July 12, 2014.
The fifth time up on Moosilauke to finish my redlining on this mountain. The only disappointing part is my fifth time was going to be while hiking the Appalachian Trail. While I still struggle with the decision to come off the AT I at least still have my redlining to keep me busy. So the missing trails for today are Tunnel Brook Trail and Benton Trail then return via the already done Glencliff Trail.
Early start to the day and after parking at the Glencliff lot the boots are on the pavement at 6:20. On the pavement because it is a short walk down the road to Town Line Trail, a very short portion of the AT. A quick side trip right before to the High Street Cemetery.
This cemetery is mostly from the 19th century and was just recently put on the NH National Historic Registry. Back to the road and a right turn onto Town Line Trail and very shortly after the Tunnel Brook Trail veers off to the right.
The early morning woods are quiet with the only noise coming from Slide Brook which the trail parallels for a ways.
Thirty minutes from the trailhead and I reach a reservoir in the middle of the woods. It is an odd thing to find and is complete with a dam and a bench (life preserver included!). Turns out it is a fishing hole for the Glencliff Home located down a dirt access road on the other side of the pond.
The trail for the most is fairly level and if I had a choice of trails to adopt I really believe this would be the one. Most of it is well maintained but in a few spots the brush has overgrown the pathway leaving it invisible.
About an hour and a half from starting and I arrive at the first of many beaver ponds. The first one is the only one named and it is Mud Pond. Just up the trail and a look over to South Moosilauke and also as the sun comes up over Moosilauke with Mud Pond in the foreground.
Further up the trail and I come across an overnighter as his tent is set up nearby and figured the trail did not go by him as it was kind of obscure in this section. Poking around and I find no evidence of the trail and head towards the tent quietly so as not to disturb the person. As I approach the shore I hear a "Good Morning" and it catches me off guard because of where it came from. Out in the pond was a guy with an inflatable boat and he was fishing. We had a short chat and I confirmed with him where the trail went and sure enough it was right through his site he had set up
Moving along through the series of beaver ponds and I break out into an opening revealing Mt Clough which is opposite of Moosilauke in this ravine.
The next photo is a sarcastic photo thanks to Les Stroud. Yes, Survivorman! He just recently did a series on Sasquatch and some of the "evidence" made me laugh. So I bring to you evidence!
So the question is where did the rest of the tree go? The stump is there and it is a pretty recent break but the rest of the tree is nowhere to be found. This spot is about twenty minutes away from the north end of Tunnel Brook Trail's northern terminus, too far in and too big for someone to drag out. Not saying there are Sasquatches (although Lisa would disagree) but it is very odd that this tree is nowhere in the vicinity. Continuing on and ten minute later and I cross a huge washout area and not sure if this is from Irene three years ago.
Just before 9:00 and pushing through the brush and overgrown trail I do the unthinkable. Not being able to see the trail with the underbrush I roll my right ankle really good. It is just a few feet before stepping out onto Tunnel Brook Road. I come out limping as the pain is searing and putting weight on it makes me want to collapse. But I keep going hobbling along favoring it until some feeling comes back into it and slowly regain some strength in it. Thank goodness the next 0.8 of a mile is on a flat grade.
It is along this section that I surprisingly run into two other hikers coming up the road. I really did not expect to see anyone until I hit the Beaver Brook Trail later in the day. Reaching the next junction in a short twenty minutes and I turn right onto the Benton Trail, the last trail on Moosilauke I have not done yet. A little less than an hour later and I spot an outlook and it is pretty impressive with views into Little Tunnel Ravine. Off to the left in the distance are North and South Kinsman and the nub on the right is where the trail heads to.
Further up the trail and a peek a boo shot behind me to the west with Sugarloaf and Black Mts and a few minutes later the cairns leading the path up Moosilauke.
Arriving at the junction with Beaver Brook Trail and the last final push up and breaking out of the trees into the open grassy summit. Mt Washington faintly visible to the east through the summer haze.
I have not been up here since last October and get to see the stupidity of whomever thought it would be funny to tear down most of the rock cairns leading the path to the summit.
Getting closer and the crowds that are always prevalent on Moosilauke come into view.
Just under six hours from starting the day and I am on top of Moosilauke for the fifth time in less than three years. A shot of the new sign since the rock cairn vandals also stole the summit sign. The older one had a lot more character.
Finding a spot to rest and refuel on the south side of the summit and I stare at the foundation that for whatever reasons I never ventured over to. So today will be the day since this should be the last time on this peak for sometime.
The summit cabin emergency shelter was removed in 1978 and a failed attempt at jack hammering the foundation ensued.
Returning to the summit to retrieve my backpack and I am kind of shocked and unimpressed at the same time. A Boy Scout troop that has been at the summit before I arrived and still there when I returned has a couple of adult scout leaders wandering around the grassy areas, a definite no-no on Moosilauke. Signs are posted at all trails warning to stay on the trail and not to wander onto the fragile summit vegetation. I came so close to saying something but bit my tongue and headed off down the Carriage Road shaking my head in disgust at the examples these two were "leading".
Twenty minutes down the Carriage Road and then a right onto Glencliff Trail for the last three miles of the day. Stopping at one of the streams and I fill one of my water bottles and wouldn't you know it the batteries in my Steripen are dead and I forgot to pack backups. Other than that incident (oh yeah I did manage to roll the right ankle again) it was pretty uneventful as I had already done this trail before and actually make it down in pretty decent time. All done with the trails on Moosilauke and fortunately every time I have been up here the views have been good to great. I never had a socked in day, a few windy ones, but still the views were always there.
Final numbers: 13.3 miles, 8 hours and 25 minutes.
Redline Miles: 7.6, Total to Date: 507.5