Moose Mountain

Revisiting old friends.

Lelia examines some stone steps on the north side of Moose Mountain, along the A.T. section we built freshman year.

It was another pleasant fall day, with moderate temperatures and intermittent sunshine. I took the opportunity to hike with an old friend, Lelia, and to visit another old friend – the Appalachian Trail on the north side of Moose Mountain.

I remember spending many chilly afternoons in the fall of 1982, scrambling through the Hanover forest with other eager first-year undergraduate students, clearing a new route for the Trail on the steep slopes of Moose Mountain. I learned to fell trees, build sidehill cribbing, and build rock steps from huge boulders using nothing but rock bars, strong arms, and the seemingly limitless enthusiasm of 18-year olds. We were pleased to those steps have held up after nearly 40 years and thousands of thru-hikers.

The trail winds its way up steep slopes and along the granite spine of the Appalachians, never gaining much altitude and rarely offering more than a glimpse of a view. The ridgeline wobbles along, up and down, never quite reaching a peak, the summit so topologically vague that it needs to be marked with a sign.

Moose Mountain, north peak, so non-descript as to need a sign.

At the summit, and many other places along the trail, the leafy floor was scattered with thousands of tiny berries – which, from the looks of the berry and the trees above, seem to be wild cherries.

Cherries litter the forest floor.

North Moose (elevation 2,303′) doesn’t offer grand vistas, dramatic slides, or challenging alpine terrain, but it does offer a fine walk along memory lane.

Hike stats:
distance: about 5 miles out and back
time: about 2.5 hours
gain: about 1600′

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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