Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mt. Misery - Auburn Nh - 580 Ft.

Uncanoonuc Mountains from the Mt. Misery 4x4 trail
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Auburn
DESTINATION: Mt. Misery
ELEVATION: 580 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 58.374, W71 21.624
TRAIL: Bushwhack, 4x4 path
DISTANCE: 1.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 200 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 31, 2013
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 75 degrees


PARKING:

Park at a gravel pull off on the northeast side of Bypass 28 at coordinates N42 57.955, W71 21.726. There is room for 2-3 cars.

USGS QUAD: USGS Derry Quad

MAP:  (Misery)

DESCRIPTION: From the gravel pull off on By-pass 28 bushwhack in a northeasterly direction through mostly open woods 425 feet to a 4x4 trail. Follow the 4x4 trail as it parallels a rock wall to it's left over easy terrain and very easy grade reaching the perimeter of a open field. Follow the trail as it follows the property line of a farm house continuing behind a field which provides occasional views towards the Uncanoonuc mountains reaching a trail intersection at 0.45 miles. Turn right and ascend 0.15 miles to the summit of Mt. Misery. The summit is relatively open woods and blueberry bushes. There are no distinguishing markings to identify the summit however I determined an open mossy bump was the highest point. There summit is mostly open however there are no views due to the tree cover. Round trip was 1.2 miles and 35 minutes.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
bushwhack to trail 0.08 miles 0.08 miles
4x4 trail to intersection 0.37 miles 0.45 miles
intersection - summit .15 miles 0.60 miles
Summit - Parking 0.60 miles 1.2 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
bushwhack to trail 3 minutes 5 minutes
4x4 trail to intersection 10 minutes 15 minutes
intersection - summit 5 minutes 20 minutes
Summit - Parking 15 minutes 35 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The town of Auburn has 3 high points between 580 and 585 feet elevation. Mt. Miner at 582 feet, Mine Hill at 580 feet and Mt. Misery at 580 feet. Due to inaccuracies in mapping software and GPS technology it appears that Mt. Miner is the highest point at 582 feet however any one of the three peaks could be the actual highpoint.

This was my 3rd attempt at Mt. Misery. My first attempt was from Fire road 40 off Spofford road. I hoped to encounter a logging path or trail headed to the summit and never did. There were several skidder paths criss-crossing the area making the bushwhack challenging through the new growth and fallen trees. I also attempted to bushwhack from the cul-de-sac on Rockwood terrace but encountered similar problems to my experience at Fire road 40.   I expected a relatively poor quality hike with limited views and I was pleasantly surprised to find the well worn 4x4 trail and easy access after my bushwhack from By-pass 28. I apologize for the poor cell-phone quality photos.

The Mt. Misery open summit area.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Moose Hill - 471 Ft.

Moose Hill - Londonderry NH
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Londonderry
DESTINATION: Moose Hill
ELEVATION: 471 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 52.113' W71 22.172'
TRAIL: Access road
DISTANCE: 0.30 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 30 feet
HIKING TIME: 10 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 19, 2013
WEATHER: 90 degrees, clear, humid

PARKING:

From route 102 in Londonderry look for the sign pointing to the Londonderry Recreation Fields and turn on to Sargent Road. After 0.15 miles the road makes a sharp right. Continue 0.15 miles to the large parking lot.

USGS QUAD: Windham Quadrangle

MAP: (Moose Hill)


DESCRIPTION:

From parking at the Londonderry recreation fields head towards the southeastern corner of the parking lot and look for the gated access road. Pass through the gate and follow the gravel road past a few baseball fields 0.15 miles to the Moose Hill summit. There is a government building located at the summit. The building itself is marked with No Trespassing signs however they can not be seen until you reach the building itself. The access road appears to be public property. There summit area is open however the views are very limited.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Moose Hill summit 0.15 miles 0.15 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Moose Hill summit 5 minutes 5 minutes
Moose Hill Summit - Parking 5 minutes 10 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Moose Hill was originally part of Moose Hill orchards which is owned by Mack's Apples of Londonderry and established in the 1700's. According to a book called “History of Rockingham and Strafford counties, New Hampshire”, references the wild animals of Londonderry when the area was settled. The book states, “A moose killed in the West Parish gave name to a hill there of five hundred feet elevation.” I also read that there is a "beehive like stone cistern" which remains on the hill. Water was pumped from a well near the farmstand to the cistern via a windmill. The cistern used to feed water to the old homestead. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find any evidence of these remains during my visit.
The access road trailhead
 
The gravel access road
 

Bondcliff, Mt Bond, West Bond

West Bond, Mt Bond and Bondcliff from Franconia Ridge
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Lincoln
DESTINATION: Bondcliff, Mt. Bond, West Bond
ELEVATION: 4265 Ft., 4698 Ft., 4540 Ft.

SUMMIT COORDINATES:

Bondcliff - N44 08.442' W71 32.436'
Mt. Bond - N44 09.171' W71 31.875'
West Bond - N44 09.282' W71 32.610'

TRAIL: Lincoln Woods trail, Wilderness Trail, Bondcliff Trail, West Bond Spur

DISTANCE: 22.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3530 Feet
HIKING TIME: 9 - 10 hours
SEASON: Winter
DATE: March 5, 2013
WEATHER: Overcast, cold

PARKING:

From 93 take Exit 32 and follow route 112 (Kancamagus Highway) for 5.1 miles. Cross the Pemigewasset River bridge and parking is at Lincoln Woods on your left. This is a large parking lot that will fill up quickly.

USGS QUAD: South Twin Mountain Quadrangle

MAP: (Bondcliff) (Mt. Bond) (West Bond)

Part 2 - Bondcliff trail to Bondcliff, Bond and W. Bond
Part 1 - Lincoln Woods to Bondcliff trail  

















DESCRIPTION:

The Lincoln Woods trail begins at the northeast side of the Lincoln Woods parking area and crosses the front porch of the ranger station then drops towards the Pemigewasset River. Cross the suspension bridge over and make a right turn following the Lincoln Woods trail. The trail parallels the East branch of the Pemigewasset river and follows a wide and almost level former railroad grade for 2.8 miles. The trail is wide enough for a truck to easily drive and still contains railroad trusses embedded into the trail running perpendicular to your travel causing an occasional trip hazard. The Lincoln Woods trail rises only 300 feet in it's 2.8 miles and other than an occasional trail junction is extremely uneventful. At 1.4 miles the Osseo Trail exits to the left and at 2.6 miles you reach the Black Pond trail junction. At 2.8 miles you cross Franconia Brook on a small suspension bridge and reach the Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary sign and the Franconia Brook trail branches to the left. Follow the Wilderness trail still paralleling the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River for another 2 miles. It crosses a small stream at 3.9 miles and reaches the Bondcliff trail junction after 4.7 miles and another 150 feet of elevation gain.

The Bondcliff trail gradually ascends as it climbs an embankment to a former logging road following Black brook on your right. The trail crosses and re-crosses Black brook several times during ascent the first at approximately 1.5 miles, the 2nd at 1.9 miles and 3rd crossing at 2.5 miles. After the 3rd crossing the trail climbs a series of rocky steps, turns left and follows a logging road along a 3500 foot contour line a short distance before ascending a short steep scramble to the Bondcliff ridge. The trail ascend a ledge, breaks out of the scrub, and climbs the perimeter of Bondcliff to it's 4265 foot summit after 4.4 miles. This long section of trail is above tree line and exposed to the weather. It's views are unsurpassed in the White Mountains.

The trail descends the ridge into a col then ascends steeply along the southern slopes of Mt. Bond. The trail enters the woods after 0.6 miles and reaches the 4698 foot summit of Mt. Bond after 1.2 miles. The Bond summit offers spectacular and commanding views of the surrounding area. Franconia Ridge can be seen to your east, Willey and Field to your West and the Presidential range can be seen in the distance.

Continue north descending steeply 0.6 miles to the West Bond spur path. The short 0.5 mile West bond spur provides access to one of the most remote peaks in the White Mountains - West Bond. The West Bond Spur descends 0.25 miles then rises moderately before ascending a steep pitch to the 4540 foot West Bond summit 11.4 miles from your car. The summit is the most easterly peak of the West Bond ridgeline.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Lincoln Woods Trail - Osseo trail junction 1.4 miles 1.4 miles
Lincoln Woods Trail - Black Pond trail junction 1.2 miles 2.6 miles
Lincoln Woods Trail - Wilderness Boundary 0.2 miles 2.8 miles
Wilderness Trail - Bondcliff Trail 1.9 miles 4.7 miles
Bondcliff Trail - Bondcliff summit 4.4 miles 9.1 miles
Bondcliff summit - Mt. Bond 1.2 miles 10.3 miles
Mt. Bond - West Bond Spur 0.6 miles 10.9 miles
West Bond Spur - West Bond summit 0.5 miles 11.4 miles
HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Lincoln Woods Trail - Osseo trail junction 30 minutes 30 minutes
Lincoln Woods Trail - Black Pond trail junction 25 minutes 55 minutes
Lincoln Woods Trail - Wilderness Boundary 5 minutes 1 hour
Wilderness Trail - Bondcliff Trail 45 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Bondcliff Trail - Bondcliff summit 2 hours 3 hours 45 minutes
Bondcliff summit - Mt. Bond 45 minutes 4 hours 30 minutes
Mt. Bond - West Bond Spur 15 minutes 4 hours 45 minutes
West Bond Spur - West Bond summit 20 minutes 5 hours 5 minutes
West Bond summit - Mt. Bond Summit 40 minutes 5 hours 45 minutes
Mt. Bond Summit - Bondcliff Summit 30 minutes 6 hours 15 minutes
Bondcliff Summit - Parking 3 hours 15 minutes 9 hours 30 minutes


NOTES / COMMENTS:

To avoid confusion the USFS split the Wilderness trail into two sections, the Lincoln Woods trail being the first section and Wilderness trail the second section. The Lincoln Woods trail ends and Wilderness trail begins as it crosses the Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary line however it's the same trail and there is no junction or trail merge. Confused yet? Most hikers haven't adjusted to the change and still call the entire length the Wilderness Trail. In this trip report I'm using the USFS designation of trail names in accordance with the AMC White Mountain Guide.

Mt Bond and West Bond are the 14th and 16th highest peaks in New Hampshire while Bondcliff is the 30 tallest. All three peaks are deep within the Pemigewasset Wilderness and require a long and arduous hike to earn their summits. All three peaks provide some of the most impressive views in all of the White Mountains with Mt. Bond offering spectacular panoramic views from the rocky summit.

Clouds covering the peak of Mt. Bond.
 
 

Mt. Isolation - 4004 Ft.

A cairn marking the summit of Mt. Isolation
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Sargent's Purchase
DESTINATION: Mt. Isolation
ELEVATION: 4004 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 12.888' W71 18.552'
TRAIL: Rocky Branch trail, Engine Hill bushwhack, Isolation trail, Davis Path, Mt. Isolation Spur
DISTANCE: 12.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2750 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 5 1/2 hours **
SEASON: Winter
DATE: January 9, 2011
WEATHER: Overcast, snowing

PARKING: From Jackson NH Follow route 16 north for 5 miles. The Rocky Branch parking area is on the left hand side. There is ample parking for many cars.

USGS QUAD: Stairs Mountain Quad

MAP: (Isolation)



DESCRIPTION:

From parking the Rocky Branch trail leaves the northwest corner of the parking lot and meanders it's way through a hardwood forest making many twists and turns. It climbs moderately following an old logging road. At 1.25 miles the trail turns left and ascends approximately 0.5 miles where the trail levels and follows a contour line for another 0.5 miles. the Rocky Branch trail makes a right and climbs moderately to the Presidential Range - Dry River Wilderness boundary. 0.6 miles after the wilderness boundary and 2.75 miles from your car you reach the almost unperceivable height of land, elevation 3100 feet. The exact point where the trail switches to a downward grade is hard to spot however the "Engine Hill" bushwhack begins at an open section near this location.

The Engine Hill bushwhack saves about 1.5 miles of hiking and is one of the easiest bushwhacks in the white mountains. It's simple for several reasons. It travels directly northwest following the 3100 foot contour line of Engine Hill through a birch glade and ferns 0.75 miles to the Isolation trail.

The Isolation trail parallels the right side of Rocky Branch stream and your bushwhack exit point should have put you on a very old and unnoticeable railroad grade. Follow the Isolation trail .8 miles to a crossing of Rocky Branch. The Isolation trail swings to the left and climbs easily 0.9 miles to Davis Path. Turn left (south) onto Davis Path and follow it's moderate grade 0.75 miles to the Mt. Isolation Spur trail. From here it's a short 0.1 mile pitch to the open summit of Mt. Isolation. Absorb the panoramic views from the Isolated summit. Well done!

TRAIL DISTANCES:
HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Rocky Branch Trail - Height of Land 2.75 miles 2.75 miles
Engine Hill bushwhack - Isolation Trail0.75 miles3.5 miles
Isolation Trail - Davis Path1.75 miles5.25 miles
Davis Path - Isolation Spur0.75 miles6.0 miles
Isolation Spur - Mt. Isolation Summit0.10 miles6.1 miles

HIKING TIMES:
HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Rocky Branch Trail - Height of Land 1.0 hours 1.0 hours
Engine Hill bushwhack - Isolation Trail30 minutes1 hour 30 minutes
Isolation Trail - Davis Path1 hour2 hours 30 minutes
Davis Path - Isolation Spur30 minutes3 hours
Isolation Spur - Mt. Isolation Summit2 minutes3 hours 2 minutes
Mt. Isolation Summit - Parking2 hours 30 minutes5 hours 32 minutes


NOTES / COMMENTS:
At 4004 feet Mt. Isolation barely makes the list of NH 4000 footers falling at #47. The 6+ mile one way distance deep into the Presidential Range - Dry River Wilderness makes it a very intimidating mountain to plan for and is typically one of the last mountains hikers complete. It's open summit offer some of the most amazing views in the White Mountains and is definitely worth visiting.

** My 5.5 hour hiking time is extremely quick and not typical. Plan for 7 to 8 hours.

A sign marking the junction of the Mt. Isolation spur trail and Davis Path.
 
The weather didn't cooperate and I had very limited views from the open summit.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Vose Spur - 3862 Ft.

The Vose Spur summit register
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Livermore
DESTINATION: Vose Spur
ELEVATION: 3862 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 06.173' W71 26.077'
TRAIL: Signal Ridge Trail, Carrigan Notch trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 8.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2485 ft.
HIKING TIME: 4 - 5 hours
SEASON: Fall
DATE: October 3, 2010
WEATHER: cool, clear

PARKING:

From route 302 turn on to Sawyer River road (gated in winter) and follow the gravel road 2.0 miles to the Signal Ridge trailhead. There is a large parking lot on the left side of the road. The trail head is across the street.

USGS QUAD: Mount Carrigan Quad

MAP: (Vose Spur)



DESCRIPTION: From parking on Sawyer River road cross the street to the trailhead.  The Signal Ridge trail enters the woods and soon crosses a stream from a col on Mt. Saunders and a few feet later crosses Whiteface brook. The Signal Ridge trail ascends moderately over an easy grade paralleling Whiteface Brook on your right.  After approximately 1 mile the trail branches left and ascends to a saddle with a easy grade. The trail levels, then declines slightly as it appears to follow a former railroad grade over very easy footing to Carrigan Brook.  After crossing the brook the Carrigan Notch trail junction is a short distance away. 

Follow the Carrigan Notch trial over relatively flat terrain as it crosses and re-crosses Carrigan Brook several times.  At approximately 1.5 miles of the Carrigan Notch trail you encounter a medium sized boulder on the left. My eye ball measurements guess it's about 4.5 foot tall and 4.5 feet diameter and can be easily missed. From the boulder pick a clear opening and begin the bushwhack.  The bushwhack is complex requiring a start in a southwest direction to a ridgeline then changing direction to a northwest bearing.  During my ascent I made a minor error in direction and headed straight northwest causing me to end up ascending a steep drainage to a very steep slope with some very large boulders. Once clearing the boulders I hit some very thick spruce before finally finding a herd path at the base of the talus slope.  The talus slope was steep however I was glad to find a path and be out of the previous unpleasant terrain.  The talus slope provides the best views on this hike. Stay to the left of the talus slope and continue along the herd path through fir waves another 0.2 miles to the Vose Spur summit.  There is a register mounted to a tree at the highest point. I found no other official markings.


TRAIL DISTANCES:
HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Signal ridge trail - Carrigan Notch Trail 1.7 miles 1.7 miles
Carrigan Notch trail - bushwhack boulder1.5 miles3.2 miles
bushwhack boulder - scree field 0.6 miles3.8 miles
scree field - summit 0.2 miles4.0 miles

HIKING TIMES:
HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Signal ridge trail - Carrigan Notch Trail 45 minutes 45 minutes
Carrigan Notch trail - bushwhack boulder45 minutes1 hour 30 minutes
bushwhack boulder - scree field 40 minutes2 hours 10 minutes
scree field - summit20 minutes2 hours 30 minutes
Summit - parking2 hours4 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Vose Spur is named after George Vose (1831-1910) a US Civil Engineer and educator in the field of railroads.  I assume Mr. Vose performed some railroad surveying in the Mt. Carrigan and Vose Spur region which caused the peak to earn his namesake.

Vose Spur is ranked 56 of the highest peaks in New Hampshire and listed 79 on the 100 Highest Peaks in New England AMC hiking list.

The boulder marking the start of the Vose Spur bushwhack can easily be missed.  It's not an obvious landmark and you question if this is the correct boulder when spotted.  

A sign marking the trail junction with the Carrigan Notch trail and Signal Ridge Trail.

Signal Ridge and Mt. Carrigan from the Vose Spur talus field.

Mt. Tremont and Carrigan Notch from the Vose Spur talus field

Friday, July 12, 2013

Rocky Hill - 357 Ft.

The summit of Rocky Hill
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Litchfield
DESTINATION: Rocky Hill
ELEVATION: 357 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 51.324' W71 27.220'
TRAIL: 4x4 trail
DISTANCE: .7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 135 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 12, 2013
WEATHER: 75 degrees, sunny, clear

PARKING:

From route 3A in Litchfield turn on to Albuquerque road and follow it 2.1 miles to the 4 way stop intersection. Turn left onto Hillcrest Ave. Parking is available on both sides of the road at 0.3 miles from the intersection.

USGS QUAD: Nashua North

MAP:  (Rocky Hill)


DESCRIPTION:

From parking on Hillcrest follow the trail into Litchfield Town Forest over a slight grade for approximately 0.15 miles.  Turn right at the trail junction with the 4x4 trail and begin your ascent up a short incline. The trail levels slightly then begins a short and moderately steep grade before leveling out again before making a final push to the summit.  At 0.15 miles you reach another trail intersection where a merge left will lead you to the highest point.  There are 2 possible locations of the highest point.  One is near the giant water tower and a second highpoint is approximately 100 feet away.  I believe the wooded and rocky summit is a few feet taller than the point near the tower. There are no official markings and no views from the top.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Parking - 4x4 trail junction = 0.15 miles
4x4 trail junction - summit = 0.2 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Parking - 4x4 trail junction = 10 minutes
4x4 trail junction - summit = 10 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

357 feet may not sound like a intense elevation however Rocky Hill is the highest point in the town of Litchfield.  I was surprisingly pleased to find trails leading all the way to the summit but disappointed with the summit area itself and the lack of an obvious highpoint or knob.  I wandered around in circles until I was satisfied the highest point was crossed.  The trail travels through open woods and extremely peaceful.


The left image shows the trail following an easy grade through open woods. The right photo is an image of the steepest section of the short trail.


 A water tower at the secondary summit of Rocky Hill.

 

Picked Hill - 915 Ft.

Peaked Hill - Bow NH
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Bow
DESTINATION: Picked Hill
ELEVATION: 915 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 06.652'  W71 32.362'
TRAIL: Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 0.15 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 125 ft.
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 12, 2013
WEATHER: 80 degrees, mostly sunny, clear

PARKING:

From route 3A turn onto Pine St.  After 0.5 miles Pine St becomes Bow Bog road. Follow it for another 2.1 miles to Allen Road on your left. After 1.3 miles turn right onto Woodhill Hooksett road and follow it for 0.5 miles. Park on the shoulder of the road.

USGS QUAD: Goffstown NH

MAP: (Picked Hill)


DESCRIPTION: From parking, cross Woodhill Hooksett road and enter the woods. You almost instantly reach the former clear cut which is now filled with ferns, short tree growth and waist tall thorny raspberry bushes.  The growth is thick and pace is slow going for approximately 300 feet until the raspberry thorns disperse and terrain becomes thinner with mostly tall grasses.  The incline becomes steep over rocky terrain to the summit proper then it's a 2 minute walk through blueberry bushes to the highest point.  the highest point appeared to be a small open rocky knoll about 4 ft. in diameter. There are no markings at the summit.  Peaked Hill offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area.  Kearsarge can be seen to the north.  Carefully descend the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Parking - Summit = 0.15 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Parking - Summit = 10 minutes
Summit - Parking = 8 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

In my research I was unable to find a lot of information about Picked hill other than it's the highest point in the town of Bow, NH.  The 50th most prominent peak in Merrimack County and 625th most prominent peak in New Hampshire. 

Picked Hill is deceiving in more than one facet due to the appearance of a short 0.15 mile one way distance however the terrain is over very rough and thick bushes making what would normally be a 5 minute hike much longer.  The second deception is the very open and bare hill shown on Google Earth is currently extremely overgrown with thick ferns mixed with blueberry and sharp raspberry bushes. Picked Hill should be renamed Pricked Hill. 

 Picked Hill view to the North

Picked Hill view to the East

Oak Hill Fire Tower - 970 Ft.

Oak Hill fire tower
STATE: New Hampshire - Loudon
DESTINATION: Oak Hill Fire Tower
ELEVATION: 970 Ft.
TRAIL: Oak Hill Tower Road
DISTANCE: 1.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 400 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 2 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 2010
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, humid

PARKING:

From 93 take exit 16 East 0.2 miles to the intersection.  Go straight across onto Shawmut street for 0.75 miles to the Y intersection.  Bear left onto Oak Hill road and follow it 3.1 miles to Oak Hill Tower road.  Limited parking is available on the side of Oak Hill road.

MAP: (Oak Hill)



DESCRIPTION: From parking on Oak Hill road cross the street to the gravel Oak Hill Tower road.  Go around (or under) the gate and follow the former fire road.  After approximately 0.5 miles you reach a stone foundation hole and a trail junction.  Bear left and continue the gradual ascend to the top of Oak Hill.  A fire tower and benchmark disk are located at the summit.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Oak Hill Tower trail - Summit = 1.25 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Oak Hill Tower trail - Summit = 60 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

With the proximity to Concord, Oak Hill is one of the most popular climbs in the area.  The trailhead is marked with a sign showing a mileage of 2.5 miles.  This is the round trip distance, not one way distance.  There are no views from the trail and limited views from the summit however great views to the west and the surrounding area are available if you climb to the observation platform of the tower. Mt. Kearsarge and Mt. Cardigan can both be seen on clear days.

The (misleading) Oak Hill trailhead sign.  Total (round trip) distance is 2.5 miles.

Oak Hill is one of the remaining 16 active fire towers in the state of New Hampshire. A short bushwhack from the summit to a point on the western slope will lead to the highest point in the city of Concord.

For many years the standard and typical route to Oak Hill tower has been Oak Hill road however the Concord Conservation Commission has added several new trails on the western side of Oak Hill. A large parking area on Shaker road provides access to a 1.25 mile trail named "Tower Trail" and much more of a wilderness hiking experience.  Maps can be found at the Concord NH parks and recreation page.




Thursday, July 11, 2013

South Uncanoonuc - 1321 Ft.

STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Mt. Uncanoonuc - South
ELEVATION: 1321 Ft.
TRAIL: Summit Trail
DISTANCE: 1.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 440 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
SEASON: Mid-summer
DATE: August 2010
WEATHER: sunny, clear

PARKING: From route 114 in Goffstown turn onto Wallace road and follow it 1.4 miles to Mountain Base Rd. Turn left on to Mountain Base road and follow it 0.9 miles past Uncanoonuc lake to it's end. The parking lot doubles as parking for the town beach and can get busy on hot days.

MAP: (S Uncanoonuc)



DESCRIPTION:

From parking on Mountain Base road follow the dirt road along the perimeter of Uncanoonuc lake passing a few cottages on your right to the Summit Trail start point. The summit trial is a wide carriage road that inclines gradually around the northern perimeter of South Uncanoonuc.  At 0.5 miles you reach a trail junction with the Link trail which leads you to Mountain road and North Uncanoonuc. Follow the Summit Trail as it turns to the south (left) and increases in grade as you ascend towards the summit. At 0.8 miles you encounter the summit road and can either follow the road the short distance to the summit or cross the road continuing along the trail.  Continuing along the Summit trial is slightly longer however there is no to minimal incline and several view points along the way. One view point provides great views of the Boston Skyline to your south and an second provides views towards downtown Manchester.  The true summit is inaccessible due to the radio antenna.  I saw no official markings.  Return the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Summit Trail - Link Trail junction = 0.5 miles
Link Trail junction - Summit Road crossing = 0.5 miles
Summit road crossing - summit = 0.15 miles

Total distance =1.2 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Summit Trail - Link Trail junction = 20 minutes
Link Trail junction - Summit Road crossing = 20 minutes
Summit road crossing - summit = 10 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The Uncanoonuc Mountains are the local mountains in the background of Manchester and a popular hike amongst the locals.  North Uncanoonuc is the highest point in the town of Goffstown. The two mountains are similar in look and elevation and I've heard that the Indian word Uncanoonuc translates to Woman's breast.  North Uncanoonuc provides more of an outdoor experience than it's neighbor South Uncanoonuc which is populated with radio antenna, buildings and a drivable road. 

There are several trails leading to the summit of South Uncanoonuc.  The report above follows the red line on the map above.  A second option is the very interesting Incline trail, shown in blue.  The trail head begins at the same location and climbs steadily and steeply 0.6 miles following an abandoned cable car track to the summit.  The climb is steep and at 0.5 miles you encounter the stone remains of several buildings which I can only assume was the upper stopping point of the cable car. from here the Incline trail begins to level, crosses a dirt access road and leads a short distance to the summit. I would recommend making a loop out of the two trails described above.



A downloadable, printable and more thorough PDF copy of the map above can be found at the Goffstown.com trails home page.

North Uncanoonuc - 1324 Ft.

STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Mt. Uncanoonuc - North
ELEVATION: 1324 Ft.
TRAIL: Class 6 ATV road, Blue trail
DISTANCE: .5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 440 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
SEASON: Mid-summer
DATE: August 2010
WEATHER: sunny, clear

PARKING: From route 114 in Goffstown turn onto Mountain road and follow it 2.6 miles to the class 6 road. There is not a parking lot but parking is available on both sides of Mountain road.

MAP: (N Uncanoonuc)


DESCRIPTION:

From parking on Mountain Road follow the class 5 carriage road over rocky terrain with a easy grade 0.20 miles to the junction with the Blue trail.  Turn left and continue on the wide carriage road a few hundred feet to a trail leading to the left. Continue straight, following the wide blue trail over some rocky and rooted sections 0.3 miles to a junction of an ATV trail and the summit ridge.  Turn right and continue over the granite slabs 0.2 miles to the summit.  There are OK views of South Uncanoonuc and Manchester through the trees.  There is a small cairn marking the summit and several fire pits.  I saw no official markings.  Return the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Class 6 road - Blue Trail junction = 0.20 miles
Blue Trail junction - ATV trail junction = 0.30 miles
ATV trail junction - summit = 0.20 miles

Total distance = 0.8 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Class 6 road - Blue Trail junction = 10 minutes
Blue Trail junction - ATV trail junction = 20 minutes
ATV trail junction - summit = 10 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The Uncanoonuc Mountains are the local mountains in the background of Manchester and a popular hike amongst the locals.  North Uncanoonuc is the highest point in the town of Goffstown. The two mountains are similar in look and elevation and I've heard that the Indian word Uncanoonuc translates to Woman's breast.  North Uncanoonuc provides more of an outdoor experience than it's neighbor South Uncanoonuc which is populated with radio antenna, buildings and a drivable road. 

There are several trails leading to the summit of North Uncanoonuc.  The report above follows the red line on the map above.  A second option is the White Dot trail.  A small parking lot is available on the left hand side of Mountain road 1.5 miles from route 114. The trail head begins across the street and climbs steadily and steeply 0.6 miles to the summit.  There is a small cave at 0.1 miles (I have not explored) and trail is peppered with rocky terrain.  As you near the top you'll find a great view of Goffstown potentially some peaks further north.  The summit is a short 0.1 miles away.


A downloadable, printable and more thorough PDF copy of the map above can be found at the Goffstown.com trails home page.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

North Twin, South Twin, Galehead, Garfield

South Twin Mountain
 
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: North Twin, South Twin, Galehead, Mt. Garfield
ELEVATION: 4761 Ft, 4902 Ft, 4024 Ft, 4480 Ft.
TRAIL: Little River bushwhack, North Twin tr, Garfield Ridge tr, Frost tr, Mt. Garfield tr, road walk
DISTANCE: 18 miles
ELEVATION GAIN:
HIKING TIME: 10 Hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Mid-winter
DATE: February 20, 2010
WEATHER: Cool, overcast, windy

PARKING: This trip required a car spot. Our starting point was at the end of Little River Rd and termination point was located at 5 corners on route 3.

MAP: (North Twin) (South Twin) (Galehead) (Garfield)



DESCRIPTION:

From the parking area at the end of Little River Road cross the footbridge and begin a 1 mile bushwhack along a footpath paralleling Little River. The unmarked trail is easy to follow and navigate making one of the easiest and a very popular winter route. After 1 mile you reach Fire road 304 and the summer parking lot for the North Twin Trail.

The North Twin Trail begins a very gradual ascent as it parallels Little River crossing it several times. After two miles the trail makes a sharp right turn and begins a moderately steep incline. The trail is easy to follow as it transitions from hard wood to fir trees. The trail turns a slight left and follows a northeasterly spine ridge through krumholtz to the North Twin Summit. The summit is marked with a sign and a short side trail leading to great views.

Follow the North Twin Trail in a Southward direction 0.6 miles descending 300 feet into the col then rising 500 feet through mostly open woods another 0.6 miles to the 4902 foot South Twin summit.

A very short distance after the South Twin Summit you reach the trail junction of the Garfield Ridge Trail and Twinway. Follow the Garfield Ridge Trail as it descends steeply over 1000 feet in 1.0 miles to Galehead Hut. In winter the hut is closed however the front porch is a great place to take a break and enjoy the views of the nearby peaks such as Garfield, Galehead, South Twin, Guyot and deep into the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

From Galehead Hut follow the Frost trail 0.5 miles to the viewless summit of Galehead. There are a few outlooks along the trail providing views to the north and east. The terminus of the Frost trail as well as a cairn mark the 4024 foot Galehead summit. Return to Galehead hut the way you came.

Follow the Garfield Ridge Trail 3.0 miles west over several humps and bumps of Garfield ridge. The trail descends to the northwest leading to a col on the ridge and junction with the Galehead trail. Continuing along the Garfield Ridge trail will lead you up a steep slope to Garfield Ridge - East peak. The true summit (3590 Ft) is a very short bushwhack off the trail. The 3rd ascent will bring you to a short bushwhack leading to 3667 foot Garfield Ridge - West peak. A short descent will lead you to a col and junction of the Franconia Brook trail. The Garfield Ridge trail ascends moderately, levels out then ascends steeply to the junction of the Garfield trail. The Mt. Garfield Trail is a short but steep pitch. The 4500 foot summit of Mt. Garfield contains the cement foundation of a long gone fire tower and offers excellent views.

Descent the short and steep pitch back to the Garfield trail following it 5 miles to it's beginning at Gale River road. A 1.5 mile relatively flat road walk will lead you back to route 3 and the 5 corners intersection.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Bushwhack - N Twin trail = 1.0 miles
N Twin trail - left hand turn = 2.0 miles
left hand turn - N Twin summit = 2.0 miles
N Twin Summit - S Twin Summit = 1.0 miles
S Twin Summit - Galehead Hut = 1.0 miles
Frost trail - Galehead summit = 0.5 miles
Galehead summit - Galehead hut = 0.5 miles
Galehead Hut - Garfield summit = 3.0 miles
Garfield Summit - Mt Garfield trail end = 5.0 miles
Gale River Rd - 5 corners = 1.5 miles

TOTAL Distance = 17.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Bushwhack - N Twin trail = 20 minutes
N Twin trail - left hand turn = 1 hour 10 minutes
left hand turn - N Twin summit = 1 hour 30 minutes
N Twin Summit - S Twin Summit = 45 minutes
S Twin Summit - Galehead Hut = 30 minutes
Frost trail - Galehead summit = 30 minutes
Galehead summit - Galehead hut = 15 minutes
Galehead Hut - Garfield summit = 2 hours 30 minutes
Garfield Summit - Mt Garfield trail end = 2 hours
Gale River Rd - 5 corners = 30 minutes

TOTAL hiking time = 10 hours

NOTES / COMMENTS:
This was by far my most arduous and intense winter hiking adventures climbing almost 18 miles, a total of 4 peaks above 4000 feet and walking for 10 hours. Prepare for a long and tiring day. At 4761 feet and 4902 feet, North Twin mountain and South Twin Mountain are the 11th and 8th highest peaks in New Hampshire and typically a days journey alone. 4024 foot Mt. Galehead is a short side trip and Mt. Garfield's 4500 foot summit is worth a trip by itself.

We started at the end of Little River Road in Twin Mountain shortly before 7 AM and took a 'shortcut' to the North Twin Trail where we broke trail through deeper and deeper snow eventually encountering 1-2 Ft drifts at higher elevations. Since this would be my first winter ascent of North Twin I volunteered to break trail through the deep snow. I followed the tracks of a fox eventually reaching the North Twin Summit shortly before 11 AM then continued South along the North Twin Spur trail through open woods and deep drifts. I struggled to find the trail in several places but managed the 1.2 miles to the South Twin summit without incident. Due to less than ideal conditions the pit stop was short. The rapid 1000 Ft descent in 1 mile is very steep leading to Galehead hut and approximately the 1/2 way point of the journey at noon.

Galehead Hut
 

I left my pack on the porch bench then made the 0.5 mile ascent up the Frost Trail to the view less Galehead summit. I snapped a quick pic and returned to the hut and packs. I continued west along the Garfield Ridge Trail to the Gale River trail leaving the option to continue 3 miles to Mt Garfield (then descent 6 miles to the car) or directly descend 5 miles to the car. Consensus was continue the Garfield Ridge Trail to Mt. Garfield.

The Garfield Ridge trail was used recently but it was filled with steep ups and steep downs that rapidly drained my fleeting energy. That 3 miles seemed to take forever but we finally made it to the summit of Garfield at 3:30 PM. Only 6 miles to the car (ugh!).

Knowing the remaining 5 miles on the Garfield trail and 1 mile road walk were completely downhill completing the challenges of the hike we kicked up the turbo gear hiking 3 MPH reaching the car at 5:30 PM. What a day. 18 miles and 4 peaks of winter bliss.
Galehead Mountain
 
Mt. Garfield

Saturday, July 6, 2013

North Percy Peak, South Percy Peak

North Percy
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: North Percy Peak, South Percy Peak
ELEVATION: 3430 Ft, 3220 Ft
TRAIL: Percy Loop Trail, Herd Path
DISTANCE: 5.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2140 Ft
HIKING TIME: 3 hours 5 minutes
SEASON: Mid-summer
DATE: July 5, 2013
WEATHER: hot, humid, sunny, 85 degrees


South Percy
 
PARKING:

From route 3 in Groveton turn onto route 110. Turn left onto Emerson road. Continue on Emerson Rd bearing right at the Y to the end. Turn Left onto the gravel Nash Stream Rd and follow it 2.7 miles to the Percy Loop Trailhead. Cross Long Mountain brook and there is a small parking area to the left. Do not block the gate. 2 hours 45 minutes from Manchester.


MAP: (North Percy Peak) (South Percy Peak)



DESCRIPTION:

NOTE: I ascended Percy via a Northern route not on your traditional AMC Maps. I ascended the Percy Loop trail a few miles north of the traditional Percy Peak Trail. From parking cross Nash Stream Rd and follow the Percy loop trail (also the Cohos Trail), sign the hiking register 100 yards from the trailhead and follow the carriage road with easy footing over a moderate grade. The trail parallels Long Mountain brook and ascends moderately providing a few light lulls during the ascent to give your lungs and legs a minor rest before continuing it's moderate incline. After approximately 1 mile the trail follows an elevation contour line and level for approximately a third of a mile then the trail reaches a brook, turns right, makes a short, steep ascent before reaching a campsite area to the left. From here the easy footing becomes technical ascending a single track trail over rocky terrain as the hardwood forest transitions to birch and eventually primarily fir trees. After 1.8 miles you reach a trail junction with the Cohos Trail. Bear right following the Percy loop trail through a narrow and rocky path to the base of the N Percy Slide crossing extremely steep and open granite ledges. The 3430 Ft summit is a very short distance from the top of the steep pitch and marked with a summit sign and USGS Benchmark disk. N Percy offers great panoramic views from the summit.

Carefully descend the granite slabs following the poorly marked mustard trail markers and few cairns. If you happen to lose the trail stay to the left. Head back to the trail junction and descend into the col between the two peaks. After 0.1 miles you reach a second junction with the "Old Summer Club Trail". Bear left at this junction and at the low point of the col where the trail bears left look for a herd path heading straight up the flank Of South Percy. The herd path is not marked but well traveled. It's overgrown, steep and rocky but easy to follow 0.25 miles to the South Percy Summit. The summit is obvious and marked with a glass jar tied to a tree near the highest point. There are good views of North Percy and the surrounding area. Return the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Parking - Trail Junction = 2.25 miles
Trail Junction - N Percy Summit = 0.25 miles
N Percy Summit - Trail Junction = 0.25 miles
Trail Junction - S. Percy Summit = 0.25 miles
S Percy Summit - Trail Junction = 0.25 miles
Trail Junction - Parking = 2.25 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Parking - Trail Junction = 1 hour
Trail Junction - N Percy Summit = 15 minutes
N Percy Summit - Trail Junction = 15 minutes
Trail Junction - S. Percy Summit = 20 minutes
S Percy Summit - Trail Junction = 20 minutes
Trail Junction - Parking = 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS: After hiking Mt. Sugarloaf earlier this morning my legs and energy levels were feeling the burn during this hike. The trail crosses a variety of terrain from a carriage road with easy footing to a rocky and rooty single track to open granite slabs. Both peaks are listed on the NH 3000 Footer list and North Percy Peak is #15 on the 52 with a view hiking list.

The Percy Loop Trailhead

North Percy Peak summit
 

Views of Mt. Sugarloaf from N. Percy Peak
 
A left hand turn in the trail - the S. Percy herd path begins here (behind the center (unmarked) tree)

Sugarloaf - 3701 Ft

3701 Ft - Mt. Sugarloaf
STATE: New Hampshire
DESTINATION: Mt. Sugarloaf - Stratford
ELEVATION: 3701 Ft
TRAIL: Mt. Sugarloaf Trail
DISTANCE: 4.2 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2175 Ft
HIKING TIME: 2 hours
SEASON: Mid-Summer
DATE: July 5, 2013
WEATHER: 80 Degrees, hot, humid, buggy

PARKING: From route 3 in Groveton turn onto route 110.  Turn left onto Emerson road. Continue on Emerson Rd bearing right at the Y to the end.  Turn Left onto the gravel Nash Stream Rd and follow it 8.1 miles to the Mt. Sugarloaf Trailhead.  There is a obscured "Sugarloaf Mountain Trail" sign mounted to a tree.  There is parking for 2-3 cars in the small lot and roadside parking. 2 hours 45 minutes from Manchester.

MAP: (Sugarloaf)



DESCRIPTION:  From parking follow the Mt. Sugarloaf Trail past the cabin and around the gate through the grassy field. The lower section of trail appears to also be a snowmobile corridor, former carriage road or both. You soon reach a trail junction with a sign to the "Old Hermit Cabin" bearing left which heads to Sugarloaf Arm. Bear right continuing on the wide Sugarloaf Mountain Trail. As you ascend you soon reach a snowmobile trail junction (left). Continue straight across this junction taking the upwards path.  The carriage road has poor drainage and extremely muddy and buggy on it's lower sections.  The relentless trail begins along a moderate grade soon becoming steep after a set of small cairns on the right side of the trail.  After about 1.75 miles and 45 minutes of strenuous hiking you encounter a grassy field and the remains of an abandoned cabin.  Pass the cabin and bear right into the boreal forest as the incline finally begins to slightly level off making the final pitch to the summit.  The obvious summit is mostly open providing great views to the nearby Percy Peaks, North Country and Northern Presidential Mountains.  There is a sign, benchmark disk as well as two rods marking the summit.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

Parking - Cabin remains = 1.75 mi

Cabin - Summit = 0.4 mi

HIKING TIMES:

Parking - Cabin remains = 45 minutes
Cabin - Summit = 15 minutes
Summit - Parking = 40 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The Sugarloaf Trailhead is disguised as a campsite and very obscure. Pay attention to your mileage on Nash Stream Rd and the small Sugarloaf Mtn. Trail sign can be easily missed due to the overgrowth.  The trail is poorly maintained and if not for the wide carriage road would be challenging to follow.  I was excited to reach the former cabin site however my excitement transitioned to disappointment when reaching the cabin to find just a pile of building materials strewn about and no recognizable cabin.

The summit once housed a fire tower cabin used from 1919 to 1976. It was rebuilt in 1942 as well as the mid 1960's.  The tower was closed in 1980 and burned in 1982.  Since the summit was bare rock there was never a tower and the cabin sat on the bare rock summit. More information can be found at the following link: Firetower info











A cabin at the Sugarloaf Mountain Trailhead (Left) and the grassy field the trail passes through


The intermediate grade trail gets steep after this cairn.
 
The 3701 Ft Sugarloaf Mountain Summit
 
Views to the South
 
Views to the North