In September 2016 I hiked Terrace Mountain, Mount Weeks and Middle Weeks. The goal was to hit Mount Weeks for my New England Hundred Highest list and to red-line some trails, mainly to get the section of the Kilkenny Ridge Trail between Middle Weeks and Bunnel Notch Trail. I also had a side goal of bushwhacking to a knob to the east of Mount Weeks, if I had the time.
I started and ended this hike from the small parking lot at the head of York Pond Trail. I headed up Bunnel Notch Trail to the junction with Kilkenny Ridge Trail and then headed south toward Terrace Mountain. I took the small spur trail to Terrace Mountain summit and continued southeast to Mount Weeks and Middle Weeks. I returned to Mount Weeks and attempted a bushwhack, returned to the trail and then completed the loop back to my car via York Pond Trail. The hike was about 13 miles with 4600′ elevation gain and took me just under 8 hours to complete.
I got to the parking lot at the head of York Pond Trail at 8:50 am. There were a few cars in the small lot, so I parked along the road out of the flow of traffic. There was a group gathered at the trail head preparing to hike up to Cabot Cabin for the night.
It was a breezy, cloudy day with temperatures in the 50s. I attacked the moderate climb up Bunnel Notch Trail, not seeing anyone along the way. I hit new trail at the junction with Kilkenny Ridge Trail. I had done parts of Kilkenny before, but not the section between Bunnel Notch and Middle Weeks. I turned south and headed up Terrace Mountain.
I got to the north peak of Terrace Mountain at 10:20 am. There was no view.
At 10:50 am, I found the main peak of Terrace Mountain up a short spur path from Kilkenny Ridge Trail. It was exposed to the breeze, but I enjoyed spots of sunlight and a view of Presidentials. I had a snack before continuing on.
The trail down Terrace Mountain was steep and faint. It was comprised of my favorite combination of fallen leaves and small rocks. Before hitting Mount Weeks I discovered a cool campsite off the trail, definitely a place to return to.
The climb up Mount Weeks was fairly steep and switch-backed. I got to the wooded summit at 12:25 pm and stopped for lunch in a small grassy clearing. After lunch I continued my hike to Middle Weeks in order to complete the section of the Kilkenny Ridge Trail traversing the Weeks peaks. I passed a solo hiker with overnight gear just before getting to Middle Weeks, the only person I saw out on the trails. After hitting the unremarkable summit I returned wence I came.
At a switchback below Mount Weeks I started my bushwhack to the knob to the east. I used my compass and followed a bearing I thought would get me there. My route started through thick spruce but soon opened to older growth trees. I knew I only had a half an hour to bushwhack in one direction, so when my time was up I turned around and followed my bearing back to the trail. I wasn’t successful in reaching the knob, but it was a good experience of bushwhacking solo. A confidence builder.
At 2:45 pm I had a snack, again on the summit of Mount Weeks. Since I was running low on time I trail ran down Mount Weeks and along York Pond Trail back to my car.
I got back to my car at 3:50 pm, and was out of the gate by 3:55 pm, before Berlin Fish Hatchery closed at 4:00 pm. None of the mountains I hiked were too exciting, but I was glad to cross Mount Weeks off my New England Hundred Highest list. By red-lining and trying out some bushwhacking I was able to explore places in the mountains that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and I really enjoyed myself.
Video of Terrace and Weeks traverse
Music from Free Music Archive: “Double Horse” by Cian Nugent
Date Hiked: 30 September 2016
Elevation Gain: 4625′
Distance: 13.3 miles
Book Time: 9:00
Actual Time: 7:55
Completed Red-Lining Trails:
Terrace Mountain Spur
York Pond Trail