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


1 comment:

  1. I like finding the USGS markers also. We found one last week on a bluff in Wisconsin, of all places. I like the history about this particular mountain.