Friday, July 13, 2018

Sandwich Mountain (3980 Ft), Jennings peak (3440 Ft), and Carroll County High-point

Sandwich Mountain
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Sandwich
DESTINATION: Sandwich Mountain
DESTINATION: Jennings Peak
Sandwich Dome ELEVATION: 3980 Ft
Jennings Peak ELEVATION: 3440 Ft
Sandwich Mountain SUMMIT COORDINATES: N43 54.012, W71 29.876
Carroll County HP COORDINATES N43 54.014, W71 29.888
TRAIL: Sandwich Mountain Trail
DISTANCE: 8.3 miles (round trip)
ELEVATION GAIN: 2480 Feet
HIKING TIME: 3 hours 20 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: July 10, 2018
WEATHER: Sunny, clear, 70 degrees. Perfect!

PARKING: From Exit 28 take route 49 for 9.8 miles to the dual trailheads for Drakes Brook and Sandwich Mountain on your right. Parking is available for 8-10 cars.

Drive time from Manchester is 1 hour.

USGS QUAD: Mt. Tripyramid Quad

MAP: (Sandwich Mountain)



DESCRIPTION: This was a revisit to Sandwich Mountain. My first visit (May 2005) was focused on completing the NH Hundred highest and I didn't stop at the nearby Carroll county highpoint (30-40 Feet from the summit) or make the short side trip to the 52 With a View summit of Jennings Peak. At the time I wasn't aware of a 52 WAV list and didn't look at any county HP locations before planning my trip. The purist in me couldn't log the CoHP knowing I didn't event attempt to locate it during my 2005 visit and I've always wanted to return and experience the gorgeous outlooks from Jennings Peak. This trip report covers the trip to Sandwich Mountain and includes the supplemental locations.

The trailhead on Route 49 is for both Drakes Brooks trail and Sandwich Mountain Trail. The Drakes Brook trail is on the north (left) side of the lot and the Sandwich Mountain trail is on the right.

Descend through the field passing a fenced electrical power station and descend towards Drakes Brook. During summer months Drakes Brook should be easily (if dry) rock hoppable. this is the only water crossing on the Sandwich Mountain trail. Continue across the brook through a hardwood forest passing a severely misplaced "Entering a Sandwich Wilderness" sign. (the wilderness boundary is actually near the Jennings Peak spur trail). The Sandwich Mountain trail ascends steeply 1.7 miles to 2976 foot Noon peak. There are several ledges with outlooks presenting spectacular views towards Flat Mountain (east) and Sandwich Mountain (south) and are a great spot to take a break after the steep ascent. The trail drops slightly then becomes more gradual and passes a few open ledges continuing south. At 2.5 miles you reach the junction with the Drakes Brook trail. Continue on the Sandwich Mountain trail to the ridge line meeting the 0.3 mile spur trail to the "NH 52 With a View" peak of 3440 foot Jennings Peak. I would recommend the short side trip as the directional views from several outlooks are photo album (or Facebook) worthy. The extremely well maintained trail transitions to a beautiful green of moss covered rocks and spruce as passing the junction with the Smarts Brook Trail at 3.3 miles (3415 feet). Begin the 0.5 mile final pitch to the summit. You'll reach the junction with the Algonquin Trail slightly before the summit dome. The Sandwich Mountain summit is marked a 3 foot cairn at the high point and a bent rod protruding from the granite. I encountered a pill bottle full of inspirational notes and traded words of wisdom.

The Carroll County high point is a smaller cairn is approximately 30-40 feet from the summit.The plethora of herd paths cant be missed.

Descend the way you came or take the Drakes Brook trail which makes the trip slightly longer but is makes a nice loop hike (3.2 miles to parking). A good choice for red-liners.

TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Sandwich Mountain trail - Noon Peak 1.7 miles 1.7 miles
Noon Peak - Drakes Brook Trail jct 1.0 miles 2.7 miles
Drakes Brook Trail jct - Jennings Spur 0.1 miles 2.8 miles
Jennings Spur - Jennings Peak 0.3 miles 3.1 miles
Jennings Peak - Sandwich Mountain trail 0.3 miles 3.4 miles
Sandwich Mountain trail - Smarts Brook trail jct 0.4 miles 3.8 miles
Sandwich Mountain trail - Sandwich Mountain 0.6 miles 4.4 miles
Sandwich Mountain - Parking 3.9 miles 8.3 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Sandwich Mountain trail - Noon Peak 45 minutes 45 minutes
Noon Peak - Drakes Brook Trail jct 25 minutes 1 hour 10 minutes
Drakes Brook Trail jct - Jennings Spur 5 minutes 1 hour 15 minutes
Jennings Spur - Jennings Peak 5 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes
Jennings Peak - Sandwich Mountain trail 5 minutes 1 hour 25 minutes
Sandwich Mountain trail - Smarts Brook trail jct 10 minutes 1 hour 35 minutes
Sandwich Mountain trail - Sandwich Mountain 15 minutes 1 hour 50 minutes
Sandwich Mountain - Parking 1 hour 20 minutes 3 hours 10 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

3980 foot Sandwich Mountain is ranked #69 on the New England Hundred Highest list and the primary reason visitors will make the journey. I was surprised at how close the Carroll County High Point (30-40 feet) was to the summit. I expected a short herd path leading into the spruce. Essentially, the County border is a line that crosses the peak. It is extremely challenging to accurately find the exact coordinates of a line across a slope and the precise purist in me can honestly say that I'm not sure if I touched the highpoint. I can say that I was within 5-10 feet but can't guarantee I touched the exact spot. I'd need surveyors equipment to get closer and am calling it as close enough.

Jennings Peak is ranked #13 on the '52 With a View' list. I didn't find any markings (sign, benchmark) indicating I reached the summit but it's a pointed peak with an obvious bump. Several directional outlooks offer amazing views.

Trailhead sign

Spur path to Jennings Peak

Sandwich Mountain Summit cairn

Views from the Top

Cairn marking the Carroll County High Point 


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