Monday, September 17, 2012

Trail Report: Mount Chocorua

It has been 56 days since my last hike, much longer than I was expecting but I couldn't chance hurting my knees again.  My knees aren't back to 100% but they're close enough for me to get a hike in, so on Sept 14, 2012, Tony and myself went up to the Kancamagus Highway to hike Mount Chocorua (pronounced "shuh-cor'-wuh").

Mount Chocorua is 3,478' and is the easternmost peak of the Sandwich Range.  Due to this mountain being under 3500', having a bare and rocky summit with outstanding 360 degree views, this mountain is quite popular among hikers.

We left Hudson, NH around 8:30am on Friday morning.  Around exit 20 two white vans with "Dyn" (DynDNS) logo drive past us.  I found out afterwards they were heading to the "Reach the Beach" race, which is a 200 mile road race.  Good luck to them!

DynDNS vans heading to the RTB Race 

We arrive at the trail head about 10:30am, we gear up and hit the trail at 10:55am.

We decided on the Champney Brook trail.  This trail is actually quite level for the first mile, it hardly seemed like we were climbing a mountain.  But that changed as we got higher up.

The start of Champney Brook Trail

Tony on the bridge crossing

There were quite a few trees down along this trail.  I'm guessing from hurricane Irene that blew through here last year.  I was actually quite surprised to see as many down trees as we did.

Hurricane Irene damage

About 30-40 minutes into hiking we had to make a decision which way to go, do we continue along Champney Falls Trail or do we take the loop trail over to Pitcher Falls?  Waterfalls are always nice to see so we took the loop trail.

 Pitcher Falls loop trail sign

We were hoping that the Fall foliage would be a little further along than it was, but it's still a couple more weeks away.

Fall colors starting to show

Quite a few wet rocks to climb over

Not the summit but we are getting close!

Starting to get above the trees

Chocorua Summit in the distance

Ledge view

Ledge view

Summit of Mount Chocorua 3,478'

Beers on a nice early Fall day

 Enjoying the view from the summit
USGS marker

Tony enjoying his beer

Another nice view

And another

We had the summit to ourselves for about 15-20 minutes but overall it wasn't to crowded, still more people than I care for, especially on a weekday.  We started our descent about 2:30pm and we were down a little after 4:30pm.  We packed our gear into the car and headed over to Moat Mountain Brewery.  It was a great day!  The weather was incredible!  The temperature never got over 70 degrees all day, no bugs on the trail but there were some flying ants (I think) all over the summit.  Considering how cool it was it was still quite hazy, as you can see in the pictures.

Summit of Mount Chocorua: 3,478'
Total hike time: 5h 31m
Distance: 7.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2300'
Trails:  Champney Falls Trail and Loop trail to Pitcher Falls