Sunday, November 22, 2015

Scaur Peak, Mt. N. Tripyramid, M Tripyramid, The Fool Killer (3548 Ft)

STATE: New Hampshire
The Fool Killer from a viewpoint on the Sabbaday Brook trail
TOWN: Waterville Valley
DESTINATION: Scaur Peak, N Tripyramid, M Tripyramid, The Fool Killer
ELEVATION: 3605 Ft, 4180 Ft, 4140 Ft, 3548 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: The fool Killer N43 58.278, W71 25.572
TRAIL: Pine Bend Brook Trail, Mt. Trypyramid Trail, Sabbaday Brook Trail
DISTANCE: 12.0 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3973 Feet
HIKING TIME: 6 hours
SEASON: Fall
DATE: November 21, 2015
WEATHER: 35 degrees, overcast, high cloud cover

PARKING: Parking can be found at the Pine Bend Brook trail head on route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) 1 mile west of the Sabbaday Falls parking area. Roadside shoulder parking is available for several cars. Drive time is approximately 90 minutes from Manchester. If one intends to perform the loop you may want to consider parking at Sabbaday Falls and hiking the road at the start of your journey rather than the end.

USGS QUAD: Mt. Tripyramid Quad

MAP: (Scaur(North Tripyramid) (Middle Tripyramid) (The Fool Killer)



DESCRIPTION: The Pine Bend Brook is a beautiful trail through open hardwoods as it follows and makes minor tributary crossings. The soft grade continues as it turns right after approximately one mile then makes two quick and rock hop crossings of Pine Bend Brook at its tributary. Several small crossings continue and the incline becomes slightly more moderate and at 2 miles, crosses the Sandwich Range Wilderness boundary as it soon becomes steep and rough paralleling a stream and rising up through a birch forest. The trail makes a sharp left makes a final crossing and steeply gains the ridge soon reaching the height of land.

The Scaur bushwhack begins at the obvious height of land point on the Pine Bend Brook trail. The bushwhack is a distinct herd path leading through hobblebrush with multiple signs of moose as you traverse the narrow ridge. The narrow ridge line makes it easy to distinguish the 'trail' if you do get misaligned in the hobblebrush. The trail ascends the southern flank of Scaur and becomes difficult to follow through a few downed trees but can be found again with careful examination from the opposite side. The summit is in heavy trees and marked with a Scaur sign. There is no register. Follow your foot steps back to the trail.

The Pine Bend Brook trail dips slightly then turns south reaching the junction of the Scaur Ridge trail after 0.2 miles. Continue south as the terrain becomes rocky and steep often requiring hand holds on the slippery slabs for 0.8 miles to the 4180 foot North Tripyramid summit. The summit is wooded and marked with a cairn on the tallest rock and offers directional views from several side trail outlooks.

The Mt. Tripyramid trail begins its descent starting rocky and steep but the first few tenths of a mile then becomes more gradual reaching the junction of the Sabbaday Brook Trail after 0.5 miles. 4140 foot Middle Tripyramid is a long and difficult 0.3 miles away over very steep terrain that finally becomes easier as it pops out onto the summit. There is a cairn at the summit and directional views in several different directions.

The Fool Killer can be seen through the tree foliage off in the distance. The Fool Killer got its name from the early map makers who were attempting to hike N Tripyramid and reached The Fool Killer summit before realizing it was a sub peak. Descend the Sabbaday Brook trails steep grade 0.75 to 1.0 miles where the trail meets a stream and makes a 90 degree turn. My coordinates were N43 58.274, W71 25.882 and just under 3100 feet elevation. The biggest difficulty is the short technical brook crossing. The remaining bushwhack is due west through beautifully open woods. It's a short 0.2 miles to The Fool Killer summit but slow going due to the brutally steep slope. I attained the summit after 15 minutes of hiking. The fool Killer summit is marked with a sign and PVC summit register. There are no views.

I evaluated several descent options. The first was to make a straight line route following the elevation contour to the N Tripyarmid trail, another option I considered was to descend the southeast ridge and pick up the Sabbaday Brook trail at a lower elevation. I opted to retrace my steps through the open woods back to 3100 ft elevation on the Sabbaday Brook Trail. I didn't look forward to the steep 1000 foot climb back up and over N Tripyramid and I decided descending 4.0 miles on the Sabbaday Brook trail with a 1.0 mile road walk but is much less strenuous on tired and sore legs. The Sabbaday Brook trail is approximately 4 miles along a long and straight trail with a very gradual decline. The longer but less strenuous route was ideal for my tired and sore legs. The trail crosses Sabbaday Brook and it's tributaries countless times making it adventuresome yet you will have wet feet. I would not recommend this route after heavy rains or in winter.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Wilderness Boundary 2.0 miles 2.0 miles
Wilderness Boundary - final crossing* 0.5 miles 2.5 miles
final crossing* - height of land 0.5 miles 3.0 miles
height of land - Mt. Scaur 0.3 miles 3.3 miles
Mt. Scaur - height of land 0.3 miles 3.6 miles
height of land - Scaur trail jct. 0.2 miles 3.8 miles
Scaur trail jct. - Mt. Tripyramid trail jct. 0.8 miles 4.6 miles
Mt. Tripyramid trail - Mt. Tripyramid summit 100 feet 4.6 miles
Mt. Tripyramid summit - Sabbaday Brook trail 0.5 miles 5.1 miles
Sabbaday Brook trail - Middle Tripyramid summit 0.3 miles 5.4 miles
Middle Tripyramid summit - Sabbaday Brook trail 0.3 miles 5.7 miles
Sabbaday Brook trail - 3100 Ft elevation (bushwhack) 0.8 miles 6.5 miles
3100 Ft elevation (bushwhack) - The Fool Killer 0.25 miles 6.75 miles
The Fool Killer - 3100 Ft elevation (trail) 0.25 miles 7.0 miles
Sabbaday Brook trail - Sabbaday falls 3.5 miles 10.5 miles
Sabbaday Falls - Sabbaday Falls parking 0.5 miles 11.0 miles
Sabbaday Falls parking - Pine Bend Brook trail 1.0 miles 12.0 miles

* Disclaimer - I prefer not to use terms like final crossing in my descriptions due to the vague nature (when on the trail how does one know this is the final crossing) of the description however the final crossing is at a high elevation and the trail continues away from the stream bed making this a good reference point.

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Wilderness Boundary 40 minutes 40 minutes
Wilderness Boundary - final crossing* 20 minutes 1 hour
final crossing* - height of land 20 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes
height of land - Mt. Scaur 15 minutes 1 Hour 35 minutes
Mt. Scaur - height of land 10 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
height of land - Scaur trail jct. 5 minutes 1 hour 50 minutes
Scaur trail jct. - Mt. Tripyramid trail jct. 30 minutes 2 hour 20 minutes
Mt. Tripyramid trail - Mt. Tripyramid summit 5 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
Mt. Tripyramid summit - Sabbaday Brook trail 15 minutes 2 hours 40 minutes
Sabbaday Brook trail - Middle Tripyramid summit 10 minutes 2 hours 50 minutes
Middle Tripyramid summit - Sabbaday Brook trail 10 minutes 3 hours
Sabbaday Brook trail - 3100 Ft elevation (bushwhack) 35 minutes 3 hours 35 minutes
3100 Ft elevation (bushwhack) - The Fool Killer 15 minutes 3 hours 50 minutes
The Fool Killer - 3100 Ft elevation (trail) 15 minutes 4 hours 5 minutes
Sabbaday Brook trail - Sabbaday falls 1 hour 30 minutes 5 hours 35 minutes
Sabbaday Falls - Sabbaday Falls parking 5 minutes 5 hours 40 minutes
Sabbaday Falls parking - Pine Bend Brook trail 20 minutes 6 hours

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Scaur Peak and the Fool Killer are both on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest peaks, both North and Middle Tripyramid are on the New Hampshire 4000 footer list.

This was a strenuously long hike with more elevation gain than I anticipated. When plotting my route I planned to return from the Fool Killer ascending N Tripyramid and returning Pine Bend Brook to my car. When descending Sabbaday Brook from the junction of the Mt. Tripyramid trail my legs were burning and I knew ascending was not an option and the choice to descend Sabbaday Brook was a wise decision. The trails gradual grade was easy on my sore legs. The 1 mile road walk is not fun but it's not overwhelming either. There should be plenty of cars and tourists at Sabbaday Falls who may be willing to offer a lift.

Sign marking the Fool Killer Summit
The Fool Killer Summit canister


North Tripyramid (4180 feet), Middle Tripyramid (4140 feet)

Mt. Washington from North Tripyramid
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Waterville Valley
DESTINATION: North Tripyramid, Middle Tripyramid
ELEVATION: 4180 ft, 4140 ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: North Tripyramid = N43 58.386, W71 26.568
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Middle Tripyramid = N43 57.870, W71 26.406
TRAIL: Pine Bend Brook trail, Mt. Tripyramid trail
DISTANCE: 9.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3110 feet
HIKING TIME: 5 hours
SEASON: Fall
DATE: November 21, 2015
WEATHER: 35 degrees, high cloud cover

PARKING: Parking can be found at the Pine Bend Brook trail head on route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) 1 mile west of the Sabbaday Falls parking area. Roadside shoulder parking is available for several cars. Drive time is approximately 90 minutes from Manchester. If one intends to perform the loop you may want to consider parking at Sabbaday Falls and hiking the road at the start of your journey rather than the end.

USGS QUAD: Mt. Tripyramid Quad

MAP: (North Tripyramid) (Middle Tripyramid)


DESCRIPTION: The Pine Bend Brook is a beautiful trail through open hardwoods as it follows and makes minor tributary crossings. The soft grade continues as it turns right after approximately one mile then makes two quick and rock hop crossings of Pine Bend Brook at its tributary. Several small crossings continue and the incline becomes slightly more moderate and at 2 miles, crosses the Sandwich Range Wilderness boundary as it soon becomes steep and rough paralleling a stream and rising up through a birch forest. The trail makes a sharp left makes a final crossing and steeply gains the ridge soon reaching the height of land. Experienced hikers may want to consider climbing Scaur Peak. The bushwhack begins here (right) and follows the ridge line 0.3 miles (15 minutes) to the Scaur Peak summit. The Pine Bend Brook trail dips slightly then turns south reaching the junction of the Scaur Ridge trail after 3.2 miles. Continue south as the terrain becomes rocky and steep often requiring hand holds on the slippery slabs for 0.8 miles to the North Tripyramid summit. The summit is wooded and marked with a cairn on the tallest rock and offers directional views from several side trail outlooks.

The Mt. Tripyramid trail begins its descent starting rocky and steep but the first few tenths of a mile then becomes more gradual reaching the junction of the Sabbaday Brook Trail after 0.5 miles. Middle Tripyramid is a long and difficult 0.3 miles away over very steep terrain that finally becomes easier as it pops out onto the summit. There is a cairn at the summit and directional views in several different directions.

Return the way you came or make a loop trail via the more gradual Sabbaday Brook trail. From the Sabbaday Brook Trail junction the descent to Pine Bend Brook is 4.5 miles but requires you to ascend North Tripyramid. Descending Sabbaday Brook is 4.9 miles, with a 1.0 mile road walk but is much less strenuous on tired and sore legs.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Pine Bend Brook - Wilderness Boundary 2.0 miles 2.0 miles
Wilderness Boundary - Scaur trail jct. 1.2 miles 3.2 miles
Scaur trail jct. - Mt. Tripyramid trail jct. 0.8 miles 4.0 miles
Mt. Tripyramid trail - Mt. Tripyramid summit 100 feet 4.0 miles
Mt. Tripyramid summit - Sabbaday Brook trail 0.5 miles 4.5 miles
Sabbaday Brook trail - Middle Tripyramid summit 0.3 miles 4.8 miles
Middle Tripyramid summit - Sabbaday Brook trail 0.3 miles 5.1 miles
Sabbaday Brook trail - Sabbaday falls Parking 4.9 miles 10.0 miles
Sabbaday Falls parking - Pine Bend Brook trail 1.0 miles 11.0 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Pine Bend Brook - Wilderness Boundary 40 minutes 40 minutes
Wilderness Boundary - Scaur trail jct. 45 minutes 1 hour 25 minutes
Scaur trail jct. - Mt. Tripyramid trail jct. 30 minutes 1 hour 55 minutes
Mt. Tripyramid trail - Mt. Tripyramid summit 5 minutes 2 hours
Mt. Tripyramid summit - Sabbaday Brook trail 15 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
Sabbaday Brook trail - Middle Tripyramid summit 10 minutes 2 hours 35 minutes
Middle Tripyramid summit - Sabbaday Brook trail 10 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes
Sabbaday Brook trail - Sabbaday falls Parking 1 hour 15 minutes 4 hours
Sabbaday Falls parking - Pine Bend Brook trail 15 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 4180 feet and 4140 feet, both North and Middle Tripyramid are on the New Hampshire 4000 footer list. This was my 3rd ascent of both North and Middle Tripyramid however my notes for the original two ascents are randomly scattered over hiking books and excel spreadsheets. My goal for today's hike was the nearby bushwhacks of Scaur Peak and The Fool Killer but wanted to include both North and Middle Tripyarmid, taking detailed notes to prepare an adequate trip report for the site. The summits do not have any signage or official markings (probably due to their location within the Sandwich Range Wilderness) but are marked with small cairns and the obvious height of land. Both peaks offer directional views. North Tripyramid has a couple spur trails leading to open views. Middle Tripyramid is slightly more open with directional views.

I startled a moose cow and calf 0.1 miles before the Scaur Ridge Trail junction.
Pine Bend Brook Trail head
Junction with the Mt. Tripyramid trail


Mt. Tecumseh (Waterville Valley Ski area)
Osceola and East Osceola
Sabbaday Falls



Mt. Scaur (3605 Ft)

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Waterville Valley
DESTINATION: Mt. Scaur
ELEVATION: 3605 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 59.112, W71 27.006
TRAIL: Pine Bend Brook trail
DISTANCE: 6.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2245 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 35 minutes
SEASON: fall
DATE: November 21, 2015
WEATHER: 35 degrees, overcast high clouds

PARKING: Parking can be found at the Pine Bend Brook trail head on route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) 1 mile west of the Sabbaday Falls parking area. Roadside shoulder parking is available for several cars. Drive time is approximately 90 minutes from Manchester

USGS QUAD: Mt. Tripyramid Quad

MAP: (Scaur)


DESCRIPTION: The Pine Bend Brook is a beautiful trail through open hardwoods as it follows and makes minor tributary crossings. The soft grade continues as it turns right after approximately one mile then makes two quick and rock hop crossings of Pine Bend Brook at its tributary. Several small crossings continue and the incline becomes slightly more moderate and at 2 miles, crosses the Sandwich Range Wilderness boundary as it soon becomes steep and rough paralleling a stream and rising up through a birch forest. The trail makes a sharp left makes a final crossing and steeply gains the ridge.

The Scaur bushwhack begins at the obvious height of land point on the Pine Bend Brook trail. The bushwhack is a distinct herd path leading through hobblebrush with multiple signs of moose as you traverse the narrow ridge. The narrow ridge line makes it easy to distinguish the 'trail' if you do get misaligned in the hobblebrush. The trail ascends the southern flank of Scaur and becomes difficult to follow through a few downed trees but can be found again with careful examination from the opposite side. The summit is in heavy trees and marked with a Scaur sign. There is no register.

Return the way you came or continue another 0.8 miles to 4180 foot North Tripyramid. For details on this route see my North and Middle Tripyramid trip report.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Wilderness Boundary 2.0 miles 2.0 miles
Wilderness Boundary - final crossing* 0.5 miles 2.5 miles
final crossing* - height of land 0.5 miles 3.0 miles
height of land - Mt. Scaur 0.3 miles 3.3 miles

* Disclaimer - I try not to use descriptions like stream crossing or final crossing of stream as a reference point however this crossing is a noticeable point that you'll recognize when you reach it.

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Wilderness Boundary 40 minutes 40 minutes
Wilderness Boundary - final crossing* 20 minutes 1 hour
final crossing* - height of land 20 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes
height of land - Mt. Scaur 15 minutes 1 Hour 35 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3605 feet Mt. Scaur is on the list of New Hampshire hundred highest peaks and one of the easiest bushwhack peaks to attain with a straight line approach, short bushwhacking distance and slightly over 200 foot elevation gain (bushwhack). It appears to be a popular side destination for one attempting to hike the Tripyramids. I was slightly disappointed by the herd path leading to the summit of Scaur. I intended to hone my navigational skills by using only a line of site to navigate. The trail made the bushwhack simple and no navigational aids are required. The summit is marked with a small wooden "Scaur" sign and offers no views.

The Pine Bend Brook Trail head
Wilderness Boundary
Scaur Summit sign
recent Moose gnawings on a downed tree




Thursday, November 19, 2015

Round Mountain, Mt. Frissell, Mt. Frissell South Slope (CT Highpoint)

Mt. Frissell from the Round Mountain summit
STATE:Massachusetts / Connecticut
TOWN:Mt. Washington, MA
DESTINATION: Round Mountain, Mt. Frissell, Mt. Frissell Southern Slope (CT high-point)
ELEVATION: 2293 Ft, 2451 Ft, 2372 Ft.
Round Mountain SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 02.930, W73 28.575
Mt. Frissell SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 03.078, W73 28.926
Mt. Frissell S slope (CT Highpoint) COORDINATES: N42 02.985, W73 28.937
Tri-State Marker COORDINATES: N42 03.078, W73 28.926
TRAIL: Red trail
DISTANCE: 2.75 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: ~775 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 Hour 15 minutes
SEASON: Fall
DATE: November 17, 2015
WEATHER: 45 Degrees, Clear

PARKING:

At the route 41 and 23 split in South Egremont, Ma take 41 south for 0.1 miles and turn onto Mt. Washington Rd. Follow Mt. Washington Rd due west for 2.5 miles as it rounds a small hill and turns to the south. After 4.4 miles Mt. Washington Rd becomes East St. Continue south for a total of 11.4 miles to the MA / CT border marker (left) N42 02.997, W73 28.023. At the Massachusetts and Connecticut border there is a small lot with room for 4 strategically placed cars and an overflow lot across the street with room for an additional six or seven vehicles. There is no signage at parking, lots are open on both sides of the street.

As of this report Mt. Washington road is closed for winter and barricaded from the south.

Depending on the map source you choose and direction the road may be called Riga Rd (if approaching from the south), Mt Washington Rd or East Rd.

USGS QUAD: Bash Bish Falls Quad

MAP: (Mt. Frissell)


DESCRIPTION:

There is no signage to mark the red trail which begins at the Massachusetts and Connecticut border on Mt. Washington Rd. The trail is easy to navigate as it travels through abundant Mountain Laurel everywhere. The first tenth of a mile is along flat ground then makes a sharp 90 degree left turn and begins a gradual and soon very steep ascent up the slope of Round Mountain. The trail climbs a series of steep granite slabs and is poorly marked with faded red paint on the rocks that can be difficult to spot with November leaf cover on the trail. Soon the trail reaches the open summit of 2293 foot Round Mountain which has open views in nearly all directions. Mt Frissell can be seen a short 0.25 miles to the northwest. Bear and Gridley Mountains to the southeast and the Catskills to the west.

The trail heads along the semi-open Round Mountain and can be difficult to follow as it traverses rocky outcrops, through laurel and descends a short distance into the col before steeply ascending Mt. Frissell. As you reach the summit proper the summit sign and visitor register can be seen a approximately 50 feet to the north. Continue south along the trail 1000 feet will lead you to a large cairn, the high-point marker and high-point register.

Continuing west another 0.25 miles will lead you to the NY, MA, CT tri-state marker and simultaneously standing in three states is worth the short 0.25 mile side trip.

I would recommend continuing west and making a loop by hiking N Brace mountain and Brace mountain along the Taconic Range in NY. The descent puts you further south on Mt. Washington Rd and requires a short road walk.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Round Mountain 0.8 mi 0.8 mi
Round Mountain - Mt. Frissell 0.4 mi 1.2 mi
Mt. Frissell - Mt. Frissell S. Slope (CT HP) 0.1 mi 1.3 mi
Mt. Frissell S. Slope - Tri-state marker 0.25 mi 1.55 mi
Tri-state marker - Mt. Frissell 0.35 mi 1.9 mi
Mt. Frissell - Parking 1.2 mi 2.75 mi

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Round Mountain 15 minutes 15 minutes
Round Mountain - Mt. Frissell 15 minutes 30 minutes
Mt. Frissell - Mt. Frissell S. Slope (CT HP) 5 minutes 35 minutes
Mt. Frissell S. Slope - Tri-state marker 10 minutes 45 minutes
Tri-state marker - Mt. Frissell 10 minutes 55 minutes
Mt. Frissell - Parking 20 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

I've been to the 5 other New England high-points and a visit to Mt. Frissell along with it's associated slope has been on the top of my short list for a long time.  The drive is approximately 3 hours 20 minutes from my home base in Manchester NH and I've been weighing whether the short hike and low elevations make the almost 7 hour round trip not worth the effort. I was driving to Long Island for business and made the side trip pit stop during my commute. The beautiful Taconic range makes the hiking worth the effort.  In addition to the CT state high-point, two (plus) peaks can be climbed, the NY/MA/CT tri-state marker is nearby and there are several geocaches / benchmarks along the way.

The Round Mountain summit is marked with a cairn,  Frissell has a sign marking the summit along with a visitor register,  the state high-point has a benchmark disk and short rod and the tri-state marker is a 3 foot tall cement post.

MA / CT state line on Mt. Washington Rd (parking)
Round Mountain (center), Gridley Mountain (right) and Bear Mountain (back)

Frissell South Slope, CT State High point

Tri-state Marker (NY Side)
Tri-state Marker (MA side)




Thursday, October 15, 2015

Mt. Hale (4054 Ft.), Mt. South Hale (3680 Ft.)

4054 Ft. Mt. Hale summit cairn
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Twin Mountain
DESTINATION: Mt. Hale, South Hale
ELEVATION: 4054 Ft, 3680 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES:Hale = N44 13.307, W71 30.728
SUMMIT COORDINATES:South Hale = N44 12.053, W71 31.091
TRAIL: Hale Brook Trail, Lend-a-Hand Trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 10.0 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1550 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 4.5 Hours
SEASON: Fall - Peak foliage
DATE: October 12, 2015
WEATHER: 60 degrees, clear, crisp

PARKING: From 302 turn into Zealand campground and follow Zealand Rd for 2.5 miles to the Hale Brook Trail parking area. There is room for approximately 10 cars in the lot with overflow onto Zealand Rd. This is a USFS fee area.

USGS QUAD: South Twin Mountain Quad

MAP: (Hale) (South Hale)





DESCRIPTION: The Hale Brook Trail enters a hardwood forest, crosses a small stream and gets your blood flowing with a short steep incline. The trail is a mostly moderate grade incline with an occasional steep section. It offers a lot of diversity with the first of 2 stream crossings of Hale Brook at 0.8 miles and 20 minutes into your journey. The incline becomes more moderate and parallels Hale Brook to your left along a steep slope with a long drop to the brook. The trail makes a second crossing of Hale brook and begins a series of steep switchbacks before leading to the large rock cairn on the open summit. The summit is open however views are limited by the tree growth. There are limited views toward Mt. Tom and Field by climbing the summit cairn. Several metal rods in the ground and concrete footings are all that are left from the remains of a former fire tower removed by the USFS in 1972.

It's rumored that the summit contains several magnetic rocks the affect compass and GPSr accuracy readings.

The Lend-a-Hand trail descends steeply to the west to the col between Hale and South Hale. I started the bushwhack to South Hale at 3400 Ft elevation after 30 minutes as the terrain flattens at a large glacial erratic on the left. The bushwhack began in a south to southwesterly direction through open woods over a gentle incline. As the terrain steepens the woods thickened for a short distance. I emerged and found mostly open woods filled with mossy herd paths that all seemed to lead to the summit of the northerly bump. The woods were pristine and terrain easy to follow along the summit ridge. The herd-paths skirted the right side of some marsh lands towards the col then I followed the contour along the dogleg changing direction due west continuing to follow herd-paths to the summit canister. The summit is marked with a PVC canister and sign labeled "Zeale". There are no views. The Zeale name was coined by pioneer Ray Chaput who hung many signs on trail less 3000 footers. The name is a combination of ZEaland and HALE.

My goal was to make a loop visiting Zealand Hut and return to Zealand Road via the Zealand trail. I returned to the northern hump and started to bushwhack directly east to the Lend-a-Hand trail. I encountered steep cliffs as I approached the northerly bump that prevented me from progressing, following my footprints to the Lend-a-Hand trail was the best course of action. There are additional wetlands to the east as you decrease in elevation and it's advised to bear north when possible. Zealand hut is approximately 1 mile away. A short steep descent along the AT (Twinway) leads you to the Zealand trail and the 2.5 miles will take approximately 1 hour to reach the Zealand Road parking lot. The Zealand trail follows an old railroad grade and doesn't contain a lot of elevation or excitement other than a few wooded bridges over bogs. The 1 mile road walk to the Hale Brook Trail parking lot seemed longer than it actually was on tired and sore feet.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
trail destination distance Total Dist
Parking - Mt. Hale Summit 2.3 Miles 2.3 miles
Mt. Hale Summit - 3400 Ft on Lend-a-Hand Tr. (bushwhack start) 1.5 Miles 3.8 miles
Bushwhack start - South Hale Summit 0.6 Miles 4.4 miles
South Hale Summit - Lend-a-Hand Trail 0.6 Miles 5.0 miles
Lend-a-Hand Trail - Twinway Junction 1.2 Miles 6.2 miles
Twinway Junction - Zealand Falls Hut 0.1 Miles 6.3 miles
Zealand Falls Hut - Zealand Trail Junction 0.2 Miles 6.5 miles
Zealand Trail - Zealand Road Parking 2.5 Miles 9.0 miles
Zealand Road Parking - Hale Brook parking 1.0 Miles 10.0 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
trail destination time Total time
Parking - Mt. Hale Summit 1 hr 10 min 1 hr 10 min
Mt. Hale Summit break 10 min 1 hr 20 min
Mt. Hale Summit - 3400 Ft on Lend-a-Hand Tr. (bushwhack start)  35 min 1 hr 55 min
Bushwhack start - South Hale Summit 30 min 2 hr 25 min
South Hale Summit - Lend-a-Hand Trail 25 min 2 hr 50 min
Lend-a-Hand Trail - Twinway Junction 35 min 3 hr 25 min
Twinway Junction - Zealand Falls Hut 5 min 3 hr 30 min
Zealand Falls Hut - Zealand Trail Junction 5 min 3 hr 35 min
Zealand Trail - Zealand Road Parking 45 min 4 hr 20 min
Zealand Road Parking - Hale Brook parking 20 min 4 hr 40 min

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Columbus Day is optimal for fall foliage leaf peeping and according to my local news channel the peak weekend of the season. I wanted to experience a hike with nature at it's finest and the day or weather didn't disappoint.  The clear skies made the morning temperatures brisk but warmed to the low 60's by noon.  At 4054 feet Mt. Hale is the 38th highest mountain in New Hampshire and South Hale is 72nd.

After completing South Hale and returning to the Lend-a-Hand trail you have the option to retrace your steps and ascend 600 feet back to the Hale summit and returning the Hale Brook trail for a 8 to 8.5 mile round trip journey or continue south along the Lend-a-hand trail to Zealend Falls Hut.  The hut offers several viewpoints into Carrigan Notch and short side trips to Zealand Falls.

The Zealand trail descends less than 500 feet following the path of a former railroad grade. The flat terrain offers some wood bridges and viewpoints along it's 2.5 mile length to Zealand Road and a sort 1 mile walk back to the Hale Brook Trail parking area.

Commemorative foot stone of 1928 Firetower

3680 Ft. South Hale (Zeale) summit

Fall foliage on Zealand Trail

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pawtuckaway South Mountain - 908 Ft.

Pawtuckaway (South) Mtn tower
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Nottingham
DESTINATION: Pawtuckaway (South)
ELEVATION: 908 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 06.114, W71 10.866
TRAIL: Tower Rd, Mountain Trail, South Ridge Trail
DISTANCE: 2.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 463 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 1.5 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 15, 2015
WEATHER: cloudy, humid, 80 degrees

PARKING: From Tandy road turn east onto Reservation Rd and follow Reservation road to the junction of Tower road. There are signs stating no vehicles permitted past this point. Roadside parking for 10-15 cars is available.

USGS QUAD: USGS Mount Pawtuckaway Quad

MAP: (Pawtuckaway South)


DESCRIPTION:
I chose a loop circuit following Mountain trail along the perimeter of a marshy pond and summited from the northwest side using Tower trail. From Parking head northeast on Tower Road for 0.16 miles to a spur trail leading east (right). After 0.14 miles you'll reach the junction with Mountain trail. Taking a left will lead you 0.8 miles following the perimeter of a small marshy pond-like area to the junction of Tower road and the Tower trail. There is a small outhouse here. The Tower trail ascends moderately 0.4 miles east over rooty terrain filled with granite boulders and cliffs. Just before the summit the Pawtuckaway South Mountain fire-tower can be seen through the trees. The summit is mostly open with several directional viewpoints. Climbing to the tower platform offers excellent views to the northwest and southeast.

Descend via the South Ridge Trail heading southwest over granite slabs and rocky outcroppings 0.5 miles back to Mountain trail. It's 0.1 miles north (right) back to the mountain trail junction and spur trail leading to Tower Rd.
 Middle and North Mountains

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Tower Rd - Tower Rd spur trail 0.16 miles 0.16 miles
Tower Rd spur trail - Mountain trail Jct. 0.14 miles 0.30 miles
Mountain Trail Jct - Tower Rd Jct. 0.8 miles 1.1 miles
Tower Trail - South Mountain summit 0.4 miles 1.5 miles
South ridge Trail - Mountain Trail Jct. 0.5 miles 2.0 miles
Mountain Trail - Tower Rd Spur trail 0.10 miles 2.1 miles
Tower Rd Spur trail - Tower Rd 0.14 miles 2.24 miles
Tower Rd - Parking 0.16 miles 2.4 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Tower Rd - Tower Rd spur trail 8 minutes 8 minutes
Tower Rd spur trail - Mountain trail Jct. 7 minutes 15 minutes
Mountain Trail Jct - Tower Rd Jct. 20 minutes 35 minutes
Tower Trail - South Mountain summit 15 minutes 50 minutes
South ridge Trail - Mountain Trail Jct. 20 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes
Mountain Trail - Tower Rd Spur trail 5 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Tower Rd Spur trail - Tower Rd 7 minutes 1 hour 22 minutes
Tower Rd - Parking 8 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:


Approaching South Mountain tower
I took the kids on a hiking and geocaching adventure on South Pawtuckaway Mountain. This was a great opportunity to keep their focus with many stops to find caches, following the contour of the pond and identifying animal tracks in the mud along with some beaver activity and hike to one of NH's 15 active fire-towers. The tower platform offers many directional views and has waterproof maps on the tower underside ceiling to identify the local nearby hills.
Pawtuckaway Lake

Friday, July 17, 2015

South Baldface (3570), North Baldface (3610)

STATE: New Hampshire
South Baldface
TOWN: Chatham, Beans Purchase
DESTINATION: South Baldface, North Baldface
ELEVATION: 3570 Ft., 3610 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: South Baldface = N44 13.853, W71 04.675
SUMMIT COORDINATES: North Baldface = N44 14.579, W71 05.224
TRAIL:Baldface Circle Trail clockwise, Bicknell Ridge Trail.
DISTANCE: 9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3070 Ft, 250 Ft
HIKING TIME: 4 Hours 15 minutes
SEASON: Mid-Summer
DATE: July 16, 2015
WEATHER: Bluebird day,sunny, clear, 55 Degrees

PARKING: Parking can be found 17 miles north on Rt 113 in Evans Notch. The parking lot is on the East side of the road approximately 200 Ft from the trail head. There is room for 15-20 cars with overflow parking available roadside.

USGS QUAD: USGS Chatham Quad

MAP: (South Baldface), (North Baldface)



DESCRIPTION: 

The Baldface loop can be hiked from either direction.  I chose the clockwise route ascending South Baldface and traversing the open ridge to North Baldface.  The trip is steep, strenuous and contains four miles of open ridge hiking fully exposed to the weather conditions.

From the parking area walk north on Rt 113 for 200 Ft. to the Baldface Circle Trail on the west side of the street. Follow the intermittent yellow blazes as the trail is rocky and relatively flat meandering through hardwoods 0.7 miles to Circle Junction.  A small unmarked side path (right) leads 0.1 miles to Emerald pool where you'll find a plethora of AMC Cold River Campers swimming in the stream.

Baldface Shelter
Turn left and after 0.1 miles you'll quickly encounter the Slippery Brook Trail junction. Continue right on the Baldface Circle trail and begin a moderately steep incline along a very old logging road passing the Chandler Gorge loop trail after 0.3 miles.  Continue ascending through hardwoods as you steadily increase elevation eventually becoming less steep as the trail follows a contour line to South Baldface Shelter at 2.7 miles.
There are several directional spur trails at the shelter. The Baldface Circle trail continues directly behind the shelter as it climbs a rocky slab soon reaching your first viewpoint of a steep rocky slab.  Here the trail increases in both steepness, difficulty and navigation up steep rocky slabs.  The trail is difficult to follow with small cairns leading the way.  You'll look for rocky outcroppings or scrub trees as hand holds as you steeply incline the nearly vertical trail.  The next 0.6 miles of the steep and arduous journey are the most difficult of this trip eventually leading to a false summit and the junction with the Baldface Knob Trail.  The South Baldface summit is an additional 0.6 miles across open terrain mixed with blueberry bushes and Mountain Laurel. Well Done! From the summit you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Carter Range, Mt. Washington and into Maine.
South Baldface from the Baldface Knob Trail Junction
The Baldface Circle trail descends towards North Baldface (look for the small cairns) dipping in and out of short cols with scrub trees and ascending onto open granite ridges full of glacial striations, scraping and pressure folds making me wish I knew more about geology. After a short and steep incline the North Baldface summit is reached after 1.2 miles.

Continue northeast descending steeply over granite slabs and through minor scrub sections 0.9 miles to the Bicknell Ridge trail along open ledges with excellent views into Evans Notch. After 1.1 miles the Eagle Cascade link exits left and the Bicknell Ridge trail enters the woods and turns to the east descending another 1.4 miles crossing a tributary of Charles brook and reaching the Baldface Circle trail junction.  The Baldface Circle trail angles away from the brook then returns and crosses shortly before Circle Junction and a quick. 0.7 mile trip back to the road.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Circle Junction 0.7 miles 0.7 miles
Circle Junction - Slippery Brook Junction 0.1 miles 0.8 miles
Slippery Brook Junction - South Baldface Shelter 1.7 miles 2.5 miles
South Baldface Shelter - Baldface Knob trail 0.7 miles 3.2 miles
Baldface Knob trail - South Baldface Summit 0.5 miles 3.7 miles
South Baldface Summit - North Baldface Summit 1.2 miles 4.9 miles
North Baldface Summit - Bicknell Ridge trail 0.9 miles 5.8 miles
Bicknell Ridge trail - Eagle Cascade link jct. 1.1 miles 6.9 miles
Eagle Cascade link jct. - Baldface Circle Trail jct 1.4 miles 8.3 miles
Baldface Circle trail jct - Circle Junction 0.7 miles 9.0 miles
Circle Junction - Parking 0.7 miles 9.7 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Circle Junction 15 minutes 15 minutes
Circle Junction - Slippery Brook Junction 5 minutes 20 minutes
Slippery Brook Junction - South Baldface Shelter 40 minutes 1 hour
South Baldface Shelter - Baldface Knob trail 30 minutes 1 hr 30 minutes
Baldface Knob trail - South Baldface Summit 20 minutes 1 hr 50 minutes
South Baldface Summit - North Baldface Summit 35 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
North Baldface Summit - Bicknell Ridge trail 25 minutes 2 hours 50 minutes
Bicknell Ridge trail - Eagle Cascade link jct. 30 minutes 3 hours 20 minutes
Eagle Cascade link jct. - Baldface Circle Trail jct 30 minutes 3 hours 50 minutes
Baldface Circle trail jct - Circle Junction 10 minutes 4 hours
Circle Junction - Parking 15 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Both South and North Baldface are on the list of 100 highest mountains in NH, 52 With a View list and YMCA Alpine Club list and NH prominence lists but don't attempt this hike just to check the two-fer off a list or two. The open slabs are the result of a 1903 fire and the loop over these peaks include panoramic sweeping vistas make the effort worth the trek.
South Baldface summit

North Baldface

Mt Washington and the Carter Range