Saturday, June 12, 2010

BOOOO....Rain.....BOOOO!!! :( Lake Massabesic

I think this is Cow Vetch

As most of my friends and family know, I’m heading out of town for work in the near future. It’s a trip that I’m not particularly looking forward to, however I need to get into a good mindset regarding it, in order to make the best of it. I’m not so sure the trip itself is the unappealing part, but instead it is the actual travel time and being away from Jill. I was hoping to get some decent hiking in the last couple weekends, but Mother Nature apparently doesn’t want me to.

Bed of wild irises

Last night and this morning, the weather channel was forecasting that the rain wouldn’t begin today before noon in the southern portion of the State. So, Jill and I got up super early and headed to Jaffrey, NH, to climb Mt. Monadnock. It is not a mountain that we are particularly excited to climb, but given the weather, it was the perfect candidate. But wouldn’t you know it, in Peterborough, we hit the first rain shower. We continued on to the trailhead, hoping the sun would peak through. Unfortunately, it didn’t. We made the decision to head back east, as we knew hiking in progressively heavier rain showers isn’t always fun for us.


On the way back home, we swung by the Massabesic Lake Audubon Center. We decided to walk out to Battery Point, even though the rain showers were starting to roll in. We were able to check out a few neat birds, although it was difficult to snap photos of them because they seemed to be very active. Also, we captured a few pictures of some wild irises and what I think are partridgeberry flowers. At the trailhead, next to the Audubon building, they had a caged Northern Barred Owl, which was very cool. I would highly recommend this area if you are looking for a nice flat nature walk in the southern New Hampshire region.


Battery Point

So, it rained. But we still got a pretty good walk in. Not really the hike I was hoping for prior to my trip, but it will do. A rainy day in the woods is better than a sunny day in the office, I suppose.

Northern Barred Owl


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Off the Beaten Path - Iron Mountain

I love hiking, obviously. I think about hiking on a daily basis. So much so, Jill is probably getting sick of me talking about it so much. Hiking has truly given me a new appreciation for nature and wildlife, and all of our surroundings that New Hampshire has to offer. As I’ve stated before, I would love to quit my day job, move up to Jackson (NH) and become a trail maintainer or something to that extent. For now though, engineering is paying the bills, so I will stick with that gig. When I think about hiking and the Whites, I’m not only planning my next trip out, but I like to also reflect on my memorable, past hikes.

Mt. Washington in the distance, from Iron Mountain Trailhead

What I believe is Wildcat Ridge from a northern viewpoint

For some reason, hikes that are off the beaten path and have a degree of history to them, always appeal to me. Last year, on the way up to our annual stay in Jackson, we decided to check out Iron Mountain. I had tried to do research on this hike prior to our trip, but had a difficult time finding much of anything further than what the AMC White Mountain Trail Guide had to offer (which really wasn’t much). Apparently, this mountain was at one time a ski slope mountain and had an inn associated with it (the Iron Mountain House). There was also a fire tower constructed on the summit (as well as removed) in the 1940’s. Way before all of this activity, the mountain was mined for iron ore in the 1800’s, on its eastern slopes. It amazes me that a mountain that has so much history and earlier activity seems somewhat abandoned from frequent foot traffic today.

Fire Tower Debris on Summit

USGS Marker on Summit

The trailhead for this mountain is great. It is pretty remote but is extremely scenic and offers unbelievable views (before you even start hiking). The trail itself is a little rough, but offers great viewpoints to the north where Mt. Washington and the Wildcat Ridge are beautifully displayed. The summit is neat for the fact that leftover remnants of the fire tower are still there for visitors to explore. The summit also has a USGS marker (I love finding these things) at a high point. By far, we found the best views are over the summit, down to the South Cliffs. The Cliff’s are very wide and open and offer extraordinary views. I feel the best part of the trip, though, was being on the trail together, but alone. On that particular day, we didn’t have to share the trail, the summit or the beautiful weather with anyone. That mountain was ours that day, and we loved it. (Check out my Iron Mountain trip report here)

Views from South Cliffs