Hike: Iron Mountain

SUMMARY

During peak foliage in October 2016, I brought my two boys to hike Iron Mountain in New Hampshire. Not only was the peak needed for my 52 with a View list, but there was an abandoned iron mine on the mountain that I thought my boys would enjoy exploring.

We parked at the small lot on Iron Mountain Road and followed Iron Mountain Trail to the summit of Iron Mountain. We continued beyond the summit to a vista on South Cliffs and then continued further down the mountain to the iron mine. We returned via the same trail. The hike was about 3.5 miles, included 1500′ of elevation gain and took us a little more than 3 hours.

Iron Mountain trail map

Map of hike

We got to the parking lot on Iron Mountain Road a little after 11:00 am and stepped out to sunny and breezy weather with temperatures in the 70s. We found the trail across the road from the parking lot where it crossed a field on top of a hill.

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Hike: Terrace/Weeks

SUMMARY

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.

Hike Terrace Mountain and Mount Weeks

Map of hike

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.

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Hike: 2016 Pemi Loop

SUMMARY

My first big, multi-day hike was a three day Pemigewasset Loop in July 2013 with a great group of friends. I decided that I wanted to push myself a little and attempt the Pemi Loop in a single day. Or, since I started in the evening, in a 24-hour period. I would be doing the hike solo, and with just a hammock and emergency bivy if I was forced to stop.

Since I had hiked Franconia Ridge plenty, I decided to set out clockwise from Lincoln Woods. That way I would do Franconia Ridge at night and the Bonds during daylight. I also decided to stick just to the Loop, no side hikes to Galehead or West Bond (or the further but attainable North Twin and Zealand).

Trail map

Map of hike (interactive map)

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Trail Run: Shell Pond & Blueberry Mountain

SUMMARY

I have been trail running for a year or so but on mostly flat trails near my house. After a few excursions to small mountains in my area, I decided I wanted to try out a long run with more serious climb. I picked out an area on my White Mountain National Forest maps that looked good (I had heard Blueberry Mountain was nice) and headed out.

After having some trouble finding the trail head (pro-tip: the road is called Stone House Road, Google Maps says Shell Pond Road) I parked in the lot by the Stone House gate and started my run.

Trail map

Map of run (interactive map)

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Hike: Seek the Peak 2016

SUMMARY

We began this hike from the Davis Path parking lot on Route 302 in Hart’s Location, New Hampshire. We followed Davis Path to Giant Stairs spur trail and slept at the established tent site on the top of Stairs Mountain. In the morning we returned to Davis Path and followed it to Mount Davis where we took the spur path to the summit. We returned to Davis Path and continued to Mount Isolation, where we again took the spur path to the summit. We we again returned to Davis Path and this time followed the path to its terminus on the shoulder of Mount Washington where it met Crawford Path. We completed our ascent of Mount Washington by following Crawford Path to the summit. For our descent we followed Nelson Crag Trail until it ended. Finally we jumped on Old Jackson Road and followed it to our other vehicle waiting at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center on Route 16 in Jackson, New Hampshire.

This massive hike was over 21 miles long and included 7100 feet of vertical gain. Not including the time we were sleeping on Stairs Mountain, this hike took almost 13.5 hours to complete.

Trail map

Map of hike (interactive map)

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Hike: Southern Presidentials

Trail Report

Since March 2015 I had been commuting to work via my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Final, in March of this year I put a down payment on a Toyota RAV4 which gave me and my whole family a lot more flexibility around commuting and other activities. I also bought a THULE Spare Me spare tire bike rack, which I was excited about as it provides a lot of flexibility in my hiking. Bringing my bike with me on solo hikes allows me to do traverses rather than always doing a loop to hike. I decided to put this to the test by doing a traverse of the Southern Presidentials. Additionally, a few weekends prior I had wanted to hike Mount Washington and bailed on the idea because of the ice conditions. But this time I borrowed crampons from a friend to make it happen.

After leaving home at an incredibly early time, I swung by the parking lot on Clinton Road in Crawford Notch at 6:00 am. I ditched my pack in the woods and clambered back into my car. There were only two cars in the parking lot, so that was good.

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Winter Bushwhack: Mount Isolation

Trail Report

What do you do on the final full day of winter? Get in your last Winter New Hampshire 4000 Footer of the season of course. Since the weather was going to be mild, a couple of friends and I decided to bushwhack to Mount Isolation. It was a Winter 4000 Footer that none of us had, and since we had done the other difficult Winter bushwhack of Owls Head, we figured we would round out the season.

The night before, one of my friends and I camped out at Barne’s Field Group Campground. As drove through Pinkham Notch it started to snow, but it was not supposed to accumulate to anything. We were surprised to find many of the campsites were being used, it must have been due to the favorable forecast. We did dinner over a fire and hit the sack early.

We met our other friend at 8:00am at the Rocky Branch Trail parking. There were about 10 cars in the lot and the weather was sunny, in the 20°s and breezy. We were somewhat surprised that there was no snow on the ground, the forest floor looked more like May than March. The plan was to hike Rocky Branch Trail to the top of Engine Hill and then do Engine Hill Bushwhack to bypass all of the water crossings on Isolation Trail. We would then hike Isolation Trail after doing a single water crossing and finally Davis Path and Isolation Spur to the summit.

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