Monday, November 25, 2013

Pliny Mountain - 3605 Ft

STATE:New Hampshire
TOWN: Kilkenny
DESTINATION: Pliny Mountain
ELEVATION: 3605 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES:44 25.018, W71 23.577
TRAIL: Abandoned Priscilla Brook Trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1870 feet
HIKING TIME: 3 hours
SEASON: Fall
DATE: November 24, 2013
WEATHER: 15 degrees, light snow, windy

PARKING:

From the Route 115 and Route 2 intersection follow route 2 north for .4 miles. Directly opposite Six Gun City turn right on Ingerson Road. At 1.0 miles bear left at the intersection with Pond of Safety Rd continuing another 1.3 miles to the unmarked Priscilla Brook Trailhead on your right just before the single lane bridge crossing of Priscilla Brook. There is a small pull off capable of squeezing 2 cars and roadside parking is available.

USGS QUAD: USGS Jefferson Quad

MAP: (Pliny Mountain)



DESCRIPTION:

The Priscilla Brook trail is no longer maintained and it's condition is extremely poor. The first mile of trail follows the right bank of Priscilla Brook and drainage makes it extremely muddy in places, runoff has caused additional erosion. 2-3 inches of snow prevented me from seeing several pockets of mud before placing my boot down sinking ankle deep in a few places. The trail is full of blowdowns which get progressively worse as you increase elevation. As the trail breaks right separating from the river it is a jumbled mess of downed trees combined with hidden mud pockets. I intended to follow the Priscilla Brook trail to the height of land then bear South to the Pliny summit however the trail was extremely difficult to navigate walking the tightrope of downed trees and attempting to avoid the wet mushy trail. I found it easier to depart the trail and indirectly bushwhack towards the Pliny summit. I set a bearing in a northwesterly direction bushwhacking through 4-5 inches of powder in mostly open woods then turning south with about 0.3 to the summit. The woods contained random blowdowns to hop over but were primarily open making this an easy bushwhack. The summit is marked with a PVC canister and most recently entry was from Wayne R on 8/25/2013


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Priscilla Brook Trail - start of bushwhack 1.5 miles 1.5 miles
bushwhack - Pliny summit 1.0 miles 2.5 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Priscilla Brook Trail - start of bushwhack 45 minutes 45 minutes
bushwhack - Pliny summit 1 hour1 hour 45 minutes
Pliny summit - parking1 hour 15 minutes3 hours

NOTES / COMMENTS:

I planned on hiking a different mountain today however my late start, last nights 3-4 inches of snow along with the excessive wind and raw conditions caused an impromptu change of plans. As I passed through snowy Franconia Notch I considered mount Martha but was looking forward to a bushwhack. After perusing my DeLorme the nearby Pliny Mountain called my name due to it's short whack, limited views at the summit and a great hill to test my bushwhacking ability and start off the winter hiking season. At 3605 feet it's ranked 87th on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest. I didn't take a lot of photos on this hike for a couple of reasons, the cold temperatures and there weren't a lot of photographic opportunities.

Priscilla Brook trailhead on Ingerson road

 The open woods bushwhack

The Pliny mountain summit canister


Monday, November 11, 2013

Shelburne Moriah - 3735 Ft

Shelburne Moriah from the Kenduskeag Trail
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Shelburne
DESTINATION: Mt. Shelburne Moriah
ELEVATION: 3735 Ft
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 21.186, W71 05.928
TRAIL: Rattle River Trail (AT), Kenduskeag Trail
DISTANCE: 10.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 2975 Ft
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 15 minutes
SEASON: Fall
DATE: November 9, 2013
WEATHER: 40 degrees, windy, partly cloudy

PARKING: Parking for 8 to 10 cars can be found on Route 2. 3.5 miles East from the intersection with Route 16 South.

USGS QUAD: USGS Wild River Quad

MAP: (Shelburne Moriah)


DESCRIPTION:

The Rattle River Trail is a 4.2 mile section of the Appalachian trail which travels from Maine to Georgia and is a wide and well trodden trail that begins on a light grade paralleling Rattle River to your right. The river offers several pit stop pools tempting me to dip my toes even in the cool crisp weather conditions. In a short distance you'll cross a tributary entering the Rattle River and continue along a light grade 1.6 miles to the Rattle River Shelter. The shelter is a typical AT shelter with trail names carved into the wooden walls, fire pit, tent platforms and an outhouse a short distance away. Continuing past the shelter the trail crosses then re-crosses the Rattle River before transitioning into a moderate rock step ascent. After approximately 1 mile the trail crosses Rattle River a final time and ascends steeply over rock steps. There were several sections requiring care where black ice covered some of the path. You reach a short section of footbridges leading into the col between Middle Moriah and Shelburne Moriah. Turn left onto the Kenduskeag Trail following additional foot bridges soon popping out onto an open rock face and you are presented with excellent views of the Carter Range and the rocky northern Presidentials in the background. The Kenduskeag trail is overgrown in several sections as it dips in and out of the tree line presenting better and better views before reaching a medium sized cairn at the summit of Shelburne Moriah. The summit is mostly open and offers spectacular views in nearly all directions. A 100 foot spur path leads to a rocky outcrop with excellent views to the east and south.

Overall the trail was a bit muddy in the lower sections and contained a few blowdowns to avoid however was well maintained and easy to navigate to the ridge. All river crossings can be navigated with strategic rock hopping. The Kenduskeag trail was overgrown and in need of maintenance but easy to follow to the Shelburne Moriah Summit.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Rattle River Shelter 1.6 miles 1.6 miles
Rattle River Shelter - Kenduskeag Trail junction 2.6 miles 4.2 miles
Kenduskeag Trail junction - Shelburne Moriah summit 0.9 miles 5.1 miles
Shelburne Moriah Summit - Kenduskeag Trail junction 0.9 miles 6.0 miles
Kenduskeag Trail junction - parking 4.2 miles 10.2 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Rattle River Shelter 30 minutes 30 minutes
Rattle River Shelter - Kenduskeag Trail junction 1 hour 15 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Kenduskeag Trail junction - Shelburne Moriah summit 30 minutes 2 hours 15 minutes
Shelburne Moriah Summit - Kenduskeag Trail junction 30 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes
Kenduskeag Trail junction - parking 90 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Mt. Shelburne Moriah is a little peak with a big punch. At 3735 feet it is not tall enough to qualify on the primary lists of 4000 footers and is shy of making the New England 100 highest list however, it does qualify for the New Hampshire 100 highest at #64. Shelburne Moriah is ranked #5 on the NH 52 With A View list and #69 on the YMCA alpine Club list. Regardless of list, it is a worthy peak to visit and it's expansive panoramic views will not disappoint.

 A USFS sign marking the Rattle River trailhead
 
The Rattle River Shelter
 
A series of wooden bridges on the upper section of the Rattle River trail 
 
 The Shelburne Moriah summit cairn

 Middle Moriah (foreground) and Mt. Moriah (background)

View of the Carter-Moriah range