Friday, August 18, 2017

Bear Hill (830 Ft) - Allenstown NH

The Bear Hill Summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Allenstown
DESTINATION: Bear Hill
ELEVATION: 830 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 07.352, W71 21.866
TRAIL: Bear Hill Trail, Ferret trail, Podunk road
DISTANCE: 1.5 miles (total loop)
ELEVATION GAIN: 160 feet
HIKING TIME: 1 hour
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 28, 2017
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, humid

PARKING: Bear Hill is located within Bear Brook state park and a day use fee applied to anyone entering the park. Currently the fee is $4 for adults and $2 for children and is payable at the ranger kiosk at the Podunk Rd entrance. From Route 28 in Suncook drive 3.1 miles to Deerfield Rd on your right. After 3.2 miles turn right onto Podunk road. Follow Podunk road for 2.10 miles to a small parking pull off on the left side of the road. The Bear Hill trail is a few hundred feet to the north and on the opposing side of the street.

USGS QUAD: USGS Candia Quad

MAP: (Bear Hill)



I would also recommend printing a trail map of Bear Brook State park. This map is also available at the ranger kiosk.

DESCRIPTION: From parking backtrack on Podunk road a few hundred feet to the Bear Hill trail on the west side of Podunk Rd. Cross the rock wall and follow the double track ascending moderately a short 0.24 miles to a signed trail junction marking the Ferret trail. The summit is a few hundred feet away. The summit is filled with about a dozen one to two foot tall ant hills. The highest point contains the cement footing remains of where a fire tower once stood. This was a quick ascent and I decided to make it a bit longer by descending the Ferret Trail for 0.6 miles in a southerly direction to it's junction with Bear Hill Road. From Bear hill road it's a short walk to the junction with Podunk road and approximately 0.5 miles back to parking.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Bear Hill trail - Ferret trail 0.24 miles 0.24 miles
Bear Hill trail - summit 0.01 miles 0.25 miles
Summit - Ferret trail junction 0.01 miles 0.26 miles
Ferret trail - Bear Hill Rd 0.60 miles 0.86 miles
Bear Hill Rd - Podunk Rd 0.10 miles 0.96 miles
Podunk road walk - Parking 0.50 miles 1.46 miles

HIKING TIMES:

Time is subjective on this adventure and can be a quick 20 minutes up and down using the short Bear Hill Trail. My loop took approximately 1 hour and includes a 10-15 minute 'rest' at the summit trail junction.

The purchased day pass can be used for all areas of Bear Brook State park and I would recommend visiting the Catamount pond beach or exploring other areas of the park.

NOTES / COMMENTS:

Bear Hill is the highest point in Allenstown and once contained a steel fire tower built in 1939. The 45 foot tall tower was used until 1980. The summit is cleared but has no views due to surrounding overgrowth.

Ant hills on the Bear Hill summit
Cement footings are all that remains of a 1939 fire tower. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Mt. Muise (3615 Ft)

Mt. Muise summit
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Odell
DESTINATION: Mt. Muise
ELEVATION: 3615 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 47.151, W71 22.672
TRAIL: Cohos Trail, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 3.7 miles (one way)
ELEVATION GAIN: 1550 feet
HIKING TIME: 3.5 hours
SEASON: Summer
DATE: August 13, 2017
WEATHER: 60 Degrees, overcast, off and on rain

PARKING: From Route 3 in Groveton follow route 110 for 2.6 miles to Emerson Road. Continue on Emerson road staying right at the 1.5 mile Y junction to it's terminus at 2.2 miles. Turn left onto Nash Stream Road (gated in winter) and follow it 11.0 miles to a hunting camp and dual gated Y intersection at it's end.

Driving time from Manchester is approximately 3 hours 15 minutes. Plan on 20-30 minutes on Nash Stream Rd itself.

USGS QUAD: USGS Bunnell Mountain Quad

MAP: (Mt. Muise)




During the research process I found the Cohos Trail map one of the best resources available and would recommend picking up a copy.

DESCRIPTION: 

From parking take a left at the Y junction following the Cohos Trail along a woods road.  The trail is wide enough for a vehicle and at the time of my trek the grassy road was recently mowed.  Follow the Cohos Trail for 3 miles to the open field where the mowed path stops and trail becomes a single track just before the crossing of Nash Stream.  This is where the dashed road markers end on most topo maps.  Find an open area and begin the bushwhack.  The first 200 feet were scrappy but the woods opened up nicely to moose trails through fern glades for most of the 0.75 miles.  The last pitch to the summit was steep through scrappy and thicker woods.  Footing becomes slippery over moss covered stones and downed trees.  The summit is an obvious highpoint marked with a small cairn and summit canister containing only enough room for 1-2 people.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Cohos trail to Nash Stream crossing 3.0 miles 3.0 miles
Nash Stream crossing - Summit 0.75 miles 3.75 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Cohos trail to Nash Stream crossing 1 hour 1 hour
Nash Stream crossing - Summit 45 min 1 hour 45 min
Summit - Nash Stream crossing 30 min 2 hours 15 min
Cohos trail to parking 1 hour 3 hours 15 min

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3615 feet Mt. Muise is the 83rd highest peak in New Hampshire and #45 on the 100 most prominent. It's incorrectly listed as Whitcomb Mountain on Peakbagger.com. Follow the Cohos Trail a significant distance then bushwhack is a straight line southwest to the summit making the bushwhack to Mt. Muise a good experience for the novice whacker to hone their map and compass skills. Starting the bushwhack slightly before the crossing of Nash Stream should make for open woods and a plethora of herd paths leading most of the way to the summit. The summit highpoint was an obvious bump containing a PVC canister and small cairn. There are occasional directional views from the open fields along the Cohos Trail, the summit contains no views.

The gate at the end of Nash Stream Rd and Cohos Trail

Mt. Muise summit canister

Fern-whacking on descent