• Up To The Summits Of The Twin Mountains

    “I have to jump to that rock?!” The third crossing of the Little River can’t be avoided. The North Twin Trail begins at the end of Haystack Road and follows the banks of the Little River before heading steeply up the mountain and reaching the summit in 4.3 miles and climbing 2,950 vertical feet. North Twin, elevation 4,761 feet is ranked #12/48 in height on the New Hampshire 4,000 footer list.

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    We met at the New Hampton Park and Ride lot at 6:30 am and in one car we continued north on I-93. The sky was grey but the clouds were high above the mountains. As we drove through Franconia Notch, I pointed out that Mount Liberty looked like George Washington lying in state, the summit of Liberty is certainly a good likeness of our first President’s nose.
    The weather forecast called for cool weather with the clouds clearing by mid-day. We all wanted a clear day on top of the Twin Mountains. The peaks are in the middle of the White Mountains and high above the designated Pemigewasset Wilderness.
    The North Twin Trailhead is west of the Village of Twin Mountain and from Route 3 turn south on Haystack Road and drive straight to its dead-end. There are about a dozen campsites on Haystack Road and they all appeared to be occupied. No surprise since these Federal camping sites are free for public use.

    A hiker from Vermont and her dog Maggie on the bare summit of South Twin, elevation 4,902 feet and ranked #8/48 on the New Hampshire 4,000 footer list. The Appalachian Trail passes over South Twin.

     

    The col between North and South Twin is covered with fern and there is a surprisingly fine view through the thin forest.

    Sharon, Sarah and I headed up the trail. I reminded them we had hiked the first mile of this trail a few years ago to reach Mount Hale’s abandoned Fire Warden’s Trail.
    The North Twin Trail starts out nicely on an old logging railroad grade and the official trail crosses the Little River three times before heading steeply up the mountain. The river is a pretty sight and its water is loud as it cascades over its rocky bed.
    A hike to the first river crossing, 8/10ths of a mile, would make a nice short walk for nature lovers visiting the area.
    The new 30th edition of the AMC’s White Mountain Guide explains that the first two water crossings can be avoided by staying on the east bank, bearing left at the first crossing and following a well-beaten path along the river. And that is just what we did!
    All the “well-beaten path” needs is a trail sign. It is easy to follow and even when the Little River is little it is not easy to cross without getting wet feet (during times of high water all the crossings can be impassable). The third crossing cannot be avoided and it is the narrowest and least difficult. We were able to rock hop across successfully but one step was tricky.
    The trail led away from the river and we headed up the mountain. We easily hopped across a low flowing brook and as we hiked we walked over a few dry stream beds. The trail got steeper and steeper and the footing of the trail got worse with lots of loose rock. We had a view through the trees of Mount Washington and we could see the black puffs of smoke from the old coal Cog Railway train that they run first in the morning.

    Sharon and Sarah enjoying North Twin’s east facing ledges and the grand vista. On the right side of the photo is nearby Zealand Mountain and its large open scree field.

     

    The trail passes under a huge silver birch “widow maker”, a handing limb that looks like a soft breeze might cause it to fall. The first miles of the North Twin Trail follow along an old logging railroad grade on the bank of the Little River.

    We met a group of about a dozen Dartmouth students out for their freshmen camping trip. They were loaded down with heavy backpacks and they zipped by us.
    The last half mile got steeper but when the trail leveled out we were rewarded with an open ledge with wide views ranging from Mount Washington and the Presidentials to Mount Carrigain and every peak in between and more farther away. This east view ledge is a nice place to hang out and we ate half a sandwich and enjoyed a good rest. The clouds were higher and the sun was fighting to come out and was winning.
    We continued on and reached the short side path that travels over the wooded actual highpoint and pops out at North Twin’s fine west facing outlook. We decided we’d linger here on our way back and we headed to South Twin.
    The distance between North and South Twin is just 1.3 miles but it sure looks a lot further. As we hiked, I joked just wait until we get to South Twin, it looks even further away from North Twin. It really does, maybe because South Twin is higher?
    The hike between the peaks went pleasantly quick. We made it to South Twin before noon and so did a couple dozen other hikers via the Twinway, aka The Appalachian Trail.
    South Twin’s summit is above tree line and the mountain filled panorama is among the grandest. The close by Franconia Ridge was dazzling.
    The Thru-Hikers were chatting and asking about the weather. The words “snow” kept coming up, would it or wouldn’t it in the next few days?
    A gal from Vermont told us she had gotten up at 4 am and only planned to hike Galehead but since the sun came out she decided to peak-bag South Twin too. She was trying to decide if she should visit North Twin but it looked so far away. Sharon and Sarah did their best to talk her into doing it.

    Yours truly, Sarah and Sharon on the North Twin’s east outlook.

    Sharon and Sarah recalled adding Mt. Jackson at the end of their Southern Presi Traverse and because a hiker on the Mt Pierce had told them you don’t want to hike all the way back up here just to get Jackson! We enjoyed the light moment and the mountain vista before heading back to North Twin. The Vermont gal didn’t join us. We really liked her dog and hoped she’d join us.
    The trip back to North Twin felt even quicker and we went back to settle in for more time on the east outlook. The sun was warm and we sat on the rocks. We pointed out the Galehead AMC hut down below and at all the peaks we had hiked together. We once again had North Twin all to ourselves.
    But not for long. Maggie, the Vermont gal’s dog appeared and then she did too. “I am so glad you talked me into this!” She now was more than half done completing the 4,000 footer list.
    We ambled down the mountain and the Little River water crossing seemed easier because the tricky rock step was down not up this time. We covered the 11.2 round trip in less than 8 hours and we felt great.
    I’ve been hiking with Sharon and Sarah for seven years helping them collect the mountains on the 4,000 footer list. They can check off two more peaks and now they have summited 42 of the 48 peaks on the list.
    We’re headed out for big hike soon.
    Have fun.


  • Space Dust IPA by Elysian Brewing Company

    Heading_WickedBrew

    When we look up into the clear night sky, we could ponder many things. How many stars? How many galaxies? Is there life on other planets? What is floating around up there? Well to the last question, we know that there is a lot of debris, large and small, floating through the abyss. Some would also call this space dust, some of which is visible from a comet’s tail. But we can examine another kind of space dust right here on earth in the form of an IPA from Elysian.

    Elysian Brewing from Seattle, Washington, owns and operates 4 different restaurants and a brewery. Opening in 1996 (that magical time when craft brewing initiated huge industrial growth), Elysian looked to leverage food paired with great beer in an area of the country known for its flavorful hop varieties. Northern west coast hops had come into their own celebrity status in the late 1990’s and was the time period in which everyone wanted to try them in their beers. Out of that time, west coast IPA styles became a norm.
    Elysian’s brewery encompasses twenty 240-barrel fermenters and is a 60-barrel brewhouse. To date, they have designed and brewed over 350 different recipes during their brewing career. Their motivation and momentum seems unstoppable. Garnering a three-time award for Large Brewpub of the Year at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado, Elysian’s growth is astronomical.
    Pouring into a pint glass, Space Dust is a bright yellowy-gold hue with the slightest haze and bright white head which slowly fades. Aromas of floral and citrus were expected but I also realized a bit of sweet caramel. Taste followed the nose. Added to the list of hints were orange and a little grapefruit or pineapple which is also to be expected in a west coast IPA. Malt character is precisely balanced with neither malt or hop yelling above each other. The malt bill on this beers is simple and to the point; no special this-or-that grains. This also helped to keep the mouthfeel light. At 73 IBUs (International Bittering Units), and 8.2% ABV, Space Dust is deceivingly deceptive. It drinks like a 40 IBU and 5% which may get some of you in trouble…
    BeerAdvocate.com has categorized this as an American Double IPA. BA has officially rated Space Dust IPA as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 90 out of 100. Other followers are rating it as high as 4.88 out of 5.0.
    You can buy 12 oz six packs of Elysian Space Dust at Case-n-Keg in Meredith as well as other fine beer providers. Hope you agree with me and find Space Dust IPA out of this world!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com


  • Football Head Cases

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    FOOTBALL HEAD CASES?

    Another football season beckons and excitement abounds as professional, college, high school and junior level football players take to the playing fields, dreaming of gridiron glory.
    The 2017 season will end on a down note for most as only one team can win a championship in any league or conference. But some players’ seasons will end extra early due to the inevitable injuries associated with this violent game.
    Which brings us to the perennial question about whether football should just go away, given that so many players get hurt and maimed. Concussions and brain injuries are of particular concern lately, given the many anecdotal examples of former gridsters suffering dementia.
    A recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association focused attention on research conducted by Boston University’s School of Medicine where researchers studied 111 brains donated by former NFL players—110 of which showed damage characteristic of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
    Yet despite a growing movement to ban football, more New Hampshire high schools than ever are offering the sport. Locally, Laconia, Kingswood, Plymouth and Franklin High Schools have long-established gridiron traditions. But now Gilford/Belmont fields a joint football team. Winnisquam and Newfound High Schools now have football.
    In fact, smaller high schools through New Hampshire have jumped on the gridiron bandwagon, probably to the chagrin of local soccer coaches—schools like Epping/Newmarket, Farmington/Nute, Raymond, Mascoma, Merrimack Valley and Bow.
    So how does one reconcile the growing movement to ban football with the growing number of schools that offer it? Will the public support both football and increasing player safety requirements?
    Time will tell.

    Girls 3-on-3 basketball action in front of the State House as part of the recent Rock-On Basketball and Music Fest.

    ROCKING BASKETBALL IN CONCORD
    It was cool to see Concord’s Main Street in front of the State House turned into basketball courts on August 11-12 as part of the Rock-On Basketball and Music Fest. Concord’s Bonner basketball family members (Matt, Luke, and Becky) are prime movers behind this unique annual event that combines entertainment with sports while bringing people together.
    Hopefully this event will continue to grow. I’d suggest adding a dunk contest. And a three-point contest. Maybe a “Legends” component so Dave Bonner could return to the court.
    Rock on, baby!

    Sports Quiz
    What year did the New York Yankees finish tenth—and last—in the American League? (Answer follows)

    Born Today …
    That is to say, sports standouts born on August 24 include former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan (1952) and MLB Hall-of-Famer Cal Ripken Jr. (1960).

    Sportsquote
    “I have two weapons; my arms, my legs and my brain.” – NFL quarterback Michael Vick

    Sportsquiz Answer
    The Yankees finished tenth and last in the American League in 1966, ½ game behind the Boston Red Sox. The Baltimore Orioles finished first and then swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

    State Representative Michael Moffett was a Professor of Sports Management for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord and currently teaches on-line for New England College. He co-authored the critically-acclaimed and award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” (with the Marines)—which is available through Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.


  • Homecoming Day Came To Stay In New Hampton

    NotSoLongAgo_Blog

    by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr._DSC2528
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    An immense bonfire on Shingle Camp Hill in the town of New Hampton lit up the sky on a Saturday night in the summer of or near 1910 as it announced the beginning of the Old Home Week celebration.
    A local newspaper reported that “This welcoming beacon could be seen for miles around and was only one of several which could be seen in adjoining towns.”
    The citizens of the central New Hampshire town were said to be among the foremost to enthusiastically invite former and present residents to gather together to enjoy the fellowship of each other and to renew old acquaintances. All day services on Sunday at the Dana Meeting House were said to be “…perhaps the most impressive observances of old home week in the State.”
    The church building is now nearing twice the age it was when the following was written about it, but the observation about that Sunday of old was “Around this historic building cluster a multitude of fond reminiscences for the older generations. It was built in the year 1800 on the range of hills between New Hampton and New Holderness – now Ashland – and its interior, with the high pulpit and square pews, has been kept unchanged.” The morning service on that Sunday was mainly for the children and was conducted by the Rev. Mrs. Tracy.

    Ed Huckins, 96, who has attended all of New Hampton’s Old Home Days held during his life-time shown with his daughter, Judy.

    After the morning service Sunday School classes were held with people gathering in large groups where they “discussed the lesson in the grand old democratic way.” An hour of social time followed Sunday School with lunch baskets being opened to provide physical refreshment at mid-day. Dr. O.H. Tracey was the speaker for the afternoon service when he preached to a large audience about “…the old New England home and what it stood for.” When he finished his sermon he invited the deacons, who were seated in the deacons pew which was (and still is) located in front of the high pulpit facing the congregation, to follow “ an old fashioned custom” of making a few remarks. Deacons Kendrick Smith, Joseph P. Sanborn, William R. Dearborn and D.W. Waite responded. Deacon Smith noted that he had taken part in services in the church more than 70 years previous and that Elder Perkins, whose picture was on the wall, use to end his sermons by saying “Brothers and sisters, there is liberty.” Not to be done with old customs, the service didn’t conclude until many of those present “…gave testimony to their religious homes , and the good this particular church had done.”
    The Old Home Week continued on Wednesday at the Old Institution section of town with a large crowd gathering for a day of “sociability and entertainment.” Continuing their old-fashioned ways the report was that “An old-fashioned dinner with its first and chief course of baked beans was served on the long tables in the grove and among the family gatherings near by. After dinner the people assembled on the highest part of the ground to listen to stories of former and present residents, before the President of the affair, Fred W. Sanborn, introduced the speakers, Deacon Kendrick Smith, Hon. Joseph Walker, (Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives) , Richard Pattee, Rev. C.C. Horst, and Rev. O.H. Tracy. The Bristol Cornet Band entertained the crowd with music throughout the day which concluded with a musical event at Chapel Hall featuring violin and piano soloists and singing of several sprano solos by Miss Elsye M. Wallace of Rochester and Boston.
    Let us now revisit the event in 1908.
    “New Hampton, Aug. 22- One more red letter day for New Hampton and Old Home day, 1908, has passed into history.”
    That was the opening sentence of a newspaper article in the year stated, which continued to tell the readers that, though the weather that August morning “…did not look propitious” people left their homes and headed for the Old Institution location in the town to enjoy that year’s Old Home Day. As it turned out there were only a few sprinkles of rain on that day and those who attended apparently did enjoy the two main activities, eating and listening to speeches by well-known dignitaries.
    The eating came first as the patriotism of the group was marked by the presence of three American flags. One flew over the grove, which was “ looking at its best”, another was across the main entrance, and the third was owned by David Taylor, but draped over the Pike family table around which were seated thirty-six family members and friends. Presiding members of the Pike family were Mrs. Myra (Pike) Taylor, Mrs. Martha (Pike) Sanborn, and Mrs. Eunice (Pike) Howard. Attendance was obviously great for that 1908 event as tables were set up for 300 people and were “ …filled and reset several times.”
    Dr. Austin S. Bronson, president of the society introduced the speakers: Kendrick W. Smith, Prof. Fred W. Wallace, Rev. Dr. Arthur Gordon, Richard Pattee, Rev. Mr. Patten, E.W. Gilbert of California, E.J. Cheever, Moses F. Merrow, Prof. H.W. Brown, Prof. Moulton, and Mr. Dixon. The newspaper write-up of the event says of the speakers, “They all had some good thing to say about New Hampton” , and adds that resident Milton Whitcher gave a reading “…which was appreciated by all.” I wonder about that last statement after all those speakers.
    By the way, those speakers, back in 1908, were said to be of the opinion that a town history ought to be written, and the reporter observed that “It is very evident that Old Home Day has come to stay at New Hampton” , as indeed it has, and I must add that my neighbor, Edwin Huckins , has been in attendance at each Old Home Day held in New Hampton during his 96 years of living here, including the most recent one in this year of 2017.


  • Roses And Thorns

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    When I wrote my last essay I was preparing for a week-long camping trip with a Boy Scout troop. That trip has joined a long list of camping adventures I’ve enjoyed with this group of Scouts and adult leaders. Each event has been unique despite the similarities: Tenting, building camp fires, hiking and other outdoor activities, learning and developing leadership skills, and, of course, enjoying the camaraderie.
    At the end of each trip we gather around for “roses and thorns,” a time when each person presents his high and low point of the event. No names, just experiences. Usual “roses” are the big events, which in this case included an overnight Mt. Washington hike and playing in the natural water slide off the Kancamagus Highway. Usual “thorns” are what you’d expect: meal clean up, lack of sleep, and rain.
    I always focus more on the thorns, which provide greater insight into how these kids think. A recurring thorn from last week was rooted in the kids’ sense of “fairness.” Some complained that they had been asked to do more chores than other Scouts. I’m sure it’s a common refrain heard by parents and teachers, but we usually avoid it at camp, where the fun-to-drudgery ratio is high and the older Scouts nip it in the bud.
    This time we had a younger group, and it seemed as if some them had spent the week thinking like accountants and referees. One Scout railed at the perceived injustice of being tasked to do more than others. At his age, justice and fairness are inextricably intertwined, and he couldn’t see how debilitating that mindset can be. Somewhere further along the path to adulthood he’ll learn that fairness ranks low on the justice continuum.
    How do you explain to 12- or 14-year-olds that one of the secrets of life is “Life ain’t fair” – and that that’s not a bad thing? How do you help them see that life, in all its wondrous complexity, is too big to be constrained by such a small-minded, petty concept as “fairness”? Maybe there’s a celestial balance sheet or scoreboard maintained by beings more capable than us, but with our limited view, we can’t possible see and keep track of all the things done for us by others. By making good deeds transactional, you’re missing the point. Doing the right thing has a value all its own. That was my thorn for the week, but I’m not sure I got my point across.
    I told the Scouts that I sometimes feel embarrassed thinking about all the things people have done for me – people I’ve known, others I’ve not known, doing things I’ve recognized (and, I hope, acknowledged), but also doing things on my behalf that I didn’t even know were done. I told them that I can only pray that in the end I’ve managed to do for others as they’ve done for me, but that there’s no way of keeping track. Treating life like a balance sheet means missing out on the joys and serendipity of life.
    Nietzsche was wrong. Perhaps his Übermensch is strengthened by surviving near-fatal adversity, but for most of us humans, that which does not kill us usually just makes us surly and resentful. What makes us stronger and brings true happiness is making personal connections through the deeds we do, and weaving them tightly into the tapestry of our lives. A focus on fairness interferes with making those connections. Who wants to be in a relationship with someone who keeps score?
    Moral character is developed by making a habit of doing the right thing, without regard to the immediate benefits it might bring or what others have done for us. Fairness has no place in that calculation. Setting the example lifts spirits and makes all but the most defiant better and happier. It’s not a contradiction to believe that by giving more than we get, we will get more than we give. That’s a lot for a young teen to learn. It’s part of Scouting’s mission to help them figure it out.
    Part of our challenge was generational. It’s easy for kids to think that we old guys just don’t understand, especially when we clearly didn’t recognize the signs of withdrawal for kids losing access to their smart phones. Luckily, we had two Eagle Scouts with us, former Troop members and now college students, who were well-positioned to bridge the generational divide. Their counsel and example helped these young Scouts understand that keeping score is for sports. In life, it deadens the spirit and distracts from the mission. It’s also impossible.


  • Looking Forward

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    I am looking forward to the next campaign season despite it all.
    It used to be, in years past, I was the only one running for governor from the Flatlander Party. It wasn’t a difficult choice, being there were only a handful of us back in those early days. (Actually, it came down to a coin toss and I lost.)
    As the years went by, it was just assumed that I would be the perennial candidate since I already had some experience in campaigning. I was becoming quick on my feet answering questions by giving answers that meant nothing at all, an important part in being a politician.
    Ironically, my campaigns for governor only helped to increase the membership in the Party as more and more Flatlanders, once afraid to declare themselves as such, became emboldened and jumped on the wagon.
    Lets’ face it, when I moved to New Hampshire from New York in 1985, relations between Flatlanders and natives were pretty bad.
    Who doesn’t remember the famous “Dump Day Massacre” of 1972 when a group of natives attacked some well-intentioned Flatlanders who were trying to throw stuff away at the dump instead of bringing junk home. Traffic was backed up for miles and the police were called in when the Flatlanders were chased into the road by the natives who had picked up any rusty old piece of metal they could find, of which there were many.
    When I announced the formation of The Flatlander Party as well as my intention to run for governor, I knew there would be backlash. Though we Flatlanders were tolerated here in the Granite State, we weren’t truly accepted. As long as we stayed in the background everything would be alright.
    There were protesters at that first news conference when I made my announcement. It was a small group of natives there to loudly protest. Of course, the New Hampshire media portrayed them as speaking for every native, but I knew better.
    That first election was dismal as far as votes for me, but I knew it would be tough. Still, the Flatlander Party had made its mark and was here to stay. Continue reading  Post ID 2970


  • Two Day Presidential Campaign With A Night At The Lake Of The Clouds

    Sue on the summit of Mt Adams with Mt Madison in the background. Mt Adams is the second highest mountain in New Hampshire (behind Mt Washington) at elevation 5,774 feet and the highest without a restaurant in the Presidential Range.

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    The short flight from Baltimore, Maryland had arrived early and Sue was already waiting at the curb at the Manchester airport as I arrived to pick her up. She jumped into the car and we headed north for her “dream come true” hiking adventure.
    Sue wanted to hike Mt Washington and as many 4k peaks as possible during her visit. Last spring I led Sue and her husband up Mt Moosilauke. Sue caught the 4k bug and “needs” to hike all 48 peaks on the 4,000 footer list.
    I checked the Appalachian Mountain Club’s website, outdoors.org, every day for weeks only to find that the Lake of the Clouds Hut was booked full. But two days before she arrived, miraculously the site showed vacancy and I made a reservation. This good luck made it possible to try for a 2-day Presidential Traverse—that is hiking nearly 23 miles and climbing 9,000 vertical feet to visit the summits of 8 peaks.

    Sue looks back towards the mountains from the northern slope of Mt Eisenhower. We could see the first Cog Railway train making its way up Mt Washington.

    Not only did we have a reservation for a hut stay but our good luck continued with a greatly improving weather forecast that ended up proving true.
    Just before 7 am, we dropped a car at the top of Crawford Notch across from the Webster-Jackson Trailhead where we hoped to finish our hike the following day. We then drove to the Howker Ridge Trailhead on the Pinkham B Road in Randolph.
    The Howker Ridge Trail is a lightly used rugged route to Mt Madison. The trail traverses the ridge up and over the Howks—bald bumps that have grand vistas. We didn’t meet a single soul until we reached Mt Madison. We enjoyed the nice weather and clear skies but only stayed on the summit long enough to touch the highpoint before we continued on our way. The panorama was grand and we could see all the peaks we had to cross to reach Mount Washington.
    We ran into Hiker Ed (he’s hiked the Grid, every 4k peak in every month, 7 times) and he gave us some peanut M&Ms.
    At Madison Hut we filled our water bottles and we didn’t linger. We had been on the trail for 4 hours and we had a long ways to go. Up Mt Adams, the 2nd highest peak and the highest without a restaurant, our route was Gulfside and then up and down Lowe’s Path—the way with best footing. We thought we were alone until we were just a few yards from the summit where we saw a dozen hikers hidden between rocks. Mount Washington still looked far away.

    The view from Mt. Monroe of the Lake of the Clouds Hut, the tarns and Mt Washington. The Appalachian Mountain Club operates 8 high mountain huts in New Hampshire. During full-service season, supper, a bunk bed with three wool blankets and breakfast are included in your stay. To learn more about the AMC and their huts visit outdoors.org.

     

    Sue enjoys the view from a Howk! The Howker Ridge is a lightly used beautiful and rugged trail that begins by following Bumpus Brook and its lovely cascades and waterfalls. Higher on the ridge the trail goes up and over bare ledge knobs called Howks before intersecting with the Osgood Trail for the short scramble to the Mt Madison’s summit.

    Back on the Gulfside Trail we began to meet Appalachian Trail thru hikers on their way to Maine. These first AT hikers were early risers and fast hikers. They had come from Lake of the Clouds, Mizpah Hut and all the way from Crawford Notch.
    The sun was hot and Mt Jefferson loomed large in front of us. I had warned Sue that between Adams and Jefferson it would be tough mentally and physically. The trail over large blocky and often sharp rocks make for tough and awkward hiking. Descending into Edmands col makes the trial ahead appear to be a vertical wall and Mt Washington will seem impossibly far away. Well, I confess that is how I have felt each time I do a Presi-Traverse and weight of the trail was heavy here for her too. Sue from sea level Baltimore really bucked up, she was determined and pressed on taking one step after another.
    The Caps Ridge Trail is popular since it looks so short and easy on the map since it starts at the height of the land from Jefferson Notch Road, but it is an extremely rugged trail. So it was no surprise to me that the summit of Jefferson was crowded with people sitting on the summit cone. Hikers wanting to tag the highpoint, including us, had to step around these people. Seriously you’d think they figure it out that not sitting on the highpoint might make it more enjoyable.
    After Jefferson the footing greatly improves and the gentle traverse over the Monticello Lawn and down to Sphinx col put a spring back in our step. And since summiting Jefferson we could now see the mountains beyond Mt Washington and the open view to the west.
    On Gulfside we skirted the summit of Mt Clay, a peak not on the List since it does not have enough prominence between it and Mt Washington. Sue’s face lit up when I told her that we were now climbing Mt Washington.
    We constantly met people on the trail. By this time hikers were on their way off of Mt Washington and would descend via the Jewell Trail.
    The last Cog Railway trains of the day were headed up as we neared the tracks. We decided to stay put and let one pass. What could be more stupid than getting hit by a train on Mount Washington? We found the answer after turning off the Gulfside Trail and hiking up the Trinity Heights Connector that leads to the very summit of Mt Washington. That answer would be waiting in line to take your photo by the Mt Washington summit sign.
    There must have been a 20 minute wait for a turn to take your photo next to the summit sign. No hikers appeared to be waiting and we just passed by. A group of thru-hikers cut line and with safety in their numbers didn’t cause a riot when they quickly took their photo.

    Mt Monroe’s summit, elevation 5,372 feet, rises dramatically 350 vertical feet from the Lake of the Clouds Hut and it is the highest peak in the southern Presidential Range.

    Sue wanted a photo with all the peaks she had climbed to be the background of her summit photo and that was easy to do.
    Inside the Sherman Adams Summit Building we filled our water bottles and drank greedily. As we sat near the entrance a person asked Sue if she hiked all the way up the mountain. When Sue answered yes the person just gushed with admiration and near disbelief at her efforts for completing such a feat.
    We spent some time on the summit enjoying the view and the happy circus atmosphere. The nice weather had attracted visitors from far and wide. Most people wore sneakers or dress shoes and smelled like flowers. The few hikers stood out with worn boots or trail runners and smelled not like flowers—but not as strong as some of the thru-hikers ha ha. We peeked in the stone Tip-Top House before heading down the Crawford Path.
    We could see the Lake of the Clouds Hut below us and in about an hour we’d be sitting at the table about to be served supper. From now on the trails would be much smoother and the mountains smaller.

    The Crawford Path passes the shore of a tarn, a small mountain lake, near the Lake of the Clouds Hut. Mt Washington is far above Sue.

     

    The climb from Edmands Col to the summit of Mt Jefferson is rugged but from the summit towards Washington across the Monticello Lawn is a welcome relief from rock hopping.

    Everyone was just starting to sit down for supper when we checked-in. By the time we shouldered our packs at the trailhead to the time we threw our packs onto our bunk 11 hours had ticked by. A satisfying supper was followed by a heart-filling colorful sunset.
    Sleep is not easy since 90+ people filled the hut to capacity; it was a noisy night. Breakfast was yummy and would be the best part of staying at the hut but walking out the door and being right below Mount Monroe beats it.
    Actually the staff, The Croo at the Lake of the Clouds Hut are the best! The hard work that these young people do to keep the hut organized and to prepare meals for 90+ guests is remarkable. They even perform a skit after breakfast! You’ll just have to visit a hut and experience it yourself. I don’t want to spoil the surprise but there happened to be over 500 rubber ducks at the hut.
    Clouds covered Mt Washington’s summit and we were headed into the better weather. The harder hiking was well behind us. We hiked steadily and comfortably as we hiked over Mt Monroe, Mt Franklin and to Mt Eisenhower. A professional trail crew working on the Eisenhower loop and was hard at work moving rocks.
    We turned onto the Mizpah Cut-off and summited Mt Pierce and continued down to the hut. Sue topped off her water and we continued to Mt Jackson.
    A surge of AT hikers came by as we left the hut. A trail worker was trying to drain and improve the trail. She had a shovel and worked at the endless task.
    Our last summit didn’t fail to please. Jackson’s open ledges gave a nice view back at Mizpah Hut and beyond to the peaks we had hiked. The higher northern peaks were mostly still in the clouds but it was enough to soak in how far we had come in two days.
    Our second day of hiking was 7 hours and we were back at the car at Crawford Notch by mid-afternoon. We went swimming at Lower Falls on our way to picking up the other car.
    Yes we slept well in my quiet house and in the morning we went wild on the water slides for at Whale’s Tale! The waterpark is thrilling and chilling! We also stopped by the Mountain Wanderer Map and Book Store in Lincoln where Sue bought some maps and a 4k tee-shirt.
    I know my friend had a good time. On our way back to the airport she was already planning to come back to hike.
    Have Fun.

    What do you do the day after your hike? We went to Whale’s Tale Waterpark in Lincoln! We went on all the big water slides and had a thrilling good time

  • Spreading The Joy

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

    I had never dreamed, twelve years ago when I started it, that it would grow to be such a powerful organization.
    My intention was purely based on how we could get this idea started in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, but today it has grown across the country.
    I couldn’t be prouder.
    Of course I am talking about TAIALBBHTWICF Fund.
    For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym (I imagine there might be one or two) it stands for “The Air Is A Little Bit Better Here Than Where I Come From”. The origin of which was my goodwill intentions in helping upper-middle class and wealthy families, who were shut out in finding a luxurious lakefront home to spend a couple of weeks in the summer. Most had tried to make reservations too late and found that there was little recourse than to either spend their time here in an (ugh) condo apartment on the water or, worse, never leave home at all.
    I had started it after reading the horror stories about some of those families. One story was about the degradation of having to share a beach with strangers, lacking the social skills in mingling with other families who made less than $75,000 a year. Feeling uncomfortable and never quite being able to fit in.
    One story which really touched my heart was of one family in a town in Massachussetts, who stayed at home while their affluent neighbors all enjoyed August vacations in private homes either here on Lake Winnipesaukee, on the shores on Nantucket, or even tropical locales out of country. This family had tried too late to find their own place and were shut out. It was the humiliation they faced during their day to day after. Maybe it was the forced smiling faces at the Country Club from those who they thought were their friends, but were now talking about them behind their backs.
    Not many of us can ever relate to the suffering that these people go through. We go about our day to day, working nine to five, barely making enough to cover the mortgage. We never even stop to think about the struggles of those whose lives have forced upon them the necessity to have to have only the best, and most private, in accommodations when they travel. They have no other choice; it is a life that so many of us can never understand.
    TAIALBBHTWICF Fund has been very successful in helping these folks escape from the places they live and to spend a week or more in an exquisite mansion on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee. Close to my heart, as an ex-New Yorker, I love to see the small smiles when a family from the North Shore of Long Island are freed from being trapped in the summer stench of saltwater and are provided with luxurious accommodations in an exquisite lakefront mansion on Lake Winnipesaukee to finally have some fresh, lake air.
    The feeling I get when I come to greet them upon their arrival when their private jet touches down at Laconia Airport, fills my heart with joy. Even though I know I need to stand back at least fifty yards as they deplane, I am pretty sure they see me wave.
    TAIALBBHTWICF Fund has been so successful that its mission has spread across the country and I couldn’t be prouder.
    From the shores of our magnificent lakes here in New Hampshire, the idea has spread and now the program is finding first class homes on bodies of water and along the shores of our magnificent oceans all around the country for those who simply forgot to make their reservations on time.
    As TAIALBBHTWICF Fund grows, we will be looking at ways to make these families vacations even more memorable.
    Making sure they have the best table at a local, upper scale restaurant without them having to go through the agony of making the reservation. We are even in discussion with the local attractions of each resort area, in providing special times for our TAIALBBHTWICF Fund recipients to use their facilities without having to deal with the overwhelming burden of waiting in line or, god forbid, mingling with others that they’d rather not.
    As the program grows and we are reaching out our well manicured, helping hands across the country to help those in need, we are envisioning taking TAIALBBHTWICF Fund globally and bringing busy and forgetful people to wonderful vacation homes around the world that might have otherwise eluded them.
    I couldn’t be prouder.
    Join me as “Real Stories North Of Concord” hosts their second StorySlam at Pitman’s Freight Room in Laconia on Thursday, August 24th. Up to twelve storytellers will be picked to tell their 6-minute story based on the theme “Brush With Fame.” The slam starts at 7:30 and admission is $20 with all net proceeds going to benefit Camp Resilience.


  • A Hike On Pine Mountain Trail

    Outdoor Columnist Amy Patenaude stands on Pine Mountains open ledge with a view of Mount Major and Lake Winnipesaukee. The 1.7 mile lollipop loop through the Morse Preserve is well worth the modest effort for the grand mountain and lake vista. Although no longer a working farm the blueberry barrens were full of ripe berries and it is a popular place for people to pick.

    Hiking the Evelyn H. & Albert D. Morse, Sr. Preserve

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Early Saturday morning, while the Mount Major parking lot was overflowing out onto Route 11, we were headed to another nearby quieter and smaller Belknap peak. Charlie and I easily pulled into the Mike Burke, Alton Town Forest parking area on Avery Hill Road in Alton. There is room for about a dozen cars here.
    I had printed the Pine Mountain Trail map from the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (SPNHF) website, www.forestsociety.org . I had learned about Pine Mountain because its trails are included in the 60+ miles of trails that must be hiked to earn the Belknap Range Redline Patch offered by the Belknap Range Trail Tenders (BRATTS.org).
    The BRATTS are a volunteer group that perform great work maintaining and improving the hiking trails in the Belknap Range. The goal of the redline challenge is for people to have fun exploring the Belknap Range and to inspire new BRATT membership to help maintain these trails. Continue reading  Post ID 2970


  • Winston Churchill Ran For Governor Of NH And Owned A Summer White House

    NotSoLongAgo_Blog

    by Robert Hanaford Smith, Sr._DSC2528
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    One evening back in the 1970’s I was visiting in the home of one of the villagers in East Randolph, Vermont when he picked up a book and handed it me. He thought I might be interested in reading it. “You can have it”, he said. “ I’ve read it.”
    I took the book, briefly examined it, and, though I saw nothing that made a particular impression upon me, I was grateful for his generosity, and took the book home with me, also being one who seldom turns down something of value offered to me that’s free, and being mindful that you can’t judge a book by its cover or its title. From time to time since then the book has been moved from one house to another and from one room to another, remaining unread by me. Recently, while reading about the Winston Churchill who ran for Governor of New Hampshire twice, and lost twice, I noticed that he had written a novel entitled The Inside of the Cup, a title that brought back memories of a book that was given to me years ago, a book, that would have opened up opportunities to discuss the Christian faith and the social gospel movement with my friend, Cliff Cornell, if I had read it.

    Winston Churchill

    All that is written to introduce you to “the other Winston Churchill”, not the British statesman who became more famous, but the New Hampshire resident who ran unsuccessfully for Governor of the state as a Republican in 1906, and again on the Progressive Party ticket in 1912. About this time of the year in August of 1917, Churchill went to Europe as a member of the Bureau of Naval Intelligence, a position he had been appointed to after volunteering to help the military at the beginning of World War I in 1917. He had graduated from the United States Naval Academy and received his war assignment after writing to the then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Col. Churchill had become an editor of the Army and Navy Journal after graduating from the Naval Academy and wrote newspaper articles during the war. He was the managing editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine for a short time before concentrating on his writing career. Continue reading  Post ID 2970


  • Manta Ray DIPA from Ballast Point Brewing Co.

    Heading_WickedBrew

    Across the country, the craft beer industry is alive and doing VERY well. More and more, craft-brewed beer (less than 15,000 barrels/yr in production per facility) have made big inroads into “macro” beer sales with names such as Miller-Coors and Budweiser. With less than 20% sales of the entire craft industry selling against the macro brewers in country, this is a big deal. So let’s look at Ballast Point.
    On the other side of the country in sunny San Diego, California, the Ballast Point Brewing Company has made its home since 1996. It was Jack White’s dream since his first try at homebrewing in 1992 to own a brewery. Completing his studies at University of California, Davis, to become a master brewer, White quickly increased his knowledge of crafting fine brews. In meager beginnings in the back of a homebrew supply store, Ballast Point was always aiming to grow. Moving to Scripps Ranch, the brewery quickly expanded. They soon needed an even larger space so they added a second location in the San Diego brewery and restaurant in 2013. Today, Ballast Point can be found across the country in 12 oz cans and bottles along with 22 oz ‘bombers.’ Their more than 20 different beers is a testament to their massive success.
    This award winning Manta Ray Double IPA isn’t a tremendously hoppy beer, but Ballast Point achieved bittering and flavor against malt profile. Hops are normally added only into the boil to achieve their balance against grain sweetness. Appearance is a brilliant yellow tone with a long-lasting foamy white head. Aromas of grapefruit, pine, mango, and are in the slightly sweet side of balance. With a medium to fuller mouthfeel, this double IPA sure pleases your palate with this 8.5% ABV and 70 IBU (bittering) drink. And the taste is slightly on the sweeter side with caramel malt, floral notes, citrusy tangerine, melon, pine, grapefruit and oranges rounding out the flavor profile. Late bittering is evident that saves this DIPA from becoming something it didn’t intend to be.
    Manta is sold to us in 12 oz six packs. All of Ballast Point’s beers are named for varieties of fish found in the nearby Pacific Ocean. Jack was an avid fisherman as well as brewer so it only stands to reason that BP uses ‘catchy’ labels to show off their creations.
    BeerAdvocate.com has officially rated Manta Ray as ‘Outstanding’ and awards it a 91 out of 100. Other followers are rating it as high as 5.0 out of 5.0.
    You can find Manta Ray DIPA at Case-n-Keg in Meredith as well as other fine beer providers. There’s nothing fishy about Manta Ray, it’s just a great tasting beer that will bring a smile to your face!

    Jim MacMillan is the owner of WonByOne Design of Meredith, NH, and is an avid imbiber of craft brews and a home brewer as well. Send him your recommendations and brew news to wickedbrews@weirs.com

     


  • NASCAR in Loudon

    Denny Hamlin winner of Loudon’s July 16 NASCAR race.

    Mike Moffett

     by Mike Moffett
    Weirs Times Columnist

    NASCAR IN LOUDON
    It was wonderful to hear the roar created by the world’s best race car drivers at the Overton’s 301 NASCAR race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon on July 16. I heard the noise from the back deck at my home in Loudon, roughly a mile from NHMS—as the crow flies.
    More than just crows were flying that day, as some small planes pulled banners through the sky to advertise to the tens of thousands of NASCAR spectators. Helicopters were aloft as well, at least one of which was carrying a camera for some aerial shots for NBC sports, which telecast the event nationally.
    I always get a kick from watching the action on my television, as I can listen to the event in real time while watching the splendid telecast with its wonderful graphics, multiple cameras, and excited announcers.
    The aerial shots showing New Hampshire’s hills and forests always make me proud of this unique major sports venue on Route 106 with a capacity for 100,000 spectators.
    Of course, there were less than 100,000 fans at the track on July 16, as NASCAR attendance has been declining nationwide for years. Consider my situation. I’ve attended in person in the past, but was content to watch Denny Hamlin’s #11 Toyota take the checkered flag on TV, even though I lived within walking distance of the track.
    Still, I love the energy and excitement that NASCAR brings to the Granite State twice a year. Yes, the traffic is heavy on those two days, but I think it’s cool to see people from all over America converge on Loudon. We had three Canadian visitors stay with us for race weekend—who, unlike me—spent most of Saturday and Sunday at NHMS.
    It all happens again on Sunday, Sept. 24 when the New England 300 comes to NHMS.
    Sadly for New England NASCAR fans, that will be the last September race in Loudon, as that event moves to Las Vegas in 2018—a reminder that major sports are big businesses. Hopefully the July race will stay in Loudon. Continue reading  Post ID 2970


  • Repeal and Replace Republicans

    Ken Gorrell

    by Ken Gorrell,
    Weirs Times Contributing Writer

    By the time this edition hits the stands, it’s possible that Republicans in Congress will have passed a health care bill that saves us from the sinking ship that is ObamaCare. Given their performance over the past six months, though, the smart money isn’t on GOP success.
    Like the proverbial dog that caught the car, Republican leadership was completely unprepared when voters gave them the opportunity to live up to a campaign promise. And not just any promise: They used the “Repeal and Replace” mantra in multiple campaigns, with all the earnestness and bravado of a ball player begging, “Put me in, coach!”
    The problem is that the GOP isn’t a team made up of team players. In sports, fans expect that each player works hard to win. In Republican party politics, players can’t even define what “win” means, much less work together as a team to achieve it. In sports, they say “There is no ‘I’ in team.” The political corollary is that there is no principle in law-making. That’s the harsh realm of politics that some politicians don’t understand. Yes, we are a nation founded on principles, and we should be guided by those principles, but laws are grubby little things that have to be passed in order to matter.
    Cue Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine. They sit at opposite ends of the Republican spectrum, but are kindred spirits. Through word and deed, they seem intent on proving themselves more righteous than their peers, not team-players. Paul portrays himself as a knight-errant able to slay the ObamaCare beast with a single stroke of his sword if given the chance. Collins hides behind concerns about those who might be hurt by a GOP bill, seemingly oblivious to the millions hurt now by ObamaCare and the many millions more who will be hurt as the system continues to spiral out of control.
    The sausage-making analogy for the process of turning a bill into a law never worked for me, because at the end of a messy process, sausage is a harmony of wonderful flavors. It tastes good by design. Laws, on the other hand, are usually a disharmony of unappealing bits, held together by a tough casing of political expediency. Republicans like Paul and Collins say they want something better, but by their actions they will leave us with the indigestible status quo.
    Democrats have no problem understanding this. Unfortunately, the reality of their ideals is a nightmare of Big Government intrusion into our lives. And, of course, the Dems love the Big Lie. Even the most transparently ridiculous lies work on gullible voters, conditioned with the “But wait, there’s more!” advertising for products we all know can’t possibly live up to the hype.
    Who truly believed that after Dems built a wall of additional regulations thousands of pages high between patients, doctors, employers, and insurance companies that cost-curves would bend downward? When has more bureaucracy ever improved efficiency or service? Who believed that we’d be able to keep the health plans and providers we liked, given that millions of Americans get their health insurance through their employers and therefore don’t even own their policies? How can you keep what you don’t really have?
    We sent liberal sycophants instead of leaders to represent us in Washington, so Granite Staters have little voice in congressional debates. But back home, GOP control of the corner office, executive council, and legislature gives us the opportunity to take advantage of President Trump’s pen. Through executive orders, he can give states greater flexibility in how they work within existing law and provide more choice for consumers. It’s only a temporary patch, but our president can make our lives better without congress. Governor Sununu should encourage President Trump to return power to the states. With that power, Concord can take action while congressional Republicans dither.
    Beltway Republicans haven’t matched campaign rhetoric to reality. The irony is that as purists from their ranks claim to stand on principle while others do the dirty work of law-making, we drift further away from those principles. The Founders got their hands dirty, making the difficult compromises necessary to create our shining city upon a hill. It’s not too much to expect a couple of senators to get down in the dirt to help repair the damage done to our insurance and health care markets by their true ideological opponents. But until they do, states should be given the lead. It’s time for President Trump to use his pen and his phone.


  • Breaking The Curse?

    A Fool In NH Column Heading

     

    I was recently asked if I thought “The Curse Of The Flatlander” would ever be broken.
    I had to stop in my tracks. It had been a longtime since I had been reminded of it. I had even written about it to some degree on these pages many years ago.
    Since then, it has been kept quiet; not many of us like to be reminded of it. With the Chicago Cubs breaking the 108 year “Curse of the Goat” last year, it seems like it is the only “curse” still lingering in the minds of some here in New Hampshire.
    Flatlanders especially.
    If you don’t know the story of the curse, it goes like this.
    Back in the 1930s it is believed that the first “Flatlander” from the urban New York City area moved to New Hampshire. (Some dispute this claim, but I have yet to see hard evidence.)
    The legend goes that many thought he wouldn’t have what it takes to survive in the Granite State. Sure, in the summers – a time when so many like him came to visit – things were easy. It was the winter and the off season where he would be tested to limit.
    Despite all the odds, and the lack of sympathy from natives who were anxious to see him fail, he stood his ground. He adapted nicely and actually flourished; he was no average Flatlander.
    His abilities in chopping wood, shoveling (yes shoveling) his roof and showing great courage and proficiency in accomplishing many other winter feats far outshone his neighbors. In fact, his expertise with a shovel, both on the ground and upon his roof, after a vicious snowstorm, earned him the nickname “The Grande Espatula” which was Spanish for “The Grand Shoveler”. (Many question this fact as no one can figure out who the heck in Central New Hampshire in the 1930s would ever come up with such a name.)
    It was apparent to natives and Flatlanders alike that this one individual was blazing the trail for others to come after him. He was setting a standard for all to follow. Respect would be immediate.
    Of course, this was not to be.
    The local factory where the Flatlander worked during the week was remortgaged by the owner who needed cash to finance a summer stock production so as to give his wife a chance at becoming a great actress and eventually find her way to Broadway.
    The show was a bomb, as was his wife. The show closed abruptly, the mortgage got behind and the factory eventually closed.
    Finding it hard to find other opportunities for work, the Flatlander took a new job in Maine where he moved, along with his exceptional skills.
    The legend goes that no Flatlander since that time who has moved to New Hampshire has been able to flourish in quite the same way.
    At the same time, it is no secret, that Flatlanders moving to Maine have been much more proficient and continue to succeed by leaps and bounds.
    Is this all just coincidence, or is it really a curse?
    Many scoff at the very idea, dismissing the ineptness of Flatlanders like myself as a curse. Some point to rare examples of some who have actually succeeded. But have they ever reached that pinnacle that legend describes?
    Believers in the curse, like the gentleman who reminded me of this the other day, feel that no matter how well they perform in their new homeland, they will never be able to reach the top of the ladder and be accepted as a true New Hampshireite until the curse is lifted.
    Now that the Cubs have removed themselves from their curse, many feel it is our turn. That this coming winter one Flatlander will rise above the rest and flourish beyond all expectations and finally succeed where so many before him (or her) has failed before.
    Will this be the year? Will one of us shine and put to rest the scorn and futility? To shut down the noise? Will one of us finally some up to par with those Flatlanders from Maine?
    I know one thing for sure.
    It’s not going to be me.
    ********

    Join Brendan as “Real Stories North Of Concord” hosts its second StorySlam at Pitman’s Freight Room in Laconia on Thursday, August 24th. Up to twelve storytellers will be picked to tell their 6-minute story based on the theme “Brush With Fame.” The slam starts at 7:30 and admission is $20 with all net proceeds going to benefit Camp Resilience.


  • Owl’s Head – In the Middle Of The Pemi Wilderness

    Yours truly, Sharon LaVigne and Sarah McCann on the summit of Owl’s Head. Owl’s Head is the only mountain on the AMC’s New Hampshire 4,000 footer list that doesn’t have a recognized trail to its summit.

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    The golfing gals, Sharon and Sarah, have put their hiking boots back on!
    They began collecting 4,000 footers 7 years ago and last summer they didn’t even go hiking once. There were too many reasons their boots stayed in the closet—moving, weddings, golf matches and other fun stuff and not so fun stuff.

    Sharon LaVigne of New London on the Owl’s Head slide with a big view of the Franconia Ridge and close-up view of the Lincoln Slide.

    I confess I was surprised they didn’t get one date to work last summer. After all, the previous summer they hit the trails hard. Mt. Isolation, Mt. Madison and Mt. Adams were among the peaks that they last checked off and leaving them only 9 peaks left to finish the 4,000 footer list.
    We decided to go to the top of Owl’s Head for their first hike this summer. My friends are healthy and strong and it is a long hike (usual route is over 18 miles) to get to that little peak and back. Owl’s Head ranks #43/48 at elevation 4,025’ and its wooded summit offers only obstructed views.
    Owl’s Head is the only peak on the Appalachian Mountain Club’s New Hampshire 4,000 footer list that doesn’t have an official trail to its summit. The well-worn path follows an old very steep slide up from the Lincoln Brook Trail.
    Owl’s Head is in the middle of the 1984 federally designated Pemigewasset Wilderness, east of Mount Liberty and west of the Bonds and far from any roads. The trails in federally designated wilderness areas are often referred to as primitive but mostly they are unmaintained and the trail blazes have been removed. The trails are only brushed, if at all, just three feet wide and trees that blow down across the trail are not removed if they can be stepped over.
    The Lincoln Woods parking area is right on the Kancamagus Highway, Rte 112 and east of the Loon Mountain Resort. The parking lot was half full, even on a Wednesday morning; a day parking pass is $5. We crossed over the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River on the suspension bridge to the Lincoln Woods Trail at 7:30 am.
    Our plan was to think of the hike as four different hikes. The Lincoln Woods Trail, the Black Pond Trail and bushwhack, the Lincoln Brook Trail and then the slide to the summit.
    For 2.6 miles we walked up the old logging railroad bed above the bank of the river that is the Lincoln Woods Trail. Many old railroad ties still remain and it isn’t easy walking over them so on both ends of the ties muddy paths have formed.

    Mid-day on a Wednesday afternoon even the slide on Owl’s Head is crowded! There were six of us going up at the same time and at least no falling rocks hit anyone. We met at least a dozen people out on the trails and passed by three occupied tent sites on our way in and out of the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

    At the junction of the Black Pond Trail, I stashed two bottles of PowerAde in a tree just off the trail. Losing those four pounds sure made my pack feel lighter and we’d be happy to have those bottles to drink on our way back.
    The well blazed one mile trail to Black Pond was in excellent condition through pretty woods. At the pond the view of the Bonds and a nice peek at Owl’s Head was lovely and exciting. I decided to lead the bushwhack route for two reasons: to avoid the Franconia and Lincoln Brook crossings and to make the hike two miles shorter turning a usual 18 miles hike into 16 miles. Plus, the less used Black Pond Trail and the woods are much nicer than the trails.
    Near the end of the pond we did our best to get around the mud. We followed my compass north and in a few minutes we hit a path and the path became more obvious.
    If you do not know how to use a compass and map do not attempt to take this route. Don’t count on being able to find or being able to stay on it. A simple fallen tree could hide the way for you. Jokingly, Sharon asked me if I was lost yet. (I cross country skied this route last February.)

    Welcome to the Lincoln Brook Trail! The trail has many mud pits to cross and trees to step over along the un-blazed (no trail markers) trail.

    A big mud pit greeted at the Lincoln Brook Trail and three men backpacking were there too. They said they had used the bushwhack and path but somehow got headed too far east and bumped into the brook and ended up crossing it and then crossing it again on the Lincoln Brook Trail. That didn’t sound like much fun.
    The Lincoln Brook Trail has no blazes and is a muddy mess that follows along the bank of the brook. The stream crossing were all rock hop-able and we kept our feet dry. The cold water of the fast flowing brook kept the air rather comfortable and cool. We were surprised that there were only a few vexing deer flies.
    The upper crossing of Lincoln Brook was rock hop-able too. Sharon and Sarah didn’t miss a beat and the crossing took little time and effort.

    To reach the summit of Owl’s Head you’ll have to cross brooks.

    At the bottom of the slide there are two small rock cairns and a birch tree lying alongside the trail that made for a perfect bench. The three took a seat and ate an early lunch before we tackled the hard last mile climb up the slide and along the ridge to Owl’s Head’s summit.
    By the time we finished eating and put our packs back on the three men that we had met earlier had caught up to us. They followed us right up the slide. They were too close but they wouldn’t go by even when we encouraged them. They were nice guys but it felt too crowded.
    The middle of the rocky slide is open and we could see the mountains of the Franconia Ridge and Lincoln Slide. Here we sat down to enjoy the view and to let the men go on their way. To our chagrin they went a few more minutes before they sat down too.
    We got tired of waiting for them to get a move on so we headed up the trail and passed them and they tailgated us to the summit.
    A small rock cairn and “the top” carved into a tree is what is at end of the herd path at the summit. We snapped a photo and turned around and headed back down.

    The clear afternoon reflection of the Bonds on the waters of Black Pond was a lovely sight.

    Going down the slide is harder than going up it. We took our time and many careful little steps until we reached the bottom.
    We followed back down the Lincoln Brook Trail the best we could. Only once did I lead us off the trail to a dead end at a camp site and it took a minute to find the trail again. I blamed trying to go around mud.
    From Lincoln Brook to the bushwhack “path” it was much easier to follow the trail but nearing Black Pond I lost it again. But I had a good idea where I was and we walked out nearly the same way we had come in.
    We had all drained our water bottles and we were happy to have the drink I had stashed away and we were thirsty the last 2.6 miles.
    We made it back to the car just before 5:30 pm. We’d been out nearly 10 hours and 16 miles of hiking. Now the golfing gals only have 8 peaks left on their 4k lists.

    —Have Fun.

    Sarah and Sharon are back from Owl’s Head, on the suspension bridge over the East Branch at the Pemigewasset River at the Lincoln Woods Trailhead. Happy Hikers, happy to be finished after nearly ten hours and 16 miles on the trails.