As many of you know, I am on my journey to climb all 115 mountains in the NE (NH, ME, VT, and NY). So, the week before the fourth of July we set off for 5 days of hiking in NH to tackle 9 more 4,000 footers. The trip was incredible, filled with laughs, junk food (is there really any other type when you hike), summit views, and way too many pictures! Here are the spark notes:
Day 1: Mt. Moosilauke and South Peak:
Friday morning, 4am wake up. We loaded into the car and started our drive to NH. After 6 hours of driving we were finally there and ready for our first hike, Mount Moosilauke!
Mount Moosilauke is a 7.2 mile loop including the South Peak, the entire hike is approx. 2,506 ft of elevation gain. We started the hike at the Ravine Lodge Trailhead and took the Gorge Brook Trail.
This is the most common route up. You stay on this trail for about 3.3 miles to the summit. The trail is mostly through forest with an occasional water crossing and it was very buggy. I kid you not when I say that I got over 20 bug bites that first day. It was almost like the bug spray I used attracted the little vampires instead of repelling them.
At about 2.1 miles, the trail started to open up and we got our first glimpse of a view. The summit is bald with incredible views in all directions. On a good day have views of the Green Mountains in Vermont and sometimes even the ADK’s.
Fun fact, Moosilauke is the Algonquin word for “bald place” referring to the bare nature of the summit.
We took the Carriage Road Trail off the summit for about .9 miles, before hitting a turn off for South Peak, this is not a 4,000-footer (even though the summit is over 4,000 feet), but we figured why not?
After we summited and returned to the Carriage Road Trail, we stayed on that trail for another 1.2 miles before reaching the Snapper Trail, a pretty easy trail down. After .9 miles we arrived back on the Gorge Brook trail completing the loop.
Day 1 of our adventure conclude with a Portobello mushroom burger and some delicious french fries. Excited for what the next day would bring.
Day 1 totals: 7.2 miles, 2,506 ft of elevation gain, and 26,675 steps.
Day 2: North and South Hancock
It started off as a rainy day. We got to the trail head for an early start, hoping that we could cross off another mountain in the afternoon. We started on the Hancock Notch Trail, a slightly rocky path with some water crossings. Again, the bugs were out in full force. I totally need to invest in a new bug spray, any recommendations?
After about 3 miles there is a fork in the path. We started up to the right toward South Hancock. It was a steep hike. Over the last .4 miles prior to summiting, you pick up just under 1,000 ft of elevation gain. While it was cloudy and overcast, things cleared up enough to grab some views.
Next summit, North Hancock. It’s about a 2.2 mile hike to the summit. The hike wasn’t bad, as you’re on a ridge pretty much the whole time. We didn’t have any views, but another mountain off the list!
There were actually some really nice views in the parking lot, when we were getting off the mountain … the parking lot was filling up with people stopping to admire the view. I recommend if you are doing this hike, you get there early to get a parking spot. We were there around 6am and we were one of the first cars there.
Some dark chocolate raspberry ice cream and I was ready for hike number 2!
Second hike of the day, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mildly feeling the hike from the morning and the day before. Tecumseh is the smallest of the NH 48. The trail is an unrelenting hike up, picking up 2,283 feet of elevation in 2.4 miles. I felt myself dragging, but I kept going.
When we got to the top, the entire sky was filled with clouds. We had to wait 5 mins to see if it would clear. Within minutes the sky opened and the view was amazing. Some really awesome pics. A great way to end day 2!
Word of advice, I wore a pair of leggings with mesh panels, the bugs can and will bite through the mesh.
Time for a black bean burger and fries before ending the day!
Day 2 totals: 14 miles, 4,858 ft of elevation gain, and 45,184 steps. The pillow felt great.
Day 3: Carrigain Mountain
Another 6 am start! Today we were doing the Signal Ridge Trail to the summit of Mount Carrigain, a 10.8 mile out and back hike. The first 2.9 miles were relatively flat, crossing over the Cedar Brook Trail, before picking up about 3,500 feet in the last 2.5 miles; making it a pretty steep hike.
Most of the hike is a wooded trail prior to getting to the summit. Again, a cloudy day so no views, but still a pretty good hike.
There was a fire tower at the top that I imagine had some amazing views on a clear day.
We ended the hike pretty early, but instead of doing another hike, it was time for a much-deserved nap.
Post hike meal? What better than a vegetarian burrito and an ice tea.
Day 3 totals: 10.8 miles, 3.530 ft of elevation gain, and 39,027 steps.
Day 4: Whiteface and Passaconway
Yet another 6 am trail start. We started on the Blueberry Ledge Trail, heading towards Whiteface Mountain.
Most of the trail is in a wooded forest with a semi gradual incline up until about the last half mile when the trail gets steep and opens up. Whiteface had some awesome rock scrambles up the trail, this was the first time during the trip we had any scrambles. So many incredible viewpoints and such an awesome hike.
Once you leave the summit, for about 2.3 miles you hike along the Rollins Trail, which is a ridge tail. This section is a nice break after the ledges. When you come to the junction of the Dicey Mills trail you turn left to make your way to the summit of Mt Passaconway, only .9 miles away. There were views at the top. We took a turn off to a secondary view point. Within .3 miles we got to a little opening with incredible views.
Two more mountains down, with just a 4 mile walk back down to the car. We were nearing the bottom of Passaconway when members of the fire department came running up the mountain along with an ATV that they were guiding (and pulling when it got stuck). Apparently, someone had fallen on their way from Whiteface to Passaconway and broke a leg. Luckily, they had a signal and were able to call for help. It is important to always bring layers, extra water, extra snacks, and a way to get in touch with people in case you need help. Also always make sure that people know where you are going as an extra precaution.
Time to eat an entire veggie pizza, because well why not?
Day 4 totals: 11.3 miles, 4,038 ft of elevation gain, and 39,839 steps.
Day 5: North and South Tripyramid
By far my favorite hike of the trip! Our last day and my muscles we tired, my body covered in bug bites, and I was physically exhausted. The trail starts off fairly easy for the first 2.5 miles, not picking up much elevation. At the 2.5 mile mark the trial splits into two, we stayed to the left toward North Peak.
In the last .5 miles you start to pick up approx. 1,300 ft of elevation. A steep 45-degree angle slide, with exposed views. A strenuous hike for sure, but so worth it. The views on the way up are probably some of the best I have seen in NH to date. Enjoy the views now though, because the summit doesn’t have much in the way of them.
The hike from the North pyramid to South is not bad, since we were already on a ridge. We traveled for about 1 mile before reaching the second summit.
The hike down was steep, having to take it slow in order to make sure that we didn’t slip with lose rock and scree everywhere. We hiked down in switch-back fashion to avoid falling.
Day 5 totals: 10.2 miles, 2,903 ft of elevation gain, and 30,854 steps.
5 days of hiking in a row, my biggest trip yet, and I loved every minute of it. Body shaking, muscles sore, but it didn’t stop me. You learn so much about yourself on these trips, what you can push yourself to do even though you didn’t know it was possible. For all of you out there doubting if you can do it, never give up you are capable of amazing things!