Mt. Dartmouth and Millen Hill

Hiked Mt. Dartmouth and Millen Hill on 11/28/2016. Bill Schor accompanied me on the hike even though he had already hiked Dartmouth in September, but he didn’t find the canister only the sign. He decided to join me in hopes of finding the canister so he could sign the register. Weather forecast was for some clouds which turned out to be mostly cloudy until afternoon when the sun finally came out. It was 22 degrees when we started and 24 when we got back to the car. We were lucky that the Jefferson Notch road was still open so we were able to drive to the Caps Ridge trail parking lot at 3000 feet and start our hike from there.

 

Jefferson Notch road at the Caps Ridge parking lot
Jefferson Notch road at the Caps Ridge parking lot

Every time I have been to the Caps Ridge lot it has been full to overflowing, but not today.

Caps Ridge parking lot
Caps Ridge parking lot

We started the bushwhack directly across the street from the parking lot. The woods was some small spruce that was hard to get through but after about a 100 yards it opened and was really nice woods for the rest of the hike. We stayed at about 3000 feet until we were near Dartmouth and then we headed up the slope to the summit. There were a few blowdowns but nothing that made things difficult and no thick bands of spruce. We reached the summit area and quickly found the summit sign which appeared to be fairly new.

Me and the summit sign
Me and the Dartmouth summit sign

We then set off in search of the summit canister which we also found quickly, it was only about 100 feet away. I don’t know why the sign and canister aren’t in the same place. We ate our PBJs at the summit. It felt pretty cold but there wasn’t any wind so it was tolerable.

Dartmouth summit canister
Dartmouth summit canister
Summit trees
Summit trees

We followed our track back towards the car but stopped about .4 miles from the road and headed up the slope to Millen Hill. We did run into a short section of many blowdowns but we made our way through them and followed a moose track that took us directly to the summit.

Bill and the Millen Hill summit canister
Bill and the Millen Hill summit canister

We then followed our track back to the car. Below is a GPS track of our trip. The solid red line is the track that Bill took back in September the other line is the track that we took. You can see that we started higher so we had less elevation to gain. It was a pretty easy hike considering it was all bushwhack. Only 6 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest. Millen Hill is on the New Hampshire 200 Highest list, only 69 peaks left to finish that list.

GPS track of our hike
GPS track of our hike
Advertisements

South Hale

Hiked South Hale on 11/23/2016. It was a cloudy day and looked like it might snow but it never did, temperature was 25 when I started. The bushwhack portion of the hike is only about a half mile. I hiked in 2.5 miles on the Zealand trail to the Zealand Falls Hut run by the AMC which is open on a caretaker basis this time of year. That means you have to bring your own sleeping bag and food but can use the kitchen and all the utensils and dishes. There is a wood stove but it doesn’t get started until the sun goes down. The bunkrooms are not heated and can be pretty cold and the bathrooms are also not heated.

Zealand trail with a dusting of snow
Zealand trail with a dusting of snow

The Zealand trail follows the bed of an old logging railroad for most of its route and goes past a string of beaver ponds. The beavers on occasion have flooded the trail.

Beaver pond
Beaver pond

After reaching the hut I hiked about a mile on the Lend-a-Hand trail to reach the start of the bushwhack. The trail has a couple of wet sections and since it wasn’t completely frozen over it was difficult to find my way through without getting wet. The start of the bushwhack is in an open area that is also swampy but I made it through without going over the tops of my boots.

Start of the bushwhack
Start of the bushwhack

I made my way up to the summit ridge and found the first high point which isn’t the true summit. I walked along the summit ridge until I got near what I thought was the true summit. I wandered around and walked within 15 feet of the summit several times before I spotted the canister. I ate my PBJ there even though it was cold and windy, it was 12 noon and time to eat.

Summit of south Hale
Summit of South Hale

I then followed my tracks back to the trail and to the hut where I had some hot water to warm me up. There is a really good view from the front porch of the hut.

View from Zealand Hut
View from Zealand Hut

I stopped briefly on the way down to take a side trip to see Zealand Falls.

Zealand Falls
Zealand Falls

I walked the rest of the way back to the car, didn’t see any other hikers all day. Only 7 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest.

The Fool Killer

Climbed The Fool Killer on 11/19/2016 with Larry Babcock. The weather was bright and sunny with temps in the 30s and 40s, ideal weather for hiking in November and no snow. We started out hiking up the Pine Bend Brook trail until it takes a sharp right hand turn which is where we started the bushwhack. This isn’t the “usual” route but it avoids 7 stream crossings on the Sabbaday Brook trail. The route got steep pretty quickly and we encountered some blowdowns but they weren’t as bad as some I have come across. We followed a nice stream for a while that had several good falls in it.

One of several waterfalls
One of several waterfalls

The route continued to be steep and we encountered some small cliffs to workaround but we eventually reached the long flat summit. Unfortunately we had to walk almost a quarter mile to get to the recognized high point.

Summit canister
Summit canister
Summit sign
Summit sign

Not many pictures today as we were in the woods all day and no views opened up. We ate our PBJs at the summit and then started down. We took a slightly different route that avoided the cliffs and the blowdowns. We were pretty happy with that as it is more difficult to navigate around them going down hill than it is going uphill. Only 8 more peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest. Lots of snow predicted in the mountains in the next week which may slow things down.

Unknown Pond Peak

Hiked Unknown Pond Peak on 11/14/2016. The weather was quite warm for a mid November day, it was 46 when I started and 56 when I returned to the car. It was chillier up higher but I never put any fleece or wind shell on. This was a peak that I had walked by several times in the past but it never occurred to me to take the 15 minutes to go to the summit. Most of the hike was on trails with only the last quarter mile a bushwhack.

Start of the hike on Unknown Pond trail
Start of the hike on Unknown Pond trail

Most of the trail was pretty nice but one short section was sort of messy with difficult walking.

Unknown Pond Trail
Unknown Pond Trail

I reached Unknown Pond and looked across the pond to The Horn which is also a New Hampshire 100 Highest and New England 100 Highest peak which I climbed quite a while ago.

Unknown Pond and The Horn
Unknown Pond and The Horn

I left the pond and took a right hand turn onto the Kilkenny Ridge trail which I followed for a little more than quarter mile and then quickly climbed through the woods to the summit of Unknown Pond Peak.

Summit canister
Summit canister

After leaving the summit I went back to the pond and ate my PBJ in the sun on the shore.

Unknown Pond
Unknown Pond

I walked back down to the car enjoying the bright sunny day and warm temps. Only 9 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest.

Mt. Stratton

Hiked Mt. Stratton in Vermont on 11/10/2016. The weather was bright and sunny with temps in the low 30s. The trail up to the summit is part of the Appalachian trail and the Long trail, it was nice to be on a trail after so many bushwhacks in the last few months. The lower part of the trail was a little difficult to follow in places because of the new fallen leaves that covered up the treadway but I managed to not get lost.

Start of the trail
Start of the trail
Nice open forest
Nice open forest

There weren’t any views on the way up except for one place that had been cleared where there used to be a bench that has rotted and not useable any more.

View from the former site of a bench
View from the former site of a bench

Made it to the summit in about an hour and 40 minutes. It was quite windy so all I did was climb the tower and take a few pictures and then turned around and started down. It was quite chilly with the wind. There were good views in all directions almost all of them included a ski area. The sign on the summit said it was 3.8 miles back to the parking lot. The sign at the bottom said it was 3.4 miles to the summit and both signs were Forest Service signs. The guide book said 3.8 miles.

Mt Stratton tower
Mt Stratton tower
View from the tower
View from the tower

On the way down I noticed some odd growths on quite a few trees that I hadn’t seen on the way up.

Strange growths on the trees
Strange growths on the trees

Made it back to the car and ate my PBJ on the way home. Only 19 more peaks to finish the New England 100 Highest.

West Castle

Hiked West Castle on 11/7/2016 with Bill Schor and Bill Cronin. It was a bright sunny day with temps in the low 20s when we started but it warmed up pretty quickly to the low 30s. We drove in as far as we could on gravel logging roads until we came to a locked gate.

 

Early morning sun from where we parked
Early morning sun from where we parked

We then walked for a while on a gravel logging road but finally had to enter the woods and bushwhack to the summit. It was nice open woods for most of the hike but near the summit it got a little steeper and thicker spruce. It took us about an hour and 45 minutes to reach the summit.

Really twisted tree
Really twisted tree
Summit canister with moose antler
Summit canister with moose antler
Thick blowdowns
Thick blowdowns and Mt. Washington in the distance
Bill and Bill signing us in
Bill and Bill signing us in

We followed our  tracks back to the car and made the long drive home. Only 10 more peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest.

Stub and North Stub

Hiked Stub and North Stub on 11/6/16 with Bill Schor and Bill Cronin. Weather was kind of iffy on the drive up with some rain and snow showers but by the time we got to the trailhead it was just cloudy and eventually cleared up. We drove quite a few miles on private gravel logging roads to get to the height of land between Stub and North Stub. Both hikes were pretty easy and took a little over an hour round trip.

Logging road continued on into Maine
Logging road continued on into Maine
Start of the herd path to Stub
Start of the herd path to Stub
Bill C on the path
Bill C on the path

We hiked Stub first and went up the herd path then to an old skidder path and eventually threw nice open woods to the summit. This was one of the easiest hikes to a trailess summit I’ve had.

Bill C and I on thesummit
Bill C and I on the summit

On the way down we took a detour over to Stub Hill Pond. There was lots of evidence of moose but we didn’t see one.

Nice snow covered tree
Nice snow covered tree
Stub Hill Pond
Stub Hill Pond
Stub Hill Pond
Stub Hill Pond

When we got back to the car the view had cleared up.

Looking into Maine from the car
Looking into Maine from the car

We ate our PBJs in the car and then started the short hike up to North Stub. It was a little steeper and some thick stuff but we quickly made our way to the summit.

Bill C and I approaching the summit
Bill C and I approaching the summit
Bill S almost at the summit
Bill S almost at the summit
Bill C and I at the summit
Bill C and I at the summit

We made our way back to the car and headed out to spend the night in Colebrook. Only 11 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest. North Stub is on the New Hampshire 200 Highest list. Only 71 peaks left to finish that list.