East and West Garfield Ridge Peaks

Hiked East and West Garfield Ridge Peaks on 6/28/16. These are both New Hampshire 100 Highest Peaks. This was mostly a trail hike on the Gale River and Garfield Ridge trails with two short bushwacks to the summits. I have walked past these summits several times in the past but didn’t realize they were on any hiking list. It was a bright sunny day and a little bit warm and humid but not too bad. The mosquitoes were buzzing around down low but no bugs up higher. Encountered several AT thru hikers on the Garfield Ridge trail and also hikers traveling between the AMCs Greenleaf and Galehead huts. I had read in an old trail report that there was an opening off the trail to get to the summit of the East Peak. I couldn’t find it although once I got into the thick spruce I did find a pretty good herd path that went directly to the summit. There were good views from the summit as there was a nice ledge to stand on. I was the second person this year to sign the summit register.

South Twin from Garfield Ridge East Peak
South Twin from Garfield Ridge East Peak
Garfield from Garfield Ridge East Peak
Garfield from Garfield Ridge East Peak
Galehead Hut from Garfield Ridge East Peak
Galehead Hut from Garfield Ridge East Peak

After returning to the Garfield Ridge trail I followed it for about a mile to do the next bushwack to the West Peak. Again there was no evidence of any path to the summit so I just picked what looked like the most open spot to enter the woods. It was open woods for a little while but then got into some pretty thick spruce. I got to what I thought was the summit but there wasn’t any register. There looked like there was a slightly higher spot so I made my way over there and sure enough there was the register. I was the first person to sign in this year. No views from this summit, just trees.

Summit register on Garfield Ridge West Peak
Summit register on Garfield Ridge West Peak

I made my way back to the trail and managed to come out about 5 feet from where I went in. Sat down and had my PBJ and had an amusing conversation with a thru hiker who was not at all happy with how tough the AT was in New Hampshire. I didn’t have a whole lot of sympathy. Only 32 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest list.

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West and East Baldpate

Climbed West and East Baldpate on 6/24/16. East Baldpate is a New England 100 Highest Peak, West is not but you have to go over it in order to get to East. It was the best day for hiking in a long time, nice and cool, bright sunny skies, a nice breeze and no bugs. It couldn’t have been better and it wasn’t a bushwack. The trail up to the West Peak was pretty nice with no real steep spots.

Trail up West Baldpate which is also the AT
Trail up West Baldpate which is also the AT

Right near the summit of West I saw a Geodetic Survey marker for the AT. I have done several hundred miles of the AT and this is only the second marker I have seen.

AT Geodetic Survey marker
AT Geodetic Survey marker

There were several species of wildflowers out including Clintonia or the Blue Bead Lily.

Clintonia or the Blue Bead Lily
Clintonia or the Blue Bead Lily

The summit of West Baldpate has trees on it so there aren’t any views but just a little ways along there are views over to the ledgy summit of East Baldpate.

East Baldpate from West Baldpate
East Baldpate from West Baldpate

There was still some Lapland Rosebay in bloom but most of it was gone by.

Lapland Rosebay
Lapland Rosebay

There was a very nice boggy area in the low area between West and East.

Boggy area with Bog Bridges
Boggy area with Bog Bridges

There was a lot of Cotton Grass in the bog and also some Labrador Tea.

Cotton Grass
Cotton Grass
Labrador Tea
Labrador Tea

Climbing up to the East Peak was somewhat strenuous because of the steep ledges but there was a good breeze to cool me off. This would have been a difficult climb if the ledges were wet but they were bone dry which made it easier. There were great views from the summit in all directions making it well worth the climb.

Summit sign on East Baldpate
Summit sign on East Baldpate
Looking west from East Baldpate with Old Speck in the foreground and Washington way in the back
Looking west from East Baldpate with Old Speck in the foreground and Washington way in the back

I headed back over to West and encountered the ladder again. It looked kind of beaten up, but it held even though the top rung was a little loose.

Ladder on West Baldpate
Ladder on West Baldpate

I had my PBJ just before the West summit where there were views and some Mountain Cranberry was in blossom.

Mountain Cranberry
Mountain Cranberry

On the way back down I took the short sidetrip to look at the Baldpate shelter which is built and maintained by the Maine Appalachian Trail Conference. It looked like a pretty nice shelter.

Baldpate shelter
Baldpate shelter

Further down I took the side trail out to Table Rock which has great views of the Grafton Notch area.

Sunday River Whitecap from Table Rock
Sunday River Whitecap from Table Rock

I then hiked the .9 miles back to the parking lot and did the long drive home. Only 28 left to finish the New England 100 Highest list.

The Captain

Hiked The Captain on 6/19/16 with Bill Cronin, Bill Schor and Larry Babcock. The Captain is a New Hampshire 100 Highest Peak and a good portion of the hike is a pretty tough steep bushwack. It was a bright sunny day with temps predicted to go to the mid 80s. We started out on the Sawyer River trail.

Me, Bill C and Larry at the junction of Sawyer River and Hancock Notch trails
Me, Bill C and Larry at the junction of Sawyer River and Hancock Notch trails

We went about a half mile on the Hancock Notch trail and then went off trail and crossed Sawyer River and then bushwacked about .1 mile to an old logging road which we followed for quite a while. There were lots of pink and white ladyslippers along the road.

White ladyslipper
White ladyslipper

We continued to the end of the road where there was an emergency helicopter landing site and our first view of The Captain.

Helicopter landing site
Helicopter landing site
The Captain
The Captain

We approached the summit from the right hand or east side. There was a bit of a trail that continued from the end of the road which we followed until we got to the bottom of a landslide.

Bill S and Larry following the sort of trail
Bill S and Larry following the sort of trail

We followed the slide up for a ways but then turned off it and started the steep ascent through some really thick spruce. We went along the bottom of one cliff and along the top of another cliff.

Skirting the bottom of  a cliff
Skirting the bottom of a cliff

After starting the hike at 7:30 AM we finally reached the summit a little after 12. There was a lot of really steep slopes and some very thick spruce that just never let up.

Bill openingthe summit cannister
Bill opening the summit canister
Summit cannister
Summit canister
Pirates on the summit
Pirates on the summit

I had my PBJ on the summit. We decided to take a different route on the way down as none of us wanted to repeat the way we came up. At first that looked like a really bad decision as we went through about 15 minutes of spruce that was thicker than anything we had done previously. But eventually it thinned out. We almost lost Bill S when he was sliding down a steep spot and his pack got hung up on a branch. He was dangling with his feet about 2 feet off the ground he was able to extricate himself much to our amusement. We finally hit a drainage that was going in the right direction and we headed down it.

Larry working his way down the stream bed
Larry working his way down the stream bed

Following the stream worked out well even though there were some steep slippery spots and several waterfalls we had to bushwack around. There were also some openings with good views.

The view to the southeast from the stream bed
The view to the southeast from the stream bed
Labrador Tea growing on the open ledges
Labrador Tea growing on the open ledges

We got back to the sort of trail and then back to the old logging road which we followed all the way to Sawyer River Road. Near the end there was a nice little boggy area that had several bull frogs calling back and forth to each other.

Bull frog
Bull frog

We got back to the cars at about 5:15.  34 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest list. Below is the track that we followed courtesy of Bill Schor.

The Captain GPS track
The Captain GPS track

 

Bemis and Nancy

My next posting for the “Grid over 60” and redlining won’t be until July 16th when I finish both of those lists and also finish calendar days, which is summiting a 4000 foot peak on every day of the year. So I have taken on 2 more lists which also fit in with the title of final 100. They are the New England 100 Highest Peaks and the New Hampshire 100 Highest Peaks. I have already done quite a few of these peaks and most of the ones I have left are bushwacks. I hiked Bemis and Nancy on 6/9 2016 with Bill Cronin. Bemis is a New Hampshire 100 highest peak and Nancy is both a New Hampshire and New England 100 highest peak.

The weather was forecast to be cloudy and temps in the 50s with strong winds. There was a bit of a chill in the air at elevation with the strong winds it was downright chilly. Some of that winter gear that I thought I was done with came in handy. There used to be a firetower on Bemis so there was a trail that hasn’t been maintained for many years but can still be followed. It was very easy to follow at first but became more difficult when we got into the spruce at the higher elevations it was overgrown and many blowdowns. The worst section was at the first high point where it took almost an hour to go about a quarter of a mile. We lost the trail and then found it eventually. Continuing on there weren’t as many blowdowns but there were sections that were so overgrown that you couldn’t see your feet which is always dangerous as you don’t know what is there.

The easy part of the Mt Bemis trail
The easy part of the Mt Bemis trail

After what seemed like forever we reached the summit and saw the remains of the old fire tower. We searched for the canister to sign in but weren’t able to find it.

Remains of firetower on Mt Bemis
Remains of firetower on Mt Bemis

We then started back and had an even worse time navigating the thick section. We finally got through it and out into the open where we sat down and had our PBJs. We got back to the Nancy Pond trail and started up to Nancy Cascade which is a pretty tall waterfall.

Nancy Cascade
Nancy Cascade

It is very steep going past Nancy Cascade and everything was pretty slippery from rain the night before and no sun to dry things. We got past the Cascade and Nancy Pond and Norcross Pond. These are two of the highest ponds in New Hampshire at about 3000 feet.

Norcross Pond
Norcross Pond

There was a pretty strong cold wind blowing across the pond. We reached the end of the pond which is where the trail up to Mt Nancy starts. This is another unmaintained trail that goes straight up the side of the mountain but fortunately didn’t have any blowdowns or difficult sections. There would have been views from the summit if it hadn’t been in the clouds so no view picture from the summit.

Summit of Mt Nancy
Summit of Mt Nancy

After getting back to Norcross Pond we continued along the Nancy Pond trail as Bill needed it for redlining. We then took the Carrigain Notch and Signal Ridge trails back to the car we had left on Sawyer River road. It was 19.6 miles of hiking in 12 hours. I have 27 peaks left on the New England 100 highest list and 35 peaks left on the New Hampshire 100 highest list

Hincks Trail, Perch Path and section of Randolph Path

Hiked these trails on 6/2/2016. It was a total of about 8.3 miles of hiking with 2 miles of redlining. Weather was just about perfect, temps in the 60s with a bit of a breeze and no bugs to speak of. Lots of spring flowers were in blossom. Started out on the Airline and then to the Short Line where Foam Flower and Painted Trillium were abundant.

Foam Flower
Foam Flower
Painted Trillium
Painted Trillium

Continuing up to the Randolph Path and crossed Cold Brook where there was a nice waterfall.

Cold Brook waterfall
Cold Brook waterfall

Turned onto the Spur Path where there was a short path down to Chandler Fall.

Chandler Fall
Chandler Fall

Finally got to the Hincks Trail which was the first redlining of the day. It pretty much goes straight up the side of the mountain to the Grey Knob Hut operated by the Randolph Mountain Club. It’s different from the AMC huts, they give you a mattress on the floor to sleep on and you have to bring your own food and a stove to cook on.

Grey Knob
Grey Knob
Mt Crescent from near the hut
Mt Crescent from near the hut

Next up was the Grey Knob trail which is very rough and rocky and finally to the Perch Path which was the second redlining of the day.

Perch Path with Jefferson in the background
Perch Path with Jefferson in the background

It’s a short way down to the Perch Shelter.

Perch Shelter
Perch Shelter
Composting toilet at the Perch
Composting toilet at the Perch
View from the Perch
View from the Perch

Now it was time to start down. I retraced my steps back on the Perch Path to the Randolph Path where there was a short section I hadn’t completed. Followed the Randolph Path to the Pentadoi where I took the Amphibrach trail. There was an interesting tree and some different flowers on this trail.

Mushroom tree
Mushroom tree
Light pink Lady Slipper
Light pink Lady Slipper
White Lady Slipper
White Lady Slipper

Continued down the trail and came to Memorial Bridge and then back to the car.

Memorial Bridge
Memorial Bridge

Only 1.5 miles and 1 hike left to finish redlining. That hike will be on July 16th when I also finish the Grid over 60 and Calendar days.