Black Mountain is one of my favorite places to hike – it has a great view, it’s not a long hike, it’s not a long drive, and it is small enough to stay below the clouds on most cloudy days. Indeed, I was just here last month. Today, however, there was a crunchy base of snow about 2-4″ thick, and a fresh dusting of powder about 1/2″–2″ on top. Read on!
Not much snow, for this time of year, but that fresh powder dusting gave Kathy and me crisp views of the tracks for fox, coyote, snowshoe hare, gray squirrel, and ruffed grouse. Indeed, at one point, we spooked two ruffed grouse from the fir trees, noisily beating their way from a trailside fir to a more distant hiding place.
This trail is steep, and last weekend’s storm coated the lower sections of the trail in ice. The upper sections, though, had a decent base, a good topping of new snow, and (on the tree branches) a crystalline coating of rime ice.
We popped out to each viewpoint as it arrived, and were fortunate to enjoy a sweeping view of Mount Moosilauke as we crossed the penultimate viewpoint.
When we reached the summit, just a few minutes later, the Moosilauke summit had been obscured by an arriving snowstorm. We quickly took in a view of more-distant peaks like the Kinsmans, but within minutes the snowstorm was upon us as well, enveloping even Black Mountain in cloud and wind-driven snow.
We retreated down the granite ridges of the summit region to the shelter of the western slopes, and slipped and slithered back down the way we came. At the base we took a few minutes to visit a historic stone structure, a massive Lime Kiln, at which thousands of casks of lime were produced every year by burning tons of limestone. Very impressive [more].
Check out the full photo gallery.
Elevation gain: 472m