Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pawtuckaway South Mountain - 908 Ft.

Pawtuckaway (South) Mtn tower
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Nottingham
DESTINATION: Pawtuckaway (South)
ELEVATION: 908 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 06.114, W71 10.866
TRAIL: Tower Rd, Mountain Trail, South Ridge Trail
DISTANCE: 2.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 463 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 1.5 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 15, 2015
WEATHER: cloudy, humid, 80 degrees

PARKING: From Tandy road turn east onto Reservation Rd and follow Reservation road to the junction of Tower road. There are signs stating no vehicles permitted past this point. Roadside parking for 10-15 cars is available.

USGS QUAD: USGS Mount Pawtuckaway Quad

MAP: (Pawtuckaway South)


DESCRIPTION:
I chose a loop circuit following Mountain trail along the perimeter of a marshy pond and summited from the northwest side using Tower trail. From Parking head northeast on Tower Road for 0.16 miles to a spur trail leading east (right). After 0.14 miles you'll reach the junction with Mountain trail. Taking a left will lead you 0.8 miles following the perimeter of a small marshy pond-like area to the junction of Tower road and the Tower trail. There is a small outhouse here. The Tower trail ascends moderately 0.4 miles east over rooty terrain filled with granite boulders and cliffs. Just before the summit the Pawtuckaway South Mountain fire-tower can be seen through the trees. The summit is mostly open with several directional viewpoints. Climbing to the tower platform offers excellent views to the northwest and southeast.

Descend via the South Ridge Trail heading southwest over granite slabs and rocky outcroppings 0.5 miles back to Mountain trail. It's 0.1 miles north (right) back to the mountain trail junction and spur trail leading to Tower Rd.
 Middle and North Mountains

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Tower Rd - Tower Rd spur trail 0.16 miles 0.16 miles
Tower Rd spur trail - Mountain trail Jct. 0.14 miles 0.30 miles
Mountain Trail Jct - Tower Rd Jct. 0.8 miles 1.1 miles
Tower Trail - South Mountain summit 0.4 miles 1.5 miles
South ridge Trail - Mountain Trail Jct. 0.5 miles 2.0 miles
Mountain Trail - Tower Rd Spur trail 0.10 miles 2.1 miles
Tower Rd Spur trail - Tower Rd 0.14 miles 2.24 miles
Tower Rd - Parking 0.16 miles 2.4 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Tower Rd - Tower Rd spur trail 8 minutes 8 minutes
Tower Rd spur trail - Mountain trail Jct. 7 minutes 15 minutes
Mountain Trail Jct - Tower Rd Jct. 20 minutes 35 minutes
Tower Trail - South Mountain summit 15 minutes 50 minutes
South ridge Trail - Mountain Trail Jct. 20 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes
Mountain Trail - Tower Rd Spur trail 5 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Tower Rd Spur trail - Tower Rd 7 minutes 1 hour 22 minutes
Tower Rd - Parking 8 minutes 1 hour 30 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:


Approaching South Mountain tower
I took the kids on a hiking and geocaching adventure on South Pawtuckaway Mountain. This was a great opportunity to keep their focus with many stops to find caches, following the contour of the pond and identifying animal tracks in the mud along with some beaver activity and hike to one of NH's 15 active fire-towers. The tower platform offers many directional views and has waterproof maps on the tower underside ceiling to identify the local nearby hills.
Pawtuckaway Lake

Friday, July 17, 2015

South Baldface (3570), North Baldface (3610)

STATE: New Hampshire
South Baldface
TOWN: Chatham, Beans Purchase
DESTINATION: South Baldface, North Baldface
ELEVATION: 3570 Ft., 3610 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: South Baldface = N44 13.853, W71 04.675
SUMMIT COORDINATES: North Baldface = N44 14.579, W71 05.224
TRAIL:Baldface Circle Trail clockwise, Bicknell Ridge Trail.
DISTANCE: 9.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 3070 Ft, 250 Ft
HIKING TIME: 4 Hours 15 minutes
SEASON: Mid-Summer
DATE: July 16, 2015
WEATHER: Bluebird day,sunny, clear, 55 Degrees

PARKING: Parking can be found 17 miles north on Rt 113 in Evans Notch. The parking lot is on the East side of the road approximately 200 Ft from the trail head. There is room for 15-20 cars with overflow parking available roadside.

USGS QUAD: USGS Chatham Quad

MAP: (South Baldface), (North Baldface)



DESCRIPTION: 

The Baldface loop can be hiked from either direction.  I chose the clockwise route ascending South Baldface and traversing the open ridge to North Baldface.  The trip is steep, strenuous and contains four miles of open ridge hiking fully exposed to the weather conditions.

From the parking area walk north on Rt 113 for 200 Ft. to the Baldface Circle Trail on the west side of the street. Follow the intermittent yellow blazes as the trail is rocky and relatively flat meandering through hardwoods 0.7 miles to Circle Junction.  A small unmarked side path (right) leads 0.1 miles to Emerald pool where you'll find a plethora of AMC Cold River Campers swimming in the stream.

Baldface Shelter
Turn left and after 0.1 miles you'll quickly encounter the Slippery Brook Trail junction. Continue right on the Baldface Circle trail and begin a moderately steep incline along a very old logging road passing the Chandler Gorge loop trail after 0.3 miles.  Continue ascending through hardwoods as you steadily increase elevation eventually becoming less steep as the trail follows a contour line to South Baldface Shelter at 2.7 miles.
There are several directional spur trails at the shelter. The Baldface Circle trail continues directly behind the shelter as it climbs a rocky slab soon reaching your first viewpoint of a steep rocky slab.  Here the trail increases in both steepness, difficulty and navigation up steep rocky slabs.  The trail is difficult to follow with small cairns leading the way.  You'll look for rocky outcroppings or scrub trees as hand holds as you steeply incline the nearly vertical trail.  The next 0.6 miles of the steep and arduous journey are the most difficult of this trip eventually leading to a false summit and the junction with the Baldface Knob Trail.  The South Baldface summit is an additional 0.6 miles across open terrain mixed with blueberry bushes and Mountain Laurel. Well Done! From the summit you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Carter Range, Mt. Washington and into Maine.
South Baldface from the Baldface Knob Trail Junction
The Baldface Circle trail descends towards North Baldface (look for the small cairns) dipping in and out of short cols with scrub trees and ascending onto open granite ridges full of glacial striations, scraping and pressure folds making me wish I knew more about geology. After a short and steep incline the North Baldface summit is reached after 1.2 miles.

Continue northeast descending steeply over granite slabs and through minor scrub sections 0.9 miles to the Bicknell Ridge trail along open ledges with excellent views into Evans Notch. After 1.1 miles the Eagle Cascade link exits left and the Bicknell Ridge trail enters the woods and turns to the east descending another 1.4 miles crossing a tributary of Charles brook and reaching the Baldface Circle trail junction.  The Baldface Circle trail angles away from the brook then returns and crosses shortly before Circle Junction and a quick. 0.7 mile trip back to the road.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking - Circle Junction 0.7 miles 0.7 miles
Circle Junction - Slippery Brook Junction 0.1 miles 0.8 miles
Slippery Brook Junction - South Baldface Shelter 1.7 miles 2.5 miles
South Baldface Shelter - Baldface Knob trail 0.7 miles 3.2 miles
Baldface Knob trail - South Baldface Summit 0.5 miles 3.7 miles
South Baldface Summit - North Baldface Summit 1.2 miles 4.9 miles
North Baldface Summit - Bicknell Ridge trail 0.9 miles 5.8 miles
Bicknell Ridge trail - Eagle Cascade link jct. 1.1 miles 6.9 miles
Eagle Cascade link jct. - Baldface Circle Trail jct 1.4 miles 8.3 miles
Baldface Circle trail jct - Circle Junction 0.7 miles 9.0 miles
Circle Junction - Parking 0.7 miles 9.7 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking - Circle Junction 15 minutes 15 minutes
Circle Junction - Slippery Brook Junction 5 minutes 20 minutes
Slippery Brook Junction - South Baldface Shelter 40 minutes 1 hour
South Baldface Shelter - Baldface Knob trail 30 minutes 1 hr 30 minutes
Baldface Knob trail - South Baldface Summit 20 minutes 1 hr 50 minutes
South Baldface Summit - North Baldface Summit 35 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
North Baldface Summit - Bicknell Ridge trail 25 minutes 2 hours 50 minutes
Bicknell Ridge trail - Eagle Cascade link jct. 30 minutes 3 hours 20 minutes
Eagle Cascade link jct. - Baldface Circle Trail jct 30 minutes 3 hours 50 minutes
Baldface Circle trail jct - Circle Junction 10 minutes 4 hours
Circle Junction - Parking 15 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Both South and North Baldface are on the list of 100 highest mountains in NH, 52 With a View list and YMCA Alpine Club list and NH prominence lists but don't attempt this hike just to check the two-fer off a list or two. The open slabs are the result of a 1903 fire and the loop over these peaks include panoramic sweeping vistas make the effort worth the trek.
South Baldface summit

North Baldface

Mt Washington and the Carter Range




Saturday, July 4, 2015

Mt. Huntington (3680 Ft), Middle Huntington (3680 Ft.)

STATE: New Hampshire
The Hancocks from the talus slope 
TOWN: Lincoln
DESTINATION: Mt. Huntington, Middle Huntington
ELEVATION: 3680 Ft, 3680 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Huntington - N44 03.017, W71 29.448
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Middle Huntington - N44 02.797, W71 29.097
TRAIL: Hancock Notch Trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 7 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1700 Ft.
HIKING TIME: 4 Hours 45 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 3, 2015
WEATHER: Beautiful,  Sunny, clear, 65 degrees no humidity

PARKING: Parking is at the Hancock Notch Trail head at the Kancamagus hairpin turn. a $3.00 Parking fee applies.

USGS QUAD: Mt. Carrigan Quad

MAP: (Huntington)


DESCRIPTION: 

Sign marking the trail junction
It was an absolutely beautiful day to be bushwhacking in the whites.  I was one of the first cars in the parking area when I pulled in at 7:30 AM this morning.  It was a brisk 50 degrees with zero humidity and not a cloud in the sky.  The Hancock Notch trail follows an old railroad grade along a very gentile incline. At 0.6 miles the trail slightly drops a tributary to North Fork stream then inclines steeply before continuing the monotonous super highway.  After 30 minutes, two stream crossings will bring you to the Cedar Brook trail junction 1.7 miles from the road.  The superhighway ends here and the Hancock Notch trail narrows and becomes more technical as it inclines through a major blow-down combination of fir and birch trees along a rocky, rooty, and muddy trail that offers limited views of a few talus slopes through the trees. After some ups and downs through very muddy sections you'll reach the Hancock Notch height of land 0.8 miles from the Cedar Brook junction.

I found a open spot and started my bushwhack.  the open woods soon steepened drastically becoming more technical and thicker with every step.  As I was whacking through a significantly thick section I spotted an open clearing and used hand holds on rocks, roots and whatever I could find I pulled myself through soon to find the steep talus field at N44 03.237, W71 29.487.
Talus slope on Mt. Huntington
The going was steep but the panoramic views of the Hancocks and Carrigan to the north were spectacular. After completing the lower talus field I encountered a second talus slope at a slightly higher elevation.  Travel was slow due to the very steep field and at one section I wished climbing ropes were available.  At the top of the talus field thick hobblebrush mixed with short fir and extremely steep slope made moving forward a challenge but that soon transitioned into mostly open woods.  The fir thicken for a short distance and I popped out at the summit clearing at 9:25 AM.

The descent to Middle Huntington started in open woods which quickly became thick. I descended a steep 10 ft cliff section and pushed my way to the col between the two peaks. Upon reaching the col the woods opened up to one of the most beautiful bushwhacks I've encountered with mostly open woods mixed with knee high fir.  The woods transitioned from a thick section to moderately thick woods to easy walking.  Whatever you were hiking in, it didn't last for very long quickly transitioning to something else. I reached the summit at 9:55 AM.

I descended back to the col and instead of returning over Huntington I took a more direct route in a northwesterly direction aiming for the Hancock Notch height of land.  The woods were cleaner here but the transitions from thin, to thick to heavy continued. This route pulled me more north but it was definitely easier than descending the Talus slope. The most difficult section was a technical stream crossing that landed me on the Hancock Notch trail 0.3 miles from the height of land.

My wobbly kegs were tired and my sore feet enjoyed the flat and uneventful railroad grade back to the hairpin turn.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Hancock Notch Trail - Cedar Brook Trail Junction 1.7 mi 1.7 mi
Hancock Notch Trail - Hancock Notch height of land 0.8 mi 2.5 mi
Hancock Notch height of land - Mt. Huntington 0.5 mi 3.0 mi
Mt. Huntington - Middle Huntington 0.4 mi 3.4 mi
Middle Huntington - Hancock Notch Trail 0.75 mi 4.15 mi
Hancock Notch Trail - Hancock Notch height of land 0.35 mi 4.5 mi
Hancock Notch Trail - Parking 2.5 mi 7.0 mi

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Hancock Notch Trail - Cedar Brook Trail Junction 30 min 30 min
Hancock Notch Trail - Hancock Notch height of land 25 min 55 min
Hancock Notch height of land - Mt. Huntington 60 min 1 hr 55 min
Mt. Huntington - Middle Huntington 30 min 2 hr 25 min
Middle Huntington - Hancock Notch Trail 60 min 3 hr 25 min
Hancock Notch Trail - Hancock Notch height of land 15 min 3 hr 40 min
Hancock Notch Trail - Parking 1 hr 5 min 4 hr 45 min

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Both Mt. Huntington and Middle Huntington are on the list of 100 highest mountains in New Hampshire. I hesitate to commit to the fact that I'm working on this list but the mountains on it seem to be the highest priority when I begin planning a hike.  Both mountains have a PVC canister at the summit. Huntington had a small sign laying at the base of the canister tree.  Both summits have no views however the talus slope on Huntington is definitely worth a visit. The 2 miles of total bushwhacking on both peaks is difficult to describe as it was constantly changing every 100 yards.  The transitions ranged from nearly impenetrable to beautiful open woods.  If someone asked me to describe conditions my first memory would be extremely steep, the bushwhack conditions will not be memorable in one to two years.

Mt. Huntington summit canister

Open woods bushwhack in the col

The views from Middle (South) Huntington

Sasquatch burial grounds on the Hancock Notch Trail