Mt Israel

February 5, 2017.

A return to Mt Israel as Andy and Nancy were headed that way. It's been over four years since I have done this hike. Pretty much the same route with the exception of not heading out on the Guinea Pond Trail to Cold River.

Driving up to the Mead Base Camp and a clear view of Mt Israel across the farm field. Arriving early and I enjoyed my Dunkins until Andy and Nancy arrived. A few minutes before eight and we are heading up the Wentworth Trail.

 

A pretty mild but steady climb up through the mostly hardwood forest. Reaching the stone wall that New England is famous for and the trail takes a short dip down where it crosses a brook.

 

The climb continues up for a ways and then follows a contour where through the trees the first look to Squam Lake can be seen. After the next little climb there is a view ledge to the south. This time a clear tree framed view of Squam Lake.

 

Behind the twin Rattlesnakes are Kearsarge and Ragged Mt. To my left are the Ossipees where I still need to do some exploring one day.

 

Another fifteen minutes up the trail and out on the scrubby ledges there are views directly north. Right across the way are Black Mt and Sandwich Dome. Just to the right of those two peaks are North and South Tripyramid with The Sleepers.

 

Just ahead is the summit of Israel and I couldn't remember anything beyond this point as the clouds started to roll in that day back in December of 2012. My GPS tracks and summit pic show I made it there and once I saw the summit it came back to me. However I was robbed of views that day so this day it made up for it. Passing the Mead Trail I remembered that piece and then we reached the top of Israel. To the northeast is the whole Sandwich Range lined up one peak after another.

 

Looking northwest is Moosilauke complete with a frosted top. The next mountain over from Israel to the west is Mt Weetamoo where I have heard is some good trailless hiking.

 

A short break on top and then we head back to the junction to start down the Mead Trail. The trail is unbroken from this point as I take the lead and head down. Luckily the crust is thick enough that we don't really break through and the snowshoe trek goes pretty easily. The woods are nice and open and the trip down is not very steep.

 

Soon we reach the arched tree I saw four years ago and it is still there. The only exception is it has snapped at one point.

 

We reach the power lines in about an hour from starting down the Mead Trail. On the other side there are lots of tracks in the snow of moose and rabbits. Reaching one spot where the moose have really been traipsing through I hit a hoof post hole and go done landing on and bending my hiking pole pretty good. This is the second time in the last few years I have done this. I can bend it back fairly easily but the drawback is I can never close the pole up when I don't need them. A few minutes later and we reach the junction with Guinea Pond Trail.

 

The first time I was out here I went right on the Guinea Pond Trail but today we would immediately head left and head towards Sandwich Notch Road. I had to take a cramp break and told Nancy and Andy to go ahead and I would catch up to them. They went ahead and headed up to the left on the rerouted portion that avoids the beaver flooded section. After my episode I decided now was a good time to try the old trail that use to run straight back when the logging railroad use to come through here. Andy and Nancy saw me to their right and having troubles keeping on the trail decided to join me out on the frozen swamp.

 

At the opposite end where the trail veers away from the pond I turned around and just behind where Nancy is was the where I saw a moose back when I did Black Mt Pond in June of 2015. Quite a difference in the vegetation between the two seasons!

 

From this point the trail and old logging railroad coincide all the way to Sandwich Notch Road. This portion is also used by the snowmobilers during the winter so the trail was well packed down making the hiking much easier. It only took us forty-five minutes to reach the road encountering a few snowmobiles along the way. A short break at the road and off with the snowshoes before heading up Sandwich Notch Road.

 

We were making pretty good time as it took us just over four hours to reach this point which is almost 5.5 miles. Unfortunately Nancy wasn't feeling it and we tried to assure her she was doing well. We have all had those days when we just don't feel like we are doing well but I didn't think this the case today. Anyways we started up the road and Nancy ended up breaking away from us. Andy and I couldn't figure out how she was kicking our butts. We had to really kick up our pace to try to catch up to her just after the bridge over Bearcamp River. Some light hearted ribbing and when we reached the parking lot for Beede Falls she was once again a happy Nancy! Down at the falls it was a frozen icicle mass.

 

Behind the frozen waterfall the water was still flowing as can be seen in the video. Behind the falls out came a happy troll!

From there it was a short hike back to the parking lot and reassurance for Nancy that she actually did a great job. It may have seemed like a long slog but looking at the time we moved along at a pretty good clip. You did good sis...real good.


Final numbers: 8.2 miles, 5 hours and 40 minutes.

Redline Miles: 0, Total to Date: 1290.7