Black Mountain

A snowy day on Black Mountain.

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!

Approaching the summit of Black Mountain.
Coyote tracks near the trail up Black Mountain.

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.

Rime ice on the higher sections of Black Mountain.

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.

We get a grand view of Mount Moosilauke – whose summit is clear of the clouds – on 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.

When we reach the summit of Black Mountain, the clouds have obscured Mount Moosilauke.
At the base of Black Mountain is a historic lime kiln – where people once burned limestone to make lime.

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.

Hike stats:
Distance: 5.75km
Time: 2h53m
Elevation gain: 472m

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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