October 30, 2015.
Rainy day yesterday and it is supposed to clear up early this morning. The plan was to head up and do Webster Cliff but on the way I changed my mind and kept heading north. I figured I could finish up the trails in Nash Stream Forest and get one of the long drives out of the way. Then again most of the trails I have left are going to be long drives! Anyways as I am heading up Route 3 the clouds were not clearing as expected and I was starting to regret my change in plans. Too late to change I just figured I'd tough it out and take my chances. The new plan is to hit up Sugarloaf Mt first and then see what I have time for later in the day to hike.
Heading up Nash Stream Forest and just beyond the spot where I parked a few days ago to do the Percy's and my day is made.
She stood there for a good couple of minutes just nibbling on whatever buds she was eating and then occasionally looking at me. Then she wandered down the road and as I drove slowly down she took off in a gallop. You may think of Moose as slow creatures but when they run they are quite fast with those long legs. Driving along I had to clear a downed tree and then at an opening got a shot of Sugarloaf. Other than the summit being in the clouds the sun was out and it looked like things were going to break. However Mother Nature had a different idea as I arrived at the trailhead it was raining and then while waiting it out it started to spit snow.
Hard to tell in that picture but it's a wet sticky snow so with nothing else to do the best alternative was to take a nap. Over an hour later and the rain and snow taking a break I donned my raincoat and started out hoping it would hold out long enough to get up to the summit and back. The trail leads past someone's cabin following the old fire warden's trail. Up ahead is a junction where the Cohos Trail leads left heading south. Seeing more of the Cohos Trail lately and will have to look into this for the future. Oh the seeds that get planted while hiking as my future To Do List continues to grow.
As the trail climbs there is a brook off to the right. Today it is flowing pretty good with the rain from yesterday and this morning. On a normal day it is probably just a trickle. The trail is not much to write about as it continues its climb up through the wet forest. At first it is all leaves on the ground except for the usual late stragglers of the beech tree hanging on.
At 2400 feet the beginning of the raw day starts to show as a dusting and slowly increasing with the elevation gain. At about 3200 feet is the remains of the old fire warden's cabin. It is nothing but a pile of rubble. Blocks for the footings, the foundation floor and corrugated metal roofing. Even the kitchen sink has been left behind!
Through a very overgrown gassy area that hides the trail and this section of the climb goes by quicker than I thought it would. In less than twenty minutes from the cabin site and I can see the summit just ahead. On top is the broken summit sign. The weather is fierce as the wind is whipping across the rocky outcropping. It's a race to get what pictures I can before the fingers freeze.
Above me are dark ominous looking clouds but beyond I can see peaks on the horizon. It is a different look that I can't recall seeing before. Usually it is all clouded in but this time I can actually see the edge of the nastiness that hampered my morning. Across the valley is the expansive ridge that makes up Whitcomb Mt and behind it is part of the Mahoosuc Range on the horizon. Old Speck and Mahoosuc Arm are easily spotted.
To the south are Percy Peaks where I was just three days ago. Beyond the Percy's are the peaks surrounding Franconia Notch. Looks like all the good weather is everywhere else but where I am standing. Oh well, sometimes I like the pictures with the storminess look rather than the blue skies. Especially when there is no contrasting snow on the peaks yet.
Down in the valley I came up from I can see the leftover remains of Nash Bog Pond. This was a man made pond dammed for log driving down Nash Stream. In 1969 the dam gave way sending the waters of Nash Pond down through the valley. A good article describing the event can be found here. On the top left you can see the bog. Down further in the valley and I can see Nash Stream Road snaking up where I drove through a few hours before.
Time to get out of the wind and make my hasty retreat down the trail. Being all downhill it takes just an hour to get back to the cabin at the bottom of the trail. One comical picture for long distance phone calls where no phone lines exist and the other of his thermostat on a tree.
Since it is just after noon there's time to find something else to hike in the area, just a matter of where and what.
Final numbers: 4.2 miles, 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Redline Miles: 2.1, Total to Date: 991.6