Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mount Pawtuckaway: 8/17/2014

Mileage: 5.25
Elevation gain: 1105'
Trails used: North Mountain Trail, North Mountain Bypass, Chase Trail.

Desi wanted to get out for a hike so I suggested Mount Pawtuckaway since I had heard it was nice with ledges galore and the views weren't too bad.  The weather when we left the house was a bit on the cool side and mainly sunny, and it wasn't bad on the hike.  

Mount Pawtuckaway is located in Nottingham, New Hampshire and also in Pawtuckaway State Park,  and like the other two peaks (Middle and South) they are part of an ancient ring dike.  Mount Pawtuckaway is also the highest peak in Pawtuckaway State Park.

We took the North Mountain Trail which starts right off Reservation Road.

The gate where we parked off of Reservation Road, which has room for several cars.

At a snowmobile junction, the North Mountain Trail branches off and starts heading up to the summit of North Pawtuckaway.

The trail is easy to follow and well blazed with white diamond blazes.

Views from some of the ledges on the ridge heading over to the summit of Middle Pawtuckaway with the fire tower on South Pawtuckaway barely visible.

Looking over to the main summit of Mount Pawtuckaway.

The hiking was fairly nice along the ridge.

The hiking on the approach to the summit of Mount Pawtuckaway.

The summit area of Mount Pawtuckaway, with one of the two benchmarks visible.

A neat little grassy area right around where the communication reflector is.

We came across this large communications reflector on the north side of the trail heading down from Mount Pawtuckaway's summit.

Yet another view over to Middle Pawtuckaway.

The trail coming off the northern end of Mount Pawtuckaway has quite a few switchbacks that lead down to Round Pond.

Some of the Boulder Field area at the bottom near Round Pond.

We didn't really explore the boulder area but we did see a few rock climbers/people bouldering on quite a few rocks and cliffs around here.

A neat little wet spring area on the way back to the car.

The North Mountain Bypass was a bit bumpy but it was a straight shot back to the North Mountain Trail.  There wasn't much to see along the way except nice open woods.

An old foundation complete with old fireplace and cellar holes at the start of the trail on Reservation Road.  I couldn't find much information on what exactly it is.

It was a perfect day to do this hike, due to the nice temperature's and decent views.  It was good timing to.  As we started to leave, a rain shower moved in for a nice soaking for the people still out hiking.  The bugs were pretty fierce on the way back to the car but the hike in was not too bad.  An easy 5 miles to add to the totals.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mount Kearsarge: 8/10/2014

Mileage: 3.70
Elevation gain: 1525 feet
Trails used: Winslow Trail, Rollins Trail, Lincoln Trail, Barlow Trail.

The day after Brian, Joe and I did the long hike from Lafayette to Galehead, Desi got a text from Becky asking her if she wanted to join her and Joe on a hike.  They were going to do Mount Kearsarge about midday on Sunday.  Desi asked me if I wanted to go (since I was invited) so off we went.  How could I refuse easy miles on a nice day, and hiking with good company to boot.  

I suggested doing this in a figure eight sort of hike.  This was about my 6th time on this mountain, and we have done every trail (minus the full length of the Lincoln Trail) so why not.  It doesn't add much elevation gain from the auto road side.

Mount Kearsarge is located in both Wilmot and Warner, New Hampshire.  Two state parks are located around the mountain:  Winslow State Park and Rollins State Park.  Rollins State Park has an auto road that goes all the way up to about one-half of a mile below the summit. We would go from the Winslow State Park side.

Mount Kearsarge is on the New Hampshire 200 Highest List and New Hampshire Fire Tower List.

We started off on the Winslow Trail from the Winslow State Park side of Mount Kearsarge.

 The Winslow Trail takes a pretty direct route to the summit.  The trail shows a lot of erosion but is still maintained enough that one can follow it without getting lost.

More evidence of the erosion as shown on this steeper section of the Winslow Trail. 

It's not long before you start making your way onto the ledges just below the summit.

A communication tower and the fire tower make an appearance as we approach the summit of Mount Kearsarge.

Colorful trail junction sign for the Winslow and Barlow Trails.

Panorama from the fire tower on Mount Kearsarge.

More hazy views looking towards the Ossipee's and eastern peaks taken from the summit of Mount Kearsarge (elevation 2937').

Desi and Becky heading down the Rollins Trail to the picnic area on the Rollins State Park side of Mount Kearsarge. 

There is very little water on this hike but this little spot looked like it gets regular use.

Desi and Becky walking down a section of the Rollins Trail that has seen quite a bit of trail maintenance in the last few years.

The sign for the Lincoln Trail.  This section is also a section of the SRKG (Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway).

Desi coming up the ledges on the Lincoln Trail.  This is the fun part of the hike; hiking up the ledges and rock piles to get to the summit.

Desi and Joe coming up the ledges on the Lincoln Trail, with Black Mountain in the background (a sub-peak of Mount Kearsarge which has no trail to it).

Going up the ledges towards the summit again.  You can see the SRKG blaze in the lower left corner of the picture.  Also, the tower's make an appearance once again.

Looking back to the parking area on the Rollins State Park side.

Gnarly tree's abound on the ledges.

Ragged Mountain with Route 4 visible.

Joe and Becky heading back down the Barlow Trail.

Easy miles on a nice day.  Since Kearsarge is close to us, it's always a joy to hike since it's not too far away and the mileage is easy.  The views have never disappointed, either.  Both State Parks offer something for everyone and any of the trails could be family friendly.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chase Pond Peak - Melvin Hill: 8/7/2014

I decided the day before that I was going to do a couple of quick hikes before I had to work on Thursday, so after a later start than usual I headed out. I had jotted down a few possible candidates to hike/bushwhack for today so it would be a matter of finding good access to them. The day started out on the sunny side but as the day wore on, the good weather turned to rain showers.

Mileage: 2.2 miles
Elevation gain: 825 feet
Trails used: none. logging road/ATV trail, bushwhack, unofficial trail.
Highlight(s): none.

I picked an un-named peak on the topographic maps (that I dubbed Chase Pond Peak, since it was near Chase Pond) as my first hike of the day. I looked on the map and found a few roads that looked like they might work out so I headed out. When I arrived at the starting point, it was next to a house and the road in turned into a Class V road which means I wouldn't be going any further in my car. 

Chase Pond Peak is located in Plainfield, New Hampshire. I managed to find an unofficial trail that goes all the way to the summit, where there are views in several directions. If you can't find the trail, it requires a combination of ATV/snowmobile trails and a bushwhack to reach the summit of Chase Pond Peak.

I started the hike on a Class V road and ended up hiking on a ATV/snowmobile trail.

On the way up, I came across what looked like a trail (I did notice some white blazes) heading up towards the summit areas so I decided to follow it.

The trail led up to these ledges, which I took to the high point of Chase Pond Peak.

This sign on the summit area says Snow Mountain, which is a possible name placed by the locals, but it is the mountain to the north of Chase Pond Peak.

This chair is on the ledges below the summit and behind the Snow Mountain sign. It even says "Property of Snow Mountain" on it.

Not much for views on the summit and with rain on the horizon, it was only a matter of time before there were none at all. Mount Kearsarge is just visible in the background.

The actual high point of Chase Pond Peak (elevation: 2194 feet). There were hardly any views from the summit area today due to the rain moving in.

With worsening views and more clouds incoming, I decided to head back down to the car.

Another picture of the unofficial trail that runs from the snowmobile trail to the summit of Chase Pond Peak. It possibly runs over the summit and west but I didn't follow it.

Once off the trail, I followed the ATV/snowmobile trail back to the car.

It was a quick round trip hike, but mainly due to finding the unofficial trail that runs from the summit of Chase Pond Peak back down the the snowmobile trail. Next, I wanted to pick off one of the few peaks I have left on the New Hampshire Top 100 Prominence Peaks. Yes, another list to work on.  

Melvin Hill

Mileage: 3.4 miles
Elevation gain: 960 feet
Trails used: none. bushwhack.
Highlight(s): none.

I did not have much information on how to do this hike but I did know it was going to be a bushwhack through mostly open woods, and if I could find them, old logging roads that I could use to reach the summit of Melvin Hill. It rained briefly but by the time I reached the spot along Route 4A where I would park and start the hike, it was sunny again. However, that would not last as I neared the summit area as rain, thunder and lightning rolled in once again.

Melvin Hill is located in Springfield, New Hampshire and in the Gile State Forest. There are no trails that go to the semi-wooded summit of Melvin Hill, but there are views from ledges that surround the summit area.

I parked just outside of this gate that used to be for the Gardner Memorial Wayside Park (the park is currently down the road) and started the bushwhack.

I saw that there used to be an old road shown on my GPS so I tried to see if there were still remnants of it, which there were at first.

I came across this dig site, which I think could possibly some sort of mine due to the pile of chipped rocks that were beside the hole.

On the way up, I came across a bull moose feeding on some of the vegetation in a old logging cut and spooked it. I followed it's tracks up and found it again and watched it for a good ten minutes, trying to get closer to get a good picture and this is all I got.

As I made it to this grassy area right below the summit of Melvin Hill, it started to rain with thunder and lightning, so I had to hurry and find the high point and head back down.

The views from the summit of Melvin Hill (elevation: 2303 feet) looking towards Mount Kearsarge. I am sure the views would be better if it wasn't raining and if I had more time to look around for more.

I followed my tracks back down through open woods. This hike has quite a few ups and downs and you cross several marshy areas on the way up and back down to the car.

A wetlands area right off of Route 4A that I walked besides on the way back to the car.

Not bad for two bushwhacks. Open woods for both and sighting a moose is always a bonus, especially this far south of the North Country and White Mountains.  Any day out in the woods is by far better than heading into work (which I had to hurry home and do).