Big Attitash Mt

May 28, 2017.

Been waiting for the stars to align for some time to get this trail, Attitash Trail. Inaccessible in the winter due to Bear Notch Road being closed it would have to wait until the road reopens. Andy wanted to do this hike with me also which has been hard to get together to do. Today he and Nancy are joining me so we'll park one car at the Diana's Bath parking lot in Conway and hike from Bear Notch Road saving me a huge out and back trip.

We met at Diana's Bath early, due to some new parking restrictions, then headed over to Bear Notch Road. Gear all on and we headed up the Attitash Trail. We soon reached Louisville Brook in a very melancholy section.

 

Following an old logging grade the trail is nice and pleasant intermingled with a few wet sections. Most likely these are dry during the summer months but these wet areas are probably the leftovers of the spring thaw.

 

Louisville Brook could be heard down in the valley roaring away just out of reach due to the steep embankments. I spied a cascade down below and felt the urge to risk heading down to get a closer look. Angling down the steep banking I reached the floor as did Andy taking a different route. What a beautiful little spot just a short fifteen minutes from the road.

 

We passed by several little runoff streams as we climbed up to Table Mt which helped break up the silence of the woods. An hour after starting we reached the first ledge bringing us the first of the views. A partial look at a few peaks in the Sandwich Range in the distance. Right in front of us is the multi-bumped Bear Mt which is now trailless. There were once several trails on Bear Mt but from the 1960's on back they have been all been abandoned.

 

Up a short scramble and on another set of ledges the same views open up even more. Passaconaway dominates the ridgeline and to its right are the Sleepers. Across the valley where the Kancamagus Highway runs through is Chocorua rising up with it's main peak just barley visible behind the Sisters.

 

Up through some rotten granite which forms the trail and Nancy has reached the light to receive the Ten Commandments. Oh wait! Wrong story! But there are more ledges at the top where the valley fog has not yet burned off.

 

We reach the high point of the trail on Table Mt and there is another ledge and now the three Tripyramids are all visible. Looking eastward and Middle and South Moat are right across the way.

 

A short path leads over to a new vantage point to the northwest. Carrigain, Vose Spur and Lowell are the forefront peaks and looking through Carrigain Notch Mt Bond is in the background. What a memorable couple of days I spent out in that area last fall. Walking just below the summit of Table Rock I never saw any place that looked doable to hit the high point. Besides that was not the point of this trip...it's all about the redlining! Coming down off of Table Rock the trail is steep in a few spots but for the most part not too bad. At the col between Table and Big Attitash Mts there is a small stream where we stopped for a short break to freshen up on the bug spray. A small pool offered me a chance to rehydrate.

 

The climb up out of the col wasn't too bad and soon enough we reached some more ledges although these had no real views to speak of. One of Nancy's nemesis was sunning on a rock. She really hates snakes! A couple of dips into some brook ravines with one of them being a steep climb out. Reaching the ridge for Big Attitash and I found a great spot to sit down for a snack. While waiting for Nancy and Andy to catch up I had my two jelly donuts from Dunkin Donuts that I had bought this morning. When they arrived they asked where I got Dunkins and pointed off into the woods telling them there was one right over there. After all it seems like they have one everywhere!

 

After our break it's basically a ridge walk with some minor bumps along the way. We eventually reach the boggy section of the trail which is an odd place for one up at this elevation. It is pretty wet and flooded so no way of going straight across. Skirting to the right Andy takes the lead and reaches the trail on the opposite side. Nancy followed but ended up deeper in the woods were it was much thicker and fought her way through to join us.

 

A few minutes later and a protruding boulder is the high point for Big Attitash Mt located just off the trail. No time to linger as we need to descend and word is it is steep and rough. The trail down isn't that bad. It is steep but the footing is pretty good as we make our way down. Maybe I misread the guide book or my interpretation is different. Thirty minutes into the descent and we hit the ravine which Lucy Brook flows out of.

 

We are at the bottom of a big "V" as we follow Lucy Brook down. It is steep and a lot rougher through here so this must be the section I had heard about. The sound of the brook is on our right and from the sounds there must be some great cascades in there. But the undergrowth is too thick to see any of it. Occasionally we get next to the brook for small peeks at it along the way.

 

Down lower the trail begins to mellow out but Lucy Brook is always in earshot or the trail meanders back next to it. We cross Lucy Brook for the first of many crossings. Down here it is much more distinct than when we first saw it up in the ravine. On the other side we pass through a Hemlock section of woods which I always love.

 

We reach a spot where the trail looks like it crosses again but peters out on the other side. Instead the trail heads straight parallelling the brook and these stacked slabs of granite.

 

Down at the crossing just before the junction there is a guy working on creating stepping stone islands for the crossing. Nancy heads across and steps on a stone that is not placed right and it rolls putting her into the brook. Not a complete dunking...just the shoes and partway up her pants. On the other side we reach the end of Attitash Trail and another trail is checked off.

 

Now it is just a two plus mile trip out to the road and pass the dreaded masses that will be at Diana's Bath. Ugh! If not for the tourist attraction the only other person we would have seen today would have been the river rock guy. But we make it out and pass the crowded swimming spot reaching the crowded parking lot that is full. Along the road are people parked who obviously do not know how to read the new No Parking signs. Oh well...extra income for Conway if they keep on top of it.


Final numbers: 9.6 miles, 7 hours and 50 minutes.

Redline Miles: 7.2, Total to Date: 1308.8