Trip Report: Vermont NEHH Peaks – Mt. Dorset, Mt. Equinox, and Stratton Mountain – 6/21/2013

It was earlier this week when I started thinking about getting back to Vermont for some peak bagging. The forecast for Friday looked quite promising, so I started to solicit hiking companions. I’ve never done much hiking solo, but I couldn’t seem to find anyone interested or available on a weekday, so I decided I would give it ago on my own. This initially was discouraging, but then I decided it’s OK, I can go at my own pace, and if all goes well, I can try and hit all three in a single day. I’ve done some long hikes in my time, but never have attempted 2 separate hikes, never mind three. My initial estimate was about a 15-20 mile day, and about 11 hours of hiking time with somewhere around 6700ft of elevation gains by the planned routes. It was an ambitious plan, but certainly doable, and while it’s nice to hike with a group, sometimes I like a good challenge. I was able to get some fantastic lodging at the Green Mountain House Hiker Hostel, providing a central location to all 3 peaks. Normally I would just hammock camp, but with the heat and bugs, sleeping indoors was quite nice. I started the day on Equinox, and made some really good time. The trails there are in great shape, I was able to do some trail running on the way down. On returning to the car, I ate some snacks and made my way over to Dorset. I was able to get my car to the end of “maintained” Tower Road, and headed out. Dorset really inst a bushwhack, the unofficial trail was in good shape except for a small bit thats seems to be a washout. On the way down I stepped into a big mud puddle and had to get creative on how to dry my shoes on the way over to Stratton. I was able to get a parking spot at the base of the ski area, and started my hike up under the gondola. The bugs really chewed me up and the sun was much hotter. The path from the gondola area to the fire tower is in great shape, it was nice to be back in the trees. Rumor has it there is a very territorial moose that has been charging at hikers, 3 different people warned me about it, but I didn’t have an encounter, although moose tracks were plentiful.

All 3 peaks in a day totals:
Distance: 18.94 mi
Time: 9:08:52 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 7,510 ft

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Mount Dorset:
Distance: 6.69 mi
Time: 3:08:43
Avg Pace: 28:13 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 2,440 ft
I was able to get some info on the trail to Dorset from my hiking friends, and set the GPS for the intersection of Lower Hollow Road and Tower Road in the town of Dorset, VT. A good address to get you to the trail head is: 315 Tower Road, Dorset, VT.
GPS/GPX Link

 

 

Mount Equinox:
Distance: 6.51 mi
Time: 3:08:31
Avg Pace: 28:57 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 3,090 ft
Again I got some beta from hiking friends and a guidebook, setting the GPS for 65 West Union Street, Manchester, VT to start this hike. The Equinox Preservation Trust has some fine information available for aspiring hikers including a great map!

GPS/GPX Link

 

 

Mount Stratton:

Distance: 5.74 mi
Time: 2:51:38
Avg Pace: 29:54 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 1,980 ft
Stratton is normally approached from the South side via the Long Trail, starting from the Stratton-Arlington Road trail head, I chose instead to hike up via the ski slopes. As a rule, I generally try to use trails and stay off ski slopes, but my reasoning for this approach was two-fold. I was to be hiking solo, and if something did go wrong, better chances of getting someone’s attention on the developed side, and by starting from the ski area, it would save me a decent amount of driving time. The Stratton Ski Resort website offers a map of the hiking trails from the ski summit to the true summit.

GPS/GPX Link

So I’ve now hiked 88 of the New England 100 Highest Mountains!

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Gear Review: Garmin GPSMAP 60cx

Do you hike in the White Mountains? Do you want GPS tracks for almost every trail, for free?

I use my GPS for almost all my outdoor adventures. When I am hiking, it makes a good fallback/compliment to a map and compass. I also use it to record tracks of my adventures, so I can track my activities throughout the years. If someone wants to go to a place I have been to, I can share the track or lay it over a topo map on the Mytopo.com website for them to work with. I’ve had a number of units over the year, and currently I use the Garmin GPSMAP C60cx. This unit allows me to upload detailed topo maps and import and export tracks and way-points from my laptop. I upload most all of my tracks the the Garmin Connect website, this allows me to easily share my tracks, as well as run reports on my activities, and it stores them online so if I ever have a computer failure, they still exist somewhere.

In addition, when I am planning a new adventure, I often search the internet for others tracks to assist in route planning. You can search for your planned activity with the keywords GPX GPS TRACK ROUTE, and usually come up with something to use. A good resource to use is Wikiloc as well. Sites such as EveryTrail and Trimble Outdoors have a ton of user submitted trips one can browse and download. This link has almost every trail in the White Mountain National Forest as a GPX file!

There are a number of detailed map products you can purchase such as the Garmin TOPO products, or you can look online for free maps. A good site I use is GPSFileDepot, which has a wide variety of maps, some with trail data etc.

There is a site called OpenStreetMap that allows you to get some map data free for garmin products.

If you don’t have the money or need for a full on GPS receiver, you can utilize your smartphone as well, my favorite app is MyTracks.


Garmin Foretrex 301 GPS

The streamlined Garmin Foretrex 301 GPS sports a powerful new high-sensitivity receiver and a smaller design than its predecessor for easy wrist-top navigation.


Garmin GPSMAP 62stc GPS

The robust Garmin GPSMAP 62stc offers all the features of the GPSMAP 62sc, plus preloaded TOPO 100K mapping.


Garmin Montana 650t GPS

The waterproof Garmin Montana 650t GPS is big, versatile and tough. It features a large touch-screen display , preloaded TOPO U.S. 100K maps and a 5-megapixel camera.


Garmin Oregon 450 GPS

With a 3-axis compass, enhanced display, incredible map presentation and geocache gaming and a vivid display, the Garmin Oregon 450 delivers a versatile and fun GPS experience.


Garmin Oregon 450t GPS

With a 3-axis compass, enhanced display, touchscreen interface, spectacular trail mapping and geocaching, the Garmin Oregon 450t offers a fun and easy GPS experience.


Garmin eTrex 10 GPS

The compact Garmin eTrex 10 GPS gives you quick and easy GPS functionality at a great value. It’s perfect for geocaching and hiking.


Garmin eTrex 20 GPS

The Garmin eTrex 20 GPS features an full-color display, expandable memory and geochaching to offer a fun and easy GPS experience for outdoor enthusiasts.


Garmin eTrex 20 Topo GPS Bundle

The Garmin eTrex 20 Topo GPS bundle combines the eTrex 20 GPS with a TOPO U.S. 100K preprogrammed card, case and PC cable.


Garmin eTrex 30 GPS

With a 3-axis compass, full-color display and geocaching, the compact Garmin eTrex 30 offers a fun and easy GPS experience for outdoor enthusiasts.


Garmin eTrex 30 Topo GPS Bundle

The Garmin eTrex 30 Topo GPS bundle combines the user-friendly eTrex 30 with TOPO U.S. 100K mapping, 1-year BirdsEye subscription and a handy carrying case.

New England Hundred Highest – Mount Nancy, NH

It’s been awhile since I’ve set out to chase down another peak on the New England Hundred Highest list, so with a Sunday free and clear I decided to get out to the White Mountains. This was my 80th/100. Mount Nancy, elevation 3927ft, is located in Grafton county New Hampshire. There is no official trail to the summit, but there is a maintained trail from NH302 up to Norcross Pond, and a herd path direct to the summit from there. When doing my pre-hike information gathering, I found many trip reports and even a GPS track to follow, so I felt well prepared. Knowing it would involve some bushwhacking, I decided to go with a smaller pack. The trail begins on the eastern side of NH302 and quickly climbs to Nancy Pond at around 3,000ft, then continues on to the official trails terminus at Norcross Pond.

The trail begins on an old road of sorts, with a very gentle grade, and gets more difficult as time goes on. After a short while and several water crossings, some of which might be quite difficult at high water, I arrived at Nancy Cascades. It was running very well thanks to some rainfall in the day prior, and I spent some time here taking photos. From the cascade the trail meanders up and around to the top of the falls and steeply climbs to meet Nancy Pond, and eventually Norcross ponds. There were many sunken bog bridges between the falls and the ponds. Once arriving at the outlet of norcross pond, there is a path directly over ones right shoulder when looking at the No Camping sign. I followed this path and it soon came to a junction, to the right is a very nice campsite, to the left, the “unmaintained” trail that very steeply climbs to the summit of Mt. Nancy. Rain was threatening all day, but we did get some very nice views from the outlook.

 

 

        

 

Distance: 10.11 mi
Time: 7:33:48
Avg Pace: 44:54 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 3,210 ft

GPS/GPX Track

Trip Report: Mt. Shaw and Black Snout

I had never hiked in the Ossipiee range before, so I was excited when plans came togather at the last minute with some of my hiking friends to head there on Saturday. The plan was to meet at the trailhead on Route 171 where it meets Sodom Road in Tuftonboro, New Hampshire, and hike to Shaw and Black Snout. The trails aren’t very well marked in some places, the beginning follows some piping along fields brook and then ascends very steeply for a bit and joins a carridge road of sorts near the summit of Black Snout. There are some red blazes marking the way but sometimes we didn’t see one for a while. Along the lower sections of the Shaw trail we stopped at a few of the very nice waterfalls to take photos and rest a bit. Once joining the Black Snout Trail we stopped and enjoyed the views to the lakes from the summit of Black Snout and had some snacks.
Next, we hiked back to the Black Snout Trail and over to Mt. Shaw, where we were awarded fantastic views north to the White Mountains, and caught glimpses of the new fallen snow shining on the high peaks. We could easily identify Moosilauke, Franconia Ride, and the Presdidential range with thier white summits sparkling in the sun. We spent a while anjoying the views and then returned the way we came. I suppose a better loop could be done by returning to Black Snout and descending the Big Ball Mountain Trail, perhaps another day.

Distance: 7.60 mi
Time: 5:31:18
Avg Pace: 43:35 min/mi
Avg Speed: 1.4 mph
Elevation Gain: 2,417 ft

GPS/GPX Link

Trip Report: Mt. Moosilauke via Asquam Ridge 9/29/2012

I’ve been to Mount Moosilauke twice before, and had a weekend planned using the Dartmouth Outing Club’s Moosilauke Ravine Lodge as the basecamp for my group last weekend. I decided to take a new approach, via the Asquam Ridge trail over Mt. Waternomee, Mt. Jim and Mt Blue. The weather was misting and cloudy when we set out, but looked to clear up as the day went on. From the lodge the trail takes a very flat approach, following the river without gaining much elevation until gradually leaving the river on its way up to the ridge line. Our main destination was the summit of Mt. Moosilauke, so we didn’t spend the time to touch the official summits of any of the aforementioned peaks that were not on the trail, except for Mt. Jim and Mt. Blue, which has a very well defined herd path to it’s highpoint, and a canister as well. One thing I want to do next time I visit that area, is to checkout the Mt. Waternomee B18 Bomber Crash Site. We found a not-so-stealth camp site at the junction of  the Beaver Brook Trail, and stopped and had some lunch before setting out to Mt. Blue and on from there. After taking some photos atop Moosilauke, we proceeded down to South Peak and caught our only views for the day as the clouds were coming in and out. This was the first time I had been up there without any significant wind and it was a very pleasant  experience. We took the carriage road to the snapper trail for our return to the lodge. I highly recommend staying at the lodge, the food was excellent and the accommodations are more than affordable.

 

Distance: 10.11 mi
Time: 8:12:35
Avg Pace: 48:43 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 2,741 ft

GPS TRACK

 

 

 

Trip Report: Mt Pierce 9/15/2012

I had to opportunity to stay in Crawford Notch this weekend with my hiking club. On Saturday we set off to hike to Mt. Pierce, a peak I have been to twice, but never have visited Mitzpah Hut. The trail is in great shape and we had no problems. We stopped by the hut on the way up and had some snacks. Rain and winds blew in and we decided to get moving. The Crawford Path is in great shape, as always, but I much prefer this hike in winter.

We hiked very quickly and got to the summit but had no views due to cloud cover.


Distance: 6.61 mi
Time: 4:10:07
Avg Pace: 37:51 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 2,384 ft

GPS TRACK

Trip Report: Mount Garfield, NH – Flags on the 48 9/8/2012

(Via: http://www.flagsonthe48.org/) On September 11th, 2001 the consciousness of United States of America was undeniably altered by overwhelming and devastating acts of terrorism, so far reaching in their intensity that our country will forever carry the scars. Thousands of lives were lost in a fleeting moment, immeasurable families shattered and countless hearts broken.

We in the hiking community continue to honor the deceased with a tribute: flying the American flag atop all 48 four-thousand foot and higher mountains in New Hampshire on Sunday, September 11. By demonstrating our steadfast unity in this challenging endeavor, we also hope to express our unwavering support to the families, friends and communities whose losses are beyond comprehension and whose suffering we remember in our hearts.

This was the first year I was able to get out hiking to see it, and it was a fantastic day for it. I led a group hike to Mt. Garfield, a peak I’ve only visited once on a very long, very cold Pemi-Loop in November a few years back, and I had little to no views on that day.

We assembled at the trail head on Gale River road and hiked up via the Mt. Garfield Trail. This trail is in great shape and the footing is good, as it is an old trator road. There were ample places to refill water along the way, even above 3,000ft. As we joined the Garfield Ridge Trail the winds picked up and we added on some layers for the final .2mi section to the summit, where we were rewarded with great views. The team that had carried the flag and its supports informed us that it was higher, but the wind had snapped it down with a big gust. We could see the flags go up on Mt. Bond, South Twin, and Galehead. The Franconia ridge was in and out of the clouds all day. Just after we had lunch and were getting ready to descend, we cought sight of the Blackhawk helipcopter flying towards us. We all took some photos and enjoyed the walk out, just in time to beat the severe thunderstorms that rolled in from the west.

Flag flying atop Mt. Garfield

Photo of the summit as seen from the helicopter.

VIDEO

Summary
Distance: 10.03 mi
Time: 7:12:11
Avg Pace: 43:06 min/mi
Avg Speed: 1.4 mph
Elevation Gain: 3,006 ft

GPS TRACK