Saturday, December 26, 2015

Young Mountain * Young Mountain-East Peak: 12/26/2015

Mileage: 3.90 miles
Elevation gain: 1335 feet
Trails used: none. bushwhack, ATV/snowmobile trail.
Highlight(s): register on the summit of Young Mountain, slight views from Young Mountain-East Peak, old cars/relics.

Originally I had planned to do Square Ledge and possibly Mount Paugus, and I started up the Big Rock Cave Trail only to start having some slight chest pain and a massive headache. I sat down for a bit and decided I didn't want to risk anything on a lengthy hike so I decided to head back down to the car and look for something else easier. After taking a few Advil, I headed back down the road to do a bushwhack. I felt much better at this point. Wise choice or not, I threw on a coat and headed off.

Young Mountain and Young Mountain-East Peak are located in Sandwich, New Hampshire. Young Mountain has an unofficial trail that runs to its wooded, view-less summit but to reach the east peak requires a bushwhack (if coming from Young Mountain). You can use ATV/snowmobile trails to reach the high point for Young Mountain-East Peak, if coming off of Bennett Street, where there are slight views from the summit area. 

I headed into the woods directly behind the parking area at the end of Bennett Street.

It was fairly steep and the woods were newer regrowth forest from extensive logging done in this area recently and in the past, but easy to walk through.

The views through the trees of Flat Mountain and Mount Whiteface on my way to the summit of Young Mountain.

Right below the summit of Young Mountain, I stumbled on this red blazed unofficial trail that runs up to the summit.

The jar register on the summit of Young Mountain (elevation: 1980 feet).

I dropped down steeply into the col between the main peak of Young Mountain and its eastern summit, walking through a wet area. I came across this ATV/snowmobile trail which I used to reach Young Mountain-East Peak.

The summit area of Young Mountain-East Peak (elevation:  feet). 

Views from a little ledge area on the summit of Young Mountain-East Peak looking towards Mount Shaw and the Ossipee Range.

Looking back towards the steep summit cone of Young Mountain as I walk down the ATV/snowmobile trail.

I followed the various snowmobile trails in the direction of Bennett Street, and came across a few old cars in the woods.

I followed the ATV/snowmobile trail through open woods back down to Bennett Street.

Preparing to do the half mile road walk back to the parking area with views of Sandwich Dome. What a nice day for a hike.

While I failed on my original hike, this one was pleasant and a nice bushwhack through open woods. It was nice finding the old car relics in the woods along the ATV/snowmobile trail and the slight views from Young Mountain-East Peak broke up a mediocre views hike. The weather was nice; not too cold and not too hot.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Stairs Mountain-East Peak: 12/22/2015

Mileage: 10.55 miles
Elevation gain: 4250 feet
Trails used: Davis Path, Stairs Col Trail, bushwhack.
Highlight(s): Davis Path, canister on the summit of Stairs Mountain-East Peak, views from the lower ledges of Mount Crawford.

The first day of winter. I actually took this day off about a month ago as Brian and I were planning to head out and tackle a peak or two for the winter season. Brian had a family emergency which worked out for him, as the weather forecast called for heavy rain to hit New Hampshire by mid day. My original plan was to hike up the Davis Path, head towards Stairs Mountain-East Peak first, then backtrack and hit Stairs Mountain, and finally Mount Resolution. The only issue would be the bad weather for the day, which I did not manage to avoid. After gearing up quick, I headed towards the Davis Path start point to begin my long mileage hike day.

Stairs Mountain-East Peak is located in Sargents Purchase, New Hampshire. There are no trails that go to the wooded, view-less summit of Stairs Mountain-East Peak so it requires a combination of trails and a bushwhack to reach its high point.

Stairs Mountain-East Peak is on the New Hampshire Two Hundred Highest List.

I parked at the Davis Path Trailhead parking area, geared up quick (to try and beat the rain) and headed down the road to begin the hike.

You cross the Bemis Bridge, which spans the Saco River as you continue along towards the start of the Davis Path.

The Saco River, which is pretty low at this time of year and no sign of ice yet.

The Davis Path trail kiosk as you are entering the Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness.

This rock section along the Davis Path, which seems to get longer and better looking every time I hike this trail.

One of the steeper sections of the Davis Path just before you come out on some ledges just below the summit area of Mount Crawford.

The views from the ledges below the summit of Mount Crawford looking towards Mount Hope, Bear Mountain, Bartlett Haystack, and Mount Tremont.

The views from the ledges below the summit of Mount Crawford looking towards the Attitash Ski Area (notice the lack of snow) and Mount Parker.

As I continued along the Davis Path, I looked back and got this picture of the summit of Mount Crawford. The rain was still holding off for now. I started encountering snow and ice from here to the Stairs Col Trail junction.

The views looking towards Crawford Notch (with the rain clouds moving in) from the ledges below the summit of Mount Crawford.

The view looking back towards Stairs Mountain as I descend the Stairs Col Trail.

I descended the Stairs Col Trail, where most of the deeper snow was located, to a point where I would start the bushwhack to the summit of Stairs Mountain-East Peak.

The woods on the bushwhack were open to start, but got a little more closed in as I neared the summit of Stairs Mountain-East Peak. The rain started right around this point too.

The canister register on the summit of Stairs Mountain-East Peak (elevation: 2967 feet).

Heading back up the Stairs Col Trail as the pouring rain is turning the snow into mush.

I headed back down in a steady rain, sometimes a bit heavy and made it back to the stream crossing which was only slightly higher than when I first crossed.

I thought about staying on task and hitting the two other peaks I was after, but with the steady rain and cooler temperatures, I was starting to feel the cold rain soaking my clothing. Plus, with an almost four mile walk back to the car and me getting a pretty good leg crap and it was not a difficult choice to make. Once I was back to the car, I cranked up the heat to get warm and dry and made the long drive home.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Moose Pond Mountain-East Peak * Moose Pond Mountain-West Peak: 12/19/2015

Mileage: 7.05 miles
Elevation gain: 2010 feet
Trails used: none. forest road, bushwhack.
Highlight(s): Moose Pond.

Joe and I planned a hike out for Saturday, although he kept telling me how slow he would be after his knee and ankle injuries but since I was in no hurry, we could go as slow as needed. It was a multi purpose hike/bushwhack as Joe wanted to try and find a waterfall off of the Kancamagus Highway, and I wanted to hit the two peaks to the northeast of Blue Mountain, which is a sub peak off of Mount Chocorua. Worst case is he would continue on looking for the falls and I would hit the two peaks, if time were a concern. The weather was not bad for a December day, with no snow forecasted and nice temperatures.

Moose Pond Mountain-East Peak and Moose Mountain-West Peak (unofficial names) are located in Albany, New Hampshire. There are no trails that go to the wooded, view-less summit areas of either Moose Pond Mountain peak so it requires a lengthy bushwhack plus forest road walk of various lengths. 

The gated forest road 49 which is right off of the Kancamagus Highway. We would hike along the road and use it to try and find Ellen Falls first, then bushwhack to both summits of Moose Pond Mountain.

The forest road was a bit overgrown but easy to follow, until you come to the first water crossing. You would probably need a GPS to continue following it at this point.

A section of Hobbs Brook as we crossed and bushwhacked along its banks looking for Ellen Falls (which we overshot by at least a mile).

Eventually we began the bushwhack through open woods as we headed at moderate grades to the eastern summit of Moose Pond Mountain.

No snow made for easy bushwhacking. Add to the fact that the woods were like this and it was an awesome late fall day to be out.

The views looking towards nearby White Ledge (and into Maine) from a ledge just below the eastern summit of Moose Pond Mountain.

A neon green rope or shoelace marks the high point for Moose Pond Mountain-East Peak (elevation: 2360 feet).

The views as we are heading down from Moose Pond Mountain-East Peak of  Table Mountain and Bear Mountain, with the Moats to the left. Mount Washington is in the clouds in the background of the picture.

Moose Pond, a neat little pond in between the two summits of Moose Pond Mountain.

Some ledges leading up to the western summit area of Moose Pond Mountain.

I walked the entire summit ridge of Moose Pond Mountain-West Peak (elevation: 2360 feet) but did not find anything of significance. There were several areas I would consider a high point.

Joe bushwhacking down from the summit of Moose Pond Mountain-West Peak through open woods, of which there was quite a bit of hobblebush.

Joe trying to find one of the ledges he saw on Google Earth, which we did not manage to find on today's hike.

The steepest part of our descent as we headed down this gully or drainage. We had to sit down and scoot on our behind's since it was slippery and steep.

We worked our way down through woods like this, newer regrowth forest from logging done a few years ago.

We managed to make it to an old logging road and took it back to the original forest road we began the hike on. Joe and I decided to part ways at this point as Joe wanted to look for Ellen Falls (which he eventually found) and I was heading back into Lincoln to do some Christmas shopping. There was no snow whatsoever which is rare this time of year so it made for a nice walk in the woods. Finding Moose Mountain Pond in between both peaks was a nice little bonus find for the day.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Bean Mountain * Kennedy Hill * Patten Hill * Jones Hill (Hillsborough): 12/12/2015

Brian was going to originally hike up in the Mount Carr/Mount Kineo area up north in New Hampshire but I convinced him to do some peaks with me in southern New Hampshire, closer to our homes. We both did not want to be out for long Saturday for various reasons, so it was an easy choice for what to attempt to do. Plus, the weather was calling for 50 degree temperatures and sunny so how can you beat that kind of hiking weather in late fall/almost winter.

Bean Mountain - Kennedy Hill

Mileage: 5.75 miles
Elevation gain: 1430 feet
Trails used: none. bushwhack, road walk.
Highlight(s): open woods bushwhack, register on the summit of Bean Mountain and Kennedy Hill.

We tried Bean Mountain earlier this summer but were turned back by access issues on the southwestern approach we were going to use. This time I had good information to attempt it from a different direction and it would be quite a bit shorter than what I originally planned.

Bean Mountain and Kennedy Hill are located in Lempster, New Hampshire. Bean Mountain is also the highest point in Lempster. These two peaks are two of the twelve wind turbines and are part of the Lempster Mountain Wind Power Project. There are no trails that run to the summit of Bean Mountain and Kennedy Hill, so it requires a bushwhack to reach the wooded view-less summit of both peaks. There are views just below the ledges of Bean Mountain and along the turbine access road. We also noted ATV/snowmobile signs so a portion of the access road is used by them. 

We parked at the gated Pillsbury State Park Road off of Route 31 and headed into open woods.

It was early morning so we started getting alpine glow in the trees as we headed up towards the summit of Bean Mountain.

The woods on the bushwhack up to the summit of Bean Mountain turned into this, but still stayed open and easy to walk through.

The views from some ledges just below the summit of Bean Mountain looking towards May Pond in Pillsbury State Park, with Kittredge Hill and the long southern ridge of Sunapee Mountain.

Hiking up this ledge area as we near the summit area of Bean Mountain. We could hear the wind turbines on the way up to the summit.

The views from some ledges just below the summit of Bean Mountain looking towards Lovewell Mountain and May Pond. The sun was shining pretty good this early in the morning.

The tree where the canister on the summit of Bean Mountain used to be.

This cairn rests on the high point of Bean Mountain (elevation: 2326 feet).

We did a short bushwhack from the summit of Bean Mountain down to the wind turbine access road to begin the walk over towards Kennedy Hill.

Brian signing into the jar register on the summit of Kennedy Hill (elevation: 2159 feet).

Heading back up the access road and back towards Bean Mountain, where we would begin the bushwhack back down to the car.

On the way back down to the car, we hit open woods like this complete with a nice defined herd path/trail.

It was a quick hike back down although we had to divert off of the herd path as it led down to someones property. Once back at the car, it was still early enough for us to attempt to do another peak or two. What we ran into though, was access issues for several peaks. Dirt roads that turned into 4WD roads, access issues, dead end roads, and houses along the route with sketchy access. So we did what we usually do. Consult the gazetteer for suggestions.

Patten Hill

Mileage: 1.20 miles
Elevation gain: 360 feet
Trails used: none. ATV/snowmobile trail.
Highlight(s): none.

Sometimes there are those peaks or hikes where you aren't sure why you are doing them, other than they are there and you can do them. This was one of those hikes. We drove around and tried several peaks but what is sometimes on a map or gazetteer doesn't always pan out in real life. So we finally found something quick to do that hopefully we could get pretty close to the summit.

Patten Hill is located in Antrim, New Hampshire. There are summer houses surrounding the area where we parked off of an un-named road just off Gregg Lake Road. There is an ATV/snowmobile trail that goes to the wooded, view-less summit of Patten Hill and beyond.

We parked just below some summer homes on and walked a woods road, and probable ATV/snowmobile trail to the summit of Patten Hill.

The ATV/snowmobile trail passes over the summit of Patten Hill (elevation: 1380 feet).

Brian walking back down the ATV/snowmobile trail back to the car.

Walking back down the semi-private road and back down to the car.

An easy round trip hike. We walked past numerous summer homes, and a few had people that still reside there year round. It was a short walk just to stretch our legs after driving around for awhile. We looked for something else to do as we still had some time left.

Jones Hill (Hillsborough)

Mileage: 3.30 miles
Elevation gain: 690 feet
Trails used: none. road walk, bushwhack.
Highlight(s): open woods bushwhack.

Our last hike of the day after we drove around looking for things to do, and striking out more than once. There were two peaks in the area that I wanted to do but since neither one of us wanted to be out late (for various reasons) we decided it was one and done. Actually I decided to leave the other one for another day as it would have added another 1.5 miles to the day. This still turned out to be a pleasant enough walk in the woods.

Jones Hill is located in Hillsborough, New Hampshire. There is active logging going on down the Class VI road that begins at the end of Smith Pond Road. I imagine with a higher clearance vehicle, and less mud, we could have driven in further thus making the hike a bit shorter. There is no official trail to the wooded, view-less summit of Jones Hill so it was a mixture of logging road hiking and a bushwhack.

Walking up this active logging road at the end of Smith Pond Road. We parked just at the junction of Smith Pond Road and the boat ramp for Smith Pond.

Once we started the bushwhack, there were wide open woods all the way to the summit of Jones Hill. A perfect area for deer/moose hunting as well.

We are nearing the summit of Jones Hill. This whole area is being logged or has been in the recent past, which made it fun to walk through.

The high point of Jones Hill (elevation: 1654 feet). At this point, we headed back down to the road and then back to the car to end the days hikes.

Overall, a productive day hiking wise. Bean Mountain and Kennedy Hill I have wanted to hike for some time so it was a good day to get both of those peaks done. Patten Hill was fluff in the middle of those two hikes and Jones Hill, which added a distinct woodsy feel to the end of the day. The weather was also perfect; I think we both shedded heavier shirts and coats for most of the hikes and we went sans backpacks for Patten Hill.