mountain have fire towers on their summits. Once you've caught your breath the Mt. Roberts trail continues up a short steep section before the incline becomes more gradual over rocky ledge terrain. The last mile of trail ascends several open ridges with spectacular views in the southern and easterly directions towards the lakes and the highest point in the Ossipee range, 2990 foot Shaw mountain. After 2.4 miles and approximately 1 hour of hiking the Mt. Roberts summit is attained. The summit is marked with a sign and Faraway mountain is looming in the background. Return the way you came or continue along the High Ridge making a 11 mile scenic loop to Faraway mountain.

At the Mt. Roberts summit the High Ridge trail marked with blue diamonds descends to the north and follows a wide carriage road along the ridge. The carriage road was lined with very old grey birch trees providing the feeling of going back in time a hundred years. Look for signs of moose as you follow the carriage road 1.3 miles to the Faraway mountain spur trail. The spur trail is not marked but the a ATV path leading to the left and chain gate is fairly obvious to spot.

Chain marking the entrance to the Faraway mountain spur trail

Follow the spur trail 0.25 miles to the 2783 "Mountain View" summit. The summit contains some man-made cell towers bringing you back to the 21st century. There seems to be conflicting information on the nomenclature of these peaks as well as discrepancies on various map sources adding to the confusion. In this report "Mountain View" is considered the 2792 foot peak marked with the red pointer on the map below. Faraway mountain is the closer peak containing two summit bumps at 2730 feet elevation. It appears the southeastern bump may be a few feet higher than the northwestern bump marked with the blue pointer. I couldn't find the dotted trail leading over the 2730 Faraway Mountain summit bumps and chose to bushwhack to these summits from the High Ridge trail.

Mt. Roberts, Faraway and 'Mountain View' summit points
Once back on the High Ridge Trail the carriage road leads past a spectacular outlook offering 180 degree views to the south then gradually descends 1.2 miles to the junction of the Faraway Mountain trail marked with orange diamonds. From here it's a long 4.5 miles following the Faraway Mountain trail to the Cold Spring trail carriage roads that gradually descend switchback after switchback after switchback. These may be great for a horse and buggy but make for frustratingly tedious long walking conditions. You'll eventually pass the cellar hole of the Roberts homestead and the junction of Cold Springs Road. A 0.5 mile road walk will lead you back to Shannon Pond.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Mt. Roberts trail - Outlook 1.0 miles 1.0 miles
Outlook - Mt. Roberts Summit 1.4 miles 2.4 miles
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Spur Trail 1.32 miles 3.72 miles
Faraway Spur Trail - Mountain View Trail 0.2 miles 3.92 miles
Faraway Spur Trail - High Ridge Trail 0.2 miles 4.12 miles
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Summit bumps 0.10 miles 4.22 miles
Faraway Summit Bumps - High Ridge Trail 0.08 miles 4.30 miles
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Mountain Junction 1.18 miles 5.48 miles
Faraway Mountain Trail - Cold Springs Trail 1.72 miles 7.20 miles
Cold Springs Trail - Cold Springs Road 1.25 miles 8.45 miles
Cold Springs Road - Parking 0.54 miles 9.0 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Mt. Roberts trail - Outlook 35 minutes 35 minutes
Outlook - Mt. Roberts Summit 1 hour 5 minutes 1 hour 40 minutes
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Spur Trail 30 minutes 2 hours 10 minutes
Faraway Spur Trail - Mountain View Trail 10 minutes 2 hours 20 minutes
Faraway Spur Trail - High Ridge Trail 10 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Summit bumps 5 minutes 2 hours 35 minutes
Faraway Summit Bumps - High Ridge Trail 5 minutes 2 hours 40 minutes
High Ridge Trail - Faraway Mountain Junction 20 minutes 3 hours
Faraway Mountain Trail - Cold Springs Trail 20 minutes 3 hours 20 minutes
Cold Springs Trail - Cold Springs Road 15 minutes 3 hours 35 minutes
Cold Springs Road - Parking 10 minutes 3 hours 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The lakes Region Conservation Trust offers a patch to anyone who has hiked 30 miles along 19 trails (not all at once) over 5 summits within their property. Anyone interested in this challenge can find more information on the LRCT website. Mt. Roberts is ranked #48 on the New Hampshire 52 With a View list and worth the visit alone. For a longer adventure I'd recommend continuing along the ridge to Faraway mountain and a loop back to the parking area. Both Mt. Roberts and Faraway Mountain are on the Ossipee 10 list of 10 notable peaks in the Ossipee range.

This trail system is popular but an early start may provide the opportunity to spot some of the wildlife in the region. I was able to spot several different tracks in the snow such as skunk, deer, pine martin, moose and turkey.

Mt. Roberts is marked with a summit sign. Due to snow cover I was unable to search for any benchmarks. Mountain View has several man-made structures along with cell towers on its summit. and I was unable to locate any signage or markings on either of the two faraway summit bumps.

Red Hill from the Mt. Roberts overlook

Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap range

"Mountain View" summit



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

West Peak (3580 Ft.), Castle Mountain (3569 Ft.)

West Peak summit canister
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Columbia
DESTINATION: West Peak, Castle Mountain
ELEVATION: 3580 Feet, 3569 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: West Peak - N44 45.262, W71 29.754
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Castle Mountain - N44 45.580, W71 28.761
TRAIL: Brown Road, Corridor 7, logging road, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 9.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2370 Feet
HIKING TIME: 5 hours 15 minutes
SEASON: Early spring (winter conditions)
DATE: March 25, 2017
WEATHER: Cold, clear, 20 degrees

PARKING: From the junction of route 3 and VT 105 follow Rt. 3 for 3 miles. Look for the diamond shaped sign marking Meriden Hill Road on the right (GPS Coordinates N44 46.771, W71 34.995). Follow Meriden Hill road for 1.8 miles to the junction of Brown Road (N44 47.052, W71 33.264). Turn right on Brown road and follow it 1.5 miles to a Y junction (N44 46.349, W71 32.076). Stay to the right and follow Brown Rd to its end.

In winter Brown Road, may or may not be plowed. In March, 2017 The road was plowed with enough width for a single car for 0.8 miles. I found a small parking area with room for 2-3 cars at N44 46.444, W71 32.813. Brown road becomes a snowmobile corridor requiring a 1.75-mile road walk to the T junction, field and camps at the terminus of Brown road. Just before reaching the camps the road is marked with a private property sign. I didn’t encounter a no trespassing sign and continued the few hundred feet into the property to ask permission.

Drive time from Manchester was 3 hours 15 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Bunnell Mountain Quad

MAP: (West Peak), (Castle)




DESCRIPTION: Walk Brown road to the camps and open field.Continue east on the unnamed road for 0.15 miles, passing a couple camps to the T junction with snowmobile corridor 7 (not marked). Follow corridor 7 as it turns south for a total of 0.25 miles to the gates. Turn left and follow the unmarked logging road east for 0.9 miles to a recently logged open area at approximately 2400 feet elevation.Find an open line and begin to bushwhack southeast for one mile through the open slash. As the slash ends, the woods become steeper and thicker.I encountered a few moderately thick bands that lasted 50-100 feet but would open as you skirted through. A minor thick section guarded the summit and I found the register on the southern point of the summit. Take a few steps behind the register to the blowdown patch for great views of the Percy peaks, the Cabot range and Mt. Washington massif.

From West peak, Castle is 1.0 miles to the east. Bushwhack into the col starting off with a short, thick band of Christmas tree spruce that opened as I skirted to the northern side of the col. Once passing through the scrappy section the woods beautifully opened into the col and continued to be clear and open all the way to Castle. I went to what appeared to be the distinct high point and was unable to locate a canister. I continued along the ridge passing a moderate bump to a secondary summit. This location appeared to be a slightly lower elevation than the original bump I stood on. I returned to the original bump and performed a more thorough search for a canister without any luck. I was able to find a 9” diameter spruce with three pieces of orange flagging which I considered the summit of Castle.

I followed my footsteps for 0.5 mile back to the col and descended towards the logging road. The descent was steep and thicker woods pulled me in the direction of Hymmel brook. I entered the thicker bands looking for openings along the contour wanting to avoid descending towards the brook and struggled through thick spruce, snow traps and steep terrain for approximately 0.5 miles until I hit the open logging slash and clear sailing back to the logging road very close to my start point.Even with the cold weather and steep terrain, this was one of the easier bushwhacks I’ve performed. Google Earth doesn’t show recent logging and I was surprised by how open the woods were.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Brown Road Parking - Camps and field 1.7 miles 1.7 miles
Camps and field - Gate 0.35 miles 2.05 miles
Gate - start of bushwhack 0.95 miles 3.0 miles
Start of bushwhack - West Peak 0.9 miles 3.9 miles
West Peak - Castle Mountain 1.0 miles 4.9 miles
Castle Mountain - End of bushwhack 1.5 miles 6.4 miles
End of bushwhack - Brown Road parking 3.0 miles 9.4 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Brown Road Parking - Camps and field 45 minutes 40 minutes
Camps and field - Gate 5 minutes 45 minutes
Gate - start of bushwhack 15 minutes 1 hour
Start of bushwhack - West Peak 1 hour 30 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
West Peak - Castle Mountain 1 hour 3 hours 30 minutes
Castle Mountain - End of bushwhack 45 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes
End of bushwhack - Brown Road parking 1 hour 5 hours 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At just under 3600 feet, West Peak (3580 Feet) is ranked  #91 on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest mountains (depending on which list you are looking at). Castle Mountain (3569 Feet) is an unranked peak on the three variations of the NH 100 highest lists I refer to although it is on the Peakbagger list of NH 3500 footers. West Mountain had a PVC canister at it's summit and offered excellent directional views to the South of the Percy Peaks, Mt. Cabot and Mt. Washington.

Castle Mountain is less than a mile away through beautifully open woods containing mostly obscured directional views.  The summit did not have a distinct bump and I wandered the summit proper and what appeared to be two or three potential highest points unable to find a canister. I did encounter a 9" diameter spruce with three pieces of orange flagging tape a few feet away from what I considered the highest point. There were no views from the Castle Summit.

Gate at the end of Brown road, Snowmobile Corridor 7

West Peak Summit canister

Percy Peaks, Cabot range and snow covered Mt. Washington from West Peak

Spruce with three orange flags marking the summit of Castle Mountain



Monday, March 13, 2017

Sentinel Mtn - (1680 Ft.), Mt. Flagg - (2390 Ft.)

Mt. Shaw and the Ossipee Range
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Ossipee
DESTINATION: Sentinel Mountain, Mt. Flagg
ELEVATION: 1680 Ft, 2390 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Sentinel Mtn - N43 44.196, W71 13.524
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Mt. Flagg - N43 44.196, W71 13.524
TRAIL: Sentinel Mountain Trail, Sentinel Connector Trail, Canaan Mountain Trail, Mt. Flagg Trail.
DISTANCE: 5.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1750 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 3 hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Winter
DATE: March 12, 2017
WEATHER: single digit temperatures with wind. Cold and clear.

PARKING: From Route 16 N (White Mountain Highway) turn left onto route 16 B. Follow 16B for 0.55 miles to Main St. Turn Left onto Main St following it 0.65 miles to the small village of Center Ossipee where Main St turns into Moultonborough Rd. Follow Moultonborough Rd for 1.5 miles turning right onto Valley Rd. Soon Valley Rd transitions from asphalt to gravel reaching the junction with Bents Rd after 1.8 miles. Turn right onto Bents Rd for 0.4 miles to a small pull off at N43 44.500, W71 12.830. The parking area is NOT marked and does not have a trail kiosk or map. Look for the gate with "No Motorized Vehicles" sign. There is room for 2-3 strategically placed cars in the pull off. Roadside parking is also available.

Approximately 2 hours from Manchester

USGS QUAD: USGS Tuftonborough Quad

MAP: (Sentinel Mountain), (Mt. Flagg)

A detailed map of the entire Ossipee Mountain range can be found here


DESCRIPTION:

Pass through the gate then bear left at the vague "Mt. Trail" sign. The Sentinel Mountain trail follows an ATV trail for approximately 0.5 miles then crosses a logging road where it transforms to a single track. Look for the "Mt. Trail" signs. There was a few inches of snow on the ground and the tree blazes were marked with a fading maroon color making them difficult to pick out at several places as you are led through mostly open hardwood forest soon reaching a very steep pitch to the Sentinel summit ledges. The summit offers great views over Dan Hole Pond to Gunstock Mountain and the Belknap range. The Canaan, Flagg, Shaw ridge can be seen to the northwest.

Continuing Northwest the trail name changes to the Sentinel Connector trail (there are no signs) for the next 0.43 miles. It drops steeply off the Sentinel Mountain ledges then gradually inclines through mostly open woods. The trail heads west and follows a contour line to the Merrovista Ledges and small log cabin at N 43° 44.126 W 071° 14.015. Look for maroon paint and take the Canaan Mtn trail (unmarked) to the north northwest continuing through open woods. I found it difficult to follow with the snow and poorly visible maroon paint. The trail ups and downs for approximately 0.75 miles then drops 100 feet and bears west to another cabin and the junction of the Mt. Flagg trail. The blazes become yellow as the trial gets technical following a rocky dry riverbed reaching the col between Canaan Mountain and Mt. Flagg. The trail peeks through some open ledges giving great directional views soon reaching the open sub-summit of Mt. Flagg which offers great views. The actual summit is the next hump a few hundred feet away.

Return the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Sentinel Mtn. 0.85 miles 0.85 miles
Sentinel Mtn Connector - Canaan Mtn Trail Jct. 0.43 miles 1.28 miles
Canaan Mtn Trail - Mt. Flagg Trail Jct. 0.81 miles 2.09 miles
Mt. Flagg Trail Jct. - Mt. Flagg Summit 0.71 miles 2.80 miles
Mt. Flagg Summit - Parking 2.80 miles 5.60 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Sentinel Mtn. 30 minutes 30 minutes
Sentinel Mtn Connector - Canaan Mtn Trail Jct. 15 minutes 45 minutes
Canaan Mtn Trail - Mt. Flagg Trail Jct. 45 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Mt. Flagg Trail Jct. - Mt. Flagg Summit 45 minutes 2 hours 15 minutes
Parking - Sentinel Mtn. 1 hour 15 minutes 3 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

My hiking boots have been collecting dust for several months and a trip to the Ossipee's was the perfect solution for a quality hike with spectacular views for little effort. Both summits offer views to the Gunstock Mountain ski area and with a pair of binoculars you can see the fire tower on Belknap mountain. Green Mountain and it's fire tower is directly to the east and Mt. Shaw is looming to the northwest. The neat log cabins along the way added some trail excitement. Both Sentinel Mountain and Mt. Flagg are on the 'Ossipee 10' peakbagger list.

Dan Hole Pond and the Belknap Range from the Sentinel Mtn. summit

Mt. Shaw from Mt. Flagg

Merrovista Ledges cabin

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mt. Deception (3671 Ft)

The Deception summit canister
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Low and Burbanks Grant
DESTINATION: Mt. Deception
ELEVATION: 3671 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 17.610, W71 25.238
TRAIL: Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 3.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1730 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 2 hours 45 minutes
SEASON: Fall
DATE: November 4, 2016
WEATHER: Overcast, drizzle, light snow at higher elevation

PARKING: From Route 302 turn onto Cherry Mountain Rd.  The road passes a few houses and is gated 0.5 miles from route 302.  Continue 2.0 miles to campsite 7 on the right.

Driving time from Manchester is approximately 2 hours.

USGS QUAD: USGS Mt. Dartmouth Quad

MAP: (Mt. Deception)




DESCRIPTION: 

Parking can be found at Camp 7 on Cherry Mountain Rd.  This is a very open area that appears more of a sand pit with a fire ring than a designated camping spot.  I heard rumors of a trail leading from behind the campsite and I found several restroom area short herd paths but nothing substantial. I departed the camp over a hump along the back right, descended to a stream crossing and started the bushwhack from there. The woods were relatively open and after 0.4 miles crossing a very old logging road that runs northwest to southeast. This road can be seen on Google Earth aerial images. I followed the logging road a few hundred feet but found it headed further south than I planned and I found less interference and resistance through the open woods.  I slabbed the north side of Deception and encountered a few bands of semi-heavy woods but 95% of this bushwhack was a straight line through clear hardwood that transition to spruce and fir trees that never got very thick. The most difficult aspect was the blister promoting side-step angular hiking on the mountain slopes. As I reached the western sub summit I encountered the old and abandoned Deception trail leading towards the western summit.  There weren't any views with the cloud-covered overcast skies.  The trail was littered with challenging blow downs and I found less resistance bushwhacking parallel to the trail 75-100 feet to the north avoiding the blow downs on the summit ridge-line.

Use caution with your compass bearing on descent as the woods and terrain pull you to the north.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Camp 7 - Deception summit 1.75 miles 1.75 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Camp 7 - Deception summit 1 hour 30 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Deception summit - Camp 7 1 hour 15 minutes 2 hour 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Mt. Deception is ranked #75 on the list of NH 3500 foot mountains and the 53rd most prominent mountain in the state. The western sub summit has directional views towards the Mt. Washington hotel and presidential range. Due to the weather all I saw were clouds resulting in minimal photos to share. There are no views from the Mt. Deception summit and no markings other than the summit canister (shown above).

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Gore Mtn. (3600 Ft)

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Stratford
DESTINATION: Gore Mountain
ELEVATION: 3600 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 46.446, W71 27.911
TRAIL: Logging roads / Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1800 Feet
HIKING TIME: 3.5 hours
SEASON: Fall
DATE: October 22, 2016
WEATHER: 50 Degrees, Wet, Drizzle

PARKING: From the junction of route 3 and VT 105 follow Rt. 3 for 3 miles.  Look for the street sign marking Meriden Hill Road on the right (GPS Coordinates N44 46.771, W71 34.995). Follow Meriden Hill road for 1.8 miles to the junction of Brown Road (N44 47.052, W71 33.264).  Turn right on Brown road and follow it 1.5 miles to a Y junction (N44 46.349, W71 32.076).  Take a left on the road less traveled as far as you're comfortable. I parked at a Y intersection 0.25 miles into this road (N44 46.561, W71 31.949). I was not confident in location and unsure if I was on the correct road. In hindsight, one could driven another 0.5 further along the sketchy road however the terrain contains several water-bars with the potential of doing undercarriage damage. I preferred to play it safe and walk the 0.5 miles to the gated Vickie Bunnell preserve sign (N44 46.700, W71 31.479).



Drive time is approximately 3 hours from Manchester.

USGS QUAD: Bunnell Mountain Quad

MAP: (Gore Mountain)


















DESCRIPTION:  From the Bunnell Preserve sign follow the overgrown logging road / unmarked snowmobile corridor 7 for 1.1 miles to a Y junction in the trail. Snowmobile corridor 7 departs right, continue straight (left fork of Y) along the logging road passing a beaver dam and lodge to an open field.  I made the mistake of continuing straight along the left bank of Gore Brook following the town boundary line towards Bunnell / Blue.  I realized my mistake at about 3000 feet elevation and contoured my way into the Blue / Gore col where I encountered the land of endless and relentless Christmas trees.  I fought 100 yards of spruce in 20 minutes before frustration overtook and I decided to descend the shortest and quickest route out of spruce madness. Less than 5 minutes after exiting the spruce and 0.5 miles from the Gore summit I encountered a well trodden herd path leading less than 0.2 miles to the summit.  A short open-woods bushwhack led me to the canister 2 hours and 5 minutes after parking the car.

Descent was much less eventful as I returned to the herd path and descended to an open area. The herd path was severely overgrown and at a 90 degree turn titled open area on the satellite image below and became difficult to locate. I chose to bushwhack through open woods until I picked up a logging road which I followed to the open field and junction at the beaver lodge.



TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCETOTAL DIST.
Parking to Bunnell Preserve sign0.5 miles0.5 miles
Bunnell Preserve to Y junction1.1 miles1.6 miles
Y junction to Beaver Dam Jct0.6 miles2.2 miles
Bushwhack to herd path1.1 miles3.3 miles
Herd Path - summit0.8 miles4.1 miles




HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIMETOTAL TIME
Parking - Summit2 hours 5 minutes2 hours 5 minutes
Summit - Parking1 hour 30 minutes3 houts 35 minutes







NOTES / COMMENTS:

This hike was a mental stamina struggle. The wet conditions soaked my boots immediately after departing the car and I was drenched from head to toe about 45 minutes into the hike. It was demoralizing to realize I was headed an incorrect direction towards Bunnell and I hit an all time low standing in the land of Christmas trees while chilled to the bone and dripping like a saturated sponge. I was lucky to find a corridor nearby which rejuvenated my spirits allowing me to push on and reach the canister.  Gore is #87 on the list of New Hampshire Hundred highest and other than the summit canister there are no markings at the summit.  There were some directional views from the open areas of the path system.  Unfortunately, I carried my iPhone in the front pocket of my hiking pants and it also became completely saturated. The few pictures I snapped are now located on an inaccessible and non-functioning.