2009 Mountain Hikes of the Echo Shores "Over the Hill" Hikers

Hiking Journal 2009

by Beverly DiVaio

I've listed below each mountain we hiked, the date and who participated, along with comments about the hikes.  The comments include input from the other hikers.  Also included in each section is a link you can click on to see pictures we took during each hike.

This year we'll be hiking several mountains in the Ossipee mountain range and re-hiking several in the Belknap range, as well as exploring some area fire towers.

Mt. Rand - Elevation 1,883 ft. & Mt. Klem - Elevation 2,001 ft. - Gilford, NH

Date: 4-24-09

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio, Don Hughes, Jerry McCabe, Dan and Celeste Weberg

Comments:  We left Echo Shores at 9:30 AM.  It was a crystal clear day with a perfectly blue sky and no wind.  We parked our cars on Glidden Road. The trail head to Mt. Rand is at the end of the road at a dirt road called “Clough Road”.  We soon saw moose droppings and perhaps some bear tracks.  We left the road at the junction of the trails for West Quarry (to the left) and Mt Mack (to the Right).  We went right following the white blazed trail called the Quarry Trail.  Since there were no leaves on the trees we got a few glimpses of the lake.  When we got to a clearing facing west, someone had posted a panoramic photo on a tree labeling some of the lakes and mountains we were looking at. After savoring our first summit we continued following the white trail down some rather steep cliffs ( Jerry’s rope skills came in handy again) as we hiked down Rand and up Klem.  We went through some nice pine forest, then hard woods, then back into pine.  We had a few trees across our path, probably the result of last winter’s ice storm.  Near the top of Klem, someone had provided a great map nailed to a tree describing the trail we had just left as having some cliff sections and that is should only be hiked by experienced hikers!!  We began seeing small patches of snow and ice.  At the summit of Klem we met a single hiker coming from Mt. Major, then a group of four women who had come up from Round Pond.  It was a little surprising to us to see hikers on a weekday this early in the season.  After  stopping for lunch we left the white trail and followed the red trail marked by red diamonds down to Round Pond. Near the top we had a great view of the lake and mountains to the north.  We passed a couple of ponds with frogs croaking up a storm!  Round Pond was peaceful with no sight of human habitation, just a couple of beaver lodges.  Leaving Round Pond, we headed towards the dirt road - Grant Road extension.  The trail is actually a small "river bed" that carries runoff from the mountains, and it was extremely rocky and rough.  We had to veer off the trail into the woods many times to avoid large areas of water on the trail.  The hike was 6.2 miles according to Don’s GPS and we returned to our cars at 2:30 pm.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Blue Job Fire Tower - Elevation 1,356 ft. - Farmington, NH

Date: 5-1-09

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio, Don and Peggy Hughes, Jerry and Claire McCabe

Comments:   We left Echo Shores at 10:30 AM under cloudy skies.  We drove on paved roads and several maintained dirt/gravel roads in Farmington until about we were about ¼ mile away from our destination.  At that point we saw Blue Job Farm with a marsh and water on both sides of the road, and water across the road in front of us, so we couldn't continue.  We looked at a map to find an alternate route, and then spoke with a man walking the gravel road to get further directions.  He informed us that we couldn’t navigate our road of choice, Poor Farm Road, in our cars as it was too muddy.   So we re-grouped and decided to take the route recommended in the fire tower pamphlet.  The trail head is on First Crown Point Rd., which is off of Route 202A.  After finding the parking lot for the fire tower we began our hike at 11:45 AM.  The walk to the tower was under gray, overcast skies.  Mosquitoes were fierce near the trail head, but they dwindled as we hiked up to the tower.  We followed a loop marked by orange blazes, and did not see any other hikers.  From the fire tower we could somewhat see the Ossipee Range and Prospect Mt.  The sky was very hazy, however, and with some light rain and a dark sky we could not see any distance, so we don't have any photos showing the view from the tower.  The fire ranger was not at the tower when we were there.  The trail back down (a different trail than the one we took hiking to the tower) was actually paved in places, which makes it possible for vehicles to reach the communication tower at the summit.  We reached the parking lot at about 12:50 PM.  On the way back to Echo Shores we stopped for lunch at Johnson’s Restaurant on Route 11 in New Durham, and arrived back home at 3:45 PM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Mt. Roberts - Elevation 2,582 ft. - Moultonborough, NH

Date: 5-8-09

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio, Don Hughes, Dan and Celeste Weberg

Comments:  We left Echo Shores at 9:00 AM and arrived at the upper gate to Castle in the Clouds near the end of Ossipee Park Rd. (by the bottling plant) at 10:00.  We parked in a small lot next to the gate.  We first went to Shannon Pond to see and feed the giant Rainbow Trout.  We then took a trail around the pond and saw a beaver dam, lodge and stumps left by the beavers.  At 10:30 AM we started up the Mt. Roberts Trail.  The trail head was at the corner of the field between the stable and pond.  The orange blazed trail was easy to follow. It started out as an old carriage road which turns into a bridle path, then hiking trail.  We saw no signs of horses, but lots of "signs" of moose.  We also saw a snake, watched a hawk and raven soar and endured more black flies than I’ve ever seen. We also got two ticks on us.  We came across two other groups of hikers, both of which admitted that they could hear our laughter from a long way off!  The last mile of the trail was over open ridge area with spectacular view of the Northern end of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap Range.  From the summit, where we ate lunch at 12:30 PM, we got our first view of the White Mountains facing north.  On a clear day, Mount Washington is supposed to be visible.  Our weather was cloudy and hazy so we could not see it.  We hiked down with showers starting lightly for the final ten minutes of the hike.  We reached the car at 2:15 PM, and got home a little after 3:00 PM

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Mt. Rowe - Elevation 1,690 ft., & Gunstock Mountain - Elevation 2,250 ft.

Date: 5-18-09

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio, Don Hughes, Dan and Celeste Weberg, Jerry McCabe

Comments:  We left Echo Shores at 10:00 AM.  Most of us had hiked these two mountains twice last summer and fall, and now we have seen it in the springtime.  The weather was great.  The bugs were better than on the last two hikes.  The highlight of the hike for me was meeting Dave Roberts, Glen Lush, and the other members of their group at the top of Mt. Rowe.  Dave has created excellent hiking maps of the Belknap and Ossipee mountain ranges, and we have used them extensively for our hikes.  He has also taken numerous beautiful photos on his hikes, many of which he has posted on the winnipesaukee.com web site under the user name "dcr" in the "PhotoPost" section. 

(You can see Dave's many photos by clicking HERE.)

It was nice to be able to thank Dave personally for the information and inspiration he has provided to many hikers, and to get some information about some future hikes from both Dave and Glen.  Since this hike, Glen has been very helpful to Don by providing advice about the GPS and computer program he and Dave use to plan their hikes and to produce images showing their hiking routes and trail elevations.  As a result of Glen's assistance, Don is planning to purchase a new GPS and computer program so he can plan hikes for our group.  Dave and Glen are members of the Wolfeboro "Active Older Adults" (AOA) group, which is very active in hiking.

From Mt. Rowe we proceeded to Gunstock following the same trail we took for our 2008 hikes, which you can read more about HERE.  We ate lunch on the deck of the Panorama Pub at the top of Gunstock, then returned to the parking down the ski slopes.  The hike was about 6 miles long, and we got back home at 2:10 PM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

The Flume, The Basin, and Cannon Mountain Cliffs - Franconia Notch State Park

Date: 5-22-09

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio,  Dan and Celeste Weberg, Don and Peggy Hughes, Jerry and Claire McCabe

Comments:  We left Echo Shores at 8:30 AM and reached the main building at the entrance to the Flume at 9:45 AM.   First we watched a 20 minute video showing many of the natural features at Franconia Notch State Park, and then we headed for the two mile long Flume trail.  It was a beautifully sunny day and we enjoyed the walk through the woods.  As we approached the Flume, Dan enjoyed the “free air conditioning” resulting from the cool water flowing down the Pemigewasset River. 

We followed the path of the Pemigewasset up into the gorge on gravel paths and wooden walkways that are taken down every fall and replaced in the spring after the winter ice and snow have melted.  As we got deeper into the gorge, we could hear the waterfalls and watch the water cascade over the rocks.  After leaving the waterfalls, we headed towards the famous Sentinel Pine wooden bridge, Liberty Falls and huge boulders left behind by the glaciers.  Yellow birches grow under surprising conditions.  Some of the birch tree seeds land on top of boulders.  The trees send long strong roots down, around and sometimes up the boulders searching for nutrients and stability.  Other seeds have appeared to germinate and grow on old tree stumps that have decayed and disappeared, leaving the roots suspended in mid-air.  We left the Flume at 11:50 AM.

The walk through the Flume was fascinating and we saw numerous unusual geological features in the rock walls of the gorge.

Click HERE to see photos taken at The Flume.

After we returned to the main building at the Flume, we drove about 1 ½ miles up Rt. 93 to the Basin, which is marked by a road-side sign.  A bike path begins at the Flume and continues 9 miles through Franconia Notch to Cannon Mountain.  We followed a portion of that bike path under Route 93 and followed a hiking path through the woods along the Pemigewasset to a pool and basin, which is a granite pothole 20 feet in diameter.  The Basin happens to be one of my favorite spots in the White Mountains.  The trail goes by a series of small cascades and then to a beautiful waterfall.

Then we headed up Rt. 93 a short distance to Boise Rock, where we had lunch.  Through binoculars, we looked at climbers traversing the rubble at the bottom of the Cannon Mouintain Cliffs, and saw a couple of climbers rappelling on the cliffs themselves.

Click HERE to see photos taken at The Basin and Cannon Mountain cliffs.

After lunch we said good-bye to Don and Peg, who encountered a Border Patrol stop on Rt. 93 near Plymouth where every vehicle travelling south was stopped and sniffed by a trained dog.  The rest of us went on to check out the bears at Clark’s Trading Post and then we drove across the Kancamagus Highway.  We had originally planned to stop at Cathedral Ledges, but once we saw the Memorial Day traffic heading north on Route 25 in Conway we returned homeward.  Finally, we stopped for pizza at Gunstock Inn at 5:00 PM.

Brook Walk and Shannon Brook Trail - Castle in the Clouds, Moultonborough, NH

Date: 6-1-09

Hikers:  Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio,  Don and Peggy Hughes, Jerry and Claire McCabe

Comments: We left Echo Shores at 12:15 PM on a crystal clear day. The weather was brisk, bright and only clouded up as we were heading back toward the car near the end of our hike.  Don tried out his new Garmin GPS unit with mapping abilities, utilizing a detailed topographic map.  He was able to input waypoints for these two trails, kindly provided by Glen Lush, into his GPS unit and we were able to follow the route flawlessly.

The hike itself started at the entrance to Castle in the Clouds on Rt. 171. We followed the road up to the Falls of Song path.  At that point we left the road and followed the clearly marked Brook Walk Trail.  The trail was clearly marked with white blazes.  We followed the brook along its east side, hiking upstream all the way until we reached Shannon Pond.  It was not a strenuous hike, and the views were excellent.  We took our time as we walked along the brook and saw the waterfalls and cascades, and we enjoyed the sound of the flowing water the entire way.  Perhaps we will be able to walk this trail again during the autumn and next spring.  At Shannon Pond we fed the giant rainbow trout.

From the pond we took the Shannon Brook trail, walking downhill on the west side of the brook.  This trail is a gravel carriage road and was marked with red blazes. The trail had few interesting features along the way, but we were able to identify several trail heads originating off of it that lead to mountains we hope to visit later in the year.  Hiking the two trails took about 2 ½ hours.  After a couple of stops on the road, we were home at 4:45 PM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Mt. Shaw - Elevation 2,990 ft. - Moultonborough, NH

Date: 6-17-09

Hikers:  Rich and Beverly DiVaio,  Don Hughes, Jerry McCabe and Rick Buy

Comments:   Our hike started at the kiosk near Shannon Pond at Castle in the Clouds at 9:30 AM on a crystal clear, calm day with temperatures in the 70’s.  Our route had been planned using GPS data that was graciously provided by Glen Lush, and with that information Don created a GPS route and printed out maps of our hike.   We are still getting used to some of the features of these new GPS devices, and there is always something new to learn.  The trails were well blazed and the intersections were well marked.  All the trails we were on were old dirt carriage roads which were becoming covered with grass, ferns, and wild flowers.  The walking conditions were good with the exception of wet areas.  This June has been cool and very rainy.  We have had 3.85 inches of rain this week alone, which created some muddy areas on several of the trails.

As we started down the green blazed Bridal Path trail starting at the kiosk near Shannon Pond, we enjoyed watching a large porcupine waddle across the trail and slowly climb a tree.  We then then took a short "detour" to a lookout called Bridal Path Peak which offers a nice view of the northern end of Lake Winnipesaukee.  We then continued along the green trail to the orange-blazed Faraway Mountain Trail, and then turned off onto the white-blazed Oak Ridge Cutoff.  A ruffled grouse was in the woods near the side of the trail screeching and acting wounded.  She was trying to get us away from her nest where she most likely had eggs or chicks.  She blended in with vegetation exceedingly well.  Our talkative group continued on its way and tried to give her some peace.

At the next intersection we turned onto the blue-blazed High Ridge Trail to the summit of Mt. Shaw.  Although we didn’t get many tantalizing views as we approached the summit, the view from the summit itself was well worth the trip and was truly spectacular.  Directly down the mountain in front of us was a collapsed caldera of an ancient volcano.  Beyond that, we could see mountain range after mountain range west, north and east.  It was 12:30 PM when we reached the summit, and it was a wonderful spot to have lunch.

After lunch and enjoying the view from the summit, we followed the same trails down about ¾ of the way back to Shannon Pond.  However, we decided to leave the green-blazed Bridal Path trail at the intersection of the blue Oak Ridge Trail to take in one more scenic view at the Oak Ridge Lookout which overlooks Lake Winnipesaukee, the Castle in the Clouds, the Belknap mountain range, the water bottling plant near the Castle, the exit road and our car.  We followed the blue-blazed trail down to the yellow-blazed Turtleback Mt. Trail which led us back to the kiosk where we began our hike.  According to both Don's and Rich's GPSes, we hiked a total of 9.5 miles.  We were back to the car at 4:30 PM. 

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Devil's Den - Elevation 1,110 ft. - New Durham, NH   (First Attempt)

Date: 6-26-09

Hikers:  Dan and Celeste Weberg (and their two grandchildren Sophie, age 4 3/4, and Bella, age 9 1/2), Don Hughes, Rich and Beverly DiVaio, and Paul and Eleanor Apholt (and their two grandchildren, ages 7 and 12)

Comments:   We left Echo Shores at 8:40 AM.  We drove down Merrymeeting Road in New Durham past the fish hatchery until we reached a sharp curve to the right with a small parking lot and trail head with an open bar gate. (This is actually the end of Merrymeeting Road, where North Shore Road begins.)   We started our hike at 9:15 AM.  We hiked up a gravel road and snowmobile/ATV trail called Chesley Road and eventually reached Devil’s Den Road, a fairly rough gravel road.  We passed an old cellar hole on the left side of the trail from a long-gone colonial house, staying right at the fork in the road.  We passed a beaver pond, and saw moose and deer tracks.  We turned left off Devil's Den Rd. onto a well-worn hiking trail that led into the woods near a stand of three white birch trees at the trail junction.  From that point on there were many unmarked trails leading to the cliff ledge.  We soon came upon the ledge cliffs and saw a chain near the top of a cliff and pre-drilled bolts which are clipped with carabineers by rock climbers.  We took a fairly easy trail around the cliffs to the top of Devil's Den Mountain, reaching the summit at 10:45 AM.  We enjoyed great views overlooking part of Merrymeeting Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee.  We could see Roberts, Chestnut and Jockey Coves, and Rattlesnake and Barndoor Islands on Lake Winnipesaukee.  Some of us watched a family of Cedar Waxwings while others scouted for the Devil’s Den Cave.  We did find a few caves, but not the one we were looking for.  I guess we’ll just have to come back!   We hiked back down, stopping along the way for a picnic lunch.  After returning to our cars, we stopped at the Powder Mill Fish Hatchery where we all marveled at the large number of young fish.  Then the children fed the mature brook trout.  Some of them were 8- 10 years old and they were quite huge.  I’m sure Don was dreaming of catching his next big one!   Our last stop on the way home was at Johnson's, and as we ate our ice cream we all complimented the grandchildren on being genuine hikers.  They were happy during the entire 4.8 miles of our hike.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Devil's Den - Elevation 1,110 ft. - New Durham, NH   (Second Attempt)

Date: 7-9-09

Expeditionary Hikers:  Jerry McCabe, Don Hughes, Rich and Beverly DiVaio, and Paul Apholt

Comments:   We had just climbed Devil’s Den on June 26 and hadn’t found the cave, so several of us decided to try to find it and then go back with the whole group if we found the cave interesting.  The area around Devil's Den Mountain is not blazed and has few signs so we sought advice from Dave Roberts, John Roberts and Glen Lush.

We left Echo Shores around 10:00 AM with light packs, flashlights and lunch for all except the Divaio’s (who were sure this was going to be a quick hike).  After driving down Drew Hill Road in East Alton (off Rt. 28), we turned left onto Hayes Road.  We then drove down a dirt/gravel road, seeing significant signs of active lumbering.  At 11:00 AM we parked just short of our destination because the lumbering machinery had made the road impassible.  We easily walked about 1.5 miles long the gravel road down the road and turned right at green iron gate at which point we left the road and continued along a wooded hiking trail.  (This is at a snowmobile intersection marked with snowmobile club signs.)  The trail soon went steeply uphill.  It was wide enough for snowmobiles to use in the winter, but very rough and rocky in places.

Even with all the directions to the cave we had obtained we searched for quite a while, looking all around the cliff face until we finally found the top entrance.  We then made our way down to the main entrance to the cave.  There were mounds of small animal droppings all around the base of the cliffs.  The main cave entrance is very narrow and there is a piece of iron hardware fastened to the right side of the cave that perhaps once supported a gate or door. The cave is really a huge slab of granite that due to erosion slid off the cliff and lays against it at a slant.  The cave area runs between the slab of rock and the cliff wall.  It is not directly beneath the vertical rock cliff where hikers get a view of Merrymeeting and Winnipesaukee Lakes but further east).

I wish I could adequately describe our first tentative peeks into the cave.  Slowly, we got more adventuresome and the guys disappeared into the cave.  (Rich went in the furthest.) After taking some photos at the main cave entrance we climbed back upward and investigated the top entrance of the cave.  The top entrance is a large hole in the rocks which goes straight down to a landing.  From the landing, it is possible to reach the cave floor using an extension ladder that is there. Those of us who were adventuresome went part way down, but no one ventured down the wooden ladder.  A little bit of sunlight comes in from various openings giving the cave some illumination.  At 1:00 PM we ate our lunches on the level granite area near the top entrance.  The cave is hard to find, partly because there are no markers and partly because there are so many paths that hikers, rock climbers, and animals have made throughout the area.  We were back at our car at 2:15 PM.  We wandered quite a distance around the mountain looking for the cave, but had we been able to find it sooner the round-trip hike would probably have been about 3.8 miles long.

The GPS coordinates of the cave are N 43 degrees, 30.815 minutes latitude and W 71 degrees, 10.339 minutes longitude+

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Copple Crown Mountain - Elevation 1,868 ft. - Brookfield, NH

Date: 7-13-09

Hikers:  Don Hughes, Jerry McCabe, Dan and Celeste Weberg, Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

We left Echo Shores around 9:45 AM, and the weather was perfect for our hike.  We found the trail head by driving down route 109 in Wolfeboro to Governor’s Road in Brookfield.  We then drove .4 miles and turned right onto Moose Mountain Road.  At the end of the paved roadway, either park and walk or drive straight down the woods (dirt) road another .4 miles to a parking area and the Copple Crown trail head where there is a trail map kiosk.   From the parking area we took the un-gated woods road on the right, which is well-marked as being the way to Copple Crown.   At .3 miles we saw another road entering from the right.  We hiked left on a woods road that angles slightly uphill.  We stayed on the woods road until the seeing the blue blazed summit trail that went uphill on the right.  From there, we saw Copple Crown summit signs and blue blazes whenever needed.  We continued to the summit where we picked a few blueberries, enjoyed the view and had lunch at 11:30 AM.  The view faces west-northwest over the eastern part of the Lake Winnipesaukee, Lake Wentworth and Lake Kingswood, with the Belknap and Ossipee Mountain Ranges in the background.  It was fun to pick out some of the peaks that we have previously climbed.  We followed the same trail back down, this time taking a blue-blazed trail "spur" on the right marked “East Peak”.  This was actually the top of a large cliff with a nice flat area on top to walk around on.  There were bolts in the cliff used by rock climbers to descend down from the area where we stood.  We enjoyed this different view, which actually faces south.  We then we retraced our steps to the main trail.  We had to take care to stay on the blue trail because there were other trails and a woods road that intersected with our desired path.  Some of these lead to the non-public development on the other side of the mountain and an abandoned ski lift in Copple Crown Village.  We used a GPS trail track provided to us by Glen Lush, which made all of our decisions easy!  It was a very quiet hike with none of the lumbering operation, dirt bike or ATV sounds we experienced on our last hike (Devil's Den).  We saw only one other couple hiking this trail.  The trail is in the Jones Brook Wildlife Management Area and it is maintained by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust.  Our total round-trip hike was 5.8 miles long and it took 2 1/2 hours to complete, not including lunch and viewing time.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Oak Hill Fire Tower - Elevation 920 ft. - Loudon, NH

Date: 7-17-09

Hikers:  Paul Apholt, Don Hughes, Jerry McCabe, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

We left Echo Shores at 8:30 AM and arrived at the trail head at 9:20 AM.  The Oak Hill Fire Tower hike is an easy 3 miles round trip.  We parked at the gate on Oak Hill Rd. and walked up the gravel access road to the summit.  The gravel road had a full canopy of tree limbs covering it which helped keep us comfortable on one of our first warm, humid days this summer.  Our only problem was the pesky deerflies, which were quite an annoyance.  At 9:55 AM we reached the summit and found three communications towers with satellite disks for radio, cell phones and other communications along with the fire tower.  There was a large mowed grassy area with a picnic table.  We climbed the tower, but could not ascend all the way to the top as there was no fire ranger was on duty because the fire risk was low that day.  We got a hazy view of downtown Concord, the airport and a granite quarry from the tower.  We did see a sign marking another trail that led to the tower, but we don’t know where the trailhead for that trail is located.  We headed back down the gravel road and boarded our truck at 10:45 AM.  Since it was too early for a treat at Jordan’s Ice Cream, we made it home by 11:45 AM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Caverly Mountain - Elevation 1,420 ft. - New Durham, NH

Date: 9-11-09

Hikers:  Paul Apholt, Don Hughes, Jerry McCabe, Beverly DiVaio

We left Echo Shores at 9:00 AM and started climbing at 9:40 AM.  The trailhead is next to a small pond on King’s Highway, New Durham.  We walked across the earthen dam and quickly found the trail.  We followed a GPS track and had no difficulty following an old overgrown dirt road and little used trail.  We reached the summit at 10:15 AM, enjoying another view from Wolfeboro to the mouth of Alton Bay.  This year we have hiked mainly on hazy days and today was no exception.  Paul’s was wondering how “honest” this journal entry would be …… Let’s just say we left the summit at 10:45 AM and  the return down the mountain was a lesson in humility for us – if we were starting to feel like experienced hikers the trip down was worth a lot of laughs, but bought us down to earth.

I started by taking a soft fall and ended up on flat on my backpack feeling like a turtle on its back.  We talked so much that we hiked right by a pretty well defined junction without realizing it immediately, so we had to hike back.   We saw no other hikers on the entire trip.  We reached the car by 11:00 AM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike.

Mt. Morgan - Elevation 2,195 ft., & Mt. Percival - Elevation 2,212 ft. - Holderness, NH

Date: 9-17-09

Hikers:  Jerry McCabe, Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Don Hughes, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

We left Echo Shores at 8:30 AM.  We reached our trailhead 5.5 miles down Route 113 from Holderness at 9:30.  The parking lot and trails were clearly marked.  We hiked up Mt. Morgan first.  The trail system we used was blazed with yellow paint.  In fact, every trail we came upon was blazed with the same color yellow!   We did have a GPS track to follow, but found the area well marked with signs at every junction.   Near the summit, Rich, Paul and Jerry chose to leave the rest of us and explore some bolder caves and to arrive at the summit via three wooden ladders that have been installed on the cliffs.  The rest of us continued on a steep, rocky, but safer trail.  The view from Mt. Morgan at 11:20 AM was to the south.  We saw Squam Lake, the Ossipee and Belknap Mountain ranges, with Lake Winnipesaukee sandwiched in between, but as has been the case with all our hikes this year, the sky was quite hazy. 

From Mt. Morgan we followed the Crawford-Ridgepole to the summit of Mt. Percival, .8 miles away.  The Mount Percival summit, which we reached at 12:30 PM, gave us views both north toward the White Mountains and south toward Squam Lake.  Although our views were somewhat limited by darkening clouds, we had fun pointing out some of the peaks we have climbed in the Belknap and Ossipee ranges as we ate our lunches.   From the summit we started down the Mt. Percival Trail, encountering many steep, rocky sections near the summit.  Slowly the trail became gentler.  Near the base we followed the Morse Trail .4 miles over to the Mt. Morgan trail, completing the loop back to the car.  We met only three hikers on the trails.  Then it was time for some ice cream in Meredith and home by 3:45 PM.  Total overall hike was mileage was 6.0 miles.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike. 

Green Mountain Fire Tower - Elevation 1,907 ft. - Effingham, NH

Date: 9-24-09

Hikers:  Paul and Eleanor Apholt, Jerry McCabe, Don Hughes, Tim Noe, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

We left Echo Shores at 1:20 PM.  Our trip went smoothly until we got within 1/10 mile of our desired trail head.  At that point we came upon two road graders working on the narrow dirt road that leads to the trail head and we could not continue as there was no place to park.  We then asked for directions of several local residents to another tail head to the tower.  It is amazing to me how people will tell you that they have lived for some time and yet they have never investigated the beauty in the backyard!  That is my way of saying that we did not find our next trail head till 3:15 PM!  Our alternate trail head on the gravel Libby Road was clearly marked.  The trail ascends up a dirt road used by the fire warden, and we took one "shortcut" trail near the very peak.  At the beginning of the trail we went by a large old cellar hole and stone foundation, and a bit further up the trail is a cabin.  Part way up the trail we walked through a section that was badly damaged by last year’s tornado.  Most of the trail to the top is steep and rocky.  We reached the summit at 4:30 PM.  The view from the tower was a full 360 degrees of mountains, valleys and lakes.  For our first hike in a long while, there wasn’t much haze in the atmosphere.  The swamp maples in the valleys were showing vivid red colors.  It is possible to make a loop back to the road using the Dearborn Trail according to the AMC Trail Guide, but we did not attempt this due to time constraints.  We went back down the same way we came up, reaching the car at 5:30 PM.  The total distance hiked was 3.6 miles, and we arrived back home at 6:30 PM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike. 

Bald Knob - Elevation 1,801 ft., and Turtleback Mountain - Elevation 2,203 ft. - Moultonborough, NH

Date: 9-29-09

Hikers:  Jerry McCabe, Don Hughes, Tim Noe, Celeste Weberg, Rick Buy, Rich and Beverly DiVaio

We left Echo Shores at 8:30 AM and found the trailhead on Route 171 at the Moultonborough-Tuftonboro town line at 9:30 AM.   The trail quickly comes to an overgrown field.  Find the blue-blazed trail (which shows as white-blazed on the trail maps) at the far left side of the clearing.  The trail to Bald Knob was clearly marked.  The upper section of it is steep and a somewhat difficult rocky "scramble", not to be attempted in wet weather.  Near the top we reached a ledge with a view that made us know that our efforts would be rewarded by a spectacular view.  We reached the summit and, although there were some clouds coming in from the west, we enjoyed a great view of Lake Winnipesaukee.  The Belknap mountain range and beyond was also in view.  We sat on the remains of a wooden stand left over from horseback riding that was once offered at Castle in the Clouds.  From there we followed a white blazed, then yellow blazed, carriage road until we reached the red blazed trail to the top of Turtleback.  Once there we could see the iron remains of an old observation tower.  We enjoyed a view of  some of the Ossipee mountain range, especially Mt. Shaw.  It was interesting to see how the fall foliage colors had progressed since our hike in the Sandwich Range last week.  What we missed while at the peak of Turtleback Mountain is an unusual "mosiac" tiling effect created in the volcanic rock that forms the mountain.  We need to go back and find that!  We started our descent at 12:50 PM.  We got back to Bald Knob at 1:45.  We only met one other hiker on the trail all day!  We reached the cars at about 3:00 PM and got back to Echo Shores just before 4:00 PM.  The overall hike was 6.9 miles long.

Click HERE to see photos taken on this hike. 

Cathedral Ledge - Elevation 1,125 ft. and Diana's Bath - Elevation 640 ft. (both in North Conway, NH), and Foss Mountain - Elevation 1,619 ft. - Eaton, NH

Date: 10-8-09

Hikers:  Rich and Beverly DiVaio, Don and Peggy Hughes, Celeste Weberg, Rick Buy and Jerry McCabe

We left Echo Shores at 8:30 AM.  We turned left off of Rt. 16 onto West Side Road in Conway and proceeded to North Conway, and then took Cathedral Ledge Rd. directly to the top of Cathedral Ledge by car.  From the top of the ledge we surveyed the Mt. Washington valley below and watched a couple of rock climbers work their way up the cliff wall towards the top.  The weather was partly cloudy all day, with clouds covering Mt. Washington.  After leaving the Ledge, we turned left on the main road and found Diana’s Bath parking area well marked about 1 ½ miles away.  We walked along a gravel path from the parking lot to the bottom of the falls and followed the right side of the cascades up to the no swimming sign. The cascade rocks are a popular spot to cool down on hot summer days.  The round-trip distance of the walk was about 1.5 miles.  From there we returned to Conway and took route 153 to Brownfield Rd. in Eaton.  We took a right onto Bull Pasture Rd., then another right onto gravel Stewart Rd.  We took a left onto gravel Foss Mountain Rd. and found the non-winter parking lot.  The trailhead starts at a gate.  There trail (round-trip) is about .8 miles long.  There are three kiosks on the way to the top of the mountain.  The brush on the mountain had recently been cut to preserve the blueberry fields.  There was a note at one of the kiosks that stated that years ago goats were used to keep the fields trimmed.  The lower elevation fields are for commercial use.  The upper elevation fields are open for public blue berry picking in the summer.  We enjoyed a wonderful 360 degree view of mountains, lakes and New England foliage. We then returned to Echo Shores and arrived at about 3:30 PM.

Click HERE to see photos taken on these three hikes.