Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pine Mountain (Alton) - Avery Hill - Cedar Mountain (Alton): 7/16/2015

I had to go in later in the day for work so I figured I could get in a few hikes and be home before I had to go in. So, I looked around online for some good candidates for possible trailed hikes and found 3 plus good options. The weather was on the cool side when I started so I was glad that it wouldn't be hot and humid, and the bugs would be on the tame side. I only managed to get buzzed by a few deer flies here and there.

Pine Mountain

Mileage: 2.25
Elevation gain: 440 feet
Trails used: Arlene Frances Morse Trail, Robert A. Greenwood, Sr. Loop Trail.
Highlight(s): blueberries (in season), decent views from the lower ledges.

Someone was talking to me recently about blueberries being ripe or almost ripe in several spots in New Hampshire so this was more of a desire to do some hikes and collect blueberries for Desi as I happened upon them. Turns out, on all three hikes, the blueberries were definitely ripe and populated the summit area of all three peaks.

Pine Mountain is located in Alton, New Hampshire.  The actual summit area of Pine Mountain has no trail, no views and wooded.  There are nice views from the lower summit ledges to the nearby Belknap Range and the Lake Winnipesauke area, and even towards the Sandwich Range and Ossipee Mountains.  For more information, including directions to get to Pine Mountain or Mike Burke Forest, go Evelyn H. & Albert D. Morse, Sr Preserve website or here for a map of the hiking trails.

The start of the Pine Mountain Trail off of Avery Hill Road. I mistakenly parked outside the gate but there is parking just down the road at the Mike Burke Forest parking area.

The kiosk for the Evelyn H. and Albert D. Morse, Sr. Preserve complete with hiking trail map and history of the area.

You hike along the Arlence Frances Morse Trail which is an old woods road down low.

Eventually you climb out of the tree's and hike on a footpath through blueberries bushes on both sides of the Arlene Frances Morse Trail.

The lower summit ledge area of Pine Mountain with views towards the Belknap Mountains.

I started hiking on the Robert A. Greenwood, Sr. Trail to get to the high point of Pine Mountain. I found this old stove on the way to the actual high point of Pine Mountain.

There were very open woods for the short bushwhack to the summit of Pine Mountain.

The high point of Pine Mountain (elevation: 1489 feet) which is one big blueberry patch.

I backtracked back down to the summit ledge area of Pine Mountain with views towards nearby Avery Hill, Whiteface Mountain and to Mount Kearsarge, in the background.

Views towards Mount Shaw and the Ossipee Range, with Mount Major (left) and Mount Passaconaway and the Tripyramids from the ledges below the summit of Pine Mountain.

There were blueberries galore in the upper areas of this hike. I managed to grab a handful between hiking up to the summit area of Pine Mountain and then back down to the car.

I drove down the road probably around .10 miles and parked where I should have parked for the Pine Mountain hike.  I  saw a blazed trail heading into the woods from the parking area so I figured it would make its way towards the summit of Avery Hill.  While, I was wrong in figuring it would, it was not a bad bushwhack.

Avery Hill

Mileage: 1.9
Elevation gain: 485 feet
Trails used: Mike Burke Trail, bushwhack.
Highlight(s): woods walk, blueberries (in season) on summit.

I figured there was a trail on the Pine Mountain side where you park for the Mike Burke Forest but in retrospect, I read there was a trail on the Frohock Road side of Avery Hill which would have made this hike shorter but with views. I didn't realize the Mike Burke Trail did not go towards the summit until I was on the downward side of the loop trail, and then backtracked a bit to where I would start the bushwhack.

Avery Hill is located in Alton, New Hampshire and almost directly across the street from Pine Mountain making these two hikes an easy half day affair.  There are two trails for this peak but only one goes to the summit, where there are blueberries and views (from the Frohock Road side of Avery Hill).  

The Mike Burke Trail heads into the woods from the same parking lot that you can use for the hike up to Pine Mountain.

I realized that I should have taken the trail that is on the other side of Avery Hill that goes to the summit. This trail makes a loop but never gets close to the summit so I had to do a short bushwhack through open woods.

While doing the bushwhack, I came across this fire pit and bench so people do come out here.

Right around where the fire pit was in the picture above, I found an ATV/snowmobile trail that heads towards the summit of Avery Hill where there were even more ripe blueberries.

The high point of Avery Hill (elevation: 1461 feet) and its own summit full of blueberries. 

I reversed course and headed back down to the Mike Burke Trail and finished off the loop hike. I hopped back in the car with the intent of doing one more peak before I reached my turnaround time of noon so I could make it home, shower, get ready for work and get to work.  The roads around Pine Mountain and Avery Hill were a bit confusing so after a few dead ends, I found my way to Alton and Route 11 so I could make it to the last hike.

Cedar Mountain

Mileage: 1.95
Elevation gain: 560 feet
Trails used: road walk, unofficial trail.
Highlight(s): nice woods walk, blueberries (in season) on summit.

I had my eyes on this little peak the first time Desi and I hiked Mount Major, so it was finally a good day to do this hike.  I read about a possible road that went a ways in towards the summit and I figured the woods wouldn't be too bad if I had to do a bushwhack.  

Cedar Mountain is located in Alton, New Hampshire and right next to nearby Mount Major, which is an extremely popular hike in the Belknap Range.  I managed to find an unofficial trail that heads up to the summit area of Cedar Mountain, which is wooded with partial views from several ledges around and just below the summit.

I pulled off of Route 11 and parked at this old logging road which is also most likely used by snowmobiles in winter.

An uneventful hike along the old logging road.  Eventually I came to a intersection and took a left, knowing that going right would lead me towards Mount Major.

I followed what looked like a road into the woods, but realized there was yellow flagging on the trees and rock cairns so it was some sort of unofficial trail that I hoped would lead me to the summit of Cedar Mountain.

The unofficial trail goes up this fairly steep short section of a rock slide area to the summit ridge of Cedar Mountain.

The wooded summit area high point of Cedar Mountain (elevation: 1082 feet).

A view of Mount Major from the summit area of Cedar Mountain.

A zoomed in view of the summit area of Mount Major, which was swarming with people today as evidenced by the overflowing parking lot.

Once again, another summit with blueberries on it like the first two hikes. 

A handful of the "fruits" of my labor today.  I managed to pick about three to four handfuls from each summit area of all three hikes.

A small ledge area that had a fire pit that probably has nice views (in winter).

Three nice hikes overall.  I managed to bring home about half of a ziploc bag of blueberries for Desi and with more time, I could have had several bags worth.  This is a nice area for blueberries when they are in season, and I saw about 6 people picking them on Pine Mountain's lower ledge area.  The temperatures were comfortable, there were no bugs and easy hikes made for a nice hiking day before I had to go to work.

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