Mt. Clinton Trail

Hiked the Mt. Clinton trail on 5/29/2016 with Bill Cronin. It was a cloudy day with temps in the 60s with a threat of showers but it never did rain on us. The bugs stayed away for the most part. The Mt. Clinton trail is a poorly maintained and poorly marked trail, we saw one blaze in its entire length. It connects the Dry River trail to the Mizpah Springs Hut and sees very little use, partly because of its condition. We started out on the Dry River trail and hiked in 2.9 miles to the start of the Mt. Clinton trail.

Bridge over Dry River on the Dry River trail
Bridge over Dry River on the Dry River trail

We were thankful for this bridge as it would have been tough to get across and keep your feet dry.

Start of the Mt. Clinton trail
Start of the Mt. Clinton trail

Because were in the Presidential Range – Dry River Wilderness it was good to see a trail sign as they aren’t always present in a designated wilderness. The crossing of the Dry River here was a little tough but we managed to get across with mostly dry feet. On the far side the trail stayed in the river bed for a few hundred feet and then entered the woods where there was some old orange flagging present. We could follow the faint foot tread and there was some occasional flagging that helped us to stay on course. We did lose the trail once in this low section but were able to get back on the trail with a little searching. The trail is not very photogenic and no views but there were a few waterfalls.

Small waterfall on the Mt. Clinton trail
Small waterfall on the Mt. Clinton trail
Bill building a small cairn at a crossing
Bill building a small cairn at a crossing

The trail was quite muddy and in places was a stream bed. The upper part of the trail was much easier to follow although the rocks were covered with moss and they were pretty slippery. We reached the hut and ate our PBJs sitting outside on the rocks. The only wildlife siting of the day was a mouse running across the kitchen floor inside the hut. Because Bill needed some more redlining we took the long way back to the car. Taking the Dry River Cutoff to the Mt. Eisenhower trail back to the Dry River trail and back to the car. The final crossing of the Dry River was a bit treacherous, I went up stream a bit and found a better place but Bill crossed at the crossing and got both feet wet. We hiked 13.3 miles and I got 2.5 miles of redlining. Only 3.5 miles left and 2 hikes.

 

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Random Redlining

Today, 5/26/2016, was a day to do some of the little sections of trail that have been needing to be done for quite some time and just haven’t made into the schedule. I spent more time driving than hiking but accomplished everything I wanted to hike. Started out with the Dilly trail in Kinsman Notch. The trail is only .5 miles long but is very steep. It starts in the Lost River tourist attraction and goes up to the Kinsman Ridge trail. Last fall I went up the trail over the very steep part but couldn’t find the last .1 mile of trail. I spent about 45 minutes looking for it and with all the newly fallen leaves it just wasn’t visible. So this time I hiked up the Kinsman Ridge trail to follow it from the other end. I followed the Dilly Trail down to where I had lost it the year before. It still wasn’t very obvious but I managed to complete the whole trail.

Boggy area on the Kinsman Ridge trail approaching the Dilly trail
Boggy area on the Kinsman Ridge trail approaching the Dilly trail

Next on the list for the day was the Boy Path located off Route 2 in Jefferson Highlands. It is located on private land but the owners are fine with hikers using the trail. Follow the directions in the AMC Guidebook to find the trail. It goes up continuously with no break until you reach the viewpoint where there are good views and a comfortable bench.

Looking toward Mt. Deception and Mt. Martha from Boy Mountain
Looking toward Mt. Deception and Mt. Martha from Boy Mountain
Still a little snow left on Washington
Still a little snow left on Washington

Next on the list was .9 miles of the Presidential Rail trail in Randolph. I parked at Appalachia and walked the .9 miles to Randolph East and then walked back to Appalachia. There wasn’t anything worthy of taking a picture. Finally I drove over to Evans Notch for the last hike of the day, Eagle Cascade Link. Parked at the parking lot for the Baldface Circle Trail. Hiked 2.1 miles up the trail to the Eagle Cascade Link and followed that for .7 miles to the Bicknell Ridge trail and then followed that for 2.8 miles back to the parking lot. That was 5.6 miles of hiking but only .7 counted for redlining.

Cascade Falls on the Eagle Cascade Link
Cascade Falls on the Eagle Cascade Link

Saw my first Rhodora of the year where the Eagle Cascade Link joins the Bicknell Ridge trail.

Rhodora
Rhodora
South Baldface from the Bicknell Ridge trail
South Baldface from the Bicknell Ridge trail

A lot of hiking for only 2.8 miles of redlining, but it was a good day and not too many bugs. Only 6 miles left to finish.

More Redlining in Evans Notch

Hiked Cold Brook, Evergreen Link and Bickford Slide trails on 5/20/2016. It was a bright sunny day with enough of a breeze to keep the bugs away most of the time. Bill Cronin joined me for the morning portion of the hike. The first mile or so is on logging roads and skidder trails that are not always easy to figure out where the trail goes. The trail is also lightly used so there isn’t always a visible foot tread but we managed and eventually got away from the logging area and the trail was easier to follow. After an hour or so we crossed the border into the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness Area. That just means that trail maintenance is even less likely to happen.

Crossing the border into the wilderness area
Crossing the border into the wilderness area

We continued up until we got to the ledges where there were great views.

Kearsarge North and the Baldfaces from the ledges
Kearsarge North and the Baldfaces from the ledges
Washington from the ledges
Washington from the ledges

We continued up to the summit of Speckled Mountain where there are also views that are blocked to the south by trees.

Washington from the summit
Washington from the summit

This peak was also the sight of a fire tower.

View north and fire tower foundation
View north and fire tower foundation

We had a snack on the summit, no PBJ it was only 9:45. We took Cold Brook trail down until we got to the Evergreen Link and followed that down to the car. We drove over to Cold Brook and picked up the car that was there and then drove to one end of the trail that Bill was going to do next. We left his car there and I dropped him off at the beginning of his hike. I then drove to the trailhead for my hike. I ate my PBJ while doing all this driving. I parked at Brickett Place off RT 113 in Evans Notch and hiked up the Bickford Brook trail to the Bickford Slide trail which is .5 miles long and has lots of waterfall that are easily visible from the trail.

Lower slide
Lower slide
Upper slide
Upper slide

The trail continued up and passed a few smaller falls.

Not named waterfall
Not named waterfall

I then discovered my first Painted Trillium of the year.

Painted Trillium
Painted Trillium

The Bickford Slide trail then loops back to the Bickford Brook trail which I followed back to the parking lot. Only 8.8 miles left.

Iron Mountain

Climbed Iron Mountain in Jackson 5/19/2016. I had climbed this before but had neglected to do the .2 mile spur down to the old mines so I had to go all the way up to the top and down the other side to get to the spur trail. I didn’t get started until 11AM and showers were predicted in the early afternoon. It started sprinkling right at noon. There are nice views from the fields right at the start of the trail that were somewhat obscured by the clouds.

View to the north from the fields
View to the north from the fields

I quickly reached the summit where there are the remains of a fire tower and started down the other side.

Summit of Iron Mountain
Summit of Iron Mountain

It’s about .8 miles down to the spur trail to the mines. You probably lose 300 feet in elevation going down to the mines which you have to regain on your way back. The first mine is just a big open pit.

First open pit mine
First open-pit mine

On the way down to the second mine there is a good view to the west.

View to the west from between the two mines
View to the west from between the two mines

The second mine is a shaft that goes horizontally into the mountain. I didn’t go into it as there was quite a bit of water on the floor of it.

Second mine
Second mine

The trail continues down to Jericho Road which I wasn’t aware of and have no idea where it comes out on the road. By the time I got back to the main trail it had started to rain so I hiked back to the car and had my PBJ while sitting in the car. Only 15.6 miles left.

Crawford-Ridgepole Tail

Hiked the Crawford-Ridgepole trail on 5/13/2016. Bill Cronin joined me for the hike. The weather was sunny when we started but was forecast to have some showers in the afternoon. The trail runs south from the Sandwich Notch road to Cotton Mountain in Holderness. It stays on the ridgeline but has lots of ups and downs including the named summits of Doublehead, Squam, Percival, Morgan, Webster, Livermore and Cotton. We started at the north end, and the trail immediately gains elevation including navigating a small cliff face.

Bill climbing the steep portion of the trail
Bill climbing the steep portion of the trail

We quickly reachd the ridge line and scrambled over lots of rocks and ups and downs but never losing or gaining much elevation. It was hard to get into a rhythm as you were always working around or over some fairly large rocks.

Trail decoration with one rock that looks like New Hampshire
Trail decoration with one rock that looks like New Hampshire

We had a couple of good views from some of the high points as we were heading towards Mts Percival and Morgan.

Looking toward Sandwich Dome and the Algonquin trail
Looking toward Sandwich Dome and the Algonquin trail
Squam Lake in the foreground and Winnipesaukee in the background
Squam Lake in the foreground and Winnipesaukee in the background

After about 2.5 hours we reached the summit of Mt Morgan where I had my PBJ and Bill had his 4 egg wrap. Leaving the summit of Morgan we took the steep way down which included a small cave and ladders.

Ladders near the summit of Mt. Morgan
Ladders near the summit of Mt. Morgan

After this we had a 4 mile woods walk back to the car that was gentle on the feet and mostly gently down. Signs of old farms with stone walls where it seemed unlikely that it would be good farming. We got sprinkled on a couple of times but it never really rained. Only 15.8 miles left.

More AT Sections Near Hanover and Mt. Cube

Hiked the section of the AT that went through Hanover, Velvet Rocks trail, part of Hanover Center trail and the Mt. Cube trail on 5/6/2016. Bill Cronin joined me for part of the day. It was a bright sunny day and the temperature actually got up to 68. This was the first day in about a week that the sun was out. We started out by leaving a car where the Hanover Center trail crossed Hanover Center Road. We then drove to the New Hampshire/Vermont border and started hiking from the Connecticut River through the town of Hanover on sidewalks. Turns out we didn’t really need to do this section for redlining but it was interesting.

Looking east from the Vermont side of the bridge
Looking east from the Vermont side of the bridge
Connecticut River
Connecticut River

We made our way through town, made a wrong turn and had to backtrack a bit, then were standing on a corner looking at the map and reading directions and were thoroughly confused about where to go but a friendly woman pointed us in the right direction. She asked us how long we had been on the AT to which we replied we were just out for the day. She said she thought so as we didn’t smell.

We finally got through town and started on the Velvet Rocks trail.

End of the sidewalk and start of the trail
End of the sidewalk and start of the trail

It was nice to get off the sidewalk and into the woods. We quickly made our way to the Velvet Rocks Shelter which is maintained by the Dartmouth Outing Club. It supposedly will hold 6 people but it looked to me like it would be a bit cozy.

Velvet rocks Shelter
Velvet Rocks Shelter

We continued along the trail, not gaining much elevation. It was just a nice woods walk on a nice day.

Trail through open woods
Trail through open woods
Swamp and Boardwalk
Swamp and Boardwalk

We soon came to the end of the Velvet Rocks trail and crossed Trescott Road and started up the Hanover Center trail. After 1.3 miles we came to Hanover Center Road where the car was parked. We drove back to Hanover picked up the other car and drove to where Bill was going to finish hiking and then drove back to Hanover Center Road to where Bill was going to start hiking again. I drove north a few miles to the Mt. Cube trail. It sounds confusing but it all worked out for both of us. When I started up the Mt. Cube trail the black flies were swarming around me but fortunately not biting. A short ways up the trail I encountered my first spring flowers of the year. It was good to see Purple Trillium and Trout Lilies.

Purple Trillium
Purple Trillium
Trout Lily
Trout Lily

A little further up the trail I ran into a couple of patches of ice. I wasn’t expecting that but they were easy to get around.

Ice on the Mt. Cube trail
Ice on the Mt. Cube trail

The trail kept climbing up some ledge and finally to the summit which is clear and has good views.

Dartmouth Skiway from Mt. Cube
Dartmouth Skiway from Mt. Cube
Looking into Vermont from Mt. Cube
Looking into Vermont from Mt. Cube

I ate some cookies on the summit and enjoyed the views and refreshing breeze. I then made my way back to the car where the black flies had disappeared. Only 24.6 miles left to finish.