Big Bickford

Hiked Big Bickford on 2/28/2017 with Bill and Diane Schor. It was warm with temp about 32 when we started and up into the 40s when we finished. It was bright and sunny in the morning and then clouded up a bit in anticipation of some rain in the late afternoon and evening. Big Bickford is located off Route 3 in Franconia almost across the street from Cannon Mountain. We started by hiking a short distance up the Skookumchuck trail to where it crosses Jordan Brook. It was a bit surprising to find that there wasn’t any snow where we started and we hardly needed the snowshoes for any part of the hike.

Bare ground at the start of the hike
Bare ground at the start of the hike
Jordan Brook
Jordan Brook

We followed Jordan Brook upstream for quite a while and then took a path to the summit through some very nice birch glades with some limited views off to the west.

Nice open birch glade
Nice open birch glade

We eventually reached some spruce and it was a little steeper but we got through it easily and came out right at the summit. The summit canister was gone but had been replaced with a bottle. We signed in and ate our PBJs in the warm sun and enjoyed the summit for a few minutes.

The summit
The summit

We followed our track back to the trail and back to the parking lot.

Ice in Jordan Brook
Ice in Jordan Brook

Only 56 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest. Driving home on RT 93 a moose crossed the highway and made it across both sides without getting hit.

Our route today
Our route today
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Big Coolidge

Hiked Big Coolidge on 2/21/2017 with Bill and Diane Schor. Weather was bright and sunny and a little cool in the morning but it warmed up in the afternoon. Big Coolidge is almost directly across from Loon Mountain Ski Area and is accessed from the abandoned but still used Old Osseo trail. This is the same trail we used a few weeks ago to get to South Whaleback. We hiked about 3/4 mile up the Old Osseo trail to the start of the bushwhack. Fortunately the trail had seen some use so we didn’t have to break trail. We started the bushwhack at a point where some people had camped and had packed out a fairly large area.

Start of bushwhack at campsite
Start of bushwhack at campsite

We had almost 1700 feet of elevation gain to accomplish in less than a mile so we started going up right away and it just got steeper and steeper as we went up.

Dead tree with lots of woodpecker holes
Dead tree with lots of woodpecker holes

There was no relief from going up and the higher we went the steeper it got, there were a few limited views. One was to South Whaleback which we visited a few weeks ago.

South Whaleback
South Whaleback
Looking east to the Osceolas and Tripyramids
Looking east to the Osceolas and Tripyramids

As it got steeper there were also some spruce and spruce traps to deal with which slowed us down a bit.

Bill navigating the spruce
Bill navigating the spruce

It kept getting steeper and eventually we reached a band of cliffs that others mentioned in their hiking reports. We managed to go slightly left and make our way up the cliff and then the final push through some thick spruce to the summit. We found the summit canister but unfortunately the sticker giving the name and elevation was missing.

Bill and Diane at the ummit
Bill and Diane at the summit
Register which gives the name
Register which gives the name

We signed in and ate our PBJs and then headed down. We slid down the cliff by holding on to a few trees and made our way through a few other steep spots which were getting slippery with the afternoon sun on them. Got a quick glimpse of Loon Mountain through the trees.

Loon Mountain ski area
Loon Mountain ski area

We got back to the parking area and home before dark. Only 57 more peaks to complete the New Hampshire 200 Highest. It took us 5.5 hours to hike a little over 4 miles, it was tough going in the steep parts.

Our track for today
Our track for today

East Hitchcock

Hiked East Hitchcock on 2/18/2017  with Bill and Diane Schor. Weather was bright and sunny with temps in the 20s to start and 40s by the time we finished. We were concerned that the trails we needed wouldn’t be broken out because of all the snow in the previous week but we lucked out as the trails were broken. We started out on the Hancock Notch trail which starts at the hairpin turn on the Kanc with an almost buried sign.

Warning sign
Warning sign

You would think this was obvious but apparently it isn’t. We followed the Hancock Notch trail to the junction with the Cedar Brook trail which we followed to the junction with the Hancock Loop trail. This is where the fun started as we needed to stay on the Cedar Brook trail for another half mile and it wasn’t broken out.

Unbroken Cedar Brook trail
Unbroken Cedar Brook trail

It took us about half an hour to go the half mile to where the bushwhack started. It was pretty deep snow but nice powder so it wasn’t terribly hard. We took turns doing 100 steps each and then switching.

Start of the bushwhack
Start of the bushwhack

The snow in the woods seemed to be more consolidated and we didn’t sink in as much except for the occasional spruce trap which were as much as chest deep.

Nice open woods
Nice open woods

Most of the bushwhack was through open woods and there weren’t any steep portions so it was pretty enjoyable.

North Hancock
North Hancock

Just before the summit we had a nice view of North Hancock but we had to continue a little further to the viewless summit but we came back to this sunny spot to eat our PBJs.

Bill and Diane at the summit
Bill and Diane at the summit

After eating we headed down which went pretty quickly although the snow was getting soft and heavy with the warm temps and snow was melting off the trees and raining on us.

Bill and Diane headed down
Bill and Diane headed down

Only 58 more peaks left to complete the New Hampshire 200 Highest.

Our track for the day
Our track for the day

South Whaleback

Hiked South Whaleback on 1/31/2017. The delay in publishing this is because on 2/1 I started my week long volunteer stint at the Mount Washington Observatory and didn’t have time to do this. It was a bright sunny day but cold with the temperature at 7 when we started and 13 at the summit. South Whaleback is in the town of Lincoln almost across from the Loon Mountain ski area. The access is in the Clearbrook condominium complex. The condo association allows parking and access to the Old Osseo trail which was abandoned by the Forest Service many years ago. It is maintained by the condo association and is pretty easy to follow. The trail meets up with the new Osseo trail not far from the summit of Mt. Flume. We had a nice thick crust of snow to walk on that we didn’t break through so for the most part it was pretty easy walking.

The first stream crossing
The first stream crossing

There were several stream crossings and fortunately none were difficult. There weren’t many views as we were in the woods almost all day but there were some through the trees.

Big Coolidge
Big Coolidge

Big Coolidge was visible through the trees and may be our next destination. We followed the Old Osseo trail up to 2800 feet where it takes a sharp left turn and heads for the summit of Whaleback. We turned right and started the bushwhack to South Whaleback. There are two summits to South Whaleback and they are both about the same height and they both have summit registers. The first one is just a bottle hanging on a tree while the second and furthest from the trail has a PVC container attached to a tree. We hit both summits and signed both registers.

The official summit of South Whaleback
The official summit of South Whaleback

After signing in we walked back towards the trail and found a sunny spot where we ate our PBJs.

Bill and Diane headed down the trail.
Bill and Diane headed down the trail.

Bill took a video of me sliding down one of the steep sections. See it here  https://youtu.be/VBsYhdYS3yw

Loon Mountain through the trees
Loon Mountain through the trees

We reached the cars and I headed off for Mt. Washington and Bill and Diane headed home. Only 59 peaks left to finish the New Hampshire 200 Highest.

Track of our route
Track of our route