Sunday, November 29, 2015

Lockes Hill: 11/29/2015

Mileage: 1.85 miles
Elevation gain: 650 feet
Trails used: Quarry Trail, Lakeview Trail.
Highlight(s): old mining quarry, views from ledges along the Lakeview Trail.

Lately, I haven't had the energy or ambition to do bigger, longer hikes so I recalled hearing about this little hike from someone who had done it recently so I figured I would head over and give it a look. Finding the trailhead parking area was not bad as it is signed like the trailhead areas for Mount Major or some of the other Belknap peaks. It was a bit on the cool side for a late fall day but it was sunny and clear so what views I would find would be on the nice side.

Lockes Hill is located in Gilford, New Hampshire. There are two trails to use to access this peak with a third possible trail coming from the south where there are some residential homes. There is a mailbox at the trailhead parking area that has maps available if needed. There are views from the ledges below the summit of Lockes Hill along the Lakeview Trail and you could probably poke around for views from the actual summit.
The start of the Quarry Trail at the Lockes Hill Trailhead parking area. Apparently a school bus turns around here. In winter, there is a snow berm that blocks this area.

The gated off Quarry Trail, which is right around the corner from the trailhead parking area.

Make sure to follow the blue blazes which denote the Quarry Trail. Both trails (Quarry Trail and Lakeview Trail) are populated with interpretive signs with information on the history of the area. A perfect hike for children.

Information on the aspens in this area and re-growth efforts.

Information on the ice storm of 1998.

An old quarry site is left over from the past leaving behind a man made watering hole, perfect for different kinds of animals and reptiles.

Information on mast producing trees.

The mighty acorn.

The types of animals that live in the ledge outcroppings in the area.

Information on the oak trees in the area.

Still continuing along the Quarry Trail as I near the summit of Lockes Hill.

This airplane beacon resides on the summit of Lockes Hill (elevation: 1057 feet).

I began the hike back down the Lakeview Trail, passing more interpretive signs. I managed to get pictures on the way up, but skipped quite a few on the way down.

Pileated Woodpeckers.

The views from the ledges below the summit of Lockes Hill looking towards Mount Shaw and the Ossipee Range and a few of the islands on Lake Winnipesaukee.

The views from the ledges below the summit of Lockes Hill looking towards Mount Washington, which made an appearance today.

These binoculars on the ledges below the summit of Lockes Hill are free to use so it made it easy to spot far off peaks.

An insane amount of cairns and rock furniture on the ledges below the summit of Lockes Hill.

Information on what happens to the trees as they die.

The other end of the loop hike starts here for the Lakeview Trail, which has some switchbacks that lead to the ledges above.

Kimball Wildlife Forest, located in Gilford, New Hampshire.

I actually did not wear blaze orange for this hike today, but I highly doubt I would have needed it as the trail itself is pretty popular with hikers and nary a gunshot was heard through the whole hike. I never saw much sign of any deer in the area either. The views from the ledges on the Lakeview Trail are some of the best in the area, minus the views from Mount Major and on a nice day this hike could be a popular area.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Ore Hill (Warren) * Sentinel Mountain: 11/21/2015

Mileage: 6.55 miles
Elevation gain: 1345 feet
Trails used: Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail, bushwhack, forest road, old woods road.
Highlight(s): Appalachian Trail, register on the summit of Sentinel Mountain.

I had a short section of the Appalachian Trail left to do, and then I would have from the New Hampshire border to Mount Wolf done. So it was a good time as any to chip away at this section. It was going to be a nice day for a hike; cool temperatures with no rain/snow and sunny. Fall is definitely the perfect time to hike. Putting on my blaze orange, I headed across the street and headed up the trail.

Ore Hill and Sentinel Mountain are located in Warren, New Hampshire. The Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail crosses over the wooded, view-less summit of Ore Hill. The wooded, view-less summit of Sentinel Mountain is reached by a mixture of trails, wood roads, and a lengthy bushwhack.

The start of the Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail off of Route 25C. I parked across the road from the trailhead and then headed up the trail.

Hiking up the Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail through open woods as I near the summit area of Ore Hill.

The summit of Ore Hill (elevation: 1854 feet), which is slightly off of the Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail.

The Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail continues along this section of an old woods road.

After a few wet sections of the Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail, you pass alongside this beaver pond area.

I hit the height of land before the Ore Hill Shelter and began the roughly 1 mile bushwhack towards the summit of Sentinel Mountain through open woods.

The pill bottle register on the summit of Sentinel Mountain (elevation: 2180 feet).

Open woods as I head back down towards the Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail.

Eventually I made my way down to an old logging road turned into forest service road and used it to make my way towards the Ore Hill Trail/Appalachian Trail.

Unfortunately, I did not do all of the roughly 5 miles I needed to do between Route 25A and 25C so there is a small section I need to do from the Ore Hill campsite, Cape Moonshine Road and towards Route 25A (or vice versa). Finding the old Ore Hill mine area was a neat find but I do believe it is still technically off limits, per the Forest Service. Where I came out of the woods, there was no signs for no trespassing so I didn't linger. Otherwise, a quick walk in the woods on a nice fall day.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Garnet Mountain * Carrolls Twin Mountain: 11/19/2015

I had the day off from work since I worked last Sunday so it was no surprise that I would head out to hike. The only issues would be: where to go and what weather would I be encountering. I had a few choices in mind but it all depended on the weather. Driving north, I hit rain around Plymouth, New Hampshire and then all the way through to Franconia Notch. After Franconia Notch, the rain cleared up so I knew what I was going to do first and then plan it from there.

Garnet Mountain

Mileage: 1.8 miles
Elevation gain: 555 feet
Trails used: none. old logging road, bushwhack.
Highlight(s): open woods bushwhack, register on the summit of Garnet Mountain.

I had attempted this one last year, but I was in the wrong spot to begin the hike and the area was posted. This time I had better information so I knew exactly where I needed to go. This time of year would be better anyways, even though the woods to reach the summit area are pretty open due to recent logging.

Garnet Mountain is located in Bethlehem, New Hampshire. I would use a mixture of logging roads, old woods roads and a bushwhack to reach the wooded, view-less summit of Garnet Mountain.

I began my hike on this old logging road located off of Whitcomb Hill Road and headed towards the summit area of Garnet Mountain.

The logging road was easy to follow; unfortunately, it does not go all the way to the summit of Garnet Mountain.

It was a good thing the woods were nice and open and easy to walk through as I made my way up the ridge towards the summit of Garnet Mountain.

The jar register on the summit of Garnet Mountain (elevation: 2142 feet).

Working my way down from the summit of Garnet Mountain, I came across this bedded down young bull moose. I froze in spot for about five minutes and watched him until he stood up and headed off into the woods.

Another old woods road that I took back to the logging road, and then back to the car.

The rain that I passed on the way up to Garnet Mountain had not materialized yet so I figured I had time for another hike. The next hike on my list was a peak that I have passed by probably 100 times in the past and never thought of bushwhacking to its summit. Until today. This would be the perfect time to attempt it.

Carrolls Twin Mountain

Mileage: 1.5 miles
Elevation gain: 720 feet
Trails used: none. bushwhack.
Highlight(s): register on the summit of Carrolls Twin Mountain.

This next hike would be a little but of a drive to reach but in a familiar place, and not a peak that I would have ever thought about hiking or bushwhacking. I figured this wouldn't take that long to do so if it did rain, I would be headed back down before it did. I had a feeling the woods would be nice and open; I just didn't realize that the ground was so rock strewn that it made it tough for foot placement (especially with a healing foot injury).

Carrolls Twin Mountain (unofficial name) is located in Twin Mountain, New Hampshire. This peak has no trails that go to its wooded, viewless summit so it requires a bushwhack.

I parked at the visitor information parking area in Twin Mountain and then crossed Route 7 and headed into the woods behind the fire station. I then crossed the railroad tracks and began my bushwhack to the summit of Carrolls Twin Mountain.

While the woods were nice and open, the ground had numerous boulders and crevices for your feet to fall into so I had to be careful hiking.

The pill bottle register on the summit of Carrolls Twin Mountain (elevation: 2080 feet).

The still open woods as I made my way back down from the summit of Carrolls Twin Mountain to my car.

On the way back down, I got this limited view of Peak Above the Nubble with the rain moving in pretty quickly.

I drove around looking for a few other peaks to do but with the rain coming in, I decided to play it safe and head home. An honor lately to see a moose in the woods as I have not seen one in quite awhile. Two easy bushwhacks on a rainy day. I drove down 302 through North Conway but since it was raining, the decision to call it a day was simple.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mann Hill * Dalton Mountain * Prospect Mountain (Lancaster): 11/14/2015

This would be another solo weekend as Brian was deer hunting and Desi was possibly hiking Sunday, since I had to work that day. I had a few options planned, like going into Vermont to do some peaks or head to northern New Hampshire to cherry pick some straggler peaks I had left on the New Hampshire 500 list. Kris asked me if I wanted to join him for a quick hike while he and his wife were staying at the Mountain View Grand Resort so I told him I would when I was done. The weather was supposed to be on the cool side, but when I left the house I hit snow pretty much right away which would last until I was headed home.

Mann Hill

Mileage: 1.7 miles
Elevation gain: 590 feet
Trails used: access road, bushwhack.
Highlight(s): open woods bushwhack, register on the summit of Mann Hill.

I read a trip report recently on this one so I thought it would be short enough to fit in my time frame for the day and would be my first hike to begin the day. The snow was collecting pretty good as I drove through Franconia Notch and I even saw the DOT trucks out putting sand down. On the other side of Franconia Notch, the snow lessened but was still coming down lightly.

Mann Hill is located in Littleton, New Hampshire. There is an access road that goes to some communications towers for New Hampshire Public Television but not to the actual wooded, view-less summit.

I parked just up the hill from the access road that leads to some communication towers off of Mann Hill Road, and walked the short distance to the gated road.

Still heading up the access road with the communications tower for New Hampshire Public TV (and a new one being built) just below the summit area of Mann Hill.

I went into the open woods just behind the communications tower as I made my way through the light snow covered ground towards the northern most summit of Mann Hill.

The highest point for Mann Hill. There was quite a few piles of moose poop here.

The pill bottle register on the summit of Mann Hill (elevation: 2152 feet).

On the way back down and to the car, I crossed this old logging area as the snow started coming down heavier.

A rather quick round trip, so I possibly had time for one more hike before I was to meet Kris for a hike in Weeks State Park. The next hike I would do was literally right around the corner, geographically. I had a nice half hour drive though over dirt roads to get to the point where I would start this hike. Seeing no signs prohibiting me from accessing the power line cut, I grabbed my rain coat, blaze orange vest and headed up.

Dalton Mountain

Mileage: 1.9 miles
Elevation gain: 955 feet
Trails used: none. bushwhack.
Highlight(s): power line cut hike with limited views.

This peak was hard to find access for as their are houses that pretty much surround the mountain, so noting nothing saying I couldn't go up the power line cut (sometimes they are posted no trespassing) I decided to suck it up and take the steep way up. The snow would be problematic for footing as I made my way up (and down to the car), but it made for a nice preview of what's to come with winter on the doorstep.

Dalton Mountain is located in Dalton, New Hampshire and is the highest point in Dalton. There are no trails that go to the wooded, view-less summit of Dalton Mountain so it requires a bushwhack to reach the summit.

I parked directly across from the power line cut off of Faraway Road and would use the cut to get to a comfortable point to take the ridge up to the summit of Dalton Mountain.

It was pretty steep and slick from the light snow as I used a mixture of foot trail and ATV tracks to reach the ridge line. The sun started peeking through at this point.

I noticed this nicely hunter tree stand as I was heading up the power line cut.

The views of the power line cut looking towards the snow line over Kimball Hill, Howland Hill and Russell Hill.

The snow started coming down again and it is starting to look like winter now.

Although not a relatively big summit area, it still was bumpy enough to have to try and figure out what bump was the highest.

I made my way across every bump on the summit of Dalton Mountain (elevation: 2146 feet). X marks the spot in my opinion.

Working my way back down the power line cut was fun as I slid my way back down to the car. The snow was coming down again pretty good at this point.

Cherry Mountain (Mount Martha) decided to make an appearance (almost) as I continue my way down the power line cut.

I got back in the car, messaged Kris that I would meet him around 11:15 am and headed towards my last peak of the day. I had time to eat some food while driving over to the parking area for Weeks State Park.

Prospect Mountain (Lancaster)

Mileage: 3.2 miles
Elevation gain: 815 feet
Trails used: none. road walk.
Highlight(s): fire tower on the summit of Prospect Mountain, limited views from several areas around the summit of Prospect Mountain and along the auto road.

I headed over towards the parking area off of Route 3 for Weeks State Park. The parking area wasn't there when Desi, Brian, Jim and I did this several years ago (via the ski trail, bushwhack and hiking trail) so it was nice to be able to park outside the now closed auto road, and make an easy walk up the road to the summit of Prospect Mountain. 

Prospect Mountain is located in Lancaster, New Hampshire. It has several multi-use trails for hiking and skiing, an auto road that goes to the summit, a fire tower (open when a fire warden is on duty), and the John Wingate Weeks Historical site. We opted to take the auto road to the summit and then back down to the car.

Weeks State Park

Weeks State Park Map

The gate for the auto road that you can drive (in season) to a parking area just below the summit of Prospect Mountain.

One of the few views we got today based on the snow moving all around us. This was taking from one of the view point areas along the auto road.

Approaching the fire tower and summit house on the summit of Prospect Mountain (elevation: 2067 feet). The fire tower was closed today, big surprise.

A couple inches of snow collected on this bench. No clue how the cryptic writing got there.

A nice day for hiking despite the first snow of the season (hiking wise for me). The first hike up Mann Hill was an easy jog in the woods. Dalton Mountain, while steep hiking up the power line cut, was easy once I got on the summit ridge. Prospect Mountain was an easy road walk up and I enjoyed conversing with Kris, who I had not hiked with in some time. The snow made for a rough drive in spots but a light coating is a lot better than 6 feet of the horrible white stuff any day.