November 28, 2015.
Three short hikes to continue the theme, coincidentally, of threes after last weeks three Tripyramids. Heading up to Jackson, NH to do a couple of new trails and one redemption hike. Last year when we were up here for Deanna and Kevin's wedding I did a piece of trail only to discover that it was not part of the redlining spreadsheet even though it is on the AMC map. So first up is Bald Land Trail which starts on the same road I was on last year, Black Mt Road. I headed up to the same spot as last year but for some reason did not feel right so I double checked the guide book and sure enough the road between here and Windy Hill Bed & Breakfast counts. Back down the road and there is a parking area right below the drive to the inn.
Bald Land Trail heads up coinciding with the old portion of Black Mt Road past the spot where I was going to park. A short ways up it diverges right onto another old road which if followed all the way will connect to East Branch Road. The trail also ends at East Branch Road but veers off the old woods road further up. The road is wide and someone still uses it as in the muddy sections the recent tire tracks are quite evident mucking up the trail. Other than that it is a quick and quiet walk in the woods just like I like it.
About thirty minutes from starting and I reach the tee junction where the trail continues to the left. To the right is a spur trail that leads down to a couple of small clearings. Except for where the road is the clearings are slowly filling in with birch and spruce trees. Reaching the second clearing and the guide mentions a view to Doubleheads but I don't see anything with the growth. Heading up behind the new growth where the ground is higher and walking beside the woods I come across an unsuspecting surprise. There's a sign on a tree pointing to a trail that heads up into the woods behind the clearing.
Not sure who made this trail but it is not in the guide book. It climbs up the hill through the woods and then ends at a small cleared out strip. From this vantage point there are definitely views.
Straight ahead are Carrigain and Vose Spur. To the right are Mt Resolution and the locomotive looking Stairs Mt.
A quick return down the trail then back to the junction and I continue on the Bald Land Trail. A short ways up and the trail veers off the old road to the right onto a regular hiking trail. Its a gentle climb behind the hill I was just on and then a slow and easy descent down towards East Branch Road. The woods in this area are wicked quiet as there is no one out here. Another hidden gem just like the trails in the Caribou Speckled Region.
Near the bottom of the trail it crosses another woods road then through a wet section. Boulders are littered in this area broken off from who knows where.
Reaching the end at East Branch Road and it's the all too usual turnaround to return the way I came. Most of the times I try to do loops just because I don't care for doing the same trail as an out and back. Unfortunately there are a lot of trails where that is not possible. At least on this one I saw some things I missed on the way in to keep the hike interesting. Reaching the crossing with the old woods road and I am tempted to take it and see where it goes. But my conscience gets the better of me since I have no idea where it might go so I stay on the trail. Checking some maps at home later and it looks like it is the same road I veered off of earlier. Back up the trail and there is an odd wide gap between two outcropping's. I figure either someone did some quarrying in there or they slowly spread apart from freezing and thawing. Further down from where the trail merges back onto the road I come across an old cellar hole I missed on the way up.
Nothing shows up on the old topo maps so no idea how old this is. Continuing down the trail and soon enough I am back where I parked ready to move on to my next destination.
Black Mt Ski Trail
Making my way over to Carter Notch Road and my time for redemption as I make it to Black Mt Ski Trail. This is the trail I did partially last year after Deanna and Kevin's wedding only to discover that most of it did not count towards redlining. Today that wrong will be righted.
The trail starts out on a gated driveway and then turns into the woods with a steady continuous climb. Not sure of the history of this trail but assuming from the name and width it quite possibly was a ski trail at one time.
Crossing a few small streams along the way and soon enough the end is near.
At the cabin for the second time in just over a year and again I have no views. Anyways the cabin is impressive with the sign dating it to 1932. If this is the original cabin then it has held up well for 80 plus years. The woodshed is kind of empty this year whereas last year it was pretty full.
With my redemption done it is a really quick jaunt back down mostly jogging it in the good stretches. Two hikes down an plenty of time for one more.
Next up is a trail behind the Eagle Mt House that appropriately is called Eagle Mt Path and heads up to...yes...Eagle Mt!
The trail starts up off the back parking lot first following a service road. It makes its way to a big outbuilding that is associated with the hotel. But don't head towards it like I did because that is the wrong way. The trail actually veers off of the road on the left before the building...unmarked I might add.
This trail is a relatively easy one as it gently climbs up through some great woods. The forest floor is littered with erratics of all shapes and sizes.
Ahead is a peek at the final destination just ahead. But first the trail skirts around this wet area that looks like a partially dried up pond.
I thought the trail was on the other side of this mess so I skirted around and just on the other side of that boulder I sunk in up to my knee. It looked like solid ground with the leaves on it but it was nothing but deep mud. Worse part is there was no sign of the trail on this side of the "pond" and instead it continued on the right side of it and away diagonally. Beyond this point the trail is no longer a relatively easy hike as surprisingly it started to climb. The trail becomes much steeper and rocky with a few spots a little suspect with the footing.
To my left is the cliff face of Eagle Mt and I really wasn't expecting this feature. The trail winds around coming up on top of the cliff face.
From the cliff face the Doubleheads, Tin Mt, Middle Mt and Thorn Mt are visible. Eagle Mt House is also in view from up here.
But this is not the high point as I follow a path that continues on and up higher. It's just a few minutes away but it is definitely the high spot as there is also a good size rock cairn. Satisfied this is as high as it gets I make my way around looking to see if there are any other spots with open views. The best I could find is one spot that gave a clearer view the Doubleheads, two peaks I have a date with at some point for my redlining.
Another hasty retreat and passing by the quagmire I laugh at myself for what happened on the way up. One more day of threes and time to call it a day.
Final numbers: 9.3 miles, 5 hours and 5 minutes.
Redline Miles: 4.2, Total to Date: 1022.0