Mount Abraham and the Tunbridge Fair

Forest and Farm, in one day.

For my hike this weekend I decided to return to a peak I had not visited since the early 1980s – Mount Abraham, which is one of the five 4000-foot peaks in Vermont and one of only three Vermont peaks with an alpine-zone summit. My notion was to scramble up there in the morning and to stop by the Tunbridge World’s Fair on the way back, which would give me ample opportunities for lunch of both the healthy and unhealthy kind. Read on!

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Ledges of Lyme

Great views, close to home.

The Appalachian Trail passes right through the town of Lyme, where we live. It wanders through the forests, across the brooks, and over the hilly terrain of Moose Mountain, Holts Ledge, and Smarts Mountain. Last weekend I had a little time for two quick hikes along the A.T. On Saturday I scrambled up Lambert Ridge, a shoulder of Smarts Mountain, to a ledgy outcrop that has expansive views to the east. Along the way I listened to the acorns dropping from oak trees all around… and startled a chipmunk, holding one of those prized acorns in his little paws. After a brief standoff, he scampered away.

View from Lambert Ridge, Smarts Mountain.

On Sunday, I returned to the area and climbed up to Holts Ledge, which has wide views to the south. Here, a chain-link fence keeps hikers away from the edge, not just for safety but to protect the endangered peregrine falcons who nest on the cliffs. This cliff is at the top of the Dartmouth Skiway, allowing a nice loop hike by strolling down the grassy ski slopes.

View from Holts Ledge.

The amazing thing is that both of these hikes are only 15-20 minute drive from my house, and can be completed in less than an hour of hike time, so they’re a great opportunity for a break from a busy weekend. See the small gallery.

Kearsarge

Cloudy and crowdy but worthwhile.

On this holiday long weekend I did not want to jostle for a parking space at the popular hiking spots in the White Mountains, so I decided to head south to Mount Kearsarge. It is also very popular – too popular, as its worn, eroded trails will attest – but at least its broad, open summit allows the crowds to spread out. I was last up there in November, with a bit of early snow and ice visible; on that day I had foolishly typed “Mount Kearsarge” into my nav system and ended up on the far (southern) side of the mountain, in Rollins State Park – where the road climbs far up the southern ridge to a parking lot less than a half mile from the summit. So this time I was more careful, parking in Kearsarge State Park on the northwest side – allowing a 1.1 mile climb of the rocky Winslow Trail and descent via the 1.8 mile Barlow Trail.

Half way up the Winslow trail to Mount Kearsarge.
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Tripyramids

A grueling hike up and down the slides of the Tripyramid range.

In search of new places to go, I find myself thinking back to hikes I completed more than a quarter-century ago; enough time has passed that they may as well be “new” again, for me. I’ve had my eye on the Tripyramids for several years now, because they make an intriguing triplet, easily recognizable on any horizon. Most notably, when I climbed them last in 1985, we approached from the north, from the Kancamagus Highway; now, it was time to try the western route, up the sheer North Slide and down the scree-filled South Slide. Read on, and check out the photo gallery.

David climbs the slide on North Tripyramid, at times on all fours.
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Gorge Brook and the Pleiades

One of my favorite hidden gems of Mount Moosilauke.

One of my fondest memories of hiking on Mount Moosilauke was a solo bushwhack in August 1984, when I decided to follow Gorge Brook to its source, and beyond. The Gorge Brook Trail follows the brook for a mile or so, then diverges east to attain the ridge and climb over East Peak to the summit. But the brook itself contains one of the hidden gems of Moosilauke: the Pleiades, a series of spectacular cascades that few ever have a chance to see. Although I mentioned this memorable bushwhack in a post from 2013, I had never returned to the Pleiades… until today. And what a day for it! Read on and be sure to check out the photo/video gallery.

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Cube again

A climb above the valley fog to clear my mind.

After a busy and challenging work week, it was a pleasure today to return to one of my local peaks for a quick morning outing. I’ve already climbed Mount Cube a few times this year, in winter, spring, and summer, partly because it is close by (less than 30 minutes’ drive) and because it has a remarkably nice view for such a short climb (2 miles). The Rivendell Trail up Mount Cube is a favorite of many in the area, so I was surprised to see only one car at the trailhead when I arrived a bit before 9am.

Map of my route up and down Mount Cube.
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Mount Cushman

A short hike to a delightful remote peak, Mount Cushman, in central Vermont.

No, I’ve never heard of it either. This small peak in Central Vermont is not on anyone’s peak-bagger list, or on any long-distance trail. But when I was looking through the guidebook of dayhikes in Vermont, this one stuck out as an interesting new place to visit.

The trail along the ridgeline to Mount Cushman.
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Mount Hale

A morning hike to a 4000-footer.

It was a beautiful day for a hike, so I was pleased to have a chance to join friends for a climb of Mount Hale – one of the 4000-foot peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Much of the trail follows Hale Brook, including several pretty cascades.

Waterfall on Hale Brook, White Mountains.

More photos (and a video) on SmugMug.

Hike stats (round trip):
Distance: 6.64km
Time: 2h48m
Gain: 678m

Daniel Doan Trail

A pleasant surprise.

I have climbed Smarts Mountain many times, by many routes – including some now-abandoned routes and by bushwhacking Grant Brook – but I don’t think I have ever hiked the Daniel Doan Trail.* Finally, today, we did.

The first half of the trail follows old logging roads.
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Moosilauke

Although today began cloudy, conditions slowly cleared throughout the day. Lelia and Andy and I headed for Moosilauke, climbing Gorge Brook, and then heading down Carriage Road and Snapper.

Andy and David on summit of Mount Moosilauke.

Unfortunately, there were many, many other people out hiking today – a holiday here in the US – because it has rained for the past five days and this was the first (somewhat) nice day for a week. Still, a fine day for a hike! Read on and check the Photo gallery.

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