Mt. Monroe – Sept. 28, 2013


After the typical early morning debate of where to hike, we finally settled on visiting Mt. Monroe.  Mike attempted this once before, but he didn’t summit.  Today seemed to be the perfect day to attack Monroe.  Our route was up the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail to Mt. Monroe Loop to Crawford Path to Edmands Path, ending with a two mile road walk back to the car.


This was my second time on the Ammo and I love it. This would be Mike’s third time.  My first experience was when we tackled Mount Washington over a year ago.  The first 2.1 miles to the Gem pool was an easy walk in the woods.  We passed people, people passed us.  It was going to be a busy day on the trail.



I adore the views out on the lower sections of the trail.


At 2.1 miles we reached the Gem Pool, it took us an hour and 20 minutes to reach here.  At the Pool, the pile up started.


At this section we ran smack dab into an Army Platoon.  We thanked them for serving as we passed the group on their way to Mount Washington.  It fed my ego to pass a bunch of military people, I am in better condition than I thought.  We talked with the Sergeant leading them and he told us it was 41st time going up to Washington.  Very impressive.  The leader was funny, he said anyone can do this trail even if  you’re fat, but if you are injured you shouldn’t do it.  He had sent four guys back down because one was injured and shouldn’t have been on the hike.


Another group we passed, we worried about all day. A few young couples from Australia and Boston were making their first run at Mt. Washington.  One young couple were really hurting on the first section of the Gem Pool.  The group kept mentioning maybe taking the cog down once they reached the summit. We only hope they had tickets, because I’m pretty sure the cog is packed as it being peak foliage season.

I am not a fan of ladders, but this one isn’t so bad.


Time for the views to open up and start the bear crawl on the ledges.


The sergeant told his platoon to be billy goats on this section.  Good advice.


We could start to see the towers of Mount Washington.


Time to work up our way up.  Choose carefully.


I love the Ammo because of the views that take my breath away.


We kept running into a French Canadian group.  They needed to be reminded of trail manners.  A few times they would stop and sit blocking the path.  One of them was a smoker who kept stopping for smoking breaks, Yuck I hate smelling your cigarette smoke, stinky hiker body order is  preferred over cigarette smoke.


We reach the Lake of the Clouds hut in one hour, 45 minutes from the Gem Pool.


I look up and there is Mt. Monroe waiting for us.


Here I come hut.


The hut was closed.  We knew that, some people didn’t.  Still a perfect spot to take the pack off, eat lunch and people, doggie watch.


This dog was the sweetest pit bull.  Once she had her back on, she was ready to hit the trail to go to Mt. Washington.


After a quick lunch we hit the Mt. Monroe Loop


Looking back at the hut.


The well laid path.


The platoon made it.

Watching the cog go down.





Mike heading up to Monroe.



The Canadian group sprinted up Monroe to tag it before heading off to Washington.  They had fun coming down.


We looked up to the summit and had this view.  We wondered would we have the summit to ourselves?


I looked over to a ridge and could make out the line of cairns.


Zoomed in view of the cairns, created to guide the hiker.

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We did it, made it to the top of Monroe.  I was so happy and the day was beautiful.


Time to continue the loop over Little Monroe.


The views left us speechless.  We could see so far off.



Looking down on the Crawford Path, that skirts around Monroe.



This is the type of trail, I truly dislike because of the risk of breaking an ankle by easily missing a rock and stepping between two rocks, snapping an ankle.  Luckily this was a short section.


I fell in love with this cairn.




Looking back at Mt. Monroe.  We had the summit to ourselves and now there was a crowd.


I admit it, I did skip on this portion.  Loved the ridge walking.






We didn’t realize how much we had climbed from the Lake of the Clouds Hut, until we looked back and spotted it way down there.




We finally joined up with the Crawford Path.  What a history this trail has.








We spied Mt. Eisenhower off in the distance.  We summited that in May of 2012 (sorry no trip report).


Can you see the path to the right in the pine trees?  That is where we are going, to Edmands Path.





Where two historic trails meet.  We only have a little over 5 miles to reach our car.   At this point my legs started to feel fatigued.


I do enjoy Edmands Path, even with the rocky trail.


Looking back to where we were.


The trickiest section of Edmands is crossing this little waterfall area.  When we did it over a year ago, it was a bit icy.






We reach the parking lot, but our car is over two miles away in another lot.  We tried to hitch a ride, but no luck.  One car stopped to ask directions for the cog and when Mike asked for a ride, they said no, sorry no room…ummm there is room in your backseat, only one person is there.  Guess the pretty people didn’t want two sweaty hikers in their car.  Luckily the views on the road walk were nice.  My incentive to move quickly was the restroom waiting in the Ammo lot for me.  The only problem with the hut closed and open ridge walking there is no where to discreetly pee.


It was a stunning day on the trail. It was one of those hikes that will surely be in my top 10 list of best hikes ever.

The Details: 8 hrs. 9.7 miles and just beautiful (minus the road walk).

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A year later on the trail – Bald Knob, NH (Sept. 21, 2013)


A year ago, we hiked Mount Willard and I passed out on the top.  Walked off this little bit of a mountain and promptly drove to the e.r.  Seems my arrhythmia was out of control, due to work stress and meds alone couldn’t control it anymore.  I had to stop hiking for a bit until the heart doctor could go in, fix my heart and I removed the stress.  Last May we started hiking the Whites again, this summer hiked a few spots in Oahu and have finally returned to our much loved White Mountains.

To get ourselves back in shape, a short hike to Bald Knob (or peak) was on the hiking card. However we went a little further and hiked to the junction of Mt. Kinsman Trail and the Kinsman Ridge Trail.  We gave ourselves a turnaround time of noon.  Wherever we were at noon, we would turn around.  I know people will yell at us, “but you were only .4 from summitting North Kinsman.”  We are not in this for the peak bagging. Plus we enjoyed this trail, so we will return to summit North and South on another sun filled day.

The morning painted a glorious sunrise over Forest Lake to wake us up and energize us for our day.


On the way to the trail, I spotted a moose, but he was running through a field and I knew by the time we turned around, he would have been gone.

We parked at the trailhead off of Rt. 116 in Easton, NH.  We were only the third car of the day, but when we left there were 10-12 cars in the lot with room for more.



The trail was well blazed and offered a moderate grade.


Around .5 miles we turned onto a logging road and at .6 miles we zipped past a sugarhouse.  This part of the trail felt like a 10 minute walk in the woods, it was very easy to hike.



Shortly after this we thought might have a bear encounter.  We spied a dark blob with what looked like a light brown snout off of the trail, it close enough to the trail to be worrisome.  We both stopped and studied this form, did we see it move at all? Hmm don’t think so.

There behind the rocks, is it a bear?

Mike pushed me in front of him, gee thanks.  We cautiously approached and realized out it was only  a silly tree stump. Phew….We have yet to have a bear encounter on the trail.

“our bear” encounter, silly tree stump

The inclines were moderate and the forest that greeted us was lovely.



At 1.5 miles we crossed our first brook. Very easy to do, the rocks were perfectly placed for short legs, no worry about falling in.


The foliage around us were starting to display their fall attire.



At 1.8 miles we crossed over another brook and a little further on we crossed over the third brook.

Brook #2

At Brook #3 we turned right and walked a short path down to see the Kinsman flume.

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Kendall Flume Brook

After crossing here, turn right to the side path to see down into the gorge.



I couldn’t see into the gorge because I am to short to see over the trees and shrubs that line the top of the gorge.

Mike reached out and held camera over the gorge to get his photo


We returned to the main trail, went about 70 yards and took the spur path to Bald Knob (Peak).  This is the sign, but it doesn’t have go right to Bald Knob.


After turning right we entered what I referred to as the naked forest.  The trees were a little bare here.


The .2 mile path to Balk Knob was an assortment of trail conditions.



This is what greets you as you reach the summit:


The views were great on this sunny day.  The clouds that kept dancing by were fascinating to watch.







We were feeling pretty good, so we decided to return to Mt. Kinsman Trail and hike until noon.  At noon we would turn around and head out, regardless of where we were.  We knew if we didn’t summit North Kinsman today, we have the opportunity to return and skip the side views and head right up to the peaks.  This was a great chance to preview the trail for a future hike.

The trail after the spur part became more “White Mountain Hiking Like”.  The ups were steeper, more roots littered the trail to try to trip us and more rocks popped up to create fun obstacles to go over, around or even through.





We crossed a bridge that Mike admired for it’s woodworking.


After this bridge we had another push uphill.


A little before noon we entered a forest protection area.



At noon we reached the junction between the Mount Kinsman Trail and the Kinsman Ridge trail.


We ate a sandwich, walked right and left a little bit.

Ridge trail to the left
ridge trail to the left
trail to the right .4 miles to North Kinsman

We stuck to our decision to turn around at noon. We reached our goal of Bald knob, this was just an extra bonus.  We had hiked for 3.5 hours, time to turn around and head down.

The only view out on our way down, all other views were of trees

Our descent went by quickly and we did it in one hour, 52 minutes.  On our way out we passed about dozen hikers at various points on the trail either going to Bald Knob or returning from lunching there.

We really enjoyed our return hike to the White Mountains.  Bald Knob is a moderate hike that offers fantastic views, little effort with huge rewards.  A year ago my hike ended up with a trip to the e.r., this time it ended with a trip to the local co-op for a bottle of wine and some after hike cookies!!

The Details: We did 7.1 out and back miles, including a short walk down the flume path and spur trail to Bald Knob.  2.3 miles just to the Bald Knob.  Elevation gain to Bald Peak was 1400 feet (but it didn’t feel like that).  3.5 hours to the trail junctions, 2 hours to descend.

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A trail with two different points of view, Sugarloaf Mountain – June 29

Here is Mike’s version:

Went up a very long, steep hill.  Saw fog. Came down same very long steep hill. Had mud and bugs. I was the  grumpy hiking partner . One of those  hikes that didn’t do anything for me.


Ann’s version:

We thought the clouds/fog would lift off of Sugarloaf Mountain.  We kept seeing blue sky teasing us, so decided to stick to our destination.  We drove the 8.3 miles on Nash Stream Road, with the sun sometimes peeking out.  Parked the car by a cabin and was immediately swarmed by gnats and mosquitoes.

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We followed a grassy path until it viewed to the right and followed the Sugarloaf Mountain trail.


We had to keep moving because of the bugs. I tried to stop to snap a picture and even the camera was attacked.

Yup a bug on the lens
Yup a bug on the lens

Not much to say except follow this trail and just keep going up. The trail isn’t impressive.  The steepness doesn’t stop and I had to motivate myself to reach one water division channel at a time.  Stop at each one, catch breath, get to the next one. I ended up thinking this was just a workout hike, to keep me in a good mood.  I could tell Mike wasn’t enjoying the trail.

Even in the mud section, where I swear the mud monster is lurking to suck your shoe off, you are going up.  Walking through the mud avoiding this monster was a better way to go than rock hopping.  The rocks were very slippery.

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Shoe sucking mud

At 1.5 miles we reached the old fire warden’s hut, that is now a jumbled mess of wood and tin.


After this the forest transformed into a Boreal Forest. The trail was beautiful for the next .6 miles and the grade seemed a little easier.

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I had a spring in my step, so we made good time to the summit.

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We stood around and ate a few pieces of food quickly.  The bugs at the summit didn’t take a break and we snapped a few pictures of the fog that surrounded us.



Down we went at a good clip.  I tried to cheer up my grumpy hiking partner, told him we just had a great workout and it helps to look at it that way.  Usually I’m the grumpy one, but I enjoyed battling the mud monster, laughing as he didn’t get my shoes and that kept my spirits light.

The Details: Park on Nash Stream Road in Stark.  4.1 miles, 2200 feet elevation gain.  Total time was around 3 hours, 1 hour 6 mins. it took us to come down.

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Bridal Veil Falls – June 27

Taking a nap to the soothing sounds of the falls
Taking a nap to the soothing sounds of the falls

The forecast called for fog and storms this afternoon.  I have a fear of lightning, so below tree line was the only option.  Our friend Tim, owner of the cottage we stay at, loves this hike.  Three years ago when he invited us up he insisted this was a must do hike.  Well, isn’t everything in the White Mountains, at some point, a must do hike?

It was just a short drive to Franconia for us and the trail head was easy to find, on Coppermine Road.  Plenty of parking, as we witnessed at the end of the hike (more about that later).  We started the hike on Coppermine Road, a packed dirt road.


At the .4 mile mark hang a left onto the trail.

Go left young man
Go left young man

It is  a pleasant and easy stroll along the trail, walking at times close to the Coppermine Brook.






We never spotted the famous Bette Davis marker, thanking the man (her future husband) who discovered her lost in the woods. Well truthfully, I forgot to look for it because I was so busy focusing on the smells, sounds and beauty of the forest.

Right before we came upon the shelter, a sign notified us we are in a Forest Protection Area.

Forest Protected Area
Forest Protection Area

At 2.3 miles, a bridge appears, crossing over the brook.


From here we passed the shelter, where an outdoor recreational group of teens were staying.  There were packing up from their overnight.  Right past the shelter are the falls.  First you have to do a short rock hop to get to the falls.



Once at the falls, we lucked out and had them all to ourselves, the kids staying at the shelter didn’t arrive after packing up.  I quickly took off my shoes and waded in the cold mountain water.  Yes, I did let out a little yelp, it was cold, but oh so refreshing. Mike did a little venturing, but the rocks up  to the next set of  falls were slippery and the path way was blocked by blowdowns, so he descended.



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We sat around for about 35 minutes.  I caught a quick snooze on the perfect rock.

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Time to head back.  On our way back we noticed that the group at the shelter had left, however they didn’t finish putting out their fire.  Mike took care of that.



The air was so warm and the water so cold, that fog was hovering over the water.  This picture isn’t blurry or doesn’t have water on the lens, it is our attempt to capture that fog that just sat over the water.



When we hit the road walk, I said to Mike, a group is coming up.  The group was 129 people from a Catholic Kids Summer Camp.  I am thinking 129 people at once is to many for any trail.  When we got to our car, another bus pulled in carrying at  least 30 more kids from a different group. So happy we had the falls to ourselves.  I just can’t image all those people up there.

As for the weather, no storms rolled in all day by us, maybe we could have been above tree line, but I’m not a big gambler and glad we played it safe.  We had a great hike in beautiful scenery.

The Details:  5 miles out and back, 1100 elevation gain. Total time was 2 hours 38 minutes, that includes our time of hanging at the falls.  Great family hike.

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A Hike as Sweet as Candy, Percy Peaks – June 15

Percy Peaks from the road
Percy Peaks from the road

I felt like a kid in a candy shop on this hike, I loved everything.  I’ve been eyeing this hike since May when I read Nilsen’s description of this hike in 50 Hikes North of the White Mountains.  Though I felt disappointment every weekend that we’ve come up to the White Mountains because the weather hasn’t been just perfect.  I was like the kid waiting for that candy store to open, sad every time the store had the closed sign in the window. June 15 the candy store opened and I was giddy with excitement to hike the two peaks.  Off we went to see some amazing views and hike beautiful trails.

We started the hike at 8 in the morning, the only car in the parking spot off of Nash Stream Rd in Stark, NH.  Cross the bridge and the trail enters the forest on the right.

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The trail was well maintained, but it doesn’t get as much traffic as other White Mountains Forest Trails. We enjoyed seeing the contrast of old and new work on the trail.

New Bridge vs. Old Bridge
New Bridge vs. Old Bridge

At a mile, a large boulder greeted us and we veered to the left of it. Talk about the determination of wanting to exist, check out the tree growing out of the rock.

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Next we came upon staircases with an easy rise, great for short legs.

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Staircase courtesy of Crews from the North Woods Stewardship Center in VT.

At 1.2 miles the trail pitched upwards, following the old trail.  The former trail went straight up the mossy slabs.  According to Nilsen’s book, two deaths of humans from slipping here have occurred and even one moose slid to his death.  Thankful the trail was re routed.

Old Trail went up that, ekkk not safe
Old Trail went up that, ekkk not safe

After the first cross over on one of the slides, turn around for the first start of some eye candy.

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The sections began to get steep and we had to do some fancy footwork.

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After this we entered a very webby area, had to find a stick to clear the way.  It was like walking through cotton candy, all those webs.

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Next we connected to the Old Summer Club Trail, part of the Cohos Trail System.  We walked on this for a few paces to the connector to South Percy Peak.

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We hiked the nameless South Percy Peak trail for .3 miles to the summit.  This forest was untamed here with a few blowdowns that required over/under skills or a  slight bushwhack to get around them.

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Can’t go over, can’t go under..try to go around
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over and unders

Once we reached the peak it was like we entered a blueberry bush candy store.  Oh to come up here in August to eat our full would be heaven.

Blueberry bushes galore
Blueberry bushes galore

As we faced North Percy, Kim Nilsen’s description of  the peak, kept popping into my head “a gumdrop”, no other label fits it better.

look at that "gumdrop"
look at that “gumdrop”

We started our descent and backtracked to head up to North Percy Peak.

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This is where the fun began, walking up rock slabs.  I am usually terrified of this type of hiking, but after reading Steve Smith’s description of walking up this rock slab, I was calm.  He referred to it as  “you stick to it like flypaper”.  He was correct, no slipping at all in dry weather.

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The pitch was steep, but if wet, do NOT attempt this hike, that would be disastrous.  We reached the summit, with lots of ooohing and ahhhing, felt like the candy store just opened and we didn’t know where to look first.  The views were stunning and we had it all to ourselves.

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We hardly ever take our photo by the summit sign, but today we did. We usually don’t do it because there are gobs of people around a summit sign.

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After wandering around the top and eating for 20 minutes, we headed down.  At one point I yelled to Mike to stop, it looked he was going to drop off the end of the earths and it would make a great photo.

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Coming off of North Percy, facing South Percy

After descending we joined up with the Cohos Trail, the Percy Loop.  I know my domain name is CThikergal, of course when I hike on the Cohos Trail, I like to pretend the CT stands for Cohos Trail, instead of Connecticut.

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  We walked on this beautiful path for 2.3 miles.  It doesn’t see a lot of trampers, the moose scat on the trail was even starting to grow moss.  This is my favorite type of trail, not a lot of traffic and it is wild looking, full of beauty only touched by nature.  Every where we looked it was beautiful, again like that child in the candy store with all the colorful candy perfectly placed to entice all the senses.

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The trail at times was a bit muddy and I had to laugh out loud when I discovered moose skid marks in the soft earth.

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Moose skid marks

The trail ended for us at the Nash Stream Road and we had a mile road walk back to the car.

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At one point we could look back and see a glimpse of the “gumdrop”.

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We highly recommend this hike on a beautiful clear day.  We saw no one on the trail, though where we parked had four cars in it when we arrived back at our car.

We both felt like little kids exiting the candy store, all giddy after a full day of experiencing nature’s  candy.

The Details:  Loop hike for 6.3 miles, elevation gain was 2500 feet, time was 5 hours 9 minutes.

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A Walk on the Wild Side, No It’s the Slide Brook Trail – June 9

We enjoy walking the Presidential Rail Trail out to Cherry Pond for the majestic views it offers. On Sunday morning we decided to use the Slide Brook Trail to meet up with the rail trail.

We parked at the Owl’s Head Parking lot off of Route 115.  This is where the Cherry Mountain landslide occurred in the 1800s.  The trailhead is located across the street.  From the parking lot you walk from one utility pole diagonally across the street to the next utility pole.



From here you see the sign for the Cohos Trail.



All we did was follow the marking sticks, making our way through a very grassy meadow.  I was thankful I wore long pants.  Mike wore shorts and that is not advised at all. Why you ask?  Because the meadow is full of ticks.  Our official tick count after the hike was 11, one for me and 10 for Mike.  EWWWWW





After the open meadow you enter a wooded area for a short distance.


We didn’t take many pictures because the mosquitos started to bond with us, while we walked in the wooded section.  We then emerged to beaver land and wetlands.  We walked about 300 feet on the old beaver dam. Amazing destructive architects these little guys are. The hike across the damn was a balancing act, with very careful foot placement.  On occasion we had to give a frog or snake the right away.






After working very had not to fall into the water, the trail entered another forested area that was a bit muddy, but easy to pick our way over rocks and stumps.



From here we were a short distance from the rail trail.  We could see the trestle bridge we had to get to and then we would be on the rail trail.


Once we hit the rail trail, our pace quickened due to millions of mosquitos that decided to join the hike with us.  We went about 1/8 of a mile and called the hike.  Those pesky beasts were just to overpowering and we couldn’t outrun them or out deet them.  We turned around and headed out the way we came in.  We didn’t stop to take pictures, except for a brief moment from the beaver dam, Owl’s head looked regal.



This is definitely a hike we will re-do, maybe when those flying blood suckers are a bit more passive.

The Details: .6 miles on the Slide Brook Trail, it does meet up with the Presidential Rail Trail.  We were out on the trail for about an hour.



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