Friday, May 17, 2013

Saddleback Mtn. - 1155 Ft

STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Saddleback Mountain
ELEVATION: 1155 Ft.
TRAIL: Saddleback Mountain Road, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 1.1 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: ~475 Ft
HIKING TIME: 60 Minutes
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 16, 2013
WEATHER: 80 Degrees, Partly Cloudy



PARKING:

From Rt. 43 in Deerfield turn on to Saddleback Mountain Rd. Follow the dirt road 0.6 miles to a chain link fence and "No Unauthorized Vehicles" sign. There is room for 1-2 cars on the side of the road.

MAP: (Saddleback Mtn.)


DESCRIPTION:

From parking continue Northeast past the chain link fence Northeast along Saddleback Mountain road.  The road walk is a easy grade with minimal ascent. the first 0.4 miles.  The road then turns sharply right and begins its 0.25 mile steep ascent to the radio tower.  The radio tower is gated and off limits.  From here it's a 0.45 mile bushwhack to the summit.  The woods contain a variety of terrain and conditions from hardwoods, to spruce, to blueberry bushes along open ridges, to a band of 20-30 Ft. cliffs that I avoided by skirting to the left as you descent the Southwest peak.  There were quite a few ups and downs through the woods.  A 15 - 20 Ft Red Pine tree stood at the Saddleback summit highpoint. There are no markings at the highpoint.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Parking - Radio Tower (start of bushwhack) = 0.65 Mi.
Start of bushwhack - SW Saddleback ledges = 0.15 Mi.
SW Ledges - Saddleback Summit = 0.30 Mi.

HIKING TIMES:

Parking - Radio Tower (start of bushwhack) = 15 Minutes
Start of bushwhack - Saddleback Summit = 20 Minutes

Saddleback Summit - End of bushwhack = 20 Minutes
End of bushwhack - Parking = 10 Minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS: 

I was fascinated by the large chunks of white mica embedded into the gravel access road. 

From the start of my bushwhack just shy of the tower gates I attempted to bear left expecting to merge with the Parsonage Lot Trail however, I never encountered the trail eventually giving up and heading straight for the Saddleback Summit. 

There are no man made markings at the Saddleback summit and the highest point was a 15 - 20 Ft. tall red pine tree.  There was a very old and small fire ring nearby and a 10 Ft square rock wall that I can only assume was a wind break.

I explored the summit area intending to return via the Parsonage Lot Trail and couldn't find any evidence of a trail at the summit. Saddleback appears to be a trail less peak requiring a minimum 0.45 mile bushwhack to access.

As you walk Saddleback Mountain Rd, there is a sharp right turn. A sharp eye looking to the left will find a hidden and obscure red sign marking "Tras Berg" Eagle Scout Project and "Parsonage Lot Trail".  My research couldn't find any info on this trail or 1993 Troop 312 project.

 
On a previous visit I attempted to summit Saddleback from Mountain road to the Northeast.  I found an unmarked trail leading into the woods in the direction of Saddleback. I now suspect this is the opposite end of the Parsonage Lot Trail (marked as "Parsonage Lot Trail end" on the map below).  I followed this winding trail through a beaver marsh then continued ascent to a point known as "Saddleback Overlook".  The trail then descended steeply away from Saddleback.  The route I followed is marked in yellow.  The yellow dotted line represent my suspected continuation and start (marked as Parsonage Lot Trail) point of the Parsonage Lot Trail.  My route to the summit is marked in red.

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