Sunday, October 26, 2014

Kings Hill - Osgood Hill: 10/26/2014

I decided to hike Sunday as I was close to the 750 mile goal Brian and I set for ourselves for the year 2014.  It was supposed to be an iffy day to hike, with showers for the afternoon and cooler temperatures.  Also, since it was Sunday I didn't want to be out all day so I wasn't sore for work on Monday.

Once again, I perused my maps and checked the internet for information to figure out a game plan for the day.  As I drove up I89, I decided my first hike I would attempt would take me to Kings Hill.

Kings Hill

Mileage: 3.30
Elevation gain: 1016'
Trails used: none.  snowmobile trail, ski trail, bushwhack, Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsage Greenway.

Kings Hill is located in Sutton, New Hampshire and was home to the (now defunct) King Ridge Ski Area.  You can see some of the trails from I89 as you drive towards Vermont.  If you want more information on this old ski area, it can be found here.

Since the ski area was closed, there has been some recent logging done on the northwest side of the mountain as well as two communications towers placed right around the old summit.  This area is prime wildlife habitat as well with signs of moose, deer, coyote and bear all moving about the area.

I parked at the King Hill Reservation entrance off of King Hill Road.  This road is a snowmobile trail in winter.

I hiked down the snowmobile trail and then came to a logging landing where I turned to begin my hike up one of the old ski trails. 

An old power conduit, possibly from one of the ski lifts.  There were several of these still left on the ski trail.

I got this view of Mount Kearsarge when I looked back from the ski trail.

A little ways up, I looked back and got both Ragged Mountain and Mount Kearsarge in the same picture.  There's still some color out on the tree's.

There are two different communication towers just below the actual summit of Kings Hill.

I had a rare shoe sighting right outside one of the communication tower enclosures.  

The summit area of Kings Hill (elevation 1930') is in this strand of tree's.  Pretty easy to navigate through here but the ground was very soft from the rain.

A large swath of trees that have been cleared right around the summit.  I ran into a hunter and his dog here, checking his trail camera to see what's been in the area.  

He told me to head down the logging cut a bit to get a really nice view.

A panorama of the logging cut.  Distant views of Croydon and Grantham peaks.

The hunter also told me to head over the summit and head down the snowmobile trail and bypass heading back down the ski trail.  I know there were hunters in the area because I heard several audible whistles that were human made.

Once back down the snowmobile trail, I noticed that it was part of the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway and this was the trail right before it turned into Kings Hill Road.

Osgood Hill

Mileage: 3.65
Elevation gain: 939'
Trails used: Bailey Brook Trail, Kulish Ledges Trail

I looked through the list of possible second hikes I could do, and after I checked out a few of them, I decided to try Osgood Hill via the Kulish Ledge Trail.

Osgood Hill is located in Nelson, New Hampshire.  While reading some information online about Osgood Hill, I came across a video that stated there was an old trail that went up to Osgood Hill (or Black Top as it is also referenced) but I wasn't sure exactly where it started from and heard it was tough to follow.  I then saw that Kulish Ledges had a trail system built/maintained by residents of Nelson, New Hampshire and the Harris Center for Conservation Education.  For a map and general information for this hike, go here.

The trail heads into the woods from the parking area which is off of Old Stoddard Road.  There is room for three to four cars but it was very wet and muddy so use caution.

The trail is easy to follow with good signage so it shouldn't be too tough to stay on trail.

The only water crossing has the Bailey Brook Bridge to get one across.

Picture taken from the bridge looking towards the pond that feeds water into Bailey Brook.

The trail runs besides this beaver pond for a few feet before it heads uphill towards Osgood Hill and the Kulish Ledges.  There was actually a beaver in the water enjoying himself.

The trail still looked new in some spots but it was a pleasant hike up.  It was a little slippery due to the wet leaves from the rain that fell for a few minutes.

Along the trail, there is this old cast iron cook stove and not really sure why it was there.

The trail actually keeps heading onward past the Kulish Ledge area so I decided to see how much closer to the summit of Osgood Hill I could get.  I still ended up having to do a bushwhack to reach the summit.  I'm not sure where this trail comes up.

After a short bushwhack off of the trail, I managed to find the old Black Top Trail and took it to the summit of Osgood Hill.  There is this sign and white blazes still so pay attention.

The summit area for Osgood Hill/Black Top (elevation 2233'), which was wide open but still no views to be found on this summit.

There is this wooden picnic table on the summit as well.  

The Kulish Ledges.  I decided against staying long on the ledges as the view wasn't anything spectacular and there was about 10 people in this small area.

I worked my way pretty quickly back down to the car.  There were these two log bridges that crossed wet sections but it is still a pretty dry trail.

I decided to call it a day after these two since I spent more time driving around than I did actually hiking (like we do sometimes).  Overall, not a bad day of hiking.  The first hike I would recommend if you like a little different variety i.e. off trail hiking.  The second hike is family friendly.  There are laminated maps available at the beginning of the hike but please put them back for others to use.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mount Crescent - Mount Randolph-North Peak - Mount Randolph: 10/25/2014*

Mileage: 6.05
Elevation gain: 2190 feet
Trails used: "New" Path, Mount Crescent Trail, Crescent Ridge Trail, Lookout Ledge Trail, Pasture Path, logging road/snowmobile trail, bushwhack.
Highlight(s): nice trailed hike with two short bushwhacks with registers on two of the peaks.

Kris emailed me about possibly doing a hike for Saturday so of course I was interested.  He threw out a couple of possibilities and I relayed them to Brian to see what interested him.  We pretty much agreed with doing the loop of Mount Crescent and Mount Randolph. Kris is slowly chipping away at the New Hampshire 200 Highest List so Brian and I decided to join him for this two peaks we had not visited for some time and besides, it's always nice to hike with Kris.

Mount Crescent and Mount Randolph are located in Randolph, New Hampshire.  It is part of the Crescent Range which is a range of summits that extends from Jefferson, Randolph and into Berlin, New Hampshire (Mount Forist).  We used a combination of trails and a few short bushwhacks to reach two of the three summits: Mount Crescent and Mount Randolph-North Peak.  The Crescent Ridge Trail runs over the summit of Mount Randolph.  There are views along the way from several view points but none from the actual summits.

Mount Crescent and Mount Randolph-North Peak are on the New Hampshire Two Hundred Highest List and the New Hampshire 3K List.

The "new" trailhead kiosk for the New Path that goes up towards Mount Crescent.  This is located at the end of Randolph Hill Road.

The short spur path towards Castleview Rock with its "awesome" view.  I believe the rock itself is supposed to have a view but it was nothing to write home about.

The Castleview Rock viewpoint with its limited views through the trees towards Mount Madison and Mount Adams.

The trail junction for the Mount Crescent Trail and Crescent Ridge Trail.  We would go left and take the Crescent Ridge Trail up to the summit of Mount Crescent.

It was a bit steep as we headed up the Crescent Ridge Trail (one serious wet rock wall) and it was a steady climb up towards the summit of Mount Crescent.

Some of the views from the southern ledges just below the summit area of Mount Crescent looking towards the Northern Presidential peaks.

Additional views toward the lower summit of Mount Randolph (center), Dartmouth Range and Franconia Ridge in the background.

Decent views of the Pliny Range, Mount Waumbek, The Weeks, Mount Terrace, Mount Cabot, the Bulge and the Horn from the northern ledge views below the summit of Mount Crescent.

A zoomed in view of the Dixville/Kelsey wind turbines from the northern ledge view below the summit area of Mount Crescent.

The trail-less Black Crescent Mountains with a large slide on the side of Black Crescent peak.

A nice flat section of the Crescent Ridge Trail.  This whole section of trail is a haven for moose.

Kris taking a picture of the register on the high point of Mount Randolph-North Peak (elevation: 3097 feet).  We never found a jar on Mount Crescent.

More nice moose woods.  There was signs of recent moose activity everywhere you looked.

This little viewpoint was called Lafayette View.  We were not sure why.

Several water crossings but nothing too major, until we got on the logging road to head out.

Brian doing his best Annie pose for us on the summit of Randolph Mountain (elevation: 3081 feet).  Mount Randolph-North Peak is the higher of the two summits though.

The open woods down lower are really cool with no leaves.  Its gives the woods that definitive fall feel.

Hiking on trails like the Pasture Path doesn't get any better.

The thumb (and sign) say this way to Lookout Ledge, which has its own trail even though its about 10 feet off the trail.  Also, Lisa W. loves Ray G. apparently.  Lookout Ledge is a knob off of Mount Randolph.

The views from Lookout Ledge weren't half bad.  You could see into Maine and in this picture we got views of Pine Mountain, the Moriah Range, Imp Face and North Carter Mountain.

Views into Kings Ravine, with Mount Madison, Mount Adams and Mount Jefferson visible from Lookout Ledge. 

The views looking back towards the peaks we just hiked over from an old logging landing.

Brian walking down an old logging road back to his car.  We opted to take the shorter route and not the actual trail.

Brian's car "Bab's" and the new parking area where we started and ended the hike.

Hilarity always seems to be the norm on our hikes when we add people to the group.  Overall, it was a fun hike.  A bit on the cool side to start but sitting on the Lookout Ledges just basking in the sun made it all worthwhile.  A nice loop that seems a lot longer than the six miles we managed to do, and you can extend it more if need be by taking some of the other trails in the area.  

Once again, a good hike with Kris.  Hopefully he will pick up steam soon so we don't have to wait for a month or two to hike with him again.