Thursday, June 21, 2012

Trail Report: Mount Kearsarge

June 16, 2012

This past weekend, Tom, Tony and myself drove to Mount Kearsarge near Wilmot, NH.  Mount Kearsarge is actually located within two state parks, Winslow State Park and Rollins State Park.  We pulled into Winslow State Park, paid the $4 per person tax and preceded to get our gear in order.

Mount Kearsarge is 2937' with a bare rock summit and 360 degree views.  The summit has remained bare since a forest fire in 1796.  There is a fire tower, cell tower and picnic tables at the summit.  You can not enter the fire tower but you can climb it to get an even better view.  From the tower on a very clear day you can see the skyline of Boston, 80 miles away.

parking lot looking up towards the summit

After gearing up we headed over to the Barlow Trail head.  Barlow trail is 1.8 miles with an elevation gain of 1100'.  This is not a steep trail at all.  Not that I wasn't huffing and puffing on my way up, but after some of the other hikes I have done, this hike was a breeze.

trail head signs for Barlow and Winslow trails

We started our ascent at 12:40pm.  As I mentioned this trail is fairly easy with very low elevation gains to start.  The trail has your typical New England look to it, lots of rocks and tree roots.

Tom and Tony heading up

After about a 1/2 mile Tony tweaked his back and needed to rest.  I should mention this is Tony's first hike, so we picked an easy mountain/trail to do. While we were resting, I took a few shots.

After about 10 minutes Tony insisted that Tom and I continue on our way and that he would catch up.  As Tony doesn't yet own a backpack I was carrying his water and snacks.  I offered to give them to him but he said no and that he would catch up.  So,  reluctantly we decided to press on.  During the next 20-30 minutes we encountered a few groups of people coming down, all of them said we didn't have much longer to go and that some good views would be coming up very soon.
first good view

small aircraft

After hanging out on the ledge for 10 minutes Tom and I were about to continue on when I saw a bright yellow shirt marching up the trail, Tony!  He ended up not being very far behind us.

Tony caught up to us at the first ledge view

We waited another 5 minutes or so to allow Tony to catch is breath and then we preceded onto the summit.  At this point were only 15-20 minutes from the top.

a small alpine bog

Tom and I near the summit


me at the summit

fire and cell towers at the summit

Tony enjoying the view!
The views at the summit were not the best, quite a bit of haze off in the distance.  You could see Mount Monadnock off to the SouthWest, Mount Ascutney in Vermont to the West, Mount Cardigan to the North.  I think we also saw Mount Washington but it was so hazy that it was hard to see.  No view of the Boston skyline today either.
After about 20 minutes at the top, the clouds started to move in and the wind was really picking up.  I actually wrapped myself in my towel as my sweat was starting to give me the chills.  We stayed at the summit for probably 45 minutes to an hour and then started to descend.

Summit of Mount Kearsarge: 2937'
Total hike time (round trip)..: 3h
Elevation Gain.....................: 1100'
Distance (round trip)...........: 3.2 miles

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trail Report: Mount Crawford

I'm a little late with this post but as no one even knows about this blog, who cares!  June 10, 2012, my hiking partner, Kellie and I decided to travel to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for our first ever WMNF (White Mountain National Forest) hike.  Today's mission: Mount Crawford via Davis Path.  We leave Hudson, NH around 8:30am.  It was a nice ride, a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures in the high 70's to low 80's and not a cloud in the sky!

Davis Path is a 14.4 mile trail that starts near Bartlett, NH on Route 302 and ascends all the way to the summit of Mount Washington.  Today's hike is only going to the first peak, Mount Crawford by way of the Mount Crawford spur trail.

The trail starts with crossing a suspension bridge

On the other side you will see a sign with information about Davis Path

You continue along the trail until you come to a small stream.  Don't slip on the wet rocks!

Once you cross the stream the path continues.  The first 1/2 mile of this trail starts easy with only moderate elevation gains.  I heard someone coming up behind us.  A lone women who stopped and chatted with us briefly.  She said "This trail gets to be very steep and it starts right here".  And right in front of us was a steep stone staircase.

Once we started to ascend it didn't seem to stop.  I felt like I was on a stair master for two hours.  This was indeed a steep hike.  There were a few switchbacks but once you start to ascend there really isn't very many places where the trail levels out.  And where it does level out it is only a very short distance.  Looking back, I don't think I am really in the proper physical condition for this trail, I was very slow and had to stop to rest a few times, but I did make it.

About 3/4 of the way up is where you start to get your first views of Crawford Notch.

Attitash Ski Area

Once you get to the ledges with spectacular views, you need to keep an eye out for the sign pointing you to the Crawford Spur Trail.  I should mention that the Davis Path trail is not well marked/blazed.  It is well worn, so you shouldn't get lost, but once you get towards the top you need to watch for the few blazes that are there.  It is very easy to lose your way.  In fact we had to backtrack once because we didn't see the trail blaze and we went off course.

This is the sign to watch for the Crawford spur trail

Once you get on the Crawford Spur Trail, you're only 15-20 minutes from the top.  The views from the top of Mount Crawford are just spectacular!  You have a 360 degree view. When you first arrive at the top you will see Mount Resolution and Stairs Mountain off to your right (East) and Mount Washington directly in front of you to the North.  Mount Willey is North to North West and Mount Carrigain off to your left (West).  Mount Carrigain is a good point of reference when following Davis Path.  If you ever get lost, as long as you are walking towards Mount Carrigain you will run into NH Route 302.

Stairs Mountain 3463' to the left and Mount Resolution 3004' to the Right

Mount Washington 6288'

Mount Willey 4340'

Mount Carrigain 4700'

The total time to reach the summit was about 2 hours.  During the ascent we ran into a handful of people coming down, but not many.  When we reached the summit there was another couple leaving.  Kellie and I had the summit to ourselves for a good 30 minutes before another couple showed up.  This was very nice to see after doing Mount Monadnock and seeing 100+ people at the top.

After a 45 minute break at the summit we started our descent.  It took about one hour and 15 minutes to get down.  The hike down was a little rough on the knees but we finished the hike with no injuries.  We hopped in the car and drove over to Lincoln, NH to get some food at the Common Man. (Great Bison burger!) Overall I am very pleased with this hike and I think I'd like to do it again during the Fall foliage season.

Summit of Mount Crawford: 3119'
Total hike time (round trip)..: 3h 30m
Elevation Gain.....................: 2100'
Distance (round trip)...........: 5 miles