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.

Iron mtn

Zealand Trail to Ethan Pond Trail to Thoreau Falls

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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.

The Nubble


Hiking The Nubble or Rather, Just Follow the Moose Scat…

Today we hiked the unblazed trail to the Nubble or known as Haystack Mountain.

We started off the trek at a lot off of Gale River Road. 


We walked a snowmobile corridor for about .6 miles.  Along this corridor, there was one window of views out.



We then veered right, by a small cairn. 



The trail entered a deep forested area, that was muddy, slippery and just so beautiful.

We crossed a brook by another cairn, however that was in error and backtracked to the cairn, remaining straight on the trail.  Silly moose tracks really led us astray on that one.


Don’t follow the moose path, keep the cairn to your right, don’t go left and cross the brook here, like we did.


Well I went across and had to come back, oops.



Finally on the correct trail, we slide over very wet rocks and had shoes sucked in by mud.  We then crossed over the rock slab and listened to the gorge above raging.  We had to keep a look out for all the moose scat, that lined the unmarked trail, so we didn’t end up stepping in it.



As we neared the summit, the sun shined through the trees beckoning us to keep going. Up I go.


The rocky ledges came into view and we started the scramble up on them.   


Thankful for all the blueberry bushes I held on to both coming and going. 


There was one very narrow part, that sent me into panic mode and I did have a brief sit down strike that I was going no further.  However, reason and the fear of regret of not summiting took over and I continued my scramble up, sometimes on my knees.



Once up top, we oohed and awwwwed at the views.  









After taking pictures and snacking, we began the descent.  I sat and scooted on my behind for most of the descent off of the peak.  It made it easier for my short legs and fear of falling to descend that way.




Once we were off the ledges, we spent some time, absorbing the beauty of the forest.





I did have a few falls due to slippery rocks, my feet became one with the mud on a few occasions and I did impale myself on a stick pitching forward in a fall.  Other than those minor mishaps, I LOVED this hike.

Overall it was a little over 3 miles, a little over two hours.  I am so happy to finally have hiked the Nub and hope it remains off the beaten path.

Swarmed – Victor Head Cliff (June 8, 2013)

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A bit of a cloudy day on Saturday, but if it isn’t going to downpour on us, might as well get out and hike.  Mike quickly looked through our new favorite hiking book, 50 Hikes North of the White Mountains by Kim Nilsen.  He found trip 18, Victor Head Cliff.

Who knew our constant hiking companions today would be swarms of mosquitoes?  Maybe we should have figured it out, rainy, muddy trail, streams does equal a fair amount of mosquitoes.  Good thing we put on lots of our hiking cologne, DEET.

Off we went to the Nash Steam Forst Area.  We parked at Christine Lake. We looked up at Victor Head Cliff.


We entered the woods a little way from here.  Had to pass by two gates.



We ambled along a wide path.  The sides were dotted with white lady slippers.

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At times we were walking in boot sucking mud.  It was easier to go through, than try to find a way around.

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We passed an old junkie truck and then crossed a bridge, that had raging waterfalls.



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Shortly after this we hit the Cohos Trail.  We love it when we can hike a piece of the Cohos Trail, all of  the Cohos Trails,  we’ve been on, have been exceptional.

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We walked for 1/2 mile on the CT, then  we made a turn onto the Victor Head Cliff trail.  OH MY, what a beautiful trail to follow to the top.


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At the top of the cliff, our views were somewhat limited due to the cloud cover.  We decided we didn’t mind because; one we had a brief break from the onslaught of mosquitoes  and two we fell in love with this section of the trail so we want to do it again.



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Time to head down.  Oh my…the mosquitoes were on full attack mode.  We couldn’t stop to take pictures because if we did, I wouldn’t be writing this.  We would be dead on the trail having all the blood sucked out of us.

We really had a great little hike, minus the biting blood sucking insects.  Ok, the upside to them, I increased my hiking speed to 2.7 mph on this hike.

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The Details:  Almost 5 miles out and back.  Park at Christine Lake  in Stark.  Follow the directions in 50 Hikes North of the White Mountains Around two hours total time.

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