Monday, July 10, 2017

Hedgehog Mt. 7-4-17

"Family Fun on the Forth" (pictures)

This Independence Day Scott and I, my Brother and his girlfriend, my Sister and brother-in-law, one of the nephews and 2 nieces were able to get together for a hike! We opted for an easier hike but one that still would provide great views and a good work out. We had hiked Hedgehog the year before after seeing it on "Windows to the Wild" and thought this would be a great hike with the family.

I was rather surprised to arrive at the parking lot at 10:30am for the UNH trail to find just 4 cars at what is typically a very popular hike. We began the loop clock-wise. The trail is pretty gradual for most of the way until the last few hundred feet below the first and most prominent ledge. Here at the "granite bench" we enjoyed our lunch looking out to the North side of Chocorua and Passaconaway. The weather couldn't be more perfect. Mostly sunny sky's, warm with low humidity.

After lunch we continued the loop around an open granite area that looks up to the summit of hedgehog. Then the trail gets somewhat steep for a couple hundred feet to the summit ledges on either side of the summit area. The hike down from here is a petty direct route back down to the parking lot with a short, limited but beautiful view North towards Mt. Carrigain and it's deep notch.

Mosquito's were only slightly troublesome along the first sections of trail and overall the trail conditions were very good. My 6 year old niece (who does hike and bike often with her parents) made the entire loop on her own :)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Middle Sister 6-11-17

"Giving Blood for a View and Cool Air" (pictures)

Finally after what's seemed like forever since Scott and I have had a significant hike we had the weather and time to get out. And we hiked our favorite trail in the White's again. Always a great way to start the hiking season!

It was a rough start but once our muscles warmed up we were going at a pretty good pace. The carter ledges were stunning as always. We would hit pockets of mosquito's and black flies along the way and the black flies got real bad below the crown of middle sister. They were just swarming and biting. Eeek!

Middle Sister summit welcomed us with a constant cool breeze as she usually does. We hung out for a bit having lunch and enjoying the view and weather. Such a fabulous day! It was 10 years to the month that we first began hiking together, beginning our 48 4k adventure that we completed in 2014. We then made our way over to and down Piper Trail.

The Carter Ledge-Piper Loop never disapoints. It never gets old and is a great way to avoid the Chocorua crowds. Also provides plenty of challenging hiking and beauty that one can only find here in the White Mountains National Forest :)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Castle in the Clouds Brook Walk 1-29-17

"Ice Water and a Light Show" (pictures)

Castle in the Clouds is always a good choice for hiking, especially if you want to just spend a couple hours in the woods. We did the brook walk which follows along a brook with several waterfalls. The falls were partly frozen but still flowing which is always the best time to catch them in the winter months.

After enjoying this very picturesque trail we followed the auto road up towards the castle grounds. Along the way we came upon a barred owl just above our heads. He flew down into the woods where I was able to walk down and get some good pictures of him. Always exciting to see an owl up close!

Once up at the Castle we were treated to the sun breaking through the clouds over Lake Winnipesaukee with the Belknap mountains in the background. It was so beautiful!

Trails were mostly hard packed, we used micro spikes and poles and had some minor post-holing here-and-there. Good to have the traction and poles on some of the steep bankings that have steep drop offs that you don't want to fall down!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Eagle Cliff 4-17-16

"Perched on Eagle Cliff" (pictures)

Having been "home bound" most of this winter at least in the hiking sense, Scott and I were not going to waste the first really nice day so far this Spring. We had planned on hiking Algonquin Trail but forgot that Sandwich Notch Road is closed in the Spring. So we drove down the road to Eagle Cliff. We were the only car and this would be our second time hiking this part of Red Hill in Sandwich.

The trail climbs steeply right from the trail head off Squam Lake road. You pass by many boulders and continue the steep climb until you reach a couple switch backs that negotiate some ledges and bring you up to a ledge scramble that can be by-passed to the right. We climbed the ledge and followed the trail along the top. Views to Squam Lake begin to open up. One final climb brings you out to the ledge/cliff.

We startled 3 turkey vultures enjoying a snack, they grabbed what ever animal they were eating and flew off. The view looks out across Squam Lake and over to the Sandwich Range. A seaplane was enjoying some skimming along the water top and there were a few boaters out as well. Thanks to the dog owner who let his dogs bark and jump on us. Never fails that we run into inconsiderate, ignorant dog owners.

We decided this was as far as we needed to go today and just sat out in the sun and enjoyed the view. Once we had our fill we headed back down. Several other hikers were on their way up, all happy for the nice weather!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Welch-Dickey Loop 2/28/16

"No Snow February Hiking" (pictures)

This hike never gets old! Desperately needing a day in the mountains we decided to get out on Sunday. We wanted to hike something on the "smaller" side but was still a good work-out. Welch-Dickey never disappoints! We parked at 9:00am with just a few cars in the lot and by the looks, no snow! We began bare-booting and soon needed to put the micro-spikes on as there was ice on the trail from recent rain freeze. Just below the first ledge outlook on Welch the ice got really thick.

We made the steep, beautiful hike up Welch. The down the frozen back side and up Dickey. We hiked across the upper ledge section which was half covered in ice (a lot less then usual) and down to Dickey Ledge. This our usual lunch spot we hung out and enjoyed the beautiful, quite February day! Then it was back down, passing the ice caves which were again no where near as impressive as they usually are this time of year. The beauty of these Granite batholiths never ceases to amaze! We come back here year-after-year, often a couple times a year :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Mt. Chocorua's Middle Sister 11/15/15

"Another Great Loop On My Favorite Trail" (pictures)

Having been bogged down with work and other things, we had not been hiking very much in the past few months. We really were itching for a good hike and what better loop hike than my favorite up Carter Ledge trail on Mt. Chocorua's Middle Sister Peak. My Uncle (and his dog Georgia) who also had not been on a significant hike in some time joined us!

We began 10:00 am on the Piper Trail and turned left when we got to Nickerson Ledge Trail. We then joined Carter Ledge trail which traverses over the beautiful open ledges dotted with stunted Pitch and Jack pine. We began to run into some ice halfway up the ledges which was carefully avoided. The winds were gusting at the Middle Sister summit as was (and always is) expected, but was not as cold as we've experienced on other hikes. For mid-November it was a rather pleasant day!

We hiked along Middle Sister trail to the Piper Trail junction which we made our descent on. Despite a slip and fall by all three of us on the ledge scramble down we made it back down to the parking lot at 3:30 pm. This is still and always will be my favorite loop hike. Always quite and beautiful. We make this hike at least once a year if not more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hedgehog Loop 9/27/15

"Hedgehog Packs a Punch" (pictures)

What a hike! It had been well over a month since Scott and I had done a substantial hike, so we opted for something on the smaller side. After seeing a segment of Hedgehog Mt. on TV we thought it would be a good choice. We began our hike at 10:00 am at a half full parking lot off of the "Kanc" highway. The UNH Loop trail begins left a short distance from the parking lot. Trails started off smooth, wide and easy to walk on. But once you break off the cross country ski trail section the trails become riddled with roots.

We took another left to take the loop in a clockwise direction so that we could hit the main ledges first than work our way up to the summit. You pass through a small boulder field and pine area before making the climb to the first set of ledges, which we arrived to at 11:45 pm. The views first open up partially to Mount Chocorua than on the East Ledge opens to a 180 degree view of Chocorua, Paugus and Passaconaway mountains as well as what I believe was Mount Roberts or Shaw poking up in the distant horizon.

There is plenty of ledge here to hang out on as well as a granite "couch" you can sit and relax on. We dropped back in the trees briefly before arriving at the next ledge area with a view up to the main summit and ledges of Hedgehog. We entered the forest again and passed by an impressive boulder field. Then began the climb around and up hedgehog mountain. Near the summit there are several small ledges for lunch. We dropped down for lunch at 12:15 pm on the North facing ledge. Here there is a 180 degree view of most notably the TriPyramids, Hancock's, Mt. Tremont and the impressive mass of Carrigain and it's counterparts.

After a quite lunch on this beautiful day we began our hike down. The trail is more steep and direct on this side. At one point we were given a view across the Dry River Wilderness to Mt. Washington! We made quick time coming down, passing all but a handful of hikers coming up. We arrived back at the parking lot for I believe about 1:15 pm. What a great hike, on the smaller side but still a good work out with impressive views. We saw maybe a handful of other hikers on the trail but had the ledges all to ourselves which was surprising! I am guessing this is a popular winter snow shoe hike, might have to give it a try this winter!

Portland Head Lighthouse 9/7/15

"Exploring the Grounds of Fort Williams Park" (pictures)