Saturday, 19 September 2015

Sunny day on Mt Colden

I'm not sure if we are into Indian Summer yet but it certainly was a beautiful sunny day on Thursday as I headed out for a hike up the Lake Arnold route to Mt Colden. As I passed Marcy Dam there was a work crew starting the process of taking apart the remnants of the dam. It will be interesting to see how the area above the dam changes as time goes forward. The Lake Arnold trail was as usual rocky and steep. It is clear that trail crews have done a lot of work on the Morgan Porter trail. It starts out wet and muddy in the area around Lake Arnold but there are numerous sections where bog bridging has been installed as well as a few staircases. The north summit is a great spot to take photos of either Marcy and the Great range in one direction and Algonquin and the MacIntyre range in the other. On the trail over to the actual (south) summit there are yet more bog bridges and one big staircase. Back on the north summit enjoying a sub for lunch a hiker arrived saying he had hiked up via the Trap Dike. I think he would be the first person I have encountered on a summit who was smoking a cigarette.

It was a spectacular day to be out hiking for mid September. A big thank you to the trail crew for all the work done on Mt Colden!

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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Mt Isolation

Next on my list was Mt Isolation. I decided to go via Rocky Branch, Isolation and the Davis Path. Contrary to its reputation as more stream than hiking trail, I really enjoyed this hike. A long dry spell meant that the wet sections were much less wet and the river crossings were easy rock hops. I can attest that there is an active spider population in the area. I was assuming that I might have this trail and peak to myself on a Tuesday in September but I did a lot of the hike with a hiker from Mass. who was finishing the 4000 footers. At the summit, we encountered groups coming via Glen Boulder and even a couple who had stayed the night at Lake of the Clouds hut. I'm glad this was the clearest weather day of the trip as Mt Isolation has a unique view of the southern Presidentials and an open summit to take it all in. A much easier hike than I was anticipating and I'm thinking that this would be a great snowshoe hike when the conditions are right!

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Whiteface and Passaconaway

Back to the White mountains for a few days to continue working on the list of 4000 footers. Today's goal was to hike Whiteface and Passconaway from the trailhead at Ferncroft. This involved an hours drive from the motel in Gorham to a charming small town. The parking area and the start of the trails are on private land but the locals are generous and friendly (and if you want to become a local, a prominent house near the trailhead is currently for sale). I took the Blueberry Ledge trail to Whiteface. It features some fun steep scrambling as it approaches the summit ridge (the summit itself is a bump in the middle of the ridge). The Rollins trail over to Mt Passaconaway involves a gradual loss of about 900 feet. The Dicey's Mill trail approach to Mt Passaconaway starts with some switchbacks and a short steep section near the top to remind you that you are ascending a mountain. No real views other than a big boulder from which you can see the Tripyramids to the west. The Dicey's Mill trail back to the parking area is now a favorite of mine as it was fairly soft and a gentle slope so you could walk without having to concentrate on each step. Not a lot in the way of views on this hike but a pleasure regardless!

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