North and South Doublehead

November 5, 2016.

Whittling down the list of what is left and a multi hike looked pretty good for today. First up are the Doubleheads. A pair of peaks in Jackson that I have been putting off due to its steepness and small mileage. A late arrival, for me, as I turn up Town Hall Road then onto Dundee Road and reach the trail head for New Path.

A few minutes getting ready and at 9:15 I am off on the trail. The trees have finished this years cycle and the only noise in the woods is the rustling of the leaves under my feet. A short distance up the trail and a peek at the first peak for the day, South Doublehead.


It does not take long before the easy trail changes and the steep climbing begins. Across some open ledge and then through a rough bouldery section. Getting above the deciduous trees into the spruces and the trail really steepens.


Thankfully it is a quick trip up as I reach the spur path in just an hour from starting. A short climb and the spur path opens up on to some ledge where a large rock pile cairn is. Just below it a path leads down to a spot where there are open views.


Down below I can see the spot where I started from. To the south a look at Kearsarge North.


Continuing along the spur and at the end is the second knob of South Doublehead. From here is a great view of Chandler, Sable and South Baldface all lined up in a row.


Across the way is North Doublehead, the next target for the day. To the left of North Doublehead is a good look at Carter Notch. If not for the low cloud deck it would be an even better view with Wildcat A and Carter Dome flanking each side.


Heading back to the junction and just beyond is South Doublehead's non-descript summit. Had I not looked at the map showing it one would never knew you had passed over it. Another viewpoint is off to the left and this time a clear shot down onto the town of Jackson.


Across the valley is where I am heading after the Doubleheads, Iron Mt. Heading down off South Doublehead into the col between the two peaks and the trail is pleasantly level. The next junction is quickly reached and I turn left onto Old Path to do an out and back. Or in this case a down and up!


Down through the spruces where the trail is steep but not as steep as coming up the New Path. About halfway down and I see the only hikers of this trip as they are heading up. A short semi-level section of trail and a bit steeper section. Down before the junction and the trail travels through a mucky section. A bit harder to circumnavigate due to all the downed leaves. But I make it through without incident.


Reaching the junction where I turn back around does not take long and the return trip heading up only takes five more minutes then the trip down. Old Path becomes a little rougher as it climbs up to North Doublehead. Finally it levels out and before I know it I reach the cabin on the summit of North Doublehead.


The cabin is available for rent and looks like a pretty cool spot to spend a night. Behind it is a viewpoint with much the same views as the second knob of South Doublehead just more limited by the surrounding trees. Down below is a clear shot of Mountain Pond. I hiked around it back in July on a wet rainy day. Heading own the last trail of this part of the trip, Doublehead Ski Trail, and just after starting an odd wooden cover/platform off to my right. Not sure if this was an old well filled in or the foundation to an old privy. I couldn't find any info on it online so the mystery remains.


The trail down is just as advertise. A somewhat wide old ski trail. Although I would bet it sees some action in the winter months from the local skiers. Down below near the junction with Old Path the trail gets a bit rougher and eroded.


Passing the junction and the trail mellows out and ends at dirt road that leads back out to Dundee Road. From there it is a short road walk back to where I parked. On to hike number two as I make the drive over to where Iron Mt Trail is located.

Final numbers: 5.4 miles, 4 hours.

Redline Miles: 4.2, Total to Date: 1253.2