When it is hot as Hell, as it is up north currently, where should one hike? Might as meet the devil at his playground, The Devil’s Slide in Stark, New Hampshire.
We knew today’s condition would match or exceed yesterday’s hazy, hot and humid weather. We opted for a short hike, further up north, hoping for it to be a bit cooler.
After an hour’s drive, we arrived in Stark, pulled into the little gravel parking area and spent time locating the trail head. No signs to clearly mark the entrance, just a hidden path.
In we ventured, via a trail that hasn’t seen much traffic, but absolutely lovely.
We came across an aged bog bridge, that seems no longer needed, but added to the charm of the trail.
The trail itself was fairly even and gradual for the first part. We had some obstacles to traverse along the way, which always make for fun times.
Suddenly it seems the terrain changes from hardwood to a spruce and fir playground. The true ascent started here with soft ground cushioning our steps.
We topped out at a small viewing spot that overlooked the hamlet of Stark, including its covered bridge.
The views were hazy and limited.
The trail ended here, but we did spend a few minutes exploring the area to see if we could find the old trail or other viewing points. As the day was getting hotter, we didn’t expend much energy exploring.
We retreated down the trail, taking time to notice Mother Nature’s little treasures that dotted the trail.
This was a fairly easy hike, a good one to stretch the legs on such hot as hell day in the North Country.
The Details: 1.6 miles, 1 hour 36 mins, elevation gain of 600 feet.
We came over Bear Notch Road and turned east on the Kancamagus Highway. Our first stop was the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area, the Lovequist Loop.
We went on the paved walkway to the bridge. Before the bridge we had to play on the rocks.
We learned that no swimming is allowed.
The bridge offered nice views of the gorge.
After the bridge, we followed the Lovequist Loop. We first stopped at the Falls Pond and watched two men fish.
The trail was pleasant, a bit rooty, a few small ups and downs, with soft footing underneath.
This was a simple one mile loop that offered a great warm down hike in a lovely forest.
We backtracked on the Kanc. and headed off to Russell-Colbath House for a Rail and River Trail loop hike of .6 miles. We stopped to read the informational signs, where I loudly proclaimed “Thomas you are an ass” about one of the inhabitants of this house. Enlarge the photo and see why I made that proclamation.
After that we started on the trail.
This was a very level trail with great informative signs along the way.
We learned a lot from the signs about the logging industry.
We stopped to admire the Swift River, but it was being contrary and nothing Swift was about it.
We had the added bonus of spying a hawk.
After we completed the short loop we walked around the historic site. Sadly it was closed and the gardens were unkept.
Our next stop was unplanned, but it was the best stop yet, Sabbaday Falls. This is part of the Sabbady Brook Trail system, but we just went .3 miles to the falls. If you are looking at falls to view, this one is stunning, even with the manmade staircases.
The path was wide paralleling Sabbaday Brook and a bit uphill, but worth the effort.
First we came to a little pool,created by the falls, right before the stairs.
After this viewing spot we climbed the stairs.
The views along the stairs were stunning, though trying to get that winning shot was difficult with the railing.
After admiring the falls for a while, we headed out, totally in awe on what a great little spot this was.
Our next stop was Lily Pond, a roadside pond off of the Kanc.
And there were even water lilies starting to bloom.
The views from the pond were simply lovely and a great way to end our mini hike day.
Our mini hiking adventure was fun and certainly a great time for families looking for small hikes.
We have a bonus day in the Whites, where to go, what to see? We’ve been itching to see the views from Zeacliff (and itch we will on top of Zeacliff)for a while now. Today seemed like a prime day for this hike.
We parked at Zealand and hit the trail, knowing the first 2.8 miles would be an easy jaunt in the woods.
The path was level with a few small inclines and some parts were downright flat.
The views opened up for a bit at the old beaver area.
The U.S. Forest Service has installed some new bridges to go over the beaver damage.
We were .5 mile from the hut and hit another section with views.
As we neared the .2 mile marker, we could hear Zealand Falls and we caught a glimpse of it.
Right before the hut the trail becomes steep.
We walked up the steps and emerged at the hut. We arrived at the hut an hour and 20 minutes after we started.
After seeing the hut and drooling over the chocolate ginger cake ($1 a slice), we went over to see the falls, before heading onto Zeacliff.
After we cooled off at the falls, we continued our trek to Zeacliff. This was an uphill excursion.
We finally arrive after an hour and 10 minutes to this sign, bear left to the view.
When the view opened up, I teared up. The panoramic vista was awe-inspiring. For me, this view was right up there with the Grand Canyon and the lookout on the first 2 miles of the Kalalau Trail.
Mount Washington shined bright in all her glory.
We spent about 30 minutes up here, dodging mosquitoes, black flies, taking pictures and trying to eat a sandwich. The views were so spectacular that we wished we hadn’t been attacked by the swarms of bugs, so we could have spent more time soaking in the views.
We headed down, rock hopping streams, stopping to cool off at a stream or two and leaping rock to rock along the way.
After the hut, we stopped at the official view to the falls and snapped a few pictures, while battling the bugs.
After finishing the last steep section, it was smooth sailing back to the car.
This was a perfect hike for a bluebird day. We did 7.8 miles in 5 hours 30 minutes, including hanging out time at the hut, falls and Zeacliff. I would easily repeat this hike again.
One of our favorite places in the North Woods is the Nash Stream Forest. One of our favorite trails systems meanders here, the Cohos Trail. We love the long unpaved road to get to the trail heads. We love the solitude of the forest. We love beauty of the Cohos Trail. In order to celebration the summer solstice we returned to the land we love, the Nash Stream Forest. Today we would venture out on the Gadwah Notch Trail for a few miles.
The trail begins at the end, the end of Nash Stream Road.
Our feet followed an old woods lane, while we listened to trickle of Pike Brook.
Along the way we spotted evidence of moose, bear and other woodland creatures.
After 22 minutes of walking we arrived at Cathedral Meadow. What a delightful place that just appeared.
We walked another 1/2 mile, admiring the woods and flowers along the way, until we reached the next smaller meadow and the trail turning to the right.
The flowers were almost ready to burst in the meadow. One yellow flower did stand out though.
Turning away from the meadow we went up the lane, with some mud hopping adventures.
We followed the trail for another 1/2 mile.
We entered Muise Bowl, a natural amphitheater.
We walked a little further passed the Bowl, and turned around at 2.5 miles, not making it to Bulldozer Flat. We hit an area that was very wet, boggy and just didn’t have the desire to slog through mud or high grass today. We hoped the moose would have blazed a clear cut path, but I think they even turned around in the seeps.
The return was full of great views and we enjoyed the moments of just being in a such a tranquil place, free of manmade noise that clutters our ears.
We spent a great 2 and 1/2 hours exploring the Gadwah Notch area. We tramped 5 miles in total. We will return to do this again and go further next time. The Nash Stream Forest and the Cohos Trail are a very special area, free of crowds, full of beauty.
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 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.
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.
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.
At Brook #3 we turned right and walked a short path down to see the Kinsman flume.
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.
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.
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.
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.