October 19, 2014.
Since we were up in Jackson for Deanna and Kevin's wedding I decided to get up early the next day and do a quick hike. The question is where as there are quite a few trails within striking distance from the Eagle Mountain House. I needed something relatively easy to make sure I got back in time for breakfast. Well Black Mt became the target but which way up, from the east or the west. I had thoughts of doing an out and back but time would determine if that was possible. So I chose from the east and a decision I would regret later on when I got home and checked my red-lining spreadsheet
The travel to the trail head did not take long as I turned up Black Mt Road and slowly headed up the old dirt road. I found a spot to pull off and at 7:00 the boots were heading up East Pasture Trail. This trail doubles as a cross country ski trail during the winter. Moving right along and I reach an old pasture on my right with some left over old apple trees still growing. Beyond it are three other mountains located nearby; North Doublehead, South Doublehead and Kearsarge North.
Keeping up the pace and just below the trail split is a distinct path to the left. It leads down to a very old headstone. The engraving is Nathaniel Kimball Died July 16 1827 Age 80. He fought in the Revolutionary War and at one time under General John Stark. There is another marker nearby and not sure if that is also marking a grave or a boundary.
Next up is a split in the trail and it is anyone's guess if I should go left or right as the signs make no reference to Black Mt. I head left and it turns out to be the right choice as I find out a few minutes later when I reach the Black Mt Cutoff.
I head straight up and pass another unmarked trail leading to the left and just beyond is the high point of the knob of Black Mt. I reached it in pretty good time at forty-five minutes from starting. There are supposed to be views of Carter Notch from here but I did not see it. What I did get is a shot over to North and South Baldface and Sable Mt.
Now if one looks at the trail map the trail appears to go over the knob and continue down to the cabin. I head down what appears to be a trail but with all the tree damage the trail soon disappears and I can not find any evidence of it anywhere. Wasting valuable time I concede and loop back around to the knob and make my way down to the Cutoff trail. I'll head down the cutoff to the cabin and see if I can come back up Black Mt Trail. Twenty minutes down to the Cabin and there are people there who had spent the night at the Cabin. A couple of quick pictures and I see the way back up just past the cabin.
It is a very quick trip back up and the unmarked path right below the knob is where I come up onto East Pasture Trail. Now if only I had brought the guide book with me this weekend and read it this would have all made sense. Plus, the regretful decision I mentioned at the beginning, if I had brought the guidebook I would have seen that even though the East Pasture Trail is highlighted on the trail map it is not in the guidebook. So therefore it did not count towards my red-lining. There are also, something I have been discovering lately, times where the maps and guidebook do not correlate with the red-lining spreadsheet. More on that later. Oh well, at least I got a hike in and saw a grave site of a Revolutionary War soldier off the beaten path.
On the drive back I got my first exposure to Stairs Mt and its stairs looking peak. And from the hotel we stayed at last night a look at Black Mt.
And then on the ride home a stop at Jackson Falls which is beside Route 16B just down the road from Eagle Mt House.
Taking the Bear Notch Road (which connects Route 302 and the Kancamagus Highway) home and a pano shot from one of the lookout spots.
Final numbers: 5.5 miles, 1 hours and 50 minutes.
Redline Miles: 1.3, Total to Date: 631.3