Firescrew, Cardigan and Orange

Hiked Firescrew, Cardigan and Orange on 5/21/2017. Weather was clear and in the 40s to start and warmed up to the 60s by the finish. There were a few pesky black flies after it warmed up but they didn’t seem to be biting. Lots of spring flowers, good views from all 3 summits and very few people out except on the summit of Cardigan. I started at the AMC Cardigan Lodge where the parking lot was completely full but no one was around, I guess they were all inside eating breakfast. I took the Manning trail up to the summit of Firescrew. There were many false summits before you reach the actual summit. There were a lot of ledges which could have been quite slippery if they were wet or icy.

Painted Trillium on the way up Firescrew
Cardigan from near the summit of Firescrew
Looking Northeast from Firescrew
Camels Hump in Vermont

I headed over to Cardigan from Firescrew on the Mowglis trail. The map showed a short trail down to a Cave Grotto that I wanted to go see but I missed it and had to turn back to find it. Apparently the sign was missing or there never was one but I did find some faint blue blazes and followed them to a cave. The trail was hard to follow and had a significant cliff challenge but I made it down and back up without incident.

One of the caves

I then climbed the ledges to the summit where I took a short break and looked around at all the views. The firetower was locked. It was too early to eat lunch so I headed down the West Ridge trail and over to Orange.

Looking back to the summit from the West Ridge trail

I stopped to eat my PBJ at a good view point as I wasn’t sure there were views on the summit. Turns out there were views from the summit.

Wind turbines over near Plymouth

From the summit I took the Vista Mont trail down over to the Clark trail. On the way down was when the black flies started to be a nuisance.

Couple of Trout Lilies
Painted Trillium and Trout Lilies

There were a surprising number of really beat up trail signs and signs that were missing. Good thing I had a map so I could figure out which way to go.

Damaged trail sign

I took the Clark trail down to the Woodland trail and back to the lodge and parking lot.

Dwarf Ginseng growing in the trail

Only 44 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest list.

Whitewall Mt

Hiked Whitewall Mt on 5/17/2017 with Bill and Diane Schor. Weather was forecast to be partly cloudy, but it was mostly clear and warmed up into the 70s although a little cooler in the snowy areas. We hiked 2.5 miles up the Zealand trail to the AZ trail. There were nice views over the beaver ponds along the Zealand trail.

Beaver pond on Zealand trail
Another beaver pond view

Followed the AZ trail for about a quarter mile and then started the bushwhack to the summit of Whitewall Mt. We climbed a little steeply at first and then a gradual uphill the rest of the way. There was a lot of Hobble Bush which slowed us down going through it and trying to find a way around the really thick patches.

Diane making her way through the Hobble Bush

We struggled through the thick stuff and then into some snow that was knee deep in places and finally made it to what the GPS said was the summit, but it wasn’t. The true summit was about a quarter mile away. Near the summit we ran into a woman who was by herself and always hikes solo. She is working on a list of her own that she made up which is the 1000 highest peaks in the northeast. She hikes once or twice a week and isn’t retired. She owns her own construction business and takes every Wednesday off to hike.

Bill and I at the summit
View from the summit

We left the summit and headed over to the top of the cliffs to get some good views and eat lunch. We never did get to the top of the cliffs as it was really thick and we were going down rather steeply. We finally found a spot with a view and decided to stop there and eat our PBJs.

Lunch time
Slide on North Twin
Zeacliff

After lunch we found our way back to our original track and headed down. We decided we didn’t want to go through the Hobble Bush again so we headed down to the Ethan Pond trail but we ran into some really steep stuff but it was better than the Hobble Bush.

Zealand Hut through the trees

We eventually made it down to the trail and started the walk back to the car. It took us almost 9 hours to hike 9 miles, not a world record pace. Only 45 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest list.

Track for the day

Wolf Cub

Hiked Wolf Cub on 5/10/2017 with Bill and Diane Schor. It was predicted to be a cloudy day with a chance of showers but luckily the showers didn’t happen and the sun was out for a while. We parked at the trailhead for Georgiana Falls which is off Rt 3 just a little north of Lincoln. We started up the Georgiana Falls trail and then branched off onto a snowmobile trail and then did a short bushwhack and rejoined the snowmobile trail. The snowmobile did a long 2 mile loop and we just went straight up and rejoined it. Some of the early spring flowers were in blossom along our bushwhack route, nice to see them and know that the snow will soon be gone.

Painted Trillium
Purple Trillium aka “Stinking Benjamin”

We followed the snowmobile trail for another 2 miles or so and passed Bog Eddie and some interesting roadside debris.

View of Franconia Ridge across Bog Eddie
Fresh snow on Lincoln
Abandoned car with a few bullet holes

We followed the snowmobile trail until we reached the power line where we started the bushwhack to the summit. We had about a mile to go and it was pretty easy with no steep sections but a lot of hobble bush. Lots of big piles of moose poop were in evidence. The last 1/4 mile to the summit was awful with postholing in the snow. At one point I went in almost to my waist. We were only going to a little over 3000 feet and didn’t think there would be any snow but we were on the north side of the mountain and apparently the sun hadn’t been shining in there to melt the snow. We reached the summit and signed in and ate our PBJs.

Summit canister

We took a different route down to avoid the snow but it was quite steep with a few cliffs which we worked around. There were lots of trees to hold onto so it wasn’t bad but I certainly wouldn’t go that way on the way up. There were more spring flowers out that like to wait until the sun is bright before they open up for the day.

Trout Lily
Spring Beauty

We crossed quite a few small streams that didn’t present any problems crossing and there were a few small waterfalls.

Nice waterfall

There were also lots of mushrooms growing on the trees.

Large mushroom

We soon got back to the snowmobile trail and followed it back to the car. We did the long loop rather than do another bushwhack. Only 46 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest.

Our track for the day

Mt Pliny

Hiked Mt Pliny on 5/4/2017. Weather was forecast to be bright and sunny and it was, unfortunately no views to be seen from this wooded summit. Mt Pliny is in Jefferson, NH a little southeast of Waumbek. It is on the New Hampshire 100 Highest list. I followed the abandoned Priscilla Brook trail for about 1.3 miles before starting the bushwhack to the summit.

Start of Priscilla Brook trail on Ingerson Road in Jefferson

The trail was easy to follow although somewhat overgrown in places and quite wet in some places.

Wet section of Priscilla Brook trail

Once I started the bushwhack it was drier although there was still some snow near the summit.

Purple Trillium almost in blossom
Trout Lily leaf but no blossom

There were some troublesome patches of hobble bush that slowed me down but no patches of spruce which was a relief. I reached the summit and ate my PBJ sitting in the sun.

Summit register bottle

The PVC canister was missing and replaced by a bottle. I made my way back to the trail and missed most of the hobble bush. There were lots of nice little waterfalls in Priscilla Brook that were looking good with the sunlight on them.

Priscilla Brook waterfall

Made it back the car and headed home. Only one more peak to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest list. That will have to wait a while until the snow melts as it is up in Dixville Notch where there is still lots of snow.

Todays track

Eagle Cliff

Hiked Eagle Cliff on 4/27/17 with Bill and Diane Schor and Larry Babcock. Forecast was for mostly cloudy skies which turned out to be true although we did get some brief views on the summit through the lifting clouds. We parked in Franconia Notch at the former Old Man viewing site.

View from the Old Man viewing site

The Greenleaf trail used to start here but it was rerouted to the Tram parking lot some time ago. We followed the old trail up to the existing trail and followed it up to Eagle Pass where there was quite a bit of snow.

Diane on the snowpack
Diane staring up at the cliff we had told her we needed to climb

We made our way through Eagle Pass and then started up to Eagle Cliff. We put our snowshoes on but quickly took them off as we ran out of snow and we were faced with a small cliff that couldn’t be climbed with snowshoes.

Diane making her way up the short cliff

We went a little further and ran into another cliff. I had to pull Diane up part of it as her legs were too short to make some of the steps, she wasn’t a real happy camper but she made it. We found the summit in some pretty thick spruce and signed in.

The summit canister

There was an open ledge near the summit with good views down the notch. Fortunately we saw the view for about a minute as the clouds briefly lifted.

View down the notch

We ate our PBJs and then headed down. We took a slightly different route that was much easier and avoided the cliffs which was a good thing to do. Nobody lost anything on this trip so we didn’t have to stop and look for things. I noticed a tree on the way down that the Pileated Woodpeckers had pretty much destroyed.

Pileated woodpecker holes

Only 47 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest list.

Track for the day

Bartlett Haystack

Hiked Bartlett Haystack on 4/24/17 with Bill and Diane Schor and Larry Babcock. As I drove through Conway on the way up I caught the local forecast and they said it was going to be a 50 cent day, which is as good as it gets. They were correct, it was a perfect day weather wise. It was less than perfect for hiking conditions. I lost count of how many times we put our snowshoes on and then took them off. We had bare ground and then snow and then more bare ground and a cliff we had to navigate. The usual route for this hike is from the height of land on the Bear Notch Road but it is still closed for the winter. So we took a somewhat longer route that we thought would work fine. We went up the Mt Tremont trail until an old logging road crossed that went in the direction we wanted. Unfortunately there were a lot of small trees growing in it and sections had a stream flowing down it. We eventually just walked in the woods beside the road and it was quite a bit better but still pretty wet.

Logging road we tried to follow
Waterfall along the Mt Tremont trail

At the end of the logging road we had a significant stream to cross but we got across with dry feet.

Bill and Diane at the stream crossing

We then started the fairly steep uphill part of the hike that seemed to go on forever. It didn’t help that Larry and I took a wrong turn and started heading in the wrong direction. We realized that pretty quickly it but slowed us down. Then Bill lost a snowshoe and we had to go back and find it. It was at the bottom of a spruce trap. We were almost over to the summit when I discovered that I had lost my camera. We continued to the summit and hoped we would find it on the way back. Also just before the summit we ran into a 20 foot cliff that didn’t look like we would be able to maneuver around, but we found a way up it that required one more taking off of the snow shoes.

Emerging from the brush after coming up the cliff
Signing the summit register
Lunch on the rocks
View looking toward Mt Washington
View looking to the west

We ate our PBJs on the summit and then headed down hoping to find my camera. We followed our tracks back and fortunately found the camera before we hit bare ground. It would have been difficult to follow our track on bare ground and we could have easily missed the camera. The last stream crossing was difficult and we had to put a log across to balance on to make it with dry feet.

The final stream crossing

We made it back to the cars where Larry discovered that he had left his keys in the drivers side lock the whole time we were gone. He was a little disgusted that nobody had thought it valuable enough to steal. Only 48 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest.

Our track for the day

Mt Rosebrook and Mt Oscar

Climbed Mt Rosebrook and Mt Oscar on 4/20/2017 with Bill and Diane Schor. The weather forecast was for a chance of showers before 9AM and then mostly cloudy with a chance of sun. It never rained but we were in the clouds all day until we were part way down. Almost all of the hike was on the Bretton Woods ski trails. Snowshoes just came along for the ride as we never used them. Bretton Woods was closed for the season so we didn’t have to pay the $21 for using the trails. We ran into the General Manager who was also walking up to check up on a few things. Chatted with him as we walked up for quite a while. He likes to hike remote ponds. We hiked up ski trails directly to the summit of Mt Rosebrook, there weren’t any views and no summit canister.

Snow on the trail but none in the woods
Restaurant looming out of the fog
Bill and Diane on the summit of Rosebrook

We left the summit of Rosebrook and followed a hiking trail maintained by the ski area over to Mt Oscar. There would have been good views there except we were still in the clouds. There was what looked like one of the old Cog Railway cars near the summit that was being used as a shelter and snack shop. Don’t know how they got it there. We ate our PBJs in it.

Snack shop on Mt Oscar

We headed down the ski trail and got our first views of the day over toward the Presidential Range.

View of Presidential Range

Only 49 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest. Mt Oscar isn’t on the 200 list but is on the 300 list.

Our track for the day, ignore the long straight line