Thursday, May 30, 2013

Foss Mountain - 1657 Ft.

The White Mountains from Foss Mtn.
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Foss Mountain
ELEVATION: 1657 Ft.
TRAIL: Foss Mtn. Trail
DISTANCE: 1.1 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 150 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 45 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 24, 2010
WEATHER: Sunny, clear

PARKING:

From route 153 in Eaton turn east on Brownfield Rd. At 1.5 miles turn right onto Bull Pasture Rd. in 1.0 miles this tee's onto Stewart Rd. Turn Right onto Stewart Rd then left to Foss Mountain Rd. Summer Trailhead parking is at N43 52.922, W71 02.208. Winter (off season) parking is at N43 53.709, W71 02.761

MAP: (Foss Mtn.)



DESCRIPTION:

The Foss Mountain Trail starts up the stone steps to the left of a gated entrance.  Pass the trailhead kiosk and continue 500 feet through open fields.  The trail enters the woods and skirts the field perimeter as it ascends gradually 0.2 miles to the ridge.  I would recommend bearing right to Foss North peak for amazing views of the White Mountains.  Follow the Foss Mountain trails South as they disintegrate into herd paths passing through a plethora of blueberry fields. At 0.5 miles you'll reach a stone wall. The South Foss Mtn. summit is a few hundred feet to the south.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

Foss Mountain Trail - North Summit = 0.25 Miles
North Summit - South (higher) summit = 0.56 Miles

HIKING TIMES:
Foss Mountain Trail - North Summit = 20 minutes
North Summit - South (higher) summit = 20 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The northern peak offers the best views of the ridge and is definitely worth a visit.  The blueberries belong to the town of Eaton and are sold commercially. Picking them is frowned upon until after the official harvest.
As you exit the woods onto the summit col there is a short granite slope rock climb to the North Peak of Foss Mtn.

Nahor Hill - Antrim - 1170 Ft.

STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Nahor Hill
ELEVATION: 1170 Ft.
TRAIL: Unnamed class 6 road
DISTANCE: 2.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 185 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 1.5 Hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: Aug 14, 2011
WEATHER: Overcast, hot, humid

PARKING:

From route 202 in Bennington turn onto Pierce Hill (Verney Rd) and follow it 1.1 miles to the merge with N Rd. Continue on N Rd for 0.1 miles to the intersection. Park on the side of the road the trailhead is the class VI road opposite N Rd.

MAP: (Nahor Hill)



DESCRIPTION:

Follow the class 6 road as it gradually ascends along a stone wall reaching the unnamed "Greystone Pond" at 0.4 miles. You'll find the skeleton of an old dock protruding into the uninviting pond. The road bends and grade increases for a short distance then becomes more gradual as you continue another 0.65 miles to the summit. There are limited views and no official markings on the summit. The summit was once home to the luxurious resort known as Greystone Lodge. There is little but some rock walls and a foundation with rock fireplace, and a few appliances remaining of the once upscale vacation resort.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Parking - Summit = 1.1 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Parking - Summit = 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Greystone Lodge was built in 1913 as a mountaintop summer resort. The lodge operated successfully until the mid 1930-s when it passed in to hands of private investor after private investor. It fell into a state of dis-repair in the early 1970's and all that is left of the glamorous hotel is a stone foundation, chimney and a variety of appliances.

There appears to be the stone remains of a parking area as well as a large boulder with a hole and tooling ebedded into it's surface near the summit.

Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera on the hike however I did find some post card images on E-bay of Greystone Lodge as it appeared in the 1920's.


 

Flume / Liberty

Mt. Flume (left) and Mt. Liberty (right)
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Mt. Flume / Mt. Liberty
ELEVATION: 4326 Ft. / 4459 Ft.
TRAIL: Wilderness (Lincoln Woods) Trail, Osseo Trail, Franconia Ridge Trail
DISTANCE: 13.6 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3870 ft.
HIKING TIME: 5 - 6 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 9, 2009
WEATHER: Hazy, Hot and Humid


PARKING:

From route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) look for the large Lincoln Woods parking area on the left.

MAP: (Flume) (Liberty)



DESCRIPTION:

From Lincoln Woods parking area head to the left side of the ranger station and make a quick U-turn along the gravel walkway. Cross the suspension bridge and follow the Wilderness (Lincoln Woods) Trail. The Wilderness trail follows an old rail road grade and is long, flat and straight with railroad ties crossing it's center. At 1.4 Miles the Osseo trail junction is a welcoming sign. The Osseo Trail follows a winding brook and soon enters an old incline logging railroad grade. There is little evidence of the RR grade as you ascend the valley. At 2.1 miles the Osseo trail breaks from the stream and climbs by switchbacks to a col west of an indistinct 2780 foot bump then follows the ridgeline. At 3.2 miles you reach several wooden staircases and a outlook with fine views of Owls Head and the Bonds. After ascending the stairs to the top of the ridge the grade becomes easier until it males a 90 degree right turn and reaches Franconia Ridge at 3.7 miles. It's a short but steep 0.4 mile pitch to the Flume Slide Trail junction. The Osseo trail ends and becomes the Franconia Ridge Trail ascending you 0.1 miles over the western edge of an open cliff face to Mt. Flume and spectacular views.

Continue North along the Franconia Ridge Trail as it descends to the col then climbs and increasingly steep grade to the open summit of Mt. Liberty at 1.2 miles.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Wilderness (Lincoln Woods) trail - Osseo trail = 1.4 miles
Osseo Trail - Franconia Ridge Trail = 4.1 miles
Franconia Ridge Trail - Flume Summit = 0.1 miles
Flume summit - Liberty Summit = 1.2 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Wilderness (Lincoln Woods) trail - Osseo trail = 30 Minutes
Osseo Trail - Franconia Ridge Trail = 2 hours
Franconia Ridge Trail - Flume Summit = 5 minutes
Flume summit - Liberty Summit = 1 hour

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Mt. Flume and Mt. Liberty are the 2 southern peaks of Franconia ridge and offer spectacular views in all directions. At 4326 Ft. and 4459 Ft. they are both on the AMC 4000 footer list and extremely popular hikes. The at 13.6 miles the distance is a few miles longer than the traditional route ascending the Flume Slide trail however the Osseo Trail will provide seclusion from the more popular route.
The stairs along the final pitch are well crafted and offer some excitement along the Osseo Trail.

From the outlook at the base of the stairs you receive a spectacular view of Owls Head, the Bonds and Presidential range.

The final pitch up the Franconia Ridge Trail ascends along the western edge of some precarious cliffs.

 Mt. Liberty from the Mt. Flume summit

Mt. Cannon and the Cannon Cliffs from the Mt. Flume summit.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Campbell Hill - Hooksett - 605 Ft.

Campbell Hill - 605 Ft.
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Campbell Hill
ELEVATION: 605 Ft.
TRAIL: Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 0.15 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 80 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 20 minutes
SEASON:Spring
DATE: May 29, 2013
WEATHER: Overcast, drizzle, 60 degrees



PARKING:

From route 3 in Hooksett turn onto Lindsay Rd for 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Nancy Rd. and follow it to the cul-de-sac. Park at the gate.

MAP: (Campbell Hill) 



DESCRIPTION: Campbell Hill was deceivingly complicated for a short and straight bushwhack. From your parking spot walk through the gate for about 100 Ft. then head towards the summit. The gravel Rd. transitions to a herd path then peters out completely within a few hundred feet. The bushwhacking (which appears easy on Google Earth) is thick and dense with very sharp thorn raspberry bushes making progress slow and painfully nasty. I transitioned directly to the woods and headed straight for the summit. There is a short band of cliffs you will need to navigate before reaching and eastern summit. There are a total of 3 bumps and according to my GPSr the center hump appears to be 2 to 3 Ft. taller than the western hump.

There are no official markings at the summit although I found some blue flagging at the middle and Western bump. There are no views from the summit.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Parking - Summit = 0.15 miles

HIKING TIMES:

parking - Summit = 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

from the furthest West summit there is a trail leading to the northwest. This is the opposite direction I was headed but I suspect the trail descends to the auto dealership on route 3. I recommend avoiding the shortest and direct route at all costs.  The picture below is the short but steep cliff band to the east of Campbell Hill

This cliff band was the most technical section of the short hike.

The Western (lower) bump of Campbell Hill




Whitewall Mtn. - 3405 Ft.


View of Carrigan notch from the Whitewall Mtn. ledges.
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Whitewall Mtn.
ELEVATION: 3405 Ft.
TRAIL: Zealand Trail, A-Z Trail, Logging road, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 9.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1405 Ft.
HIKING TIME:6 to 8 hours
SEASON: Fall
DATE: October 3, 2008
WEATHER: 40 degrees, sleet, overcast

PARKING:

From Route 302 in Crawford Notch turn in to Zealand Campground. Follow Zealand Rd. to the parking lot at the roads end.

MAP: (Whitewall)



DESCRIPTION: from the Zealand Rd. parking area the Zealand Trail begins at the trailhead kiosk. The Zealand Trail meanders through the woods and eventually connects with an old and abandoned railroad grade. The walk is nearly flat as it ascends only 450 Ft. over it's 2.3 miles. At 2 miles the Zealand trail crosses a wetlands over wooden bridges which provide your first view of Carrigan Notch and the surrounding hills. The junction with the A-Z trail is marked at 2.3 miles. The A-Z trail connects Zealand notch with Crawford Notch and route 302 ascending into the col between Mt. Tom and Mt. Field. This side of A-Z trail is not the primary route to any 4000 footers making it one of the less popular trails and slightly overgrown. The minimal incline of the Zealand Trail becomes slightly more moderate as you transition to the A-Z trail ascending 500 Ft. in 1.1 miles. At 1.1 miles the Crawford Notch Quad Topo map shows a logging road which crosses the A-Z trail at coordinates N44 12.048 W071 28.171. This 'logging road' is not marked or signed and was the start of our bushwhack to Whitewall. Follow the muddy logging road to an altitude of approximately 3200 Ft. at N44 11.660 W071 28.025 and begin your 0.85 mile bushwhack southeast. The fir trees are dense at first then transition into a beautiful birch glade containing chest high ferns. The birch glade is filled with evidence of moose, bear and other wildlife. You transition back into fir trees then knee to waist high shrubbery as you get closer and closer to the summit. There are several open bumps each could be the high point as I explored each bump I found a glass jar on a tree to the east. The summit offered limited views.

I would recommend continuing the bushwhack 0.25 miles southeast to the open ledges of Whitewall Cliffs. The cliffs provide spectacular views of the Pemigewasset Wilderness, Mt Zealand and Mt. Bond as well as the prominent Carrigan Notch to the South.

As my descent route I chose to bushwhack 1.3 miles northwest along the Whitewall Ridge skirting the summit directly to the A-Z trail approximately .25 miles from the Zealand Trail junction. The route was thick with overgrown hardwood scrub trees, difficult to navigate and very wet. I will not be providing coordinates or additional details on this route because I would not recommend descending in this direction.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Zealand Trail - A-Z trail junction = 2.3 Miles
A-Z trail junction - logging road = 1.1 Miles
logging road - start of bushwhack = 0.5 Miles
bushwhack - Whitewall summit = 0.85 Miles
Whitewall summit - Whitewall ledges = 0.25 Miles

Whitewall ledges - Bushwhack to A-Z trail = 1.3 Miles
A-Z trail - Zealand Trail = 0.25 Miles
Zealand Trail - Parking = 2.3 Miles

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3405 Ft. Whitewall Mtn. isn't high enough to be on too many lists making it a very isolated and non-popular destination. The Pro's are you become one with nature, isolation and are offered amazing views of Carrigan Notch and deep into the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The Con's are it's a trail-less peak requiring a steep talus slope climb or a long bushwhack. I chose the safer but longer bushwhack approach.


The Zealand Trail navigates wooden bridges as it crosses the Zealand river and marshy Zealand Pond area at 2.0 miles. (left photo)

As you ascend the A-Z trail and transition to the unmarked logging road the logging road was more of a mud pit in the wet conditions. The boot sucking quicksand wasn't easy to navigate. It was a long and hard 0.5 miles to the true start of the bushwhack 0.85 miles to the summit.  After a short thick section you encounter the birch glade through thick ferns. (right photo)




The Whitewall summit is not prominent nor distinct and required a bit of searching for the highest hump and bump.  There are no official markings however a glass jar hanging from a dead fir tree provided a summit register. If you are making the effort to climb Whitewall Mtn. then it's worth the additional extra effort to visit the prominent Whitewall cliffs.  The open ledges offer spectacular views in almost every direction. 

View of Mt. Bond from the Whitewall Mtn. ledges.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Red Hill

Red Hill Fire tower - 2033 Ft.
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Red Hill
ELEVATION: 2033 Ft.
TRAIL: Red Hill Trail
DISTANCE: 3.4 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1400 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 1.5 Hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 15, 2010
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 85 degrees

PARKING:

From route 25 in Center Harbor merge onto Old Whitter Highway. After 0.1 miles turn left onto Red Hill Rd. Follow Red Hill Rd. 1.8 miles and look for a parking lot on the right. (shortly after Sibley Rd.) There is an upper and lower parking lot.

MAP: (Red Hill) 



DESCRIPTION:

From parking look for the large trail head kiosk and gated 4x4 road. The Red Hill Trail follows the 4x4 road and is a wide gravel path with a moderate ascent all the way to the Red Hill Summit. The Red Hill Trail joins the Eagle Cliff Trail with 0.1 miles to the summit. You will encounter a USFS summit building (typically locked) just before reaching the open and accessible summit. There are a few picnic tables at the summit as well as a benchmark disk embedded into the granite. The summit area is open however nearby trees restrict views. Climb the tower for spectacular panoramic views.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Red Hill Trail - Summit = 1.7 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Red Hill Trail - Summit = 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The Red Hill trail gains 1400 Ft. elevation in 1.7 miles making the incline very gradual. There were a few steep sections but this will be an easy hike and is popular amongst younger people. Squam Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee are obvious landmarks to the South and on a clear day Franconia Ridge and Mt. Washington can be seen.
 Some young hikers enjoying the Red Hill Trail.
 
 A short moderate grade incline.
 
 The first view of the Red Hill Fire Tower.


Cabot, The Bulge, The Horn

The Bulge and Mt. Cabot from The Horn
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Mt. Cabot, The Bulge, The Horn
ELEVATION: 4170 Ft, 3950 Ft, 3905 Ft.
TRAIL: Unknown Pond Trail, Kilkenny Trail
DISTANCE: 13.2 miles
HIKING TIME: 5 hours
SEASON: Mid-Summer
DATE: July 3, 2009
WEATHER: Hot, humid, sunny



PARKING:

From Berlin take Route 110 northwest to Mill Brook Rd (Forest Road 11) 3.7 miles to the berlin Fish Hatchery gate. The gate is typically open (and employees will typically leave the gate open after hours if they see a car in the hiker parking lot). If you are concerned about getting locked in, you can park here and walk 0.8 miles from the gate to the Unknown Pond Trailhead.

MAP: (Cabot) (The Bulge) (The Horn)



DESCRIPTION: The trails above are the primary route to access Mt. Cabot, The Bulge, and The Horn due to private property concerns and the AMC request to avoid the Mt. Cabot Trail several years ago. The Unknown Pond trail exits the back of the parking lot and un-blazed, overgrown mud-pit in desperate need of trail maintenance. Over the 3.3 miles the trail gradually inclines through birch glades and large ferns as it travels towards Unknown Pond paralleling a small brook. The gradual trail steepens and continues its grade as it continues the ascent to Unknown Pond. You follow the eastern perimeter of Unknown Pond to the Kilkenny Trail junction at 3.3 miles.

The Kilkenny Trail bears left and gradually ascends through fir trees as you continue around Unknown Pond. It then begins it's 1.7 mile ascent to the col between The Horn and The Bulge. Older AMC (and Topo) maps show the Kilkenny trail ascending over The Horn however the trail has been rerouted and ascends into the col between the two peaks. The Horn is a short and steep .25 mile pitch to the left. Views from the Horn are extremely impressive. Descend back to the saddle and follow the Kilkenny trail over the viewless Bulge as you travel 0.85 miles to the 4170 Ft. Mt. Cabot. The viewless Mt. Cabot summit is marked with a sign. Return the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Unknown Pond trail - Kilkenny trail jct. = 3.3 miles
Kilkenny trail - Horn Spur trail = 1.7 miles
Horn Spur Trail - horn Summit = .25 miles
Horn Summit - Mt. Cabot Summit = 1.1 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Unknown Pond Trail - Kilkenny Trail jct. = 1 Hr 15 minutes
Kilkenny Trail Jct. - Horn Spur trail = 40 Minutes
Horn Spur trail - Horn Summit = 10 minutes
Horn Summit - Bulge Summit = 20 minutes
Bulge Summit - Cabot Summit = 20 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 4170 Ft. Mt. Cabot is on the AMC list of New Hampshire mountains above 4000 Ft. The Bulge and The Horn are both on the AMC list of 100 highest peaks in New England. As you progress around the Eastern perimeter of Unknown Pond there will be an occasional excellent view of The Horn reflecting off the water surface to the West. There is a benchmark on The Horn's summit.
The Horn reflecting off Unknown Pond

The AMC guide (28th edition) and most on-line topo maps show the Kilkenny trail ascending over the Horn. I made the assumption it did, which added some confusion as I hiked around the Horn to the saddle.  Views from The Horn are spectacular and the best of this trip.  Both The Bulge and Mt. Cabot have wooded summits.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chester NH higpoint - 639 Ft.

STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Chester NH Highpoint
ELEVATION: 639 Ft.
TRAIL: bushwhack
DISTANCE: 400 Ft.
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 24, 2013
WEATHER: overcast, 72 degrees, humid

MAP: (Chester High Point)


NOTE: The highpoint is marked with the X at 639 Ft. (top left) and not the push pin on 595 Ft. Bell Hill (top right).



DESCRIPTION: 

All I knew about the Chester highpoint is from the geography section of the Chester, NH Wikipedia article -  "The highest point in Chester, NH is an unnamed summit reaching 639 Ft near the towns southwest corner."  I pulled a topographical map of Chester and found the 639 Ft. highpoint on the map. 

I then evaluated the location on Google Earth and it appears to be a short bushwhack off a well traveled Bridle Path Rd.


Unfortunately, I didn't evaluate the map details close enough and when I paid the area a visit today Bridle Path Rd. is gated at the intersection of Harantis Lake Rd. and the property at the end of the road is an electrical or radio tower. On the highpoint side of the Bridle Path Rd. is posted private property making the highpoint legally inaccessible.

Once you obtain permission, the summit area of the Chester highpoint is a few hundred feet in diameter and summit highpoint isn't blatantly obvious.  There are no markings and the highest point appeared to be the top of the large rock below.  There are no views.

Whiteface (Belknap) - 1664 Ft / Durrell Mtn. - 1650 Ft.

STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Mt. Whiteface (Belknap) / Durrell Mtn.
ELEVATION: 1664 Ft. / 1650 Ft.
TRAIL: Whiteface Mountain Trail, Bushwhack, Abandoned Rd.

DISTANCE: 4.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 620 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 3 - 4 Hours
SEASON: Mid-Summer
DATE: July 21, 2008
WEATHER: Overcast, hot, humid

PARKING: From route 11A in Gilford turn on to Belknap Mountain Road.  Follow it to the 3 houses at the end of the road.  There is limited parking available and the Whiteface Mountain Trail begins on the left side of the road just before the first house on the left.

MAP: (Whiteface) (Durrell)



DESCRIPTION: According to the Belknap Hiking guide map the Whiteface Mountain Trail has a moderate incline.   I found the incline very gradual and an enjoyable walk as the trail transitions from hardwood forest to a wide trail through a plethora of blueberry bushes.  The Whiteface Mountain trail was well defined the full 1.5 miles to the Whiteface Mtn. summit. The summit isn't clearly marked but there is a popular highpoint. 

I continued my hike to the trail-less Durrell Mtn. by bushwhacking due south approximately 0.15 miles through shin scratching blueberry bushes then continuing 0.35 miles through the open woods of the Whiteface Mountain southern face to a 4x4 road that crosses the saddle between Whiteface and Durrell.  I crossed the 4x4 road and bushwhacked directly up the northern flank of Durrell Mtn.  The bushwhacking was challenging through thick spruce trees and steep at times. After 0.45 miles I reached the 1650 Ft. Durrell Mtn. summit.  The summit is the most unique register I've seen in my hiking history. A mailbox mounted to a tree.

I intended to walk the dirt and non-drivable Belknap Mountain Road back to the car (avoiding the Whiteface Summit) and bushwhacked in a Northeasterly direction 0.5 miles back to the 4x4 road I crossed on my ascent. I followed the road a short distance then bushwhacked northeast to shortcut a 90 degree right angle intersection between the 4x4 road I was on and Belknap Mtn. Rd. It was slightly shorter but didn't save me much time.  The final 1.75 miles was a dirt road walk back to the car.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Whiteface Mountain Trail - Whiteface Mtn. = 1.5 Miles
Whiteface Mtn. - Bushwhack to 4x4 road = 0.5 Miles
4x4 road - Durrell Summit - 0.45 Miles
Durrell Summit - Bushwhack to 4x4 road = 0.5 Miles
Road walk / bushwhack to parking = 1.75 Miles

NOTES / COMMENTS:

I took twice as long as suggested because I stopped every 10 steps for a new handful of huge, fresh, ripe, delicious blueberries.  I absorbed the great views from the mainly open Whiteface Summit then descended via the unmarked, unlabeled and unmapped "HockeyPuck trail" (aka - bushwhack) down the south side of the mountain. I bushwhacked down the southern ridge to the 4wd trail and headed straight up Durrell Mtn. and the mailbox summit register.  There is a geocache (poorly) hidden in the mailbox.  My chosen route probably wasn't the smartest because I chose the shortest & steepest bushwhack but I was secretly hoping I'd encounter some sort of trail, I never did! The whack wasn't as difficult as it could have been but on a hot sticky afternoon tuckered me out.
A mailbox summit register on Durrell Mtn.

I was over 2 miles from my car still searching for a trail. I descended via a northeasterly bushwhack in a straight line towards the car and angled my way towards the 4wd road. I eventually found the road with about 1.75 miles to the car and instead of following the road to a 90 degree turn continued across the "street" and bushwhacked along one of the elevation contours of Whiteface before hitting the correct road with a 1 mile dirt road walk. 

Whiteface Mtn. / East Sleeper / West Sleeper

STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Mt. Whiteface / East Sleeper / West Sleeper
ELEVATION: 4006 Ft. / 3840 Ft. / 3881 Ft.
TRAIL: Blueberry Ledge Trail, Kate Sleeper Trail
DISTANCE: 13 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN:
HIKING TIME: 5 Hours
SEASON: Late Spring
DATE: June 6, 2009
WEATHER: Sunny, Warm

PARKING: From Sandwich follow 113 and 113A North 11 miles to Wonalancet. Turn left onto Ferncroft Rd. After the open fields the large hiker parking area bears to the right. Ferncroft road continues to private property on the left.

MAP: (Whiteface) (East Sleeper) (West Sleeper)



DESCRIPTION: The Blueberry Ledge Trail is one of the most aptly named trails in the whites. From the Ferncroft road parking lot hike along Ferncroft Road where the road splits to the left, crosses a stream and Blueberry Ledge Trail begins it's ascent. The climb begins gently but becomes much more challenging after reaching the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff at 1.6 miles. You literally walk along granite ledges peppered with blueberry bushes. The trail is much steeper here but terrain is varied making it enjoyable. You'll pass a open ledge lookout offering views into the basin between Whiteface and Passaconaway then the trail ascends a steep and narrow ridge. You will need balance and hand holds to climb the bare rock ledges and the final pitch to the summit is a technical challenge reaching a spectacular viewpoint just before the summit. The open rock faces offer the best views of the area however the 4000 Ft. true summit is a few hundred feet North on the Blueberry Ledge Trail.

The Kate Sleeper trail branches left between the southern viewpoint and the actual Whiteface summit. The Kate Sleeper Trail descends steeply through overgrowth 0.8 miles to the col between East Sleeper and Whiteface meeting the Downes Brook Trail.  Continue along the Kate Sleeper Trail another 0.8 miles where a short spur trail leads to a sign marking the East Sleeper summit.  At 3840 Ft. East Sleeper is peak number 85 on the AMC list of New England 100 highest mountains. At 3881 Ft. West Sleeper (a New Hampshire 100 highest peak) is actually higher than it's eastern sister however due to a lack of elevation from the saddle between South Tripyramid and West Sleeper is omitted from the AMC list.  West Sleeper is 1.0 miles to the West over relatively easy ups and downs along the Kate Sleeper trail.  The secluded-ness of being inside a remote wilderness fills your bones as you continue northwest descending into a col then rising to West Sleeper 6.5 miles from your parking spot.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Blueberry Ledge trail - Whiteface Summit = 3.8 Miles
Kate Sleeper Trail - Downes Brook Trail = 0.8 Miles
Downes Brook Trail - East Sleeper = 0.8 Miles
East Sleeper - West Sleeper = 1.0 Miles
West Sleeper - East Sleeper = 1.0 Miles
East Sleeper - Blueberry Ledge Trail = 1.6 Miles
Blueberry ledge Trail - Parking = 3.8 Miles

HIKING TIMES:

Blueberry Ledge trail - Whiteface Summit = 90 minutes
Kate Sleeper Trail - East Sleeper = 45 Minutes
East Sleeper  - West Sleeper = 30 Minutes
West Sleeper - East Sleeper = 25 Minutes
East Sleeper - Blueberry Ledge Trail = 35 Minutes
Blueberry ledge Trail - Parking = 1 Hr. 15 min.

NOTES / COMMENTS:

This was my 3rd visit to the Whiteface summit and the views get more and more impressive each time. Mt. Passaconaway and the basin between the two peaks is impressive. Most hikers plan a loop over the two highpoints in the area Whiteface and Passaconaway (4043 Ft) bagging two 4000 footers in one trip. For more information on Mt. Passaconaway you can find a trip report here. Once I hit the Kate Sleeper trail the wide trail tightened and my shoulders were brushed by the overgrowth. I started my descent down the Kate Sleeper Trail traveling deeper and deeper into the remote Sandwich Range Wilderness. The trail started to thin and I encountered more signs of wildlife and less signs of humanity. The Kate Sleeper trail between East Sleeper and West Sleeper was filled with piles and piles of moose scat.
Mt. Passaconaway from Mt. Whiteface

A sign marking the start of the Kate Sleeper Trail

The 3840 Ft. East Sleeper Summit.

Watch your step!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bald Knob Mtn., Turtleback Mtn., Black Snout Mtn., Mt. Shaw

Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Washington from Mt. Shaw
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Bald Knob / Turtleback Mtn. / Black Snout / Mt. Shaw
ELEVATION: 1801 Ft / 2203 Ft / 2803 Ft / 2990 Ft
TRAIL: Bald Knob Trail, Bushwhack, Turtleback Mtn. Trail, Bushwhack, Mt. Shaw Trail, Black Snout Trail, Gorilla Trail
DISTANCE: 10 miles
ELEVATION GAIN:
HIKING TIME: 6 - 7 Hours
SEASON: Late Fall
DATE: December 6, 2008
WEATHER: Clear, cold, 15 degrees

PARKING:
From route 25 in Moultonborough take route 171 South.  Park at the Moultonborough / Tuftonboro town line.

MAP: (Bald Knob) (Turtleback) (Black Snout) (Mt. Shaw)


DESCRIPTION:

From parking at the Moultonboro / Tuftonboro town line I ascended the winding and moderately steep Bald Knob Trail following cairns and white blazes 0.95 Miles. The Bald Knob Trail had a few small patches of ice but easily bare-bootable. 1801 Ft. Bald Knob was originally a Carriage turnaround point and (with a little imagination) you can visualize  offered impressive views to the South of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap Range including Belknap Mtn. and Gunstock Ski area.

From Bald Knob I bushwhacked North straight up to 2203 Ft. Turtleback Mtn. and enjoyed the views from the open summit. in 1958 Turtleback Mtn. contained an observation tower for UFO sightings and the steel cables and mounting hardware are still on the mountain. You'll still have great views to the South. Looking to the Northeast Shaw Mtn. and Black Snout stand in the foreground from the open summit.

Instead of returning the way I came, I bushwhacked 0.15 miles North to the Turtleback Mtn. Trail. I followed the wide carriage road East along the contour line of Middle Mountain for 1.75 Miles. At the 2nd stream crossing the Turtleback Mtn. Trail switchbacks and begins it's approximately 1.5 Mile ascent to Black Snout Mtn. Instead of making the turn I bushwhacked straight maintaining elevation along the contour line approximately 0.2 miles to the Mt. Shaw Trail. The Trail ascends steeply 0.2 miles to the Black Snout Trail and gradually ascends 0.23 Miles to a junction with the Gorilla Trail and Thunderbird Trail then makes a final 0.19 mile pitch to the 2803 Ft. Black Snout Summit.

Descend the Black Snout Trail to the Gorilla Trail junction and head North to Mt. Shaw. The first 0.2 miles are a moderate incline to a series of switchbacks that continue 0.2 miles to the Mt. Shaw Summit. At 2990 Ft, Mt. Shaw is the highest peak in the region and provides spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Ossipee Range, Belknap Range to the South, Mt. Chocoura and the White Mountains to the North and Northeast.

I descended gradually 1.1 miles via the High Ridge Trail marked with blue blazes to a saddle between Mt. Shaw and a 2601 Ft. peak. The High Ridge Trail follows it's blue blazes West gaining and dropping elevation for 0.63 Miles to the Upper Oak Ridge Cutoff blazed in white where it descends steeply 0.47 miles to the Upper Bridle Path junction. Continue 0.52 Miles following the white blazes on the Lower Oak Ridge Cutoff to a trail junction marked with orange blazes. Follow the orange blazes 0.34 miles south meeting trail junction and a short 0.13 miles later meeting another trail junction and 0.06 miles later a third trail junction. This brings you to the Shannon Brook Trail (snowmobile corridor) which descended to route 171. A short road walk will lead you back to the town line.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

Bald Knob Trail - Bald Knob = 0.95 Mi.
Bald Knob - Bushwhack to Turtleback = 0.42 Mi.
Turtleback Bushwhack to Turtleback Mtn. Trail = 0.15 Mi.
Turtleback Mtn. Trail = 2nd stream crossing switchback = 1.75 Mi.
Bushwhack - Mt. Shaw Trail = 0.2 Mi.
Mt. Shaw Trail - Black Snout Trail = 0.2 Mi.
Black Snout Trail - Black Snout Spur = 0.23 Mi.
Black Snout Spur - Black Snout Mtn. = 0.19 Mi.
Black Snout Mtn. - Black Snout Spur Jct. = 0.19 Mi.
Banana Trail - High Ridge Jct. = 0.4 Mi.
Banana Trail - Mt. Shaw Summit = 0.41 Mi.
Banana Trail - High Ridge Jct. = 0.41 Mi.
High Ridge Trail - Trail Junction = 0.68 Mi.
High Ridge Trail - Upper Oak Ridge Cutoff = 0.63 Mi.
Upper Oak Ridge Cutoff - Lower Oak Ridge Cutoff = 0.47 Mi.
Lower Oak Ridge Cutoff - Orange Trail Jct. = 0.52 Mi.
Orange Trail - Junction 1 = 0.34 Mi.
Orange Trail Jct. 1 - Orange Trail Jct. 2 = 0.13 Mi.
Orange Trail Jct. 2 - Shannon Brook Trail = 0.06 Mi.
Shannon Brook Trail - Route 171 = ~2.0 Miles.

NOTES / COMMENTS:

It was a beautifully clear day with 14 degree starting temperatures and the Ossipee Mountains were the perfect place to exercise my legs. My goal of the day was Bald Knob with the possibility of continuing on to Turtleback Mtn. I didn't expect a full 12 mile adventure but enjoyed every minute of it.
Bald Knob offered great views of Belknap Mtn. and Gunstock Mtn. to the South.

The clear winter views from Bald knob were impressive. Snow appeared at approximately the Bald Knob summit but only about an inch of hard crusty stuff. Still nothing substantial. The views were even more impressive as I continued North to Turtleback. There are 3 metal rods embedded into the granite rocks along with steel cable and other debris marking the remains of the 1950's UFO observation tower. I wasn't ready to head back down and the higher peaks of Black Snout Mtn. and Mt. Shaw were calling my name. I continued northeast and the snow cover thickened anywhere from 2 to 6 inches as I followed the Turtleback Mountain Carriage Rd along a contour line below Middle Mountain. My 0.2 mile bushwhack along the contour line to the Mt. Shaw Trail was a beneficial decision saving me almost 1 mile of hiking. I would highly recommend making the short side trip to visit the under-rated Black Cap summit before continuing to the highest peak in the region. Mt. Shaw offered spectacular panoramic views.
Mt. Shaw (left) and Black Snout Mtn. (right) from the Turtleback Mtn. Summit.

Black Snout Mtn. provided impressive views of Lake Winnipesaukee to the South.
 
Looking North from the summit of 2990 Ft. Mt. Shaw.



Cannon / Northeast Cannon Ball

STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Cannon Mtn. / Northeast Cannon Ball
ELEVATION: 4100 Ft. / 3769 Ft.
TRAIL: Hi Cannon Trail, Kinsman Ridge Trail, Lonesome Lake Trail
DISTANCE: 5.3 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2300 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 2 Hr. 30 Minutes
SEASON: Early Summer
DATE: June 20, 2009
WEATHER: Overcast, humid

PARKING: Parking can be found at Lafayette Place campground on either side of route 93. There is a underground tunnel walkway providing access to parking lots on both sides of the highway.

MAP: (Cannon) (Northeast Cannon Ball)



DESCRIPTION: From Lafayette Place Campground follow the campground road to the back of the campground and look for the Lonesome Lake Trail Kiosk. The Lonesome Lake Trail begins a gradual ascent through a hardwood forest. After 0.4 Miles you encounter the Hi-Cannon Trail junction. The Hi-Cannon Trail is moderately overgrown, the trail is easy to recognize and follow however hardwood and spruce branches will rub against your shoulders. It is a 1.1 mile brutally steep ascent featuring switchbacks and rickety wooden ladders eventually joining the Kinsman Ridge Trail. The Cannon Mountain summit is 0.4 miles to the North over moderate and rocky terrain. The Summit is marked with a lookout tower and offers spectacular panoramic views of Franconia Ridge to the East and the Kinsman Mountains to the southwest. Descend the Kinsman Ridge Trail South back to the Hi-Cannon Trail junction but continue a steep descent along Kinsman Ridge 0.3 Miles to the Lonesome Lake Trail. Northeast Cannon Ball is a short 0.2 Mile pitch along Kinsman Ridge or descend the Lonesome Lake trail over a rocky terrain 1.1 Miles to Lonesome Lake. Continue along easy terrain around the lake and descend the Lonesome lake Trail 0.8 Miles which begins gradually but the descent pitch increases as you make your way back to the Hi-Cannon Trail Junction. From here it's a short 0.4 mile trip over easy terrain back to Lafayette Place Campground.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Lonesome Lake Trail - Hi-Cannon Trail = 0.4 Miles
Hi-Cannon Trail - Kinsman Ridge Trail Jct. = 1.1 Miles
Kinsman Ridge Trail - Cannon Summit = 0.4 Miles

Cannon Summit - Kinsman Ridge Trail / Hi-Cannon trail Jct. = 0.4 Miles
Kinsman Ridge Trail - Lonesome Lake Trail Jct. = 0.3 Miles
kinsman Ridge Trail - Northeast Canon Ball = 0.2 Miles

Northeast Canon Ball - Lonesome Lake Trail jct. = 0.2 Miles
Lonesome Lake Trail - Lonesome Lake = 1.1 Miles
Lonesome Lake - Hi-Cannon Trail Jct. = 0.8 Miles
Lonesome Lake Trail - Lafayette Place Campground = 0.4 Miles

HIKING TIMES:

Lonesome Lake Trail - Hi-Cannon Trail = 10 Minutes
Hi-Cannon Trail - Kinsman Ridge Trail Jct. = 45 Minutes
Kinsman Ridge Trail - Cannon Summit = 15 Minutes

Cannon Summit - Kinsman Ridge Trail / Hi-Cannon trail Jct. = 10 Minutes
Kinsman Ridge Trail - Lonesome Lake Trail Jct. = 10 Minutes
kinsman Ridge Trail - Northeast Canon Ball = 10 Minutes

Northeast Canon Ball - Lonesome Lake Trail jct. = 5 Minutes
Lonesome Lake Trail - Lonesome Lake = 20 Minutes
Lonesome Lake - Hi-Cannon Trail Jct. = 15 Minutes
Lonesome Lake Trail - Lafayette Place Campground = 10 Minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS: Cannon Mountain is a popular hike and one of the 48 Four-thousand Foot peaks in New Hampshire. Northeast Cannon ball at 3769 Ft. is the 99h mountain on the AMC list of New England 100 highest. The overcast weather and ominous clouds had me worried about getting caught in a summer thunderstorm and I really increased my pace. Cannon is typically a popular locations amongst hikers and you will rarely find the summit area isolated.

One of the rickety wooden ladders on the Hi-Cannon Trail
 
A sign marking the Hi-Canon / Kinsman Ridge Trail junction.
 
This sign marks the boundary between White Mountain National Forest land and Franconia Notch State Park lands.