Sunday, April 29, 2012

Up Book Signing, Lincoln, NH, April 28, 2012

This post is really only of interest to those who know, or know of, Trish, Alex and Sage, so I will not give any background.  Trish's book has just been published, and yesterday she was in Lincoln, NH, at the Father Roger Bilodeau Community Center.  She gave an excellent talk before she, and the girls, started signing books, chatting with everyone.  A very enjoyable evening, here are a few pictures (several more on my Picasa Web Album).

I arrived a few minutes before seven, the start time.  Entering the center I first saw Steve Smith, with a big box of books!

The girls were playing in a remote corner, here is Sage:

Here is Trish with the girls just before the talk

Steve introducing Trish

Trish talking

and reading from the book

Trish, Alex and Sage at the book signing table

and a closeup of Sage signing

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ellsworth Hill Road, 4/13/2012

A few days ago I posted a note on VFTT on Uphill walking in Campton to Lincoln area and two posters suggested that I explore Ellsworth Hill Road, at least to the site of the old inn, with the option of continuing up Mason Road and, if I felt energetic enough, Cook Hill Road.  Years ago I had driven up Ellsworth Hill Road a few times going to Three Ponds and to Carr Mountain, and I remembered that it was very steep.  A look at the map confirmed it; it would certainly be a good workout on a non hiking day!  I decided to try it on Friday 4/13.

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There is a big open space, suitable for parking, immediately east of the bridge across the Pemi on NH 49:

The bridge is narrow, so there is a pedestrian walkway on one side of it

The walk to the site of the inn is as steep as I recalled it, with very few semi open views, but on this early spring day the outlines of the mountains were visible through the leafless trees.  Opposite the inn is a very large clearing, with extensive views of the mountains, extending from Mount Lafayette, over Franconia Ridge, to Loon Mountain, Scar Ridge, Tecumseh (with the western peaks of Mount Osceola barely visible behind it), the Tripyramids with West Sleeper and finally Sandwich Dome.  Here is a wide view from Lafayette to Tecumseh (click on any of the photos for a larger version)

one from Tecumseh to Sandwich Dome

and one of the Tripyramids and Sandwich Dome

There are many more photos taken from the inn site on my web album Ellsworth Hill 4-13-2012.

I then turned onto Mason Road, and soon saw the first wild flowers I have seen this spring in New Hampshire

Shortly after there was a barn with a good view of the Tripyramids and Sandwich Dome

Zooming in shows two horses grazing in the foreground, with the Tripyramids and West Sleeper in the background

Higher up on Mason Road there was another farm plus orchard, and the owner had kindly placed a bench there, with a wooden bear to guard it!

I sat there for a while, enjoying the views and had half my lunch.

There is an old cemetery at the junction of Mason and Cook Hill roads

and walking around it quickly showed why the road was called Cook Hill Road

Beyond the cemetery Mason Road is uneventful, and ultimately ends at a gate, with a snowmobile road beyond, which is said to lead to the summit of Bald Mountain: 5/8/09 Bald Mountain, Campton, NH. The photo gallery linked to in that post has a map with the route roughly drawn.

There is a large house at the end of the road, with a big clearing,

through which there are excellent views of Franconia Notch

 and Franconia Ridge

On the way down I noticed a cellar hole by the side of Cook Hill Road; I had not noticed it on the way up

There were good views of the Tripyramids and Sandwich Dome all along the upper part of Mason Road, this photo also shows (barely, inside red circle) the lunch bench and its guardian bear

I had the second half of my lunch there, and continued back to my car.  The walk was about four miles each way with 1,100 feet of elevation gain with excellent views made for a most enjoyable non hiking day!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Brook Walk and Lower Mount Roberts Trail

On my trips between Boston and Thornton I often make a slight detour to Moultonborough to hike Mount Roberts, usually parking on Rt. 171 to maximize the hiking.  On Friday (4/6) I was tired, and wanted a smaller hike, so I parked at the upper parking lot.  I first went down the Shannon Brook Trail to the lower end of the Brook Walk, and took the Brook Walk back up to the pond.  I then followed the Mount Roberts Trail for about a mile to the outlook.  This gave me a total of about four miles with some 700 feet of elevation gain, with waterfall views on the Brook Walk and good views of Lake Winnipesaukee from the outlook.

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There is a gatehouse at the entrance to the conservation area

and just inside it is the Lee Family cemetery

Stepping back a bit one gets a view through the trees of Lake Winnipesaukee with the Gunstock ski area in the background

A Google search on the Lee family cemetery led me to a very interesting article on the history of the Castle in the Clouds:  New Insights on the History of “Castle in the Clouds”:

After the Revolutionary War settlers began to move to the valley high in the Ossipee Mountains, founding what came to be known as the “Lee Settlement” since the Lee family was the first to arrive, building their six room home in 1792.  Other families followed – the Roberts, the Hornes, the Whittens, the Copps, and the Whithams.  These homes were smaller, generally having only two downstairs  rooms with a sleeping loft above for as many as eight to ten family members.
 I crossed the dam and started down Shannon Brook Trail, which like all trails on the property is well marked with ample signs

After a few tenths of a mile there is a large clearing to the west of the trail from which partial views can be had through the trees of the Castle in the Clouds.  On Friday I noticed for the first time a cleared slope east of the trail; going up that slope gave an excellent unobstructed view of the castle

I do not know whether the slope is newly cleared or whether I just failed to observe it on my previous hikes.

I took a few photos along the Brook Walk, and have added them to my previous post Waterfalls Along Shannon Brook. On returning to the pond I spent some time photographing the sculptures of a family of foxes

Many more photos of the foxes here!

I next hiked about a mile up the Mount Roberts Trail to the signed outlook

The best views are to the south over Lake Winnipesaukee, with Gunstock Mountain prominent on the opposite shore.  There are still traces of snow visible

More zoomed

While most of the southern slopes of the Ossipee mountains are wooded there seemed to be single farm

It was a cold and windy day so I did not stay long.  Emerging from the woods I noticed Gunstock Mountain behind the red barn

All in all a very enjoyable short outing!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Uphill Road Walking in the Campton to Lincoln Area

I try, on most days when I am not hiking, to walk for at least an hour, and if possible two.  I find it hard to raise my heart rate meaningfully on a flat road (it seems to require constant concentration) but have no difficulty doing so on an uphill road, even at a very moderate grade.  Hence I do almost all of my walking on roads with some inclination.

The greatest vertical gain on roads is in Waterville Estates, and I have described that walk separately: 1,500 Feet of Vertical on Roads in Waterville Estates.  Another walk with substantial elevation gain is Ellsworth Hill Road, with about 1,100 feet of elevation gain over four miles.I view both of these as substitute hikes, done when I would like to hike but want to avoid rotting snow, rather than walks.  The three roads that I use for what I consider walks are Tripoli Road, Russell Pond Road, and Hubbard Brook Road combined with a couple of roads that branch off it.

Tripoli Road

This is my most common uphill walk.  There is ample parking space by the side of the road just below the first gate. There are mile marker posts on the north side of the road (left, going uphill) with distances from the second gate. On the map the two yellow markers represent the first and second gates, the numbered markers the mile markers, the blue marker Mack Brook and the hiker symbols the trailheads of the East Pond, Mount Tecumseh and Mount Osceola trails.

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There is a moderately steep section to start, then a long almost flat stretch to the second gate, then the road climbs fairly steadily and gently.  In spite of the gentle grades I find it quite easy to get my heart rate up (I do not measure it, but guess from my breathing).  For a short one hour walk I will go to the second gate; going to Mack Brook and back takes a good two hours.

Currently I rarely go beyond Mack Brook; when I feel that I have enough energy to do so I choose a steeper walk or a small hike.  A few years ago I used to do longer walks regularly, so I have included them in the table below.

Distances Along Tripoli Road
Location Distance
Elevation Gain
2nd Gate3.2235
Mile Marker 15.4385
Mack Brook Road6.6450
Mile Marker 27.6580
East Pond Trailhead9.6890
Mount Tecumseh Trailhead10.41,010
Mile Marker 411.81,200
Mount Osceola Trailhead12.61,380

When the hardwoods are leafless you can see the outlines of the hills west of Mount Tecumseh through the trees, but there are no open views, so no photos!

Russel Pond Road

The road to Russell Pond leaves Tripoli Road about 1.4 miles from the lower gate, and rises more steeply to the high point before dropping down to the pond, with a short ascent on the way back.  The full walk to the pond and back takes about three hours, a good workout on a non-hiking day!

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There are a few landmarks for shorter trips on days when I do not wish to go all the way to the pond: a gated logging road, the hairpin bend and the height of land (marked 1, 2 and 3 respectively on the map).

Distances Along Tripoli and Russel Pond Roads
Location Distance
Elevation Gain
Logging Road4.8580
Hairpin Bend5.8680
Height of Land7.0900
Russel Pond Beach Area8.21,030

A bit before the height of land there is a cleared viewpoint, with views of Thornton Gap and of Mount Tecumseh and its northwestern slopes and, if you look carefully, of the summit of Mount Osceola and its two western peaks.

The most interesting views are to the east, with Thornton Gap dominating the view, and the mass of Mount Osceola (including its western peaks) on one side and Mount Tecumseh on the other.  Thornton gap on a cloudy summer day

and on a clear early fall day:

A bit more zoom to show South Tripyramid and West Sleeper through the gap:

If you get to the right location you can see the main peak of Mount Osceola with the two western peaks (the pointed westernmost one just peaking through the leafless trees):

A view of the three peaks and Breadtray Ridge:

Slightly off topic, the best view I have had of all four summits of Mount Osceola is from high up on the ski slopes of Mount Tecumseh

Views to the southeast are less impressive, as the northwestern slopes of Mount Tecumseh are rather bland:

If I am having lunch I usually eat it here, whether or not I am going to the pond.  Views at the pond are peaceful, but not very interesting (at least there are waves on this photo taken on a very windy day!!)

A few more photos can be found on my web albums: Russell Pond Road 4-2-2012 and Thornton Gap from Access Road.  For a description of an alternate approach to the pond and viewpoint see Russell Pond, with unusual views of Thornton Gap and scroll down.

Hubbard Brook Road

When I want a steeper walk I go to the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest.  For lots of information check the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study website, and for a guided tour of one watershed, with lots of fascinating information, see their Watershed 6 Walking Tour.  The web site also has a fascinating Mirror Lake Virtual Tour, though there is not much serious walking there.

To the walker the most visible evidence of research activity are the weather stations (which, amongst other functions, measure precipitation) and the weirs, which measure stream flow.  I use two of the weirs, Weir 6 (most westerly) and Weir 2, as end points for my walks; they are marked with the waterfall symbol on the map.

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The road climbs fairly steeply for 1.7 miles, when it makes a sharp turn, crosses the confluence of three drainages, and flattens out.  This point is marked with a 1 on the map, and is where I end short walks (about an hour round trip).  After a couple of tenths of a mile Weir Road (marked) branches uphill to the right (marked 2 on the map).  It soon reaches a second fork (marked 3 on the map), where Flume Road branches steeply to the left and ends at Weir 6.  My usual walk is an out and back to Weir 6, a couple of hours at what is, for me, a good pace.  For a slightly shorter walk with less elevation gain I continue along Weir Road to Weir 2, if I feel really ambitious I go to both, what I call the "Y" walk.

Distances Along Hubbard Brook Road
Location Distance
Elevation Gain
Sharp turn3.4620
Weir 24.8840
Weir 65.21,010
Complete Y6.11,170

There is no formal parking area, but there is adequate space by the side of Mirror Lake Road at the point where Hubbard Brook Road starts.  Again, a walk in the hardwoods with no views, so no photos!