Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mt. Dartmouth - 3727 / Millen Hill - 3376

Mt. Dartmouth summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Low and Burbanks Grant / Chandlers Purchase
DESTINATION: Mt. Dartmouth / Millen Hill
ELEVATION: 3727 Feet / 3376 Feet
DARTMOUTH SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 18.144, W71 23.022
MILLEN HILL SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 17.626, W71 21.885
TRAIL: bushwhack
DISTANCE: 3.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1100 feet
HIKING TIME: 2 hours 45 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 31, 2013
WEATHER: 75 degrees, humid, overcast

PARKING:

From route 302 in Bretton Woods turn onto Base Station rd. At 4.5 miles turn left onto Jefferson Notch Rd and continue 3.3 miles to Jefferson Notch and trailhead parking on the right.

USGS QUAD: USGS Mt. Dartmouth Quad / USGS Mt. Washington Quad

MAP: (Mt. Dartmouth) (Millen Hill)



DESCRIPTION:

I parked at the Caps Ridge trailhead and crossed the road entering the woods at an open area just north of the height of land. I followed a contour line between 3000 and 3100 feet elevation staying in the beautifully open woods as far and long as possible. bushwhacking was extremely easy through fern patches and mossy areas never getting thick or difficult. With the Dartmouth summit directly to my West I began ascending the steep slope. Terrain was a bit more challenging to navigate however the woods remained open 90% of the way. Found herd path with approximately 100 yards to the summit.

Descended the same way following the 3100 foot contour line past the col between Dartmouth and Millen before bearing south to Millen hill. Bushwhacking up the slope was a little thicker but still relatively easy. Once on the summit dome I was presented with minimal views towards the Presidentials and followed a herd path 500 feet to the summit. Descended in a Northerly direction then changed bearing east following the open 3100 foot contour and Jefferson Notch rd.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

On a trail-less peak it's difficult to provide reference markers such as a trail junction, merge or other distinct object and the tables below reference the summit distance and times.

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Mt. Dartmouth 1.7 miles 1.7 miles
Mt. Dartmouth - Millen Hill 1.3 miles 3.0 miles
Millen Hill - Parking 0.5 miles 3.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Mt. Dartmouth 1 hour 5 minutes 1 hour 5 minutes
Mt. Dartmouth - Millen Hill 1 hour 5 minutes 2 hours 10 minutes
Millen Hill - Parking 30 minutes 2 hours 40 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

 Mt. Dartmouth is the 67th highest peak in New Hampshire and nearby Millen Hill is on the list of 175 New Hampshire 3000 footers. Reports suggest following a contour line and ascending from a westerly direction. I stayed as low as possible for as long as possible turning due west and ascending about 1/2 mile distance and a few hundred feet elevation to the summit. The bushwhack from Jefferson Notch road is through open woods and one of the easiest bushwhacks I've encountered. Returning to Millen Hill I used the same philosophy following the contour then bushwhacking directly to the summit. Both summits contain a PVC canister and are viewless however Millen Hill offers a view to the Presidentials a few hundred feet from the summit.

 The open woods bushwhack

 Millen Hill summit

Millen Hill summit canister complete with moose antler

Monday, August 26, 2013

Smarts Mountain - 3238 Feet

Smarts mountain
 
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Lyme
DESTINATION: Smarts Mountain
ELEVATION: 3238 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 49.528, W72 02.285
TRAIL: Lambert Ridge Trail
DISTANCE: 8.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2135 Feet
HIKING TIME: 3 hours
SEASON: Late Summer
DATE: August 23, 2013
WEATHER: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees

PARKING:

From route 10 in Lyme NH follow Dorchester Road 4.75 miles to the trailhead on the left. The gravel lot is marked with a trail kiosk and has parking for 10-15 cars.

USGS QUAD: USGS Smarts Mountain Quad

MAP: (Smarts Mountain)


DESCRIPTION:

The parking area on Dorchester road serves two trailheads both leading to the summit of Smarts Mountain.  The Lambert Ridge Trail begins opposite the trailhead kiosk and map and follows white blazes also marking the Appalachian Trail. The trail ascends steeply through a hardwood forest soon reaching open ledges after approximately 1 mile.  The open ledges transition to and from the woods and provide good peephole viewing mostly in an easterly direction.  At approximately 2 miles you'll reach your first view of Smarts mountain and the fire tower at it's summit.  The trail drops into a hardwoods forest and remains nearly level for a good distance before transitioning to the steep steps.  At 3.5 miles you encounter the junction with the Ranger trail and the Smarts mountain summit is a steep 0.5 miles away. The are no views from the summit proper however there is a standing inactive fire tower which provides panoramic views from the cab.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Lambert ridge trail - open ledges ~ 1.0 miles ~ 1.0 miles
Lambert ridge trail - view of Smarts Mountain ~ 1.0 miles ~ 2.0 miles
Lambert ridge trail - Ranger trail merge ~ 1.5 miles ~ 3.5 miles
Lambert ridge trail - Smarts summit 0.5 miles 4.0 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Lambert ridge trail - open ledges 20 minutes 20 minutes
Lambert ridge trail - view of Smarts Mountain 20 minutes 40 minutes
Lambert ridge trail - Ranger trail merge 35 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Lambert ridge trail - Smarts summit 15 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Smarts summit - Parking 1 hour 20 minutes 2 hours 50 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Smarts Mountain stands at 3238 feet elevation however has an elevation gain over 2000 feet making this little mountain the 9th most prominent mountain in the state of New Hampshire. It is the highest point in the town of Lyme and on several hiking checklists such as 52 mountains With a View and the NH 3000 footers. It's 41 foot standing inactive fire tower was originally built in 1915 however the Dartmouth Outing Club made several repairs over the years where it remained in service until 1980.

 The Lambert Ridge trail along open granite ledges

Wooden stairs and a steel ladder ascending a steep pitch nearing the summit.

 The Smarts Mountain fire tower.

 Mt. Cube

Views from the tower

Cascade and Porter

Cascade Mountain from Porter Mountain
STATE: New York
TOWN: Keene Valley
DESTINATION: Cascade Mountain / Porter Mountain
ELEVATION: 4098 Feet / 4068 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Porter Mountain: N44 12.745, W73 51.235
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Cascade Mountain: N44 13.116, W73 51.606
TRAIL: Cascade - Porter Trail
DISTANCE: 6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2220 Feet
HIKING TIME: 2 hours 30 minutes
SEASON: Late Summer
DATE: August 22, 2013
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 75 degrees

PARKING: From I87 North take exit 30 for Keene / Keene Valley.  Follow route 73 for 22 miles to the Cascade / Porter trailhead on the left.  There are several parking areas within a short distance of the trailhead.

USGS QUAD: Keene Valley QUAD

MAP: (Porter Mountain)  (Cascade Mountain)



DESCRIPTION:

From parking on route 73 the Cascade - Porter trail descends a series of steps to a hiker registration kiosk.  According to the Adirondack peaks guidebook it states the trail is marked with red discs. I didn't see any markings but the trail is easy to navigate with no merges or junctions along the way.  It begins a moderate ascent over rocky terrain for approximately 0.5 miles. The trail ascends a short steep pitch then levels for a few hundred yards before it begins a steep rocky ascent. After approximately 1.5 miles pass a large car sized boulder on your right and the terrain transitions to alpine terrain.  After a short distance the trail crosses a granite slab offering your first set of views of the high peaks to the west before transitioning back to woods and reaching the Cascade / Porter trail junction at 2.3 miles.  From here Porter mountain is 0.7 miles to the east and Cascade Mountain is 0.3 miles north.  I chose to bear right at the junction descending a few hundred feet in a short distance then leveling out in the col before ascending a moderate grade pitch to the Porter mountain ridge.  The ridge was muddy in places mostly along wooded trails however did provide several good outlooks. The Porter Mountain summit is open offering 270 degree views to the north, west and south. 

Return the way you came descending to the col before a short ascend back to the Cascade / Porter junction and continue 0.3 miles to Cascade Mountain.  The last 0.15 miles is along an open ridge and can be treacherous during wet conditions. The Cascade Mountain summit is marked with a benchmark surrounded by 4 eye bolts that I assume belong to a former fire tower.  Cascade mountain offers spectacular panoramic 360 degree views.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Cascade/Porter split 2.0 miles 2.0 miles
Cascade/Porter split - Porter Summit 0.7 miles 2.7 miles
Porter Summit - Cascade/Porter Split 0.7 miles 3.4 miles
Cascade/Porter split - Cascade Summit 0.3 miles 3.7 miles
Cascade Summit - Cascade/Porter split 0.3 miles 4.0 miles
Cascade/Porter split - Parking 2.0 miles 6.0 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Cascade/Porter split 55 minutes 55 minutes
Cascade/Porter split - Porter Summit 20 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Porter Summit - Cascade/Porter Split 15 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
Cascade/Porter split - Cascade Summit 10 minutes 1 hour 40 minutes
Cascade Summit - Cascade/Porter split 10 minutes 1 hour 50 minutes
Cascade/Porter split - Parking 40 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Cascade and Porter are two ideal mountains to use as a hiker introduction to the Adirondacks.  The hike is not overly strenuous and summits offer rewarding views of the surrounding high peaks.  Cascade Mountain has breathtaking panoramic views and the Porter mountain summit is worthy of a visit. Cascade and Porter are listed as the 36th and 38th highest points in New York. 
 Stone steps ascending the Cascade / Porter trail

 Colden (left center) and Algonquin Peak (right center)

 The final pitch to the Cascade summit.

 Porter mountain

The range in the distance consists of Gothics, Saddleback, Basin and Haystack

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Giant Mountain (4625 Feet), Rocky Peak Ridge (4383 Feet)

Mt. Marcy and the Gothics from Giant Peak*
STATE: New York
TOWN: Keene
DESTINATION: Giant Mountain, Rocky Peak Ridge
ELEVATION: 4625 Feet
Giant SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 09.668' W73 43.218'
TRAIL: Zander Scott Trail, East Trail
DISTANCE:8.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3005 feet
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 13 minutes
SEASON: Late Summer
DATE: August 19, 2013
WEATHER: 80 degrees, humid, clear

PARKING: From route 87 take route 9 North for 6 miles. Off road parking is available on both sides of the road. The trail head is on the right hand side.

USGS QUAD: USGS Rocky Peak Ridge Quad

MAP: (Giant Mountain), (Rocky Peak Ridge)


DESCRIPTION:

The Zander Scott trail is marked with blue disks stating "foot travel only" and begins a steep relentless ascent up the western ridge of Giant Mountain. The rugged terrain parallels a dry river bed crossing it twice before encountering a series of switchbacks quickly rising in elevation. At a 3rd crossing of the dry river bed the trail makes a steep pitch up a rocky ledge to your first in a series of many viewpoints along the trail. Continue over a short flat section to the border of Giant Washbowl pond. Cross the footbridge and continue ascending a short distance to the Nubble trail junction departing to the left. The Zander Scott continues it's steep rocky ascent making several switchbacks before reaching a series of granite slabs. The terrain is rough requiring hand and footholds over several technical sections. The bare slabs offer increasingly spectacular views of the Dix range, Nipple Top and Dial. After 1.5 miles you'll reach the 1/2 way point and the approximate trail split offering the option of continuing Over Bump or Around Bump. I chose the around route enjoying the short level section before merging with the Over Bump trail option. Continue the brutally steep ascent reaching the Roaring Brook Trail merge at 2.2 miles. From here it's a 0.65 mile trek to the East Trail beginning with a gradual ascent for a few tenths of a mile then ascending steeply to the junction of the East trail leading to Rocky Peak Ridge. the 1.2 mile East trail descends extremely steeply (1000 feet in 0.5 miles) down a technical and difficult climb to the col before the trail levels for a short destance then begins it's moderate ascent to Rocky Peak Ridge. The ascent is mostly wooded but opens to panoramic views at the summit. Return the way you came and continue 0.1 mile leading to the open summit of Giant Mountain. The summit is marked with a benchmark disk and provides spectacular views of the Adirondack mountains to the west. Well done!

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Zander Scott trail - outlook 0.7 miles 0.7 miles
Zander Scott trail - Nubble Trail Junction 0.3 miles 1.0 miles
Zander Scott trail - Over bump / Around bump split 0.7 miles 1.7 miles
Zander Scott trail - Roaring Brook Trail merge 0.5 miles 2.2 miles
Zander Scott trail - East trail merge 0.65 miles 2.9 miles
East trail - Rocky Peak Ridge 1.2 miles 4.1 miles
Rocky Peak Ridge - Zander Scott trail jct 1.2 miles 5.3 miles
Zander Scott Trail - Giant Summit 0.1 miles 5.4 miles
Giant Summit - Parking 3.1 miles 8.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Zander Scott trail - outlook 15 minutes 15 minutes
Zander Scott trail - Giant Washbowl 5 minutes 20 minutes
Zander Scott trail - Nubble Trail Junction 5 minutes 25 minutes
Zander Scott trail - Over bump / Around bump split 30 minutes 55 minutes
Zander Scott trail - Roaring Brook Trail merge 15 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes
Zander Scott trail - East trail merge 20 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes
East trail merge - Rocky Peak Ridge Summit 45 minutes 2 hours 15 minutes
Rocky Peak Summit - Zander Scott trail merge 35 minutes 2 hours 50 minutes
Zander Scott trail - Giant summit 5 minutes 2 hours 55 minutes
Giant summit - parking 1 hour 35 minutes 4 hours 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 4625 feet Giant Mountain is the 12th highest peak in the state of New York. It has a significant elevation gain over rugged, rocky and terrain ranging from steep to brutally steep. Rocky Peak Ridge is 1.2 miles to the east and Giant Mountain is often combined with Rocky Peak. The 1.2 miles contains a 1000 foot drop to a 700 feet incline over it's 1.2 mile distance. The Zander Scott trail offers spectacular views of the Adirondacks over nearly it's entire distance. The originally named Ridge Trail was renamed Zander Scott in 1992.
 
The Nubble from the perimeter of Giant Washbowl
 Open granite ledges from the Zander Scott Trail

 The Dix range from the Giant Mountain summit.*

Rocky Peak Ridge from Giant Mountain


*- This was my first experience in the Adirondacks and I was out of my element when detecting nearby mountains and ranges.  The peaks depicted are named to the best of my ability however may contain inaccuracies.

Mt. Greylock - 3491 Ft.

STATE: Massachusetts
TOWN: Adams
DESTINATION: Mt. Greylock
ELEVATION: 3491 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 38.235, W73 09.960
TRAIL: Cheshire Harbor Trail, Appalachian Trail
DISTANCE: 7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2940 feet
HIKING TIME: 2 hours
SEASON: Late Summer
DATE: August 18, 2013
WEATHER: 70 degrees, overcast

PARKING:

From route 8 in Adams turn onto Friend street / Notch Rd, follow it 1.0 miles to the 4 way stop. Continue straight onto West Road for 0.55 miles and turn right onto West Mountain Road for 1.5 miles to the gravel parking lot at the end. Parking is available for 10-15 cars.

USGS QUAD: USGS Williamstown Quad

MAP: (Mt. Greylock)



DESCRIPTION:

The Cheshire Harbor Trail is one of the more popular routes to Mt. Greylock. It begins at the end of West Mountain road at the northeast corner of the parking lot and bears left through a grassy field. Enter the woods and reach the rocky carriage road as it passes around a gate stating no wheeled vehicles are allowed. The trail is a gravel road that begins with easy footing over an easy grade. After 5 minutes you reach the first in a series of switchbacks and the intersection with a blue blazed trail continuing straight. Follow the carriage road 1 mile to the intersection with the Old Adams Road trail. From here the trail narrows but is still wide enough for a 4x4 vehicle and terrain becomes loose rocks. At approximately 1.5 miles the Pecks Brook Loop trail enters from the right and terrain becomes even more narrow with even looser footing. The trail is wet in places and I noted this stretch of trail as "ankle-sprain terrain" due to the loose rocks under foot. After 0.9 miles you cross a small footbridge, increase a moderate grade and reach the intersection with the AT and summit road. Follow the AT across the road as it follows foot bridges then along the perimeter of a small lake before merging with the summit road a second time. The AT continues a 0.15 miles to the summit. You exit the trail in a parking area and the summit is a short distance across the parking lot. The summit is mostly open and marked with a large War Memorial Tower and has 50-60 mile views to the east.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Cheshire Harbor Trail - Junction with Old Adams Road 1.0 miles 1.0 miles
Cheshire Harbor Trail - Junction with Pecks Brook Loop 0.5 miles 1.5 miles
Cheshire Harbor Trail - footbridge crossing 1.0 miles 2.5 miles
Cheshire Harbor Trail - Summit road / AT merge 0.1 miles 2.6 miles
Appalachian Trail - Summit .75 miles 3.3 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Cheshire Harbor Trail - Junction with Old Adams Road 15 minutes 15 minutes
Cheshire Harbor Trail - Junction with Pecks Brook Loop 10 minutes 25 minutes
Cheshire Harbor Trail - footbridge crossing 15 minutes 40 minutes
Cheshire Harbor Trail - Summit road / AT merge 5 minutes 45 minutes
Appalachian Trail - Summit 15 minutes 60 minutes
Summit - parking 60 minutes 2 hours

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Mt. Greylock is the highest point in the state of Massachusetts at 3491 feet. It's summit contains a Massachusetts War Memorial and offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.  There are 2 roads leading to the summit making it a popular place for tourists. It also contains Bascom Lodge which is a large rustic stone lodge built in the 1930's to provide accommodations to hikers, vacationers and nature enthusiasts. 

A tree and sign at the Cheshire Harbor trailhead
 
The Cheshire Harbor Trail at the intersection of Old Adams Road trail
 
 A small pond and shelter along the AT corridor near the summit of Mt. Greylock

easterly view from the summit of Mt. Greylock

Bascom Lodge

Friday, August 9, 2013

Zealand Mountain - 4260 feet

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Twin Mountain
DESTINATION: Zealand Mountain
ELEVATION: 4260 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 10.780' W71 31.278'
TRAIL: Zealand Road, Zealand Trail, Twinway, Mt. Zealand Spur
DISTANCE: 19 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2260 feet
HIKING TIME: 7 hours
SEASON: Winter
DATE: December 26, 2010
WEATHER: cool, clear, 5 degrees

PARKING: From the route 3 / route 302 intersection in Twin Mountain take route 302 east for 2.2 miles. Turn onto Zealand road at Zealand campground and follow it 3.5 miles south to a large parking are at the roads end.

WINTER PARKING: Zealand road is closed from mid-November to mid-April. Anyone who wishes to access the Zealand trail must park at a snowmobile parking lot on the north side of route 302 2.5 miles from the route 3 / route 302 intersection. This will add an additional 3.5 miles (each way) to the hike.

USGS QUAD: South Twin Mountain Quad

MAP: (Zealand Mountain)



DESCRIPTION:

This was a winter hike requiring me to park at the snowmobile parking area on the north side of 302. It's a 0.3 mile road walk along route 302 to Zealand road then a 3.5 miles walk on Zealand road to the Zealand trailhead.

The Zealand trail is a relatively easy gateway trail to the northern end of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. It follows a railroad grade the departs following a rough and rocky section of trail before returning to the railroad grade a short distance before paralleling the west bank of the Zealand river. The trail passes through a marshy area of beaver activity crossing a long footbridge before returning to the grade. At 2.3 miles the A-Z trail enters from the left. the Zealand trail ends at 2.5 miles with the junction of the Ethan Pond Trail and Twinway.

The Twinway ascends steeply up rocky steps 0.2 miles to Zealand Falls Hut. A short side trip to the falls is definitely worth a visit. Continuing past the hut the Lend-a-Hand trail exits to the right and trail ascends moderately through a birch forest to the ridge. At 1.5 miles a spur trail exits left and leads to the passing Zeacliff outlook before returning to the main trail. Ascend several granite ledges then rise and fall over several ups and downs as the trail continues along the ridge. A cairn at 3.1 miles marks a short spur trail leading to the right and 0.1 miles to the Zealand summit. Well done!

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Zealand road - Zealand trail 3.8 miles 3.8 miles
Zealand trail - Twinway 2.5 miles 6.3 miles
Twinway - Zealand Falls Hut 0.2 miles 6.5 miles
Zealand Falls Hut - Zeacliff trail 1.3 miles 7.8 miles
Zeacliff Trail - Zealand spur 1.6 miles 9.4 miles
Zealand spur - Zealand summit 0.1 miles 9.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Zealand road - Zealand trail 1 hour 40 minutes 1 hour 40 minutes
Zealand trail - Twinway 1 hour 2 hours 40 minutes
Twinway - Zealand Falls Hut 5 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes
Zealand Falls Hut - Zeacliff trail 30 minutes 3 hours 15 minutes
Zeacliff Trail - Zealand spur 40 minutes 3 hours 55 minutes
Zealand spur - Zealand summit 5 minutes 4 hours
Zealand summit - parking 3 hours 7 hours

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 4260 feet, Zealand Mountain is the 31st highest peak in New Hampshire. There are good views of Carrigan notch from the marshy bridges on the Zealand Trail and several outlooks towards the cliffs of Whitewall from the Twinway trail. The Zealand Mountain summit has no views and has no official markings other than a summit sign. My camera batteries weren't cooperating with the cold temperatures and I have very few pictures of this adventure.   

HockeyPuck and the Zealand Mountain summit sign.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Birch Hill - 821 Ft - Hollis NH

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Hollis / Brookline
DESTINATION: Birch Hill
ELEVATION: 821 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Birch Hill -  N42 46.392', W71 38.364'
TRAIL: Access road, snowmobile corridor, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 3.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 420 feet
HIKING TIME: 50 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 7, 2013
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 80 degrees

PARKING:

From route 101 turn onto route 122 south (Ponemah Rd). Follow Ponemah Road for 3.0 miles and turn right onto Hayden road. Follow Hayden road for 1.7 miles to a gravel road on the right. Parking for 1-2 cars can be found at the entrance to the gravel road.

USGS QUAD: Milford Quad

MAP: (Birch Hill)


DESCRIPTION:

From the gravel road parking area on Hayden road follow the snowmobile corridor north 500 feet and bear right at the Y intersection.  The road descends along the contour line of Birch Hill crossing 2 bridges then merges with a gravel access road after 0.4 miles. Bear left ascending the moderate grade, well packed with good footing tower access road. After 0.5 miles you reach a recently cleared and logged area and the sub summit of Birch Hill as the access road merges with snowmobile corridor 501 and continues north. In another 0.1 miles you obtain your first view of the "fire tower" near the Birch Hill Summit. The "tower" is an additional 0.25 miles ahead. I put "fire tower" in quotes because once you reach the "fire tower" you soon realize it really isn't a fire tower. The structure is a cell phone radio tower disguised as a fire tower.  It's an interesting feature and unique way to disguise the cell tower.

Pass the tower and follow snowmobile corridor 501 as it makes a Y turn to the right (north) for 0.15 miles through a newly clear cut logged area.   From here it's a 500 foot bushwhack to the Birch Hill summit.  The viewless summit has a definite distinct bump. There are no markings at the summit however 2 large white pine trees stood near the highest point. 

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Snowmobile corridor - gravel road 0.4 miles 0.4 miles
gravel road - Merge with corridor 501 0.5 miles 0.9 miles
gravel road - Cellular fire tower 0.35 miles 1.25 miles
Snowmobile corridor - bushwhack 0.15 miles 1.4 miles
Bushwhack - summit 0.1 miles 1.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Snowmobile corridor - gravel road 5 minutes 5 minutes
gravel road - Merge with corridor 501 10 minutes 15 minutes
gravel road - Cellular fire tower 5 minutes 20 minutes
Snowmobile corridor - bushwhack 5 minutes 25 minutes
Bushwhack - summit 5 minutes 30 minutes
summit - parking 20 minutes 50 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Birch Hill is the 33rd (of 37) highest point in Hillsborough county and 641 (of 648) highest peak in New Hampshire. 

The Birch Hill summit is the highest point in the town of Hollis and a point on the western summit  (810 feet elevation) is the highest point in the town of Brookline. I made a slight error with my calculations of the Brookline highpoint and inadvertently went to the highest point on the Hollis / Milford town line thinking this was the Brookline high point. Unfortunately I didn't realize this error until I returned home and evaluated the maps. The western summit can be accessed by Summit Lane and may be located on private property.

The area is peppered with snowmobile trails and corridors managed by a snowmobile club called the Hollis Nor'easters. Unfortunately maps aren't accessible to view without membership.  The hike is straight forward and bushwhack relatively easy.  There are no views from the Birch Hill summit however limited views to the southeast are available from the tower access road.

The Birch Hill summit area

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gordon's Hill - Salem NH

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Salem
DESTINATION: Gordon's Hill
ELEVATION: 366 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 49.909', W71 14.322'
TRAIL: bushwhack
DISTANCE: 400 feet
ELEVATION GAIN: 110 feet
HIKING TIME: 15 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 5, 2013
WEATHER: Sunny, Clear, 75 degrees

PARKING: Parking can be found on route 111 at the north end of a granite cliff face.

USGS QUAD: Salem Depot

MAP: (Gordon's Hill)


DESCRIPTION: From parking on route 111 ascend the rocky drainage culvert to the north end of the cliff face.  terrain is steep with loose footing.  Once reaching the top of the drainage cross the chicken wire fence and continue through open woods to the summit. There are no official markings are the summit and there are no views. I did find a geocache ammo box very close to the summit.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - summit 400 Ft. 400 Ft. 

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - summit 8 minutes 8 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Gordon's Hill is the highest point in the town of Salem. I would not recommend my route as parking on the busy stretch of 111 is a concern, the incline is steep and footing is not secure as well as a waist high chicken wire fence needs to be navigated. I would recommend parking on Aladdin Road and taking a longer and more gradual approach over snowmobile trails.

The Gordon's Hill Summit

Jenny's Hill - Windham High Point

Jenny's Hill summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Windham
DESTINATION: Jenny's Hill
ELEVATION: 510 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 49.042' W71 16.719'
TRAIL: grass
DISTANCE: 10 steps

SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 5, 2013
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 75 degrees

PARKING:

From route 111 in Windham turn onto Searles Rd. After 0.9 miles turn left on Governor Dinsmore Rd. At 0.7 miles bear right onto Mockingbird Hill road for 0.5 miles and turn right onto Colchester Rd. Follow Colchester rd 0.35 miles to the T intersection and turn right onto Netherwood Rd. Continue 0.3 miles to the cul-de-sac

USGS QUAD: Windham Quadrangle

MAP: (Jenny's Hill)


DESCRIPTION: Jenny's hill appears to be the center of the Cul-de-sac at the end of Netherwood Road.  It's an approximate 10 step walk.


NOTES / COMMENTS:

The topo map above shows the highpoint to the northwest of the cul-de-sac. There is a house at that location whose driveway descends from the cul-de-sac. By removing land during construction of the homes at the actual plotted summit the highest point has been relocated making the highest point the center of the Cul-de-sac.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Holt Peak, Burton Peak

The 2045 foot summit cairn of Holt Peak
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Sharon / Temple
DESTINATION: Burton Peak, Holt Peak
ELEVATION: 2010 feet, 2045 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Burton Peak - N42 48.909, W71 53.537
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Holt Peak - N42 49.625, W71 53.115
TRAIL: Wapack Trail
DISTANCE: 4.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 725 feet
HIKING TIME: 2 hours
SEASON: summer
DATE: August 3, 2013
WEATHER: sunny, clear, 75 degrees

PARKING:

from route 101 in Temple turn onto route 45 South. Follow route 45 for 1.7 miles to the center of Temple then turn right on West road. Follow West road for 3.1 miles then turn right onto Temple road. Follow temple road for 0.4 miles then bear right at the Y. A gravel parking area is 100 feet on the left with availability for 4-5 cars and marked with a trail information kiosk.

USGS QUAD: USGS South Peterborough Quad

MAP: (Burton Peak) (Holt Peak)

DESCRIPTION:

From the Wapack trail parking area on Temple Road follow the Wapack Trail North marked with yellow triangles. The Wapack Trail is well defined and begins a relatively rocky, rooty and moderate ascent soon reaching a trail kiosk with map and wooden sign marking the next 2.2 miles of trail as the Cabot Skyline dedicated to Thomas Cabot. The wood pile remains of a farm building stand to your right as you cross a stone wall which runs along your right parallel to the trail. At 0.3 miles you reach the Roger Myrick Outlook with views of Kidder Mountain to the east. From here the grade becomes easy to moderate climbing small slabs as you continue north. The trail offers several viewpoints along the way which become increasingly better as you progress. The intersection with the Berry Pasture trail marks the 1.1 mile halfway point. A short 0.15 miles north is the 2010 foot Burton peak which provides the first views of Mt. Monadnock to your west. The peak is signed and highest point appears to be a large flat rock standing 4-5 feet out of the nearby rock wall. I found no official markings at the highpoint. Continue north on the Wapack Trail as it breaks away from then returns to the rock wall several times along your journey north. At 1.5 miles you reach another outlook providing good views to the north east and at 2.0 miles you get your first view of Holt Peak directly to the north. The incline increases grade over rocky terrain the final 0.2 miles to the Holt Peak summit. There is a sign at the summit however the highest point and actual summit is a 100 foot spur trail away. Return the way you came.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Myrick Outlook 0.3 miles 0.3 miles
Myrick Outlook - Berry Pasture Trail0.8 miles1.1 miles
Berry Pasture Trail - Burton Peak0.15 miles1.25 miles
Burton Peak - Northeast Outlook0.25 miles1.5 miles
Northeast Outlook - Holt Peak0.75 miles2.2 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Myrick Outlook 10 minutes 10 minutes
Myrick Outlook - Berry Pasture Trail20 minutes30 minutes
Berry Pasture Trail - Burton Peak5 minutes35 minutes
Burton Peak - Northeast Outlook5 minutes40 minutes
Northeast Outlook - Holt Peak20 minutes1 hour
Holt Peak - Parking1 hour2 hours

NOTES / COMMENTS:

The 21 mile Wapack Trail begins in Ashburnham, Mass Climbing Mt. Watatic and continues over North Pack Monadnock to it's northern terminus on Mountain Road is Greenfield NH. The Wapack Trail is one of the oldest trails in the northeast and passes along the summits of Watatic Mountain, Pratt Mountain, New Ipswich Mountain, Barrett Mountain and temple Mountain before ascending the Pack Monadnock Mountains. The trail is marked with yellow triangles and large stone cairns on it's stony sections and ledges.

The "Cabot Skyline" is a 2.2 mile section of trail dedicated to Thomas Cabot who was a primary land donor to create a trail easement gaining access to these summits. in 1964 Mr. and Mrs. Cabot of Weston, Ma. donated 176 acres of land including the crest of temple Moutain to the New England Forestry Foundation. This section of trail is arguably the best section of the entire Wapack Trail traversing rocky ledges and providing several outlooks on the way to it's destination of Holt Peak.

I found minimal information about the Roger Myrick Outlook. During my research I learned the group who preserves and maintains the trail is named "The Friends of the Wapack". Bruce Myrick is Treasurer of that organization and I can only assume that Roger is related in some manner.

As I commenced this hike a significant rock wall seemed to always parallel the Wapack trail. I suspect this was or is the boundary line between the towns of Sharon and Temple.

The trailhead kiosk with map and wooden sign defining the Cabot Skyline
 
View of Kidder mountain from the Roger Myrick Outlook
 
Cairns marking the trail
 
The Burton Peak summit
 
3165 foot, Mt. Monadnock
 
 

Fisk Hill - Fisk Hill slope - Wilton High Point

Fisk Hill and General Miller flood control reservoir
STATE:New Hampshire
TOWN: Wilton
DESTINATION: Fisk Hill
ELEVATION: 1230 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 48.660, W71 49.062
SLOPE HIGH POINT COORDINATES: N42 48.762, W71 48.972
TRAIL: bushwhack
DISTANCE: 2.3 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 430 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 15 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 3, 2013
WEATHER: 75 degrees, sunny, clear

PARKING: From route 101 in Wilton turn left onto Temple Road. At 1.2 miles you'll reach the Temple town line and the road name changes to General Miller Highway. Continue 0.25 miles to the Souhegan River Flood Control Site 25B and gravel parking area on the left side of the road.

USGS QUAD: Greenville Quad

MAP: (Fisk Hill)

The red line represents the ascent and blue line represents descent

DESCRIPTION:

From parking at the Souhegan River Flood Control Site hop the gate and head in a easterly direction across the open fields. Follow the perimeter of the pond past the dam and across the large field reaching the woods boundary at 0.4 miles. Skirt the perimeter of the marshy area through a forest of Mountain Laurel mixed with ferns reaching open woods after approximately 0.1 miles. Continue south following the path of least resistance to the highest point in Wilton at GPS coordinates N42 48.762, W71 48.972. The town highpoint is along the northeast slope of Fisk hill and is not marked or easily identifiable. The rock wall appears to be the town boundary and I followed it a few hundred feet looking for some sort of witness mark however found nothing. The woods get thicker as you continue southwest crossing several overgrown skidder paths to the summit. The summit is a round dome approximately 200 feet in diameter that is filled with small pine trees and thorny blackberry bushes. The highest point is not easily identified and not marked. After circling the area a few times the closest summit reference I found was a 18" diameter tree stump with a small stone cairn on top.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Entrance to woods 0.4 miles 0.4 miles
Entrance to woods - Wilton High Point0.6 miles1.0 miles
Wilton High Point - Fisk Hill0.15 miles1.15 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Entrance to woods 10 minutes 10 minutes
Entrance to woods - Wilton High Point20 minutes30 minutes
Wilton High Point - Fisk Hill15 minutes45 minutes
Fisk Hill - Parking30 minutes1 hour 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Parking at the Souhegan Watershed area isn't the shortest route to the Fisk Hill summit however the longer hike avoids any private property concerns and takes you through an interesting watershed area known as the General James Miller Dam. There is a plaque monument at coordinates N42 49.293, W71 49.240 which provides statistics on the 3450 acre drainage area capable of storing almost 200,000 cubic yards of flood. It was built under the Watershed Protection Act and Flood Prevention act in 1971. It certainly felt like, if the Souhegan River were to ever flood Wilton would be one of the safest towns in the area.

Both the Wilton highpoint and Fisk Hill summit weren't obvious locations and I was hoping for some sort of flagging or paint swatch marking each location. I was disappointed after finding nothing and needed to double check my mapping skills to confirm I had plotted an accurate location.



Parking and gate marking the trailhead                                           General Miller plaque and Souhegan reservoir

 A rock wall at the Wilton town highpoint

A small cairn marking the Fisk Hill summit