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.

View Larger Map

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!

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous report! As I've said many times, a hike is a hike! In my opinion, it doesn't have to be an on-trail trek through the woods. It can be something such as you described in this blog report. At the very least, I think you'll have to admit that the views were as good as (and even better than) views that can be had from many on-trail hikes. And not to belabor the point, but I'm certain that this trek provided as much aerobic exercise (and perhaps as much enjoyment) as you would get from many traditional on-trail hikes. Bravo!