• Category Archives On The Trails & Summits
  • Skiing With The Sun Valley Gals

    Sun Valley Gals, Yours truly and Sharon LaVigne on top of Bald Mountain, elevation 9,150 feet. There was plenty of Sunshine, blue sky and snow for us. A run from the summit to the base at River Run drops 2,400 feet. This year Sun Valley is experiencing record breaking snow depth!

     

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Sharon and I bought the Mountain Collective Pass last March. We went to Whistler, British Columbia, Canada the second week of December. We also made a day trip to Stowe, Vermont a few weeks later. By using our pass for these ski trips we received more value than if we had purchased lift tickets and every outing after that would be a bigger bonus.
    The Mountain Collective Pass provides two day lift tickets at 24 resorts and since we signed up early we were given a bonus day (we used it at Whistler).
    Charlie’s brother Billy lives in Sun Valley. Billy told us he has not seen this much snow in all the 30 plus years he has called Sun Valley his home.

    Our outdoor/ski columnist Amy Patenaude poses with “the only celebrity we met at River Run Lodge. Do you think he really worked at Clark’s Trading Post?” River Run is in Sun Valley in Idaho where Amy went on her latest skiing adventure.

    Sun Valley is part of the Mountain Collective.
    My friend Sharon is a snow bird and leaves our beloved New Hampshire for the sunny golf courses and beaches of Florida. Sharon is an awesome skier and loves to ski. In her college days she was a ski instructor at the upside down mountain King Ridge (now a Lost NH skier area in New London).
    Sharon had never skied Sun Valley. After Billy’s intel we got a good idea!
    Sharon and I both were game to go and talking Charlie into coming along was easy. We met at the Avis car rental at the Salt Lake City airport and we were on our way by 11:30 in the morning.
    The drive from Salt Lake was 5 hours. We lucked out with good weather and the posted 80 mph speed limit seemed rather reasonable with the straight pavement ahead of us as far as our eye could see.
    As we entered Ketchum we could see Baldy’s slopes rising up from the River Run base. The snow banks were high and it snowed the day before we arrived.
    Sharon stayed at the iconic Sun Valley Lodge and Charlie and I stayed with his brother a few miles away. We went out for a light supper but Billy wasn’t able to join us because he was busy with his new job as an Uber driver.
    In the morning Charlie drove and dropped us off at the River Run base lodge. The lodge is absolutely magnificent with large log beams, wide open spaces and large crystal chandeliers that hang from the high ceilings. The staff is courteous and attentive—in fact when we asked an employee where the bathrooms were she insisted to show us the way. Even the wood panel door cubbies to store our boot bags were lovely.

     

    Sharon on Bald Mountain’s summit ridge heading towards the bowls. Wide open snow filled bowls with some nice open tree skiing down lower made for some dreamy skiing

    Lift tickets at Sun Valley are over a hundred dollars a day if you buy them at the window. Yikes! Happily we were armed with our Mountain Collective Pass!
    We hit the snow big time at Whistler. On our day at Stowe we arrived to find 3 to 5 inches of sneaky snow—snow that was not predicted in the weather forecast. Now, at Sun Valley we hit the jackpot again! The snow was fresh and the skies were blue and we were the luckiest skiers in the world.
    The high temperature for both days was 15 degrees. The snowstorm delayed some flights at the airport, the locals thought it was cold and we were skiing mid-week—a perfect storm for no lift lines and near empty trails
    We were among the first in line to ride the Roundhouse Gondola and then we slipped onto the Christmas high-speed quad to the summit. On top of Bald Mountain, elevation 9,150 feet, we had a big panorama including the snow capped sharp Saw Tooth Mountains.

    Yours truly popping out of Lefty Bowl. Sun Valley rarely has lift lines and there is so much terrain often I was the only one on the slope I was skiing.

    We took a warm-up run on College, a long groomed run all the way back to the River Run Lodge, a 3,400 foot vertical drop. The squeaky snow made for soft turning fun.
    For two days the snow stayed soft, the temperature stayed cold and the sun shined on us.
    We had great days together on the slopes and in the bowls. On Seattle Ridge we skied Gretchen’s Gold, Muffy’s Medals and Christine’s Silver. Off the top of Bald Mountain’s ridge we skied Kaitlyn’s Bowl and near Warm Springs we skied Picabo’s Street. Yes, all these trails are named after the resort’s own Olympic Medalists.
    Each of the lodges offer different food. We learned this too late to plan our meals. I did eat a giant Idaho baked potato with all the fixings and Sharon had a super deli sandwich on top of Seattle Ridge. While having coffee at the summit Lookout Lodge we took note that this little lodge specialized in Mexican Food.

    The Roundhouse is perched high up on Bald Mountain with a grand view of Ketchum and Sun Valley. Since 1939 guests have been enjoying the view along with fine dining and good libations. Here we are with a couple of members of the Ancient Skiers, a group of skiers from the Seattle area, they were kind to share their table with us. Skiers and Non-skiers can take the gondola to reach the Roundhouse.

    The skiing could not have been better and the miles and miles of trails and bowls are so much that it wasn’t possible for us to find and ski every trail. But we did try!
    The long continuous Warms Springs Trail has to be one of the best trails top to bottom and then we found the steeper Limelight!
    Meanwhile, Charlie was having fun on the cross country ski trails. He skied the Wood River Trail along the Wood River from Ketchum to Hailey and back. He also spent a day up at Galena Lodge. We were a couple weeks too early to race in the Boulder Mountain Tour—a XC ski race from Galena Lodge to Ketchum.
    Two days passed too quickly. But we made the most of it and were too tired to ski more, almost making it until the lifts closed both days.
    Apres ski we swam in the outdoor heated 102 degree swimming pool at the Sun Valley Lodge, went window shopping and had supper at some nice downtown Ketchum restaurants.

    Sharon, Billy and Charlie enjoy 2,2,2 for breakfast–2 eggs, 2 French toast and 2 sausages at the Kneadery in Ketchum. We worked up an appetite skiing but it was too much.

    Our second night Billy took us to the most popular restaurant on Main Street, The Pioneer Saloon. Decorated with stuffed local game trophies, old firearms and a long ago prospector’s fur coat this place is the real deal western saloon. The prime rib is famous.
    On our last morning we all enjoyed a big breakfast at the Kneadery, which claims to feature the finest in Rocky Mountain rustic home style cooking. Sharon, Charlie and I all ordered the 2, 2, 2—two eggs, two French toast and two sausages. Good thing Billy showed up late since our breakfasts were also Too-much. Billy asked for an empty plate and we easily filled it for him. Charlie confessed with a big smile on his face that he had eaten breakfast here the previous two days.
    The ride back to Salt Lake was uneventful and went by rather quickly since we all had great stories to tell.
    Onwards to Alta and Snowbird to use two more days of our ski pass! Yes we did and we sure had fun hitting the jackpot again.
    How’d we do it? We flew out early on Tuesday morning from Boston and returned the red-eye on Sunday night and made it back to work before 10 am on Monday. We missed 4 days of work total and I didn’t miss a night of ski racing at Pats Peak.
    Have Fun.

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


  • Big Day Snowshoeing Over Mountains

    Yours truly walking the edge of the cornice between Bondcliff and Mount Bond. Bondcliff, Mount Bond and West Bond are located in the middle of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. The Bonds, all three peaks, are on the AMC 4,000 footer list.

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Bonds, Guyot & Zealand Traverse

    At 6 am in the Lincoln Woods parking lot the car’s thermometer read 1 degree. The moonlight was still bright so we left our headlamps in our backpacks and we put on our snowshoes. I followed Jeremy across the suspension bridge and down the Lincoln Woods Trail.
    Our snowshoes loudly crunched each step as our snowshoes crampons bit into the hard uneven and rough snow. Footprints, post-holes and ski tracks were frozen in place and our snowshoes kept us from turning our ankles.
    We didn’t talk since the crunching noise made it impossible to hear the other speak. The moon lit the way well but it was black when we passed through shadows.
    I just kept following the silent dark figure in front of me.
    Just before reaching the wilderness boundary Jeremy stopped to point out that our shadows had switched sides. Our faint shadows were no longer produced by the waning moon but now from the rising sun.
    Once we reached the Bondcliff Trail the snow track was smoother due to the fact that most travelers out this far used snowshoes when the snow was soft and wet. Sometimes we could see fresh tracks made by micro-spikes and we guessed there might be a few people ahead of us.

    The Franconia Range Mountains are snowy white and appear so near from the Bond summits. We waited for and hoped for the perfect winter day with sunshine and little wind. In winter Zealand Road is gated and adds 3.5 miles to a winter point to point from Lincoln Woods to the end of Zealand Road at Route 302, the total distance was 23 miles.

    Just before the trail gets steep we caught up to a small group with State Senator Jeb Bradley in the lead. We said quick hellos to our friends and shook a few hands as we continued on our way.
    I love the long switch back up to Bondcliff, the gradual grade makes for comfortable climbing and I try not to act surprised to reach its end at the big step. After scrambling up and over the near vertical rock ledge the short way to the top is all above tree line.
    Bondcliff’s windblown summit and ridge was mostly bare rock and ice. Our snowshoes really made a clatter on the rocks. The sky was free of clouds, the sun was shining and only a breath of wind was in the cold air. We slowed our pace and soaked up the grand vista and took a few photos. Loon Mountain’s ski trails were the only prominent evidence of man we could see over all the mountaintops for all the hundreds of miles around us. I felt like I could see forever. The stark winter beauty of the mountains was in full glory, Mount Washington shined big and bright way out there over the east side of Bond.
    I don’t know if Jeremy thought about him because we didn’t speak of it. I know I was sad to think of the young man that had perished here alone on Christmas Eve.

    Jeremy Clark of Ashland, NH standing on the summit of West Bond. The slopes of Loon Mountain Resort can be seen just over his shoulders and are the only clear evidence of man that can be seen from the Bonds. Maybe on the clearest of days the towers on Mount Washington might be visible too.
    What is a winter hike without falling into a spruce trap? A short distance from Mount Bond’s summit we climbed up on a high ridge of snow to get a better look down into the valley and on the way back after I had passed over the same spot Jeremy disappeared deep in the snow

    We continued across, tagging the highest point and making our way down towards Bond. There was more snow and a hard cornice had formed on the ridge. (The wind blows harder between the peaks.) As we began to climb up Bond we joked that this was like climbing up Pats Peak. I have a habit of measuring mountains by figuring out how many Pats Peaks there are to climb.
    On top of Bond we spun around and continued to soak up the wintery scene. I scampered up a higher ridge of snow between some stubby spruce trees. I looked down far into the valley. After I had moved away Jeremy climbed up too and on his return—WHOOSH! He had disappeared deep into the snow, falling down into a spruce trap and only his head and shoulders were sticking out of the snow. I couldn’t help myself from laughing as I watched him untangle his snowshoes and climb out. I was lucky it wasn’t me because I had walked right over that very same spot.
    I started down first, I was feeling a little chilly from our brief summit break, but it wasn’t long before Jeremy caught up and I let him by. We heard the crunch of snowshoes before we met a gal who was staying at the Zealand Hut making her way to Bond.
    At the spur trail to West Bond we dumped our packs and I tied my down coat around my waist and we scooted the half mile to the summit. From the summit we could see our friends making their way towards Bond. After a couple minutes we scooted back.
    We’d been on the trail just over five hours. We agreed not wearing our packs felt like taking a vacation. Our winter packs are much heavier than our summer packs. We both carry a lot of extra warm clothing and more” just in case” items. Before shouldering our packs again we decided to eat.
    Jeremy pulled out a single serving size apple pie and proved he could easily win a pie eating contest. I munched up some yummy oatmeal cookies that my mother had made for me. I put my orange inside my coat to warm it up so I could eat it on the way up Guyot. Jeremy is a Gatorade fan and I drink Powerade.
    I slowed to peel my orange and I should have stopped since I walked into a tree limb and scratched my face. You’d think I’d learn.
    Guyot is a windswept open peak that reminds me of Moosilauke. Again we kept our snowshoes on and clattered over rocks and ice as we went up and over its bumps. The trail back in the trees on Guyot’s north slope was covered with deep snow where a previous snowshoer’s deep tracks were now frozen solid in place and then other places the trail was covered with deep drifts.
    When we reached the spur to Zealand’s summit we again dumped our packs. I grabbed my thermos and drank its hot contents as I strolled along the nearly flat path to the flat wooded summit. How delicious my mixture of hot milk, hot chocolate and coffee warmed me. Jeremy wrestled with a blowdown and successfully removed it from the path.
    As we popped out we heard the crunching of her snowshoes before we saw her again. As we finished up our snacks we chatted with her about whether she was going to bother to visit the viewless Zealand summit. I said at least there is a nice sign when you get to the end of the path. She went.

    Yours truly approaching the summit of Bondcliff and the shining and bright Mount Washington just to the right of Mount Bond. A winter Bonds Traverse including Guyot and Zealand Mountains from Lincoln Woods to the end of Zealand Road is 23 miles. When we started at 6 am it was only 1 degree.

    The descent to Zealand Hut feels long and steep because it is. The ladder above Zeacliff Pond was icy and difficult but the snow around made it possible to get down. The trail from there was all hard pack snow. The water crossings were easy to cross on ice and snow bridges.
    We didn’t stop at the hut, we were on a roll. A man smoking a cigarette on the deck did ask us where we came from and Jeremy replied, “Lincoln”.
    Oh bother, from the hut to the parking lot at the end of Zealand Road on Route 302 is over 5 miles and there was maybe four or five hard packed inches of snow and ice. The snow was beat up rough from lots of hiker traffic to the hut.
    We passed a couple of cross country skiers who had struggled their way up the road and had given up trying to ski up the trail. When we reached the road we took off our snowshoes and walked the road.
    Our boots were quiet on the thin snow and ice and for the first time all day we were able to speak to one another as we went along. Chatting about the day and our future skiing plans made the dreaded road walk time fly by.
    My car was right where Charlie and I dropped it off the night before at the Zealand winter lot, parked near the sign that read “Don’t walk in ski tracks”. That’s good advice.
    Ten hours, a fast Bond Traverse in my book and my feet were only a little sore and I was really hungry.
    Have Fun.


  • Keeping My Resolution – Stowe Mountain, Eastman Cross-Country & Tenney Mountain

    Sharon and Amy at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont just below Mount Mansfield’s Nose and at the top of the Nose Dive Trail. Part of keeping my New Year’s Resolution requires me to go places that I don’t normally get a chance to ski. Skiing with good friends is twice the fun.

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Last night as we drove by the lit up slopes of Whaleback, I asked Sharon if she wanted to stop and ski some more and we both laughed. We were on our way home from a fantastic day of skiing at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont and we were toast. There wasn’t another run left in our legs.
    Since the New Year began I have been working hard to keep my New Year’s resolution—making it a fun winter. I picked a resolution that is easy for me to want to keep because I love winter.
    Our day started early, driving in the dark to reach the resort before the lifts started spinning. We picked up our friend, Amy, in West Lebanon and we zoomed up I-89.
    Mid-week skiing is great because the slopes are uncrowded, but this Thursday was even better because there was 3 to 5 inches of “sneaky snow” waiting for us on the slopes. Sneaky snow is snow that mountains produce in the middle of the night and was not predicted in the weather forecast.
    The three of us happily pounced on Spruce Mountain and made first tracks on Upper Sterling. The day was cloudy but it improved during the day. After five runs on Spruce we headed over to the Four Runner quad lift just above the Mansfield Lodge.
    Nose Dive, Hayride and Lord had good snow and they were making more snow on some of the other trails. People were in and out of the glades but we stayed on the trails. Seriously, we hit the jackpot for snow conditions.
    We didn’t quite make it until closing; at 3 o’clock we decided we’d had our fill. Especially after Amy and I decided to bounce and be tossed by Chin Clip’s moguls for our last run of the day.
    But I was tempted to stop in for a little night skiing at Whaleback. I am lucky my friends have more sense than I do.

    At the Eastman Cross Country Center on Wednesday afternoons area youngsters are learning to cross country ski better! Here’s Charlie with his group of elementary school students from Grantham. Helping others to learn to ski and to ski better is good winter fun for everyone.

    On Wednesday afternoon Charlie and I volunteered to teach cross country ski lessons at the Eastman Cross Country Center in Grantham, it is just a short ways from I-89 exit 13.
    After last year’s nearly snowless winter these youngsters were fired up. This was their first lesson of the season for the students from Grantham. Skis, boots and poles were flying out the door in the arms of the kids.
    The pent-up energy exploded and there was no slowing them down. They were kicking and gliding, double poling and laughing as they lead us to where they wanted to ski. On a groomed track we went up one snow covered fairway and down another making a big loop.
    We worked on edging and turning by practicing tip and tail star turns—spinning around in place making a star design in the snow. We went up and down a small hill a dozen times practicing edging, snowplowing and turning.
    After almost an hour and half outside our focus turned back to the cross-country center where everyone knew hot chocolate would be served to all.
    We bet the students will be as eager to return next Wednesday as Charlie and I are for their next lesson.

    From the summit of Tenney Mountain there is a fine view of Mount Moosilauke well beyond the nearby wind turbines. Not only were we rewarded with a fun glide down the slopes we enjoyed the grand wintery mountain vista.
    Becca heading up Tenney Mountain using skins on her split-board. A split-board is a snowboard that can be split into two ski like pieces for ascending with skins and then be locked back together to become a snowboard for the descent. Earning your turns by getting to top using only your own power is fun.
    From Mount Osceola we had a good view of the Waterville Valley Ski Resort’s slopes and on the left side is their new Green Peak. Waterville is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this season!

    Becca and I met at Tenney Mountain ski area. It isn’t exactly open yet, but there were ski and snowboard tracks marking up the snow on the trails above the parking area.
    On this late Sunday afternoon, I put my skins on my skis and Becca put her skins on her split-snowboard. We clicked into our equipment and started up the well-used uphill track to the summit. We shuffled our way up and enjoyed the grand vista. Tenney has a big wide view from the Southeast to the North. The view of Mount Moosilauke is grand! The Franconia Ridge, Tecumseh and Sandwich Mountain feel close.
    I recalled liking skiing here over the years.
    As we neared the top of the chairlift we could hear the whop, whop, whop sounds made by the wind turbines on the ridge. On the top we had a good view of the spinning blades.
    We ripped off our skins and readied ourselves for a fun glide back down to our cars. I attempted to take my skins off while my skis were still attached to my feet but I didn’t succeed—I’ll keep trying, I’ve done it before.
    Oh what fun it is to glide through soft fresh snow. We didn’t make first tracks that afternoon, but I am sure we were the last to make tracks as the sun set.
    From an old trail map we learned we skied the trails named Morning Glory and Roller Coaster. I hope we can do this again soon. I hope Mother Nature keeps being generous with the snow.
    The snowshoeing in our White Mountains has been excellent with all the snow. My friends are summiting many of the 4,000-footers and some are off to a good start for completing the AMC 4k list in a single winter. Last week I visited the summits of Mount Jackson and the Osceola Peaks.

    >>Click to Read More In This Issue<<

    Oh yeah my team returned to Pats Peak on Monday night for the first of many fun nights of racing this winter. There is a good chance you can still join the league at your favorite ski area, some teams need to fill some slots.
    Thanks for reading this! I have to go outside, Have Fun.


  • Resolve To Make It A Fun Winter!

    Early morning snow at the top of Pats Peak’s Hurricane Triple. Make it your New Year’s Resolution to make it to the top of a mountain in 2017!

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Sometimes I just don’t know where the time goes, but I am convinced that winter is too short. There are just too many fun things to do when the weather is cold and snowy. I want to ski every day, snowshoe up mountains every day and try new things every day.
    The New Year is about to begin and the ski areas and Nordic centers have already been open for many weeks. Have you made your New Year’s Resolution yet? Why not make your resolution to make your winter fun! Choose to do something you love or choose to try something new.

     

    Friends getting ready to go cross-country skiing. Waterville Valley is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this season.

    Here are a few suggestions of easy to keep-make your winter fun New Year Resolutions:

    Just Do It More

    Ski or snowboard—resolve to do it more! Buy a season pass, join an adult race league team and/or plan a weekend of skiing and riding at a “new to you” resort. Ski New Hampshire has 33 alpine and Nordic member resorts. Have you been to all of them yet? Visit SkiNH.com.

    Do It Better

    If you ski or snowboard do it better. Get coached, take a lesson. The world’s best giant slalom racers and cross-country ski sprinters work hard to improve their technique by spending hours working with their coaches and practicing. You can be coached too. Snowsports professionals at your local ski area offer lessons and programs for everyone from novices to experts.
    Gunstock has adult ski race training in January on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Waterville Valley’s Adventure Center Nordic Women’s Ski Group meets on Mondays and Fridays—try performance cross-country equipment and ski with a top instructor. Check out what the resorts have to offer, I bet you’ll find something that’s perfect for you.

    Continue reading  Post ID 2606


  • Fun Skiing – Cannon’s Blasting & Sunny Sunapee

    Kris turning her skis on Wingding. First day of the season for Kris and for Mount Sunapee!

     

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Cold nights and sunny days make for great fun on the slopes. Winter doesn’t officially begin until December 21st, but it certainly looks and feels like winter is already here.
    Cannon Mountain has been blasting snow on their slopes like never before! Just a quick glance at the mountain while driving through Franconia Notch and you’ll see the trails Zoomer, Rocket and Gary’s are sporting big fluffy white coats.

    Does the Cannon Mountain Yeti look familiar?

    I met Becca at the Peabody Lodge. We were in our gear and waiting in lift line 15 minutes before the chairlift was scheduled to open. We could see the ski patrol were already riding up the lift. There were less than a dozen other eager skiers and snowboarders waiting ahead of us and many more gathered behind us.
    I don’t think my watch was wrong but they dropped the rope and started loading the chairs five minutes early. What a treat!
    Cannon Mountain made 5 million dollars of improvements to their snowmaking system and have increased their snowmaking capacity by 50%. 400 new high-efficiency tower guns and 40 new land guns have been installed and these snowguns require less energy to produce more snow. They’re estimating that only half as much energy will be required to make snow with the new equipment.
    This is good news for Cannon skiers and riders because as the temperatures continue to stay cold more trails will open fast.
    Becca and I shared our first ride up the mountain with a women that skis nearly every day at Cannon. We were all excited about the couple of inches of new snow that fell the night before and smoothly blanketed the groomed man-made snow. We would be making fine first tracks.
    Ha! I didn’t like waiting for Becca to snap her boot into her snowboard’s binding because people would be getting after the fresh snow before me. Three people skied by me and that’s all it took. I told her I’d meet her at the Zoomer lift and I took off. Continue reading  Post ID 2606


  • New Hampshire Slopes Are Open!!

    Bretton Woods was the first ski resort to open in New Hampshire on November 13th.  Skiers, Snowboarders and a few Telemark skiers enjoyed a wonderful sunny Sunday riding the Zephyr high-speed Quad and sliding down the Range View Trail.  Loon, Cannon, Wildcat and Waterville Valley along with Bretton Woods are now opened for the season--check SkiNH.com to check ski conditions.
    Bretton Woods was the first ski resort to open in New Hampshire on November 13th. Skiers, Snowboarders and a few Telemark skiers enjoyed a wonderful sunny Sunday riding the Zephyr high-speed Quad and sliding down the Range View Trail. Loon, Cannon, Wildcat and Waterville Valley along with Bretton Woods are now opened for the season–check SkiNH.com to check ski conditions.

     

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Many of us had less than a 24-hour notice that Bretton Woods lifts would be spinning on Sunday, November 13th. I first heard the news from reading a friend’s Facebook post proclaiming that she was going skiing!
    Later in the day I received an email notification from Bretton Woods inviting me to “Say goodnight to Hunger and Ski Free”.
    Wouldn’t you know I wasn’t prepared? Charlie and I had made plans to go hiking.
    That bag I packed last spring with my ski boots and clothing all set to grab and go was not with me. I had left it home. I thought I was being clever. I was counting on Bretton Woods making their surprise announcement on a weekday and I’d be ready to scoot straight from work.
    Determined not to miss opening day, I dug out my Telemark boots and skis and decided I’d go right after our hike. I wouldn’t make first run, but I knew my legs wouldn’t last too long tele-skiing after a hike so a few hours in the afternoon would be just fine. Continue reading  Post ID 2606


  • Georgiana Falls

       The grand vista from the top of Harvard Falls includes a peek way down in the valley, more than a thousand feet below, to Interstate 93 in Lincoln.
    The grand vista from the top of Harvard Falls includes a peek way down in the valley, more than a thousand feet below, to Interstate 93 in Lincoln.

     

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Danielle and I met up just before 8 am at the Irving, the alien gas station, just north of I-93’s exit 33 on Route 3 in Lincoln. I get a kick out of seeing the giant alien that is painted on the side of the store. The mural commemorates the Betty & Barney Hill incident—the couple claimed to have been abducted by aliens in 1961 nearby in Franconia Notch. Further up Route 3 there is a state historical marker placed near the Indian Head Resort’s cottages that tells their story.
    Danielle had no idea about the incident and I told her what I knew about it. Neither one of us feared meeting any aliens during our hike but we did worry about the rain.

    The signs at the intersection located between the north and southbound lanes of the Franconia Notch State Parkway.  Georgiana Falls are to the right and it is just 7/10th of a mile to reach the 30’ high falls. Most people can reach these falls in less than 20 minutes.
    The signs at the intersection located between the north and southbound lanes of the Franconia Notch State Parkway. Georgiana Falls are to the right and it is just 7/10th of a mile to reach the 30’ high falls. Most people can reach these falls in less than 20 minutes.

    We drove a short distance north and just opposite the Longhorn Restaurant we turned left onto Hanson Farm Road and drove to its dead end where there is room for a half dozen or so cars to park. There is no trailhead sign.
    We walked past the gate and then under the northbound lane of the Parkway. At the intersection there is a sign with trail information for snowmobilers and a small sign pointing the way to Georgiana Falls. Below these signs there is an orange hand written plastic sign “Hiking Trail” with an arrow pointing to the right and “Snowmobile Trail” with an arrow pointing left—now that was easy to understand.
    We went right and crossed under the southbound lane of the Parkway and followed the path to the brook.
    Harvard Brook was flowing big after over an inch of rain fell during the night and it was raining lightly. We had big plans. Hiking the Georgiana Falls Path and bushwhacking to Wolf Club. The falls path would be new to Danielle and if there was a way we could cross the brook we’d save a few miles of walking on snowmobile trails. But as soon as we saw the brook we knew the chances were slim to none for fording the brook safely.
    We decided to hope for the best and continued up the path. If the rain didn’t let up we decided we’d abandon our bushwhack plans.
    Harvard Brook’s cascading was roaring and looked like a raging river. The walk to Georgiana Falls is an easy 7/10th of a mile and the footing is good. The 30’ foot high falls was loud and the cascading water bright white as it tumbled off the cliff.
    We thought about turning back but the brook’s cascades were too lovely not to explore the upper falls, Harvard Falls. We followed the red blazes on the trees that led up the steep slippery rocky north bank of the brook. The rain had stopped but I don’t remember noticing when. Unlike the effort required to reach Georgiana Falls the effort to reach Harvard Falls is challenging and difficult.

    Danielle Normand celebrates the rain stopping and revels in the roar of the falls!  Georgiana Falls is a nice hike in every season.
    Danielle Normand celebrates the rain stopping and revels in the roar of the falls! Georgiana Falls is a nice hike in every season.

     

    The cascading waters of Harvard Brook.
    The cascading waters of Harvard Brook.
    Aliens, they’re here, exit 33 at the Irving Station!
    Aliens, they’re here, exit 33 at the Irving Station!

    Harvard Falls are 60’ feet high and the roar of the crashing water was louder. We decided to scramble and bushwhack to the top to see what we could see. We got a view between the clouds of the highway down below in Lincoln. In the winter you can see the falls, look for a white stripe of ice up on the ridge.
    We followed the brook further and the channel was still more than four or five feet deep. Rocks that normally poked above were deep beneath the water. On the opposite bank there was a chair and behind it the snowmobile trail. If we were able to jump 30 feet to the other side we would have been able to save ourselves hours of hiking effort.
    Silly us, we continued bushwhacking up stream until we reached the edges of Bog Eddy and it looked more like a big pond than a bog. We had to go back down. We had bushwhacked across an old logging road and decided to give it a try instead of descending along the rocky steep slippery bank of the brook.
    At last the weather improved, it was cool and windy and the woods were beginning to dry up. The old logging road swung north around a bump and away from the brook. At times it was quite nice and sometimes it was hard and we had to push through young beech trees that were growing inches apart. We were able to make good time and we ended up near the bottom where we had started.
    Along the path this old logging road was blocked by a stack of tree branches to keep people from going up the wrong way. We were happy to make a fun loop. Have Fun.

    Georgian Falls and Harvard Falls are a fabulous little secret. I hope you get to visit them. Please be sure to stick to the blazed path (unless you’re an experienced bushwacker with the proper gear and carry a NH Hike Safe Card).
    We’re talking about going back this winter to see what they look like when they are icy. Have Fun.
    *We did make it to Wolf Cub, a 3 thousand foot trail-less peak using the snowmobile trails to reach the other side of Harvard Brook.


  • Signal Mountain Fire Tower On The List Of 93

     Signal Mountain can be seen in the distance behind Danielle as we bushwhacked up nearby Mount Patience.  We startled a moose that was resting on the grassy skidder road.
    Signal Mountain can be seen in the distance behind Danielle as we bushwhacked up nearby Mount Patience. We startled a moose that was resting on the grassy skidder road.

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    There are lots of mountain lists and right here in New Hampshire we have many mountain lists. Some lists have been around a long time and are well known, while others are more obscure and a few are gaining in notoriety. Some list keepers will reward a hiker with a unique path for completing their list.
    Around here most will agree that the most popular patch to be earned is given by the Appalachian Mountain Club for completing their New Hampshire Four Thousand Footer list—48 mountains all over the elevation of 4,000 feet. There is also special recognition for completing the list by summiting the peaks during the winter.

    The Signal Mountain Fire Tower, summit elevation 2,702 feet.  The first lookout tower was a 30’ wood structure built in 1911.
    The Signal Mountain Fire Tower, summit elevation 2,702 feet. The first lookout tower was a 30’ wood structure built in 1911.

    Closer to home The Belknap County Sportsmen’s Association sponsors The Belknap Range Hiker patch that is earned by hiking the 12 mountains that make up the Belknap Range. The Belknap Range Redliner patch, sponsored by the Belknap Range Trail Tenders (BRATTS.org), can be earned for hiking every trail in the Belknap Range and proceeds support their trail work.
    The New Hampshire Division of Forest and Lands operates 15 fire lookout towers and offers the Fire Lookout Tower Quest patch that can be earned by visiting a minimum of 5 of their 15 towers.
    You can discover more New Hampshire hiking lists that are managed by an advisory board made of up of hikers at www.48×12.com. The 48×12 is shorthand for the Grid—summiting each four thousand footer in every month! These are all fun hiking games/accomplishments.
    One list at 48×12.com my friend Danielle is working hard to check off every peak that is on it is the entire New Hampshire Fire Tower list. This list was inspired by Iris Baird’s fire tower research and data collection. This list contains 93 fire towers proposed, past and present lookout towers.
    Unlike the above lists that I have mentioned, this list requires visiting abandoned fire towers and sites where few if any artifacts remain and that have no trails to their sites but require bushwhacking; a swell way of saying you must find your way through the woods on your own.

    Yours truly hiking to the Signal Mountain Fire Tower. We made our way up a maze of old skidder roads across a cut to reach this old pretty road.
    Yours truly hiking to the Signal Mountain Fire Tower. We made our way up a maze of old skidder roads across a cut to reach this old pretty road.

    I completed this fire tower list last winter; hiking many of these peaks with my friends Bryan and Becca. I am working on a different list right now, but Danielle and I decided to join forces to hike to these out of the way places. A fire tower here, a bushwhack peak there and it all adds up. Her list is getting very small. We’re having a lot of fun.
    The Signal Mountain Fire Tower is still standing but it has been inactive since 1980. Signal Mountain is located in Millsfield, NH. We drove through Errol and of course we stopped by LL Cote Sports Center were you can get groceries and gas and buy everything from a sleeping bag to a shotgun.
    From Route 26 we headed south on Signal Mountain Road for about 3 miles before parking at an old log landing on left. We were cautious while driving, the road is multi-use by ATV’s and logging operations are active in the area.
    The foggy morning was clearing up and as we were gearing up to hike the clouds lifted off the pointy summit of Signal Mountain. I had hiked this with Bryan about a year ago or so and it all looked the same as I remembered.
    Danielle pulled out her map and she told me her plan and I followed her up an old skidder road across the logging cut. This was about the same way as I remembered hiking to reach the old road.
    The old road has seen some ATV use, but not recently, and we had no idea how they accessed it.
    We ignored some old skid roads that went straight up the mountain and we continued winding around the mountain as we climbed. Higher up, we came to a fork and I recalled going to the right but she wanted to go to the left so we did. Shortly after we intersected with a newer road that is being used by tractors or ATVs. This led us straight to the tower. We hiked about 1.7 miles and climbed almost a thousand feet to reach the tree covered summit.

    Danielle Normand points the way to Signal Mountain, Millsfield, New Hampshire.  Signal Mountain is one of the 93 peaks on the New Hampshire Fire Tower list, (www.12x48.com).
    Danielle Normand points the way to Signal Mountain, Millsfield, New Hampshire. Signal Mountain is one of the 93 peaks on the New Hampshire Fire Tower list, (www.12×48.com).

    The tower has seen better days. There are steps missing on the stairway, windows are boarded up or missing and it could use a paint job. But there is a lot of new equipment attached to the tower and I believe it is used for tracking moose. For over 35 years this tower has been unattended.
    Even if we were to have attempted to climb the tower there were no views to be had because the clouds were just barely above our heads. We poked around the summit and found parts to an old wood stove and some wire.
    We decided to return the same way since the footing was good and I recalled the other fork being ledgy and slippery. Lower down in the cut area we took a different skid road that ended up being not quite as nice but it delivered us back to the car just the same.
    After our morning hike we decided to go just down the road a little further and bushwhack to another 2,000 footer trail-less peak. Happily, the sun decided to come out even though the weather forecast called for rain.
    We jumped a moose and enjoyed wonderful views of Signal Mountain.
    Have Fun.

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


  • Autumn Hiking Along The Maine Coast

    On our way we stopped Midcoast and took a hike in the La Verna Nature Preserve.  We raced the setting sun and enjoyed the loop trail and especially the half mile that runs along the rocky shoreline of the Muscongus Bay. This trip is described in the AMC guide, Best Day Hikes along the coast of Maine by Carey Kish.
    On our way we stopped Midcoast and took a hike in the La Verna Nature Preserve. We raced the setting sun and enjoyed the loop trail and especially the half mile that runs along the rocky shoreline of the Muscongus Bay. This trip is described in the AMC guide, Best Day Hikes along the coast of Maine by Carey Kish.

    Amy Patenaude

     

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Why not? We could stay with our AT thru-hiking friend Carey Kish and his fine wife Fran in Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island. We could see the Ocean. It would be fun. So we did!
    We skipped out of work a little early on Thursday and with a copy of the AMC’s Best Day Hikes along the Maine Coast in my hands, written by non-other than our friend Carey Kish, I made a plan while Charlie drove east.

    Acadia’s paths and trails are not just famous for their fine stonework-Iron ladders and hand rails on the Beech Cliff Trail.
    Acadia’s paths and trails are not just famous for their fine stonework-Iron ladders and hand rails on the Beech Cliff Trail.

    Midcoast Maine, as best as I can tell, are the places between Freeport and Belfast. Then it’s Acadia/Bar Harbor and that other coastal place I have yet to visit called Downeast. Maine is big and has a big coastline.
    Just north of Freeport we got off the Interstate and continued on Route 1 until we turned off towards the ocean. We passed through Damariscotta where traffic was stop and go, not due to the bridge bottleneck but because of forklifts running around carrying giant pumpkins on the main street.
    Three hours later we were standing at the La Verna Preserve trailhead kiosk—trip #22 in the guide complete with map. I picked this trip because the 3 mile lollypop-loop has half of mile of trail right on the rocky coast and it sounded lovely for a late afternoon adventure.
    Wasting no time we hit the trail. We wanted to make sure we were out by dark—can’t waste those headlamp batteries. The well blazed trail’s good footing made it easy for us to hustle down the trail through the woods and over bog bridges.
    We heard the noise of the water hitting the rocks before we caught our first glimpse of the dark ocean through the trees. The trail dropped and we went nearer the water and we followed a spur that opened right out to onto the rocks. In the distance, the view of the near and far islands were tinged pink in the alpine glow of the soon to be setting sun.
    More than once I muttered that we should have allowed for more time to enjoy this place. We walked slowly until the path turned away from the ocean. Back in the woods we hiked fast back to the trailhead and darkness greeted us back at the car.

    Outdoor/Ski Columnist Amy Patenaude takes us on a breathtaking autumn hike along the midcoast of Maine. Pictured here are Fran Leyman and Charlie Gunn on top of Beech Cliff overlooking Echo Lake on a fine fall morning.  There are over 120 miles of paths and trails in Acadia National Park and Fran has redlined the Park--hiked every trail and path.
    Outdoor/Ski Columnist Amy Patenaude takes us on a breathtaking autumn hike along the midcoast of Maine. Pictured here are Fran Leyman and Charlie Gunn on top of Beech Cliff overlooking Echo Lake on a fine fall morning. There are over 120 miles of paths and trails in Acadia National Park and Fran has redlined the Park–hiked every trail and path.

    The super large pumpkins were out on display in Damariscotta and luckily we were able to secure two seats at the King Eider’s Pub. At the bar we were served crab cakes, fresh fish and a recommendation to stay at the Hawk House B&B (just four miles away).
    After yummy eggs and homemade bread toast prepared by our host at the Hawk House we drove two hours to Acadia National Park.
    Straight to the Loop Road we went and we parked in the right hand lane (like they do on the one-way Loop Road, remember not anywhere else) and just past the parking for the popular Precipice Trail. Luckily, right in front of the rock climber’s herd path.
    Charlie led me up a three pitch vertical climb and it did have wide belaying ledges to stand on while Charlie climbed above me. The rock was nice, the weather perfect and the wide ocean vista was grand and it was a fine fun afternoon for rock climbing.
    Carey and Fran are wonderful hosts. They made us supper and put us up in a comfy bed.
    We were up early and Fran, Charlie and I went off to hike. Fran is a strong hiker and she is in part because she redlined Acadia’s hiking trails—she’s hiked every single trail! She is the best guide. From her husband’s guide I had picked Trip #30—Beech Cliffs/Beech Mountain Loops. Fran agreed it was a good choice and nearby on their “quiet side” of Mount Desert Island.
    From the parking area on the south end of Echo Lake we started up the Beech Cliffs Trail. Wood carved signs, rock steps, big lookout ledges and even a few iron ladders on the steepest parts make up the trail to the lookout tower.
    The Beech Mountain fire tower is sometimes open but we were too early for its noon opening. We still climbed the stairs up to just below the cabin. Oh the view of the surrounding mountains and the sparkling waters was lovely.
    The guide book gives an excellent description of the trails and what you can see in the vista.
    With Fran’s guidance we strayed from Trip #30’s route and we headed down the South Ridge and returned via the Valley Trail. There are so many options for hiking—Acadia National Park has over 120 miles of trails and paths. Yes, Fran has hiked every mile and many more than once.
    After our hike we picked up Carey and we all went to the Oktoberfest celebration. We met friends, tasted beers and tasted beer (yes we did).

    The Perpendicular Trail up Mansell Mountain isn’t as steep as it it sounds but the 1,100 stone steps do climb over 800 vertical feet in just over half a mile.
    The Perpendicular Trail up Mansell Mountain isn’t as steep as it it sounds but the 1,100 stone steps do climb over 800 vertical feet in just over half a mile.

    The next day the weather wasn’t as wonderful—rain was moving in. Charlie and I managed to get up early and go for a hike. The trailhead for Mansell Mountain is not far from where we started our last hike but on the south end of Long Pond. The wind was blowing hard and making whitecaps on the pond. The Perpendicular Trail, originally constructed by the CCC, has over 1,100 stone steps. Fran has counted them and confirmed that there are that many stone steps! This trail is a piece of art and will withstand the test of time and the repeated travel of hikers for generations to come.
    Again we enjoyed nice views and the darkening skies really made the yellow and red foliage appear even brighter. We had a nice view of Beech Mountain and could see the fire tower too.
    Since it was not raining yet we descended via the Razorback Trail. From the ledgy open ridge we could see far out to the mountains and ocean. Luckily we made it back to the car just as it started to rain.

    Charlie, Kris and Jay having fun hiking in the rain. This is just one of the many stone staircases to be found on Acadia National Park’s paths and trails.
    Charlie, Kris and Jay having fun hiking in the rain. This is just one of the many stone staircases to be found on Acadia National Park’s paths and trails.

    After lunch we met our good friends Kris and Jay for a short hike in the rain. Donning our rain gear we walked on trails close to Bar Harbor. We walked along the Tarn on the path paved with giant rock blocks and then we made a loop up the stone staircase that forms the path for the Kurt Diederich’s Climb and then descended on the switchbacks on the fine stonework of the Emery Path.
    We got soaked but the view over the Great Meadow and Bar Harbor to the ocean was stunning. The giant cruise ship anchored in the harbor was dwarfed by the vastness of the ocean and the islands.
    On our final night we all went out on the town of Bar Harbor (just like everyone else on Mount Desert Island). Our dinner reservations at the Side Street Café were late. Carey said it was well worth waiting for and he was right. To pass the time we sat at the bar next door, Pork Nation, where the bartender entertained us with good Oktoberfest tips.
    The next morning the sun reappeared. Carey and Fran were busy packing for a camping trip to Isle au Haut and they had to be ready to leave the next day to catch a 4:30 am ferry to the island.
    We joined Kris and Jay for a 25 mile ride through the park on the famous Acadia Carriage Roads.
    As soon as we finish our bicycle ride we packed up our bikes and began the 5 hour drive home. With Charlie behind the wheel, I sat in the passenger seat and thumbed through Carey’s guide and dreamed about our next visit to hike the Maine Coast.
    Have fun!

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


  • Belknap Bliss Return to Round Pond & More Mountains

     

    Jeremy runs ahead on the Round Pond Trail.  Crisp and clear fall days are perfect for enjoying the Belknap Range Hiking Trails. Hike all 65.5 miles of the trails and become a Belknap Range Redliner--apply for your Redlining Patch at BRATTS.org.
    Jeremy runs ahead on the Round Pond Trail. Crisp and clear fall days are perfect for enjoying the Belknap Range Hiking Trails. Hike all 65.5 miles of the trails and become a Belknap Range Redliner–apply for your Redlining Patch at BRATTS.org.

    Amy Patenaude

     

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Brrrr, the morning was chilly, the skies were clear and blue and it was a fine day to go hiking in the Belknaps. Fall is here.
    At 9am we snagged the last of the five parking places at the East Guildford Trailhead on Wood Road (overflow parking is below roadside on Bickford Road).
    Our plan was to make a fast loop, more like a figure eight, to Round Pond, over Mt Mack and over Mt. Klem and back to Round Pond. We jogged up the trail just wearing our waist packs (just say no to calling it a fanny pack). We carried water and the essentials. As I jogged along I hoped I would warm up soon since it was colder than I thought. I did warm up but in hindsight I wish I had brought along a wind shirt. I was chilly longer than I liked. Continue reading  Post ID 2606


  • Ragged Mountain

    Yours truly on Ragged Mountain’s West Peak summit, elevation 2,225 feet.  Hot afternoons turn into cool evenings this time of year.
    Yours truly on Ragged Mountain’s West Peak summit, elevation 2,225 feet. Hot afternoons turn into cool evenings this time of year.

    Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway, Section 9

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    New Canada Road is a narrow dirt road that is known to many skiers as the short cut to Ragged Mountain Resort. I drove slowly, yet my car still kicked up a lot of dust. Not quite a mile up the road I noticed on the right the sign for the Ragged Mountain Trailhead and at about four miles I had reached the ski area’s parking lot.

     The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Section 9, The Ragged Mountain Trail.
    The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Section 9, The Ragged Mountain Trail.

    Jeremy was already there waiting for me even though I was a few minutes early. He jumped in my car and we turned around and drove back to the trailhead.
    We started our hike sometime after 4pm and we decided to go light. I tied a shirt around my waist and I wore a small waist pack (we don’t call them fanny packs anymore okay) containing a water bottle and a few other necessities (headlamp included).
    The trail is well blazed with SRK white markers and we were able to follow the trail across an old log landing and past logging roads. The trail soon entered the woods where the foot bed is well worn and the trail is easily recognized.
    We climbed and the trail led us in 1.4 miles up to the Buswell Ridge. The Ridge goes up and down and travels over some nice ledge faces. The late afternoon sun was hot and I worked hard to keep up to my faster friend. We passed by the work of some “artist” that had done some rock stacking that were obviously not directional rock cairns.
    About half way across the ridge we descended into a deep ravine with high rocky walls. At the bottom, an orange-dot blazed trail descends down the ravine. The guide book says the trail is private and is the Ash Trail but gives no other details. We scrambled up the other side and up back on the ridge. Nearing the top of the West Peak the trail passes near and through a gladed ski trail.

    There are nice view ledges along the way across Ragged’s ridge.  From this south facing ledge there is a good view of Proctor Academy’s Ski Hill and Mount Kearsarge.
    There are nice view ledges along the way across Ragged’s ridge. From this south facing ledge there is a good view of Proctor Academy’s Ski Hill and Mount Kearsarge.

    A small rock cairn marking the summit of Ragged Mountain’s West Peak is just in the woods off the trail on the right before descending to the top of the ski area.
    We stopped just long to enjoy the big vista at the top of the resort’s six-pack chairlift terminal but the vista was filled with mountains—nearby rocky topped Cardigan and even Franconia’s Ridge.
    I guzzled my water and there was a nice cooling breeze on the open summit.
    The Ridge Trail continued, leaving the ski area summit area behind the ski patrol shack. Down we went for a mile and then the trail headed up again. There are splendid south facing view ledges and we could see Proctor Academy’s ski hill and far past ever looming large Mount Kearsarge. We continued up and to the high point of West Top that is reached by a short spur path on the left to a narrow ledge with some survey markings on it.

    No snow on top of Ragged Mountain Resort yet but soon!  We reached the summit of the ski area via the Ragged Mountain Trail from New Canada Road.
    No snow on top of Ragged Mountain Resort yet but soon! We reached the summit of the ski area via the Ragged Mountain Trail from New Canada Road.
     Jeremy Clark moves fast up the Ragged Mountain Trail.  The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway is a 75-mile loop of hiking trails, the Greenway circles the Lake Sunapee area and connects Mount Sunapee, Ragged Mountain and Mount Kearsarge.
    Jeremy Clark moves fast up the Ragged Mountain Trail. The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway is a 75-mile loop of hiking trails, the Greenway circles the Lake Sunapee area and connects Mount Sunapee, Ragged Mountain and Mount Kearsarge.

    Down again we went until we reached the intersection of the trails to Ragged’s highest peak, Old Top, and the continuation of the SRK Greenway down to the Section 9 southern terminus at Proctor Academy. We had hiked 4 miles at this point.
    Although Old Top and its fine ledges were just 4/10ths of a mile away daylight was getting short. Two years ago on a cold and windy day Jeremy and I snowshoed from Proctor Academy to Old Top. I know it’s a sweet summit. As much as I would have liked to continue I knew it was more than I should do so we turned back.
    Jeremy led me up and over West Top and then most of the way back up to the ski area before taking a short bushwhack to a ski trail. We hiked up until we connected to another trail and to the ski area’s work road.
    We followed the work road down. The sun was low on the horizon and the air was cooler and I was glad to pull on my shirt I had carried along. The hike down went quickly and soon we were back at Jeremy’s truck in the parking lot.
    He dropped me off at my car and I am sure he was headed straight to the Danbury Country Store for some chicken tenders or perhaps a slice of pizza. I was hungry too and I was happy to find some supper waiting for me when I arrived home.
    The trail from New Canada Road to the ski area’s summit was a first hike up it for us both. The trail is very nice and I can’t believe it took me so long to find it. This trail and the trail up nearby Bog Mountain are described in detail in the AMC Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide.
    Have Fun.

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


  • Hike, Dip & Slide -Mount Crawford, Saco River & Attitash Mountain Resort

    Charlie standing on Mount Crawford’s summit and a view north over Crawford Notch.
    Charlie standing on Mount Crawford’s summit and a view north over Crawford Notch.

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    From Franconia we drove through Twin Mountain, past the grand Mount Washington Resort Hotel and down Crawford Notch to reach the parking area for the Davis Path—right across from Samuel Bemis’ Granite Mansion that is the Notchland Inn.
    The morning looked promising for another sunny hot day in the mountains. Charlie and I grabbed our packs and started walking along the bank of the Saco River to the pedestrian suspension bridge built in 1999 near the site of the original Bemis Bridge.
    The view from the middle of the bridge up and down the Saco River is reached by a short walk and is alone worth a visit.

    At the bottom of Crawford Notch on Route 302 and across from the Notchland Inn is the paved parking area for the Davis Path. From the parking area it is just a short walk to the pedestrian suspense bridge over the Saco River.
    At the bottom of Crawford Notch on Route 302 and across from the Notchland Inn is the paved parking area for the Davis Path. From the parking area it is just a short walk to the pedestrian suspense bridge over the Saco River.
    Charlie on the Davis Path.
    Charlie on the Davis Path.

    The Davis Path was built by Abel and Hannah Crawford’s son-in-law Nathaniel Davis and opened in 1945 and was the third bridle path that led to Mount Washington. It was in use as a bridle path until around 1854. The path was restored as a hiking trail and is a popular 2.5 mile hike one way to the ledgy summit of Mount Crawford. The Crawford Path to Mountain Washington is 14.4 miles long. The path runs through the designated Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness.
    The trail isn’t an easy but it does have fair footing as it switchbacks and climbs over 2,000 vertical feet to reach the summit and its grand mountain panorama.
    The trees shaded us well and the cool morning breeze helped keep us cool as we hiked up the trail and stepped up some fine stone steps that protect the trail and provide good safe footing.
    At 2.2 miles the Davis path bears right and the spur path to Crawford’s summit goes straight ahead up a large sloping ledge. This section is the most difficult piece and requires a bit of scrambling. At the top of the ledge there is reward of a big vista of Crawford Notch and down to Notchland’s roof.
    From this point the trees become sparse and soon we were standing on Crawford’s bare peaked summit. We walked around the small cone taking in the magnificent vista. Stairs Mountains is near and I like to imagine the Jolly Green Giant bounding up the giant mountain staircase. Mount Washington’s top was in the clouds but everything else could be seen clear. The Southern Presidentials, Crawford Notch, Willey, Bonds, Carrigain, Duck Pond Peak, Tremont, Attitash Bear Peak and oh so much more! Continue reading  Post ID 2606


  • Bushwhack to West Baldface Mountain

    Yours truly on West Baldface’s ridge with Chandler and North Doublehead Mountains behind me in the distance.
    Yours truly on West Baldface’s ridge with Chandler and North Doublehead Mountains behind me in the distance.

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    We are not made of sugar. If we were made of sugar we would have melted and washed downstream of the East Branch of the Saco River.
    We pitched our tents in a light sprinkle. We set up a tarp and put the lawn chairs beneath it. Becca boiled water on her Jetboil stove to cook us Mac & Cheese for supper. I used my golf umbrella to protect the small fire I was tending in the rock campfire ring. The umbrella’s acquired smoky smell will remind me of camping for years to come.
    By the time we hit the hay for the night, sprinkles had turned into rain and alternated between hard rain and harder rain.

    Camping in the rain is challenging.
    Camping in the rain is challenging.

    All night the rain pounded against the tarp of my small tent and it was loud. I didn’t sleep much because I was continuously startled awake when the rain changed from soft sprinkles to an outright deluge. But at least I stayed dry.
    Becca’s new big tent had a small puddle because she had left the window flap open yet she stayed dry. She said she slept well. I don’t think her big tent was as noisy as mine—my head was much nearer to the roof than hers.
    By morning the rain had stopped and spots of blue sky appeared between the clouds. The Jetboil stove quickly boiled water for coffee (I brought a French press) and for instant oatmeal that we topped with fresh picked blueberries.
    We folded up our wet tents and tarp. I used my shovel and stirred water into the center of the fire ring. Even after rain, always be responsible and make sure a fire is completely out. We packed up everything and left the campsite cleaner than we found it.
    From Bartlett we drove up the Slippery Brook Road to the end of East Branch Road. These roads were reopened last summer after being closed after Hurricane Irene’s severe damage. After extensive repairs these gravel roads are now in good condition.
    As we readied for our hike and bushwhack we talked about how our cars would smell inside after sitting in the sun all day with all our wet gear baking inside.
    Continue reading  Post ID 2606


  • Coös County’s Cohos Trail

    Here’s the door you’re looking for!  The Baldhead Lean-to has a nice privy complete with a moon on the door.
    Here’s the door you’re looking for! The Baldhead Lean-to has a nice privy complete with a moon on the door.

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Coös County is the most northern and largest county in New Hampshire. Coös and Cohos are pronounced “CO-ahss” with two syllables. If you say Coös as if it rhymed with ooze you’ll quickly give yourself away as a flatlander “from away.”
    The Cohos Trail (CT) travels the County from North to South over 165 miles utilizing old and new trails. The Southern terminus is Notchland (just north of Bartlett) at the Davis Path. The Northern terminus is the Canadian border at the Fourth Connecticut Lake.
    Long distance backpacking is the rage. More people than ever are hitting the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail—two trails made even more popular due to recent books and movies. The Cohos Trail is a jewel just waiting to be discovered. Or maybe we should just keep it for ourselves!

     The Cohos Trail guidebook has a section titled “What To Do When You Meet A Moose.”  Becca found a moose antler that had been chewed up by hungry critters. Squirrels, mice, porcupines, even foxes and bears eat antlers because they are full of calcium, phosphorus, and mineral salts.
    The Cohos Trail guidebook has a section titled “What To Do When You Meet A Moose.” Becca found a moose antler that had been chewed up by hungry critters. Squirrels, mice, porcupines, even foxes and bears eat antlers because they are full of calcium, phosphorus, and mineral salts.
    IMG_20160804_210647023
    The third edition of the The Cohos Trail guidebook is now available at cohostrail.org and fine bookstores. Coös was spelled Cohos on early maps. This and many more fun facts and interesting wisdom about New Hampshire’s North Country are found between the pages of the book.

    The new third edition of The Cohos Trail guidebook has just come out and ask for it in your favorite bookstore or purchase it and the new map on-line at cohostrail.org.
    The map is broken up into four sections: Notchland to Jefferson, Jefferson to Nash Stream, Nash Stream to Clarksville and Clarksville to Fourth Connecticut Lake.
    Many White Mountain hikers have traveled southern sections of the CT while summiting Mount Isolation or Mount Eisenhower since the CT’s route utilizes the Davis Path and the Edmands Path.
    Guests at the Omni Mount Washington Resort might spy a backpacker trekking down along the bank of the Ammonoosuc River on the edge of the golf course as the hiker makes his way to Cherry Mountain. But, if they are trekkers, they will continue over Mount Weeks and on to Roger’s Ledge.
    The AMC’s White Mountain Guide includes a few North Country hikes. Fourth Connecticut Lake Trail, Falls in the River Trail and the Percy Peak Loop come to mind. The CT connects these nice trails and these trails make super day hikes.
    I confess I have yet to take up long distance backpacking. Recently I have done a good number of sections of the CT in the North Woods to help me access 3,000 foot peaks. The 3ks are a much less popular list of New Hampshire peaks because most do not have trails.

    Becca heading into the woods on the Kelsey Notch Trail part of the Cohos Trail near Dixville. The trail is well blazed with yellow blazes and signs.
    Becca heading into the woods on the Kelsey Notch Trail part of the Cohos Trail near Dixville. The trail is well blazed with yellow blazes and signs.

    After a day of bushwhacking north of Route 26 in Dixville, up to the summits of Cave Mountain and Rice Mountain, we slept well in our tents. The next morning with a belly full of oatmeal cooked on Becca’s new Jet-Boil stove we looked forward to following the Cohos Trail to Baldhead South.
    East of Dixville Notch from Route 26 we took the West Branch Road, a rugged gravel road that you shouldn’t take your mother’s sedan anywhere near. My all-wheel drive rig bumped its way to the gate at the old Kelsey Notch Road. We passed by a tractor backhoe that was attempting to smooth out some of the more washed out parts.
    We parked at the gate and headed up the old road. A sign read “3 Miles to Shelter”. The Baldhead Shelter was our goal since Baldhead South’s summit was just a short distance north of the shelter.
    The CT guidebook’s instructions include “What to Do When You Meet a Moose” and “What to Do if You Meet a Bear”. These instructions are followed by “What to Do If You Meet a Homo Sapiens”. I giggled at the “When” you meet a moose verses “If” you meet a bear or a homo sapiens! North of the White Mountains on the CT you will see other people infrequently it warns.

     The Cohos Trail’s Baldhead Lean-to, we reached it via the Kelsey Notch Trail from Dixville.
    The Cohos Trail’s Baldhead Lean-to, we reached it via the Kelsey Notch Trail from Dixville.

    Becca and I hiked south on the CT up the old road. This old road from Colebrook is now a popular ATV corridor. After hiking less than 15 minutes the trail left the road and went into the woods. We followed the yellow blazes and the CT signs. Moose tracks far outnumbered the few boot prints we saw in the muddy areas.
    The trail was pleasant and felt much easier than our efforts bushwhacking. We crossed through many fern glades, the foot bed of the path was not heavily worn and felt soft on our feet. The North Country is famous for its mud but we easily kept our feet dry in our trail runners since it had not rained in many days.
    The hike wasn’t a grind. In fact, the trail rolled up and down and then a final steep push and a short descent to the shelter. The Baldhead South Lean-to was empty and it looked like a nice place to make camp. In front of the small shelter an area had been cleared to provide a fine vista. We tried to convince ourselves we could see all the way to the Percy’s over the Nash Stream Forest.
    The bushwhacking to the high point was easy since, obviously, the area’s moose meet here to have dance parties. Seriously, the herd paths went in every directions and we followed a clear path right to the summit bump.
    On the way back we took our time. Big trees, fern glades and boulders we admired and appreciated maybe a little more this time. We didn’t meet a moose but I bet we walked by one.
    We rolled back into civilization at lunchtime. A trip to Colebrook requires a stop at the Le Rendez Vous French Bakery! We wouldn’t dream of missing their yummy tarts and croissants. Have Fun

    Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.


  • Flume Gorge And The Basin Franconia Notch State Park

    If you’re on your way to Cannon Mountain or New England Ski Museum don’t just drive by the Basin in Franconia Notch State Park. The swirling waters of the Pemigewasset River eroded the granite and formed this giant bowl. There is a nice path to view the Basin and the cascades.
    If you’re on your way to Cannon Mountain or New England Ski Museum don’t just drive by the Basin in Franconia Notch State Park. The swirling waters of the Pemigewasset River eroded the granite and formed this giant bowl. There is a nice path to view the Basin and the cascades.

    Amy Patenaude

    by Amy Patenaude
    Outdoor/Ski Writer

    Every time we drive through Franconia Notch we pass the signs for the Flume Gorge and the Basin. We have visited these natural wonders many times and most often with friends and family from away as part of our efforts to show off our beautiful State.

     Downstream from the Basin is the “Baby Flume” a small gorge in the Pemigewasset River.  The “Baby Flume” can be reached by following the muddy Pemi Trail a short distance from the Basin path.
    Downstream from the Basin is the “Baby Flume” a small gorge in the Pemigewasset River. The “Baby Flume” can be reached by following the muddy Pemi Trail a short distance from the Basin path.

    The forecast was hot and humid again and during breakfast Charlie and I decided to make an early morning visit to the Flume Gorge to enjoy its cool cascading waters.
    We drove south through Franconia Notch passing by sparkling Echo Lake and its beach was empty since it was still early morning. I spied for grazing bears on Cannon’s ski slopes but I didn’t see any this time. We saw Cannon’s Tramway cars getting ready for the day—one going up and the other headed down. Cannon’s cliff is still missing the Old Man but you can pretend to see him if you peer up past the silhouette-gizmos at the memorial on the shore of Profile Lake. Campfire smoke lingered in the air as we drove past Lafayette Place Campground and already cars were parking on the shoulder of the parkway to access the hiking trails up to the Franconia Ridge. Continue reading  Post ID 2606