FR 155 and Mt Oscar (attempt)


Our original plan was to drive to Pittsburgh, NH, about two and a half hours away to hike Mt. Magalloway.  However we caved to peer pressure of 1Happy Hiker and fellow hiker, Lisa to hike FR 155 off of Zealand Road.  This past week or so both of them hiked in the area and their photos were beautiful.  Also this hike had the added benefit of being closer to the cottage so we could get back earlier to enjoy the afternoon on the lake.

We arrived a little before 9 a.m., parking at the Sugarloaf lot, cars were starting to pile in.  We quickly gathered our gear and trotted off.  Our plan was to hike FR 155 and see if we could do the scramble up to Mt. Oscar.  Our first stop was Wildlife Pond.  For all the times we have visited this area we never knew this little beautiful oasis existed.

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We spent time trying to take that perfect selfie.  Thought we had it, until I looked at the photos and realized I had leaves growing out of my head.  Still might make a Christmas card photo montage though.


Trotting along FR 155, we enjoyed the ease of it and the little peaks at the Sugarloafs.

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We spotted the cairn that pointed the way rock climbers take to get to Mt. Oscar.  The first part of the trail was easy.



Then we faced the base of the cliffs. Not sure which way to go, Mike first went left to scout out the area.

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However it didn’t look like that was the way to go, so we went right, where the path appeared to go.  Along the way we did find ribbons, so we assumed we were on the right path.  The trail wasn’t easy, rock scrambles, shorter legs meant a few crawls.  I used tree roots to hoist myself up in spots, until I pulled two rotted roots right out of the ground and I even pulled a sapling out of the ground, hmmmm that wasn’t good.




We weaved through the forest with the cliff to our left, going up and down.  Crawling up to one ledge area, Mike yelled down for me to stop and just enjoy the views from there.  I knew if he said that the going was getting rough. I sat and waited. The view wasn’t bad.


Mike went up further, but he turned around at a point because he felt he didn’t have the technical skills required to stay safe. He ended up crab walking down a portion of the trail. He also mentioned to me he was swinging from tree to tree just to get safely down.  We both chuckled as that is most often my mode of hiking down, swing from tree to tree.  We decided this hike required monkey skills.  This is one photo he snapped from where he stopped.


I needed my monkey skills to get down some sections.


On our way down, we had a strange encounter with three climbers.  The three weren’t friendly and a bit abrupt with us.  The female of the group, insisted on knowing how we heard about this place.  We replied through friends and hike, climbing reports.  One male asked if we came up the ski lift and were hiking down. The female also wanted to know where we were staying, if at the hotel.  She then asked me to name a climber I knew that might possibly know about this place (I gave the name of my bad ass climbing friend, Lovena, though I said she prefers ice climbing, take that lady).  We tried to be evasive and short with our answers, looking to escape their disdain with us mere hikers.

Once down we returned to the Wildlife Pond for another round of photos. We had a kind visitor at the pond, a Canvasback duck.





It was a great jaunt, good little bit of elevation gain, decent workout for the arms and legs, beautiful scenery and close enough to the cottage to return early and enjoy this:


The Details: Park at Sugarloaf off of Zealand, head to the Forest Road 155 and just walk. We did 4.2 miles, elevation gain of about 1000 feet.

Iron Mountain, New Hampshire

View from the trail of Iron Mountain

Monday was a hot, hazy and humid hiking day with barely a breeze.  We thought a short little hike wouldn’t that require much effort would be perfect for weather conditions like these.  We were wrong, any hike in this type of weather requires an effort.

Our decision was made to hike Iron Mountain in Jackson NH.  We had attempted this mountain, one fall, but when we drove up to the trail head there were no views, all socked in.  As this is on the 52 With a VIew List we knew we wanted to wait till we had a chance to see the mountains that surround this one.

After parking below Hayes Farm, we started up the grassy hill.

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I just kept thinking, as we walked this grassy bit, I would be happy here with just a bench, the views were so spectacular, even on a hazy day.


We entered the woods by the sign.


Into the woods we ambled for a short distance, then out on another grassy field and returned to the woods.  At around .3 miles we began the climb up.  Parts of this trail are eroded and I wouldn’t hike it right after we have a major rain storm.


Due to the absence of a cooling breeze and humidity increasing, we didn’t snap a great amount of photos, we just wanted to keep going.

We did encounter one rock slab and coming up to it I thought, this might be long and arduous, however in true White Mountain style, nothing is as it appears to be.  It was minor and easy.


After this little section, we were treated to an outlook, about 20 yards off to the right.  It granted us a fine view of the Presidentials.

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In .3 miles from this view you summit Iron Mountain, where an old fire tower used to stand.  This is a no view mountain.

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After briefly checking out the ruins, we scurried on the path to find the south cliffs, where the views were to found.  The only sign denoting the path was this piece of wood.  At this point, cairns helped to guide our way.


It was a descent to the cliffs with one steep section.


Follow the cairns


Around 1.5 miles the trails splits if you go to the left you are heading towards the mine.  We met a man coming up from that area.  He said he searched for the mine but couldn’t find it, so he abandoned his quest.  We veered right to the cliffs.  The views that awaited us were justified to be on 52 With a View List.






If wasn’t so darn hot, I think we would have easily spent an hour or two exploring all over the rock slab, just enjoying the views. We quickly retreated back to the woods, out of the blazing sun.


We quickly made it back to our car from the cliffs (only about 60 minutes).  We briefly stopped twice on the descent. Once to chat with a man and his daughter who were going to try to find the cliffs (it was the man’s third attempt to reach them, signage is poor) and one more time to snap photos from the field.



After the hike we drove the short distance to The Sunrise Shack in Glen for a burger, salad and a brew.  I would highly recommend this place for an after hike food stop.


It was a great little hike, one I would repeat in cooler weather and in the fall to see the colors displayed.

The Details:  Around 3 miles, elevation gain of 1100 feet, 3 hours.

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Zealand Trail to Ethan Pond Trail to Thoreau Falls

thoreau falls

It was a beautiful day to ramble off to see some falls.  We trekked out to Thoreau Falls via Zealand Trail to Ethan Pond Trail to Thoreau Falls Trail to the falls.

The first 2.5 miles on the Zealand Trail is a comfortable stroll hopping over rocks, avoiding roots, viewing the  occasional peaks to the mountains and enjoying the easiness of the trail.



As we neared the junction, we could hear the roaring of Zealand Falls.


At 2.5 miles we began trekking on the Ethan Pond Trail.


This trail truly enchanted us.  We loved the narrow corridor that was the path.

P1030261 P1030263A little over a mile on the Ethan Pond Trail the view opened up and I couldn’t stop grinning. The views, the beauty, the wilderness, the boulders, were simply beautiful.


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We then took a little side venture on the Zeacliff trail, just to get different views.

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We headed back to the Ethan Pond Trail and continued on, marveling at the immense boulders.


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After this amazing open space we returned to the forest. We followed corridors that were simple and refreshing.


We then turned off onto the Thoreau Falls Trail to spend time at the falls.

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Just a few hundred yards down we came to the falls.  We spent about 40 minutes, lunching and exploring.  These falls were raging due to the recent rains.  I even laid down for a while, listening to the thundering of the falls.

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We returned the way we came, just capturing a few images on the way back.

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We were out there for 5 hours, 4 hours and 20 minutes of it, active hiking time for a total of 9.4 miles.  We loved the Ethan Pond Trail  for (anytime I get a piece of the A.T., I get giddy), its remoteness, beauty and solitude.  The Thoreau Falls were beautiful and I have a feeling we will return.

A Simple River Stroll – Sam Willey and Saco River Trail

It was a cloudy, drizzly morning, not a day for epic hikes or admiring soaring epic peaks, but a day for a nice meander in the woods by the river.  We decided to stroll along the Sam Willey and Saco River Trail. 


We parked across from the Willey House in Crawford Notch. The clouds had descended and our views of the imposing cliffs were limited. We strolled across the bridge, turned right to head out on the Sam Willey Trail.


As we followed the path, we had a peek out to the river and very limited views.

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A little ways in the trail splits and we went right to admire the limited views. We then caught up with the trail shortly.


We then caught the Saco River Trail at .5 miles. 


We followed along going up and down until we reached the other entrance to the Saco River Trail.  Along the way we encountered some pretty sights of the forest.  

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At .7 miles from the Saco River Trail, we reached the junction of the Webster Cliff Trail.


We trekked until the mosquitoes decided we were a good snack, turning back at the brook that was running at a good speed. 


As the rain came down, we stopped quickly to take a few photos on our way out, admiring how the clouds played with the mountains and cliffs.

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Overall we hiked about 3.3 miles, with rain falling, clouds playing hide and seek with the views for about 1.5 hours. 

Sawyer Pond – June 20, 2014


I may or may not have broken my little toe last week, so that means a no peak hike.  I could finally putting on hiking shoes two days ago and downs are painful, so we had to opt for an easier hike.  Hmmm, like most mornings in the Whites for us that means trying to decide where to hike and dragging out at least six books, have two computers going on blogs and maps spread around us.  We narrowed it down to Greely or Sawyer.  For some reason, that really was no reason we decided on Sawyer Pond.  Off we headed…

We traveled 4 and 1/2 miles on Sawyer River Road, arrived at parking and hiked to our first backcountry lovely.  This was an easy 1.5 mile hike.



In the first .3 miles you cross two bridges.






Along the way you walked side by side with the Sawyer River.






The trail was easy and delightful, with a few muddy spots, put that made the rock hopping all the more fun.



Along the way Lady Slippers posed, waiting to be captured by the hiking paparazzi.






Around 1.4 miles we reached Sawyer Pond. We went right first across a waterway to check out the views from that side first.





The views to the right were pretty.  However the trail didn’t go far, so we headed back towards the shelter.



Back over the water crossing we went and started to take in the stunning views of Mt. Tremont and Owl’s Cliff.




The shelter had a couple hanging out, fishing for the day.




We spent a little more time wandering around the pond, soaking in the beauty of the view and being the food of choice for the mosquitoes.





This was a gem of short hike.  Easy on my toe, great warm up for a longer hike tomorrow and most  of  all beauty all around us.  It was short, 3 miles, time was under 2 hours and the trail was not technical.  If you are looking for an easy hike, full of beauty, I would highly recommend a hike out to Sawyer Pond.


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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