Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mt. West Field (3691 Ft) and Mt Tom (4051 Ft)

West Field (small bump left center) from Mt. Tom
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Bethlehem
DESTINATION: West Field, Mt. Tom
ELEVATION: 3691 Ft, 4051 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 11.364, W71 26.826
TRAIL: Avalon Trail, A-Z trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 9.2 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3390 Ft
HIKING TIME: 5 Hours 15 Min
SEASON: Early Spring
DATE: March 26, 2016
WEATHER: 40-45 degrees with clear skies, some under-cast clouds.

PARKING: Parking can be found at The AMC Highland Center and Crawford Depot on route 302. Drive time from Manchester is approximately 2 hours.

USGS QUAD: USGS Crawford Notch Quad

MAP: (West Field)




DESCRIPTION:

The Avalon trail enters the woods behind the Crawford Depot train station soon reaching a empty trail kiosk.  The trails were well used this winter and due to the early spring, a sheet of ice.  Micro-spikes or instep crampons are mandatory for anyone attempting this ascent before the spring melt. The Avalon trail ascends gradually paralleling and crossing an unnamed brook. A spur trail makes a exciting loop to Berlin and Fletcher Cascades returning a short distance further along the trail. the Avalon trail makes a second crossing of the unnamed stream and at 1.3 miles meets the junction with the A-Z trail.  The A-Z trail ascends to a stream crossing then climbs steeply to a 4th and final stream crossing at approximately 3450 feet elevation marks a short reprise from the brutally steep elevation gain before the trail reaches the col and the Mt. Tom spur trail.  In 200 Ft the Willey Range trail departs to the left (South) and A-Z trail descends westerly towards Zealand Notch.

To hike West Field Descend the A-Z trail 0.4 miles to approximately 3050 feet elevation where the A-Z trail crosses an unmarked old cross country ski trial (GPS coordinates N44 12.072, W71 27.134).  Cross a small stream to a small open field.  Here the cross country ski trail bears left and follows the stream a short distance before petering out after 0.15 miles.  Penetrate the spruce to a relatively open woods bushwhack to the West Field summit.  The bushwhack never got too steep and encountered a moderate band of trees 0.2 from the summit but it was short lived with minimal resistance. The woods opened up to the 3691 foot West Field summit.

Follow your foot steps the way you came. After returning to the A-Z trail and col I would recommend the 0.6 mile side trip to Mount Tom. The Summit is marked with a small cairn and a nearby outlook offers phenomenal views into Zealand notch including West Field which can be seen to the South.

Zealand Notch from Mt. Tom



TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Avalon Trail - A-Z trail 1.7 mi 1.7 mi
A-Z trail - Mt. Tom Spur 1.0 mi 2.7 mi
A-Z trail - XC ski trail 0.4 mi 3.1 mi
Bushwhack to W. Field 0.9 mi 4.0 mi
Bushwhack to A-Z Trail 0.9 mi 4.9 mi
A-Z trail - Mt. Tom Spur 0.4 mi 5.3 mi
Mt. Tom Spur - Mt. Tom 0.6 mi 5.9 mi
Mt. Tom Summit - A-Z trail jct 0.6 mi 6.5 mi
A-Z trail - Crawford Depot 2.7 mi 9.2 mi

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Avalon Trail - A-Z trail 45 min 45 min
A-Z trail - Mt. Tom Spur 30 min 1 hr 15 min
A-Z trail - XC ski trail 15 min 1 hr 30 min
Bushwhack to W. Field 50 min 2 hr 20 min
Bushwhack to A-Z Trail 50 min 3 hr 10 min
A-Z trail - Mt. Tom Spur 30 min 3 hr 40 min
Mt. Tom Spur - Mt. Tom 20 min 4 hr
Mt. Tom Summit - A-Z trail jct 20 min 4 hr 20 min
A-Z trail - Crawford Depot 50 min 5 hr 10 min

NOTES / COMMENTS:

West Field was the goal of this trip.  It is #70 on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest and Mt. Tom was a short 0.6 mile side trip. I was glad to have the company of Wemedge along for this hike as the Avalon and A-Z trails were much steeper than I remembered and I needed the company as my lungs burned and heart pounded in my chest. Traction was essential for this ascent, Wemedge and I put on micro-spikes and in-step cramp-on's respectively shortly after we commenced the hike.  We used snowshoes once we began the bushwhack. There is a PVC canister on the West Field summit there are no other markings or views.

A nice alternative route would be to include 4000 footer Mt. Field which is a 0.9 mile side trip along the Willey Ridge trail.  Descend via the steep Avalon trail to the junction with the A-Z trail.
The XC Ski trail crossing the A-Z
3691 Foot - West Field Summit


Kiss the Canister (tm) Summit pose
HockeyPuck feeding a Gray Jay



Saturday, March 19, 2016

Rattlesnake Hill (Raymond) - 485 Feet

STATE: New Hampshire
Rattlesnake Hill - Raymond
TOWN: Raymond
DESTINATION: Rattlesnake Hill
ELEVATION: 485 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 01.556, W71 12.904
TRAIL: Access road
DISTANCE: 1.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 190 feet
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes
SEASON: Winter
DATE: March 18, 2016
WEATHER: Partly cloudy, 55 degrees

PARKING: Don't ask, won't tell - drive time is approximately 15 minutes from Manchester. Take route 101 east to exit 4.

USGS QUAD:  Mount Pawtuckaway Quad

MAP: (Rattlesnake Hill) 




DESCRIPTION: 

Dirt access road
I intended to park at the end of Gile Road and quickly learned that access to this peak wouldn't be as straight-forward as I anticipated.  The access road is gated and posted No Trespassing.  I explored nearby Scribner Road and Gordon Roads for a trail or public access and didn't encounter anything promising.  I determined the best approach was to park on highway 101 and bushwhack 100 feet to the access road.  I pulled off on the westbound lanes just past a guardrail where I could pull well off the highway.

the bushwhack was short however required a chicken wire fence hop at a point where a fallen tree had bent a suitable location to hop over.  The access road was paved asphalt which transitioned to gravel then dirt still wide enough for a vehicle to reach the summit. The summit cone has been excavated and looks more like a crater than a summit.  The left (eastern) bump appeared to be the higher location.  The summit is a obvious prominent point with no views or markings.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - summit 0.5 miles 0.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
parking - summit 15 minutes 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Rattlesnake Hill summit
This is one of many mountains, hills, bumps, ponds or islands with the Rattlesnake moniker.  Legend has it Timber Rattlesnakes populated many of these locations before hunters, collectors or people intimidated by snakes nearly wiped the timber rattlesnake population to extinction.  According to Google there is still one active den containing 15 - 20 Timber Rattlesnakes in NH.  The location of this den is kept under lock and key by the state Fish and Game department for the safety of the Rattlesnake.  As I researched the Timber Rattlesnake population in NH I learned of their sad history and demise and I don't blame the state for attempting to keep the location of the few remaining active snakes hidden. Most Timber Rattlers like south facing rock outcroppings and Rattlesnake Hill contains several potential locations.  According to this WMUR news story in 2012 a Timber Rattlesnake was found in the garage of a Raymond home about 1/2 a mile from this location.  I didn't expect to see any basking in the sun during mid-march but Rattlesnake Hill has potential to be the habitat of the last known population of Timber Rattlers in NH.  I'll start the conspiracy theory by stating maybe a snake population is the reason for the locked gate on the access road.   The location would be worth a return visit in warmer weather (if you dare!).



Sunday, February 28, 2016

Unknown Pond Peak - 3510 Ft

View of the Horn across Unknown Pond
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Berlin / Kilkenny
DESTINATION: Unknown Pond Peak
ELEVATION: 3510 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 31.713, W71 22.813
TRAIL: Unknown Pond Trail, Kilkenny Ridge Trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 7.0 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1810 feet
HIKING TIME: 3 Hours 35 minutes
SEASON: Winter
DATE: February 27, 2016
WEATHER: 55 degrees, clear



PARKING: From route 110 in Berlin turn left into the Berlin Fish Hatchery on (York Pond Rd.) Continue 3 miles to the Fish Hatchery gate (open 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM) and continue another 2 miles to the Unknown Pond Trail head on the right. Parking coordinates N44 29.880, W71 21.580.  Driving time from Manchester is 2 hours 45 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Stark Quad

MAP: (Unknown Pond Peak)




DESCRIPTION:

The Unknown Pond Trail enters the woods and follows the path of an old railroad grade for the first 0.5 mile then exits a short incline to the right. The trail has some overgrowth and is poorly marked with minimal mustard colored blazes as it continues along the bank of a unnamed stream. It makes a gradual incline as it crosses a few hoppable tributaries eventually making three manageable crossings of the brook which can be difficult in high water or winter conditions.  After just over 2 miles and the 3rd brook crossing the trail departs the stream and grade increases to moderately difficult as it passes through a beautiful birch and fern glade offering excellent views of the northern Presidential range and the Horn.  The Unknown Pond Trail continues through a short section of thick fir trees and at 3175 feet reaches the southern short of Unknown Pond.  The trail parallels the eastern shore which offers reflective views of the Horn reaching the Kilkenny Ridge trail junction after 3.3 miles. This area offers several campsites and is popular during all seasons.

Continue east on the Kilkenny Ridge trail approximately 0.25 miles to the height of land.  Find an open spot and begin the short 0.25 mile bushwhack to the southeast.  The woods are mostly open and during my February bushwhack I encountered little resistance and no snow on my sleeves or down the back of my neck. The summit has a high bump however I didn't find a sign or canister at this location.  There was a glass jar with fluorescent orange string hanging from a door handle a few hundred feet away.  I was disappointed with the lack of a welcome.  The jar contained a folded piece of paper and broken pen. I didn't sign in due to frozen ink in the pen.  There was a recent entry from April 2015. I didn't attempt to examine the log more thoroughly due to it's fragile condition.  There were no views from the summit.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Unknown Pond Trail - Kilkenny Ridge Trail 3.3 Mi 3.3 Mi
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - Height of Land 0.25 Mi 3.55 Mi
Height of Land - Unknown Pond Peak 0.25 Mi 3.8 Mi
Unknown Pond Peak - Height of Land 0.25 Mi 4.05 Mi
Height of Land - Unknown Pond Trail 0.25 Mi 4.3 Mi
Unknown Pond Trail - Parking 3.3 Mi 7.6 Mi

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Unknown Pond Trail - Kilkenny Ridge Trail 1 hour 35 minutes 1 hour 35 minutes
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - Height of Land 10 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Height of Land - Unknown Pond Peak 15 minutes 2 hours
Unknown Pond Peak - Height of Land 10 minutes 2 hours 10 minutes
Height of Land - Unknown Pond Trail 10 minutes 2 hours 20 minutes
Unknown Pond Trail - Parking 1 hour 15 minutes 3 hours 35 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3510 feet Unknown Pond Peak is one of the lower peaks on the New Hampshire Hundred highest. It's a relatively short and mostly trailed hike with an extremely short and straightforward bushwhack. Unknown Pond Peak, along with Scaur Peak are short bushwhacks making them a great introduction to winter bushwhacking. I toyed with the idea of continuing over the Horn, Bulge and Cabot returning via York Pond Trail however I got a late start in the morning due to a good Samaritan act of chauffeuring a fellow hiker (and his dogs) the 2 miles back to the Fish Hatchery to find a local who could provide access to AAA and someone more knowledgeable than me in how to retrieve keys from a locked car. This was my first hike in several months and the delay confirmed that the NEHH peaks weren't in the cards today.  It was a cold 9 degrees as I parked the car at 8:30 AM with the clearest blue skies I have seen.  The temperature warmed up to 35 upon return making it an ideal day to hit the trails.
View of the Horn 
The Unknown Pond Trail head

Northern Presidential Range




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)