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.

Gore and Blue

Hiked Gore and Blue on 10/30/16 with Bill Schor. Weather was cloudy with a occaisonal shower with temps in the high 30s to low 40s. We drove in on old logging roads until we came to a gate for the entrance into the Vicky Bunnell Preserve which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. The Preserve is about 10,000 acres and abuts other conserved land.

Vicky Bunnell Preserve
Vicky Bunnell Preserve

We walked more than a mile along the old logging road until we came to an area of beaver dams and I actually saw a beaver, first one in a very long time. The dams weren’t very tall and the ponds behind them weren’t very big and were quite shallow. Maybe they just used them to get to food as I didn’t see any lodges.

Beaver dam with a few fresh sticks
Beaver dam with a few fresh sticks
Beaver
Beaver

After crossing over the beaver dams we continued up the logging road with snow gradually getting deeper but not a problem. We found evidence of recent bear activity with some pretty large foot prints.

Bear footprint
Bear footprint

We followed the logging road as far as we could but eventually had to go into the woods and bushwhack up to the summit of Gore. It wasn’t bad except the snow made it slippery and hard to tell what you were putting your feet into. It took us almost 3 hours but we made it to the viewless summit and signed in to the register and had our PBJs.

Gore summit cannister
Gore summit canister
6 to 8 inches of snow on Gore
6 to 8 inches of snow on Gore

We left the summit and started the trek over to Blue. We ran into some thick patches and some really bad patches of blowdowns that we tried to avoid but finally had to make our through them. There was lots of signs of moose activity with many tracks and large piles of poop.

Moose bedroom and bathroom
Moose bedroom and bathroom

About a half mile from the summit we started following a moose path that went in the general direction we were going and it took us right to the summit. Saved us a lot of time and effort of crashing through the blowdowns.

Me on the summit of Blue
Me on the summit of Blue

We had another PBJ and then headed down to the logging road we had come up. We hoped to avoid the beaver area and we succeeded in doing that. We saw some more moose activity but not as much as between Gore and Blue.

Moose antler rubbing
Moose antler rubbing

After reaching the logging road we quickly made our way back to the car and fortunately made it back before dark. Only 12 more peaks to go to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest.

Mt. Muise

Hiked Mt. Muise on 10/25/16 with Bill and Diane Schor. It was a cloudy day with a few snow showers and temps in the high 20s and low 30s. Muise is located off Nash Stream Road north of the town of Stark. We were able to drive about a mile further on the road than we anticipated as the gate was open. That made the hike about 2 miles shorter than we planned. We still had to walk about a mile along Nash Stream Road and then a short distance on the Cohos trail before we started our bushwhack.

Snow covered Nash Stream Road
Snow covered Nash Stream Road
Cohos trail marked with yellow blazes
Cohos trail marked with yellow blazes

Once we started the bushwhack it was pretty open forest, there was one short section where it was sort of thick spruce and steep and one short section of really awful thick spruce. For the most part though it was a really nice bushwhack.

Open forest for bushwhacking
Open forest for bushwhacking

We reached the summit about 11:15 but didn’t linger very long. There weren’t any views and it was cold and windy so all we did was sign the register and head back down.

Me on the summit
Me on the summit

It was nice having snow on the ground as we didn’t have to follow a compass bearing to return, just follow our tracks. We ate our PBJs in the warm car on the way home. Only 14 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest.

Middle and South Hitchcock

Hiked Middle and South Hitchcock on 10/19/2016 with Bill Schor and Bill Cronin. It was a bright sunny day with temps in the 50s and low 60s, kind of warm for a bushwhack. We started out on the Discovery trail off the Kancamaugus Highway and then followed an old logging road until its end where we started the bushwhack.

Bill C in the parking lot
Bill C in the parking lot
Logging road with a few blowdowns
Logging road with a few blowdowns

We slowly went uphill toward the summit of South Hitchcock and then it got quite steep for a short distance and then we came out in a flat area to the west of the summit.

View before the summit of Scar Ridge
View of Scar Ridge

We turned east to find the summit slightly uphill from where we entered the flat area. We signed in at the canister and had a snack before heading over to Middle Hitchcock.

South Hitchcock canister
South Hitchcock canister

There were a few blowdowns on the way over to Middle Hitchcock but it was basically an easy hike. We reached the summit and signed in and ate our PBJs.

Me on Middle Hitchcock
Me on Middle Hitchcock
Bill C signing us in to the log
Bill C signing us in to the log

We left the summit heading west before dropping down to avoid a cliff area. In retrospect we should have returned to the low spot between Middle and South and gone down the same way we came up. We spent 5 hours coming down and doing lots of ups and downs that could have been avoided if we had returned the same way we came up. There was some nice foliage on the way down.

Some nice colorful leaves
Some nice colorful leaves

We got to the parking lot later than planned but it was still a good day. Only 15 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 100 Highest.