Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Trail 11 Mt Kearsarge Lincoln Trail to Kearsarge Valley Road

The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Trail (SRKG), is a 75-mile "emerald necklace" of 14 hiking trails surrounding Lake Sunapee, and crossing Sunapee, Ragged and Kearsarge mountains.

Join Kendall and me as we hike SRKG Trail 11 Mt Kearsarge Lincoln Trail from Rollins Park to Kearsarge Valley Road in Wilmot of five plus miles in 4 1/2 hours.

Join Kendall and me as we hike SRKG Trail 11 Mt Kearsarge Lincoln Trail from the summit of Mt Kearsarge in Rollins Park to Kearsarge Valley Road in Wilmot of five-plus miles in 4 1/2 hours.

We completed the Lincoln Trail hike in two hikes. First, Kendall and Steve hiked from the Rollins Parking area down Mt Kearsarge and Black Mountain to Kearsarge Valley Road. A few days later, Steve returned to do a solo hike from the Rollins Parking area up the Lincoln Trail through its talus field to the summit of Mt Kearsarge. Kendall had hiked this talus field section of the Lincoln Trail many times.


The SRK Greenway Guide book rates Trail 11 as "Difficult."

I have hiked many times to the top of Mt Kearsarge. See the two below blog posts of one hike from Winslow State Park Parking area, and one from the Rollins Park area. Until today, I had not hiked the Lincoln Trail down to the southern trailhead on Kearsarge Valley Road in Wilmot. 

Sunday morning, I met my friend Kendall at the southern trailhead on Kearsarge Valley Road. My wife drove us to Rollins State Park, where we started our return 5-mile hike on Lincoln Trail to the southern trailhead. We needed a pass, and a small fee to access the Rollins Parking area – all obtained at https://www.nhstateparks.org/visit/state-parks/rollins-state-park. After turning in our pass at the Kearsarge Mountain Road gate, we drove the 3-1/2 mile long uphill scenic auto road rising from the park entrance through woodlands to the parking and picnic areas.



Starting at the Rollins parking area, where the Lincoln trail comes down from the summit, we enter the woods and go left per the SRKG trapezoid sign. We come to a fern-filled col between Black Mountain and Mt Kearsarge. Kendall has hiked this section in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. In the winter on snowshoes, using his compass and map, he diverts right from the Lincoln trail and bushwacks to where Kearsarge Valley Road meets Kearsarge Woods Road in Wilmot.

Per the above LINCOLN TR. sign, we did have an option of taking a right turn at Rollins parking as seen SUMMIT .4 MI. hike arrow to the summit of Mt Kearsarge.  This section of the Lincoln Trail is a very short hike, but a steep hike passing through a talus field of huge broken rock fragments of rockfall from Mt Kearsarge’s adjacent cliff faces. I completed this Lincoln Trail .4 mile section to the summit another day, as seen in the below blog post The Lincoln Trail to the Summit of Mt Kearsarge.
  
We have a gradual 3.5-mile descent down the western flanks of Mount Kearsarge and Black Mountain through a hardwood forest. As we hobble over rocks and roots, I can see that in the spring, this trail could be very wet and slippery  After crossing a small brook, we see the boundary marker of the state park.


This marker means we are now on the Society for Protect of New Hampshire Forest's Black Mountain Forest Reservation. The  SPNHF's property goes all the way until we meet the Link Trail, our final half-mile till Kearsarge Valley Road. The SRKG.org web site warned us to be on the lookout for the SPNHF clear-cutting and logging trucks – and maybe we would have to take an alternate trail. We did see a large sign when we met a gravel road, and warnings for the beginning of clear-cutting work, but nothing that required a detour. Of course, this was a Sunday morning. 

At about 1.5 miles from Kearsarge road, we saw a sign for an Overlook. 

We took the .15-mile spur to the Overlook and were not disappointed. We found a flying American flag, and after a short prayer for those who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy, we saluted our beautiful country on this upcoming Independence Day.  We saw the Country Club of New Hampshire Golf Course below us, and New London Ridge, Pleasant Lake, and local hills.

At 5.3 miles, the SRKG leaves the gravel road turns right onto the Link Trail. This last half mile goes through clear-cut and winding in the deep shade between hemlock trees and a field of immense glacial erratic boulders. The Link Trail ends at the trailhead on Kearsarge Valley Road.




Hiking SRKG Trail 11: Winslow State Park to Kearsarge Valley Road, is extra special to me. This trail encompasses hiking Mt Kearsarge, a mountain frequented by outdoor enthusiasts. Mt Kearsarge is the tallest of the three mountains (2,936′) in the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway name and has been a favorite choice of mine whenever visitors come from out-of-state and want to climb a local New Hampshire mountain.

Winslow State Park and Rollins State Park are respectively situated in the northern and southern bases of the mountain.  The entire mountain is within Kearsarge Mountain State Forest.

Accesses to the two-state Parks are from two different non-connected roads, but roads of the same name, Kearsarge Mountain Road, Warner, NH, and Kearsarge Mountain Road, Wilmot, NH.

I have hiked the mountain from both the Winslow and Rollins parks. Below you can see blog posts I recorded of two of my Mt Kearsarge treks. Each Park has a different perspective of the mountain.

One of the unique features of Mt Kearsarge is it can be seen from miles away. Its identifiable feature is a tower on its top.


The routes to the top touches four towns, Wilmot, Andover, Warner, and Sutton, and passes through two New Hampshire State Parks, Winslow and Rollins, and Mount Kearsarge State Forest. 


OutdoorSteve Blogs for Previous Mt Kearsarge Hikes


We now, never have to say, "We wish we had hiked the SRKG Trail 11 from Rollins State Park via Lincoln Trail to Kearsarge Valley Road."

Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG) Trails Hiked by OutdoorSteve and Friends - Click below links
    ++++++++++++++++++

    "Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

    Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle and hardcopy at Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH.

    Outdoor Play has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email and we can work out the logistics.



    Additional Sources of Books at:
    Hardcopyat: http://outdoorsteve.com and https://www.amazon.com/dp/098503842X
    E-book at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/098503842X

    Sunday, June 21, 2020

    Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway: Trail 13 Wadleigh Park Kezar Lake to Chalk Pond


    My friend, Kendall, joined me for this Guidebook 5.4-mile SRKG hike from Kezar Lake in North Sutton, NH to Chalk Pond Road in Newbury. Our actual distance was 6.2 miles, as we took a spur trail on Poor Farm Road overlook to experience a grand view of Mt Kearsarge and its shoulder Black Mountain.


    The predicted weather was to be in the high 80's, so we decided on a 6:30 am start for Kendall to drop off his car at the western trailhead on Chalk Pond Road. We then took my vehicle to Wadleigh Park and Kezar Lake in North Sutton, NH, to start the hike on the eastern trailhead.



    I was asked, “Why start at Kezar Lake, rather than Chalk Pond Road?” My answer was simple, “ The SRK Greenway Trail Guide has its trail descriptions in a clockwise direction.” All turns and mileage indicators make it easier to understand and use if you are going in the same direction as the Guide describes the trail.


    Kendall lives in this area and has hiked this trail before. I had my personal guide as Kendall described for me unique features that come with experience on this trail. As you watch the below video for our hike, you will see how Kendall’s knowledge of the area, added to my education and enjoyment of the trek. 

    Directions to Eastern trailhead

    Following the Wadleigh State Park signs, we entered the Park keeping Kezar Lake on our right, and then at the fork going right onto Penacook Road until we saw the trail sign on our left. 


    From the trailhead we followed Penacook Road around Lake Kezar as we enjoyed this beautiful lake and view of Mt Kearsarge. (See trail on above Map.)
    From Penacook Road, Kezar Lake with Mt Kearsarge (L) and Black Mountain (R) in background
    At 1.3 miles from our start, we ended Penacook Road at King’s Hill Road, and the respective direction trail sign and trapezoids.

    We went left on King’s Hill Road and would follow it for 2.3 miles as King’s Hill Road transitioned from an uphill rough gravel road to a very rocky, boulder, muddy Class VI road. At the 2.3 junction before getting on the Class VI road, we met Poor Farm Road on our left. The Guidebook mentioned a short spur on Poor Farm Road would bring us to a clearing for an old farm and a majestic view of Mt Kearsarge and Black Mountain. Given, I never want to say, “I wish I had seen Mt Kearsarge as it overlooks Kezar Lake,” we decided to take this side spur road. The majestic views of Mt Kearsarge and its shoulder Black Mountain, was well worth this 20-minute jaunt off the SRKG. 



    We returned to the SRKG trail and headed into the Class VI wood road. Indeed, if this were the spring and wet season, we would have been faced with mud, potholes, boulders, and slippery mud slopes. We hiked 1.6 miles on this “trail” and finally came to Haynes Road, a well-maintained dirt road. We came to Baker Road (no sign indicating Baker Road, but with the Guidebook and Kendall, and the trapezoids point left, we “figured the trail.” A .6-mile hike on the tarred Baker Road, and we came to the SRKG right hand turn off into the woods, with a sign indicating both the SRKG and Stoney Brook Trail.  The wood-carved sign indicated .9 miles left to Chalk Pond. 



    Summary

    Kendall and I made the trail in about three hours for our app route, shown as 6.2 miles.  This time includes short stops taking in the beauty of Kezar Lake with its boaters and fishers, and the short trip to the Poor Farm Road overlook of Mt Kearsarge.

    The SRKG Guide had an estimated time of 3 and 1/2 hours for the 5.4-mile hike with a rating of moderate.  We found the hiking rather easy with about 3 miles on well-maintained gravel roads and tarmac.  The forest portions of the hike, given the conditions were arid, was manageable with a few cautious areas for slippery mud and jumping over season run-offs. 

    The SRKG trail was well maintained with no blow-downs, and with no significant stops trying to figure out which way to go. The SRKG green and white trapezoid signs were plentiful and easy to spot.

    We now, never have to say, "We wish we had hiked the SRKG Trail 13 from Wadleigh State Park Kezar Lake to Chalk Pond."

    Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG) Trails Hiked by OutdoorSteve and Friends
    ++++++++++++++++++
    "Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

    Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle and hardcopy at Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH.

    Outdoor Play has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email and we can work out the logistics.



    Additional Sources of Books at:
    Hardcopyat: http://outdoorsteve.com and https://www.amazon.com/dp/098503842X
    E-book at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/098503842X

    Sunday, June 14, 2020

    Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Trail 5 Springfield/New London Road to Great Brook Bridge - A Family Matter


    Trail 5, at 8.4 miles, is the longest of the 14 SRKG trails. As such, I decided to split Trail 5 into two days, each day using the Perley Road at Twin Lake Villa as the access and egress to the SRKG.

    Scouting trailheads, and exit road to divide Trail 5 in half

    Dividing the 8.4-mile hike into two days sounds good, but where does this division take place? And how much will doing the Trail 5 in two days add to the Trail 5 length? The Guide book has an excellent map of Trail 5, and it also has what it calls “bailout trails.” Inspecting the map, I recognized Twin Lake Villa and Riddle Brook Trail. I had hiked in this area before, but without paying attention to their relationship to the SRKG trails. SRKG Trail 5 meets the Perley Road one mile from the Twin Lake Villa stone bridge over the Riddle Brook. Perley Road would serve as my western exit from the SKRG for Day One, and my eastern trailhead entrance to SRKG for Day Two. My wife, Catherine, would serve as my fellow scout as we hiked Perley Road to locate its junction with Trail 5.




    Day One

    On day one, my son Tim and I start Trail 5 at the Trail 5 western trailhead off NH Route 114 (Springfield-New London Road).


    At 3.9 miles, Trail 5 meets the Kidder Brook Trail, where it joins Perley Road, and where we leave the SRKG trail for a 1-mile gravel path to Twin Lake Villa where we find our vehicle.

    On day one, Tim follows me in his truck to Twin Lake Villa Riddle Brook stone bridge. We then drive my car to the NH Route 114 Trail 5 trailhead in Springfield. The Trail 5 trailhead is across from the Trail 4 Protectworth trail Tim and I had previously hiked.

    From Route 114, we hop over a stonewall and climb a short hill to an open field. We follow the trapezoid signs to a wooded path, and at .5 miles, we emerge onto what the Guide describes as “historic Webster pass road. Local folklore says this was the route Daniel Webster used to drive his sheep (his tuition) to attend Dartmouth College in Hanover.”


    Here we are a bit confused because there is a SRKG trapezoid on a tree in front of us pointing right. To the right of this sign is a trail into the woods. The Guidebook says, “the SRKG turns right on Webster pass, then at 0.7 mi. leaves it, turning left and uphill.” I was following Tim, and he takes the path to the right of the trapezoid. I pause, and the Guide says otherwise … yet the sign initially seems Tim is on the right track. So, after a short discussion, Tim continues on his path, and I go right on the Wester pass road. Which one of us will see the next trapezoid? I saw a trapezoid on a pole, and looking up the road another trapezoid pointing left into an uphill woods trail.

    I must report this trail sign confusion to the SRKG trail maintenance workgroup.


    This uphill trail ascends, turning left (1.0 mi) along a stonewall. Above on our right is an abandoned mica mile. Traces of mica are scattered in our path. Our path turns right over a ridge, and we ascend to a clear-cut field with a stunning overlook of the countryside. The Guidebook does not mention this field, and the trail across this area has SRKG trapezoids on 5-foot high tree stumps. Our guess is this was a forested area before this version of the Guide was written, and the signs were placed there during the clear-cutting. After passing through a brief section of woods, we entered another clear-cut field, also not mentioned in the Guidebook. 
    Our path leads to a ridge top with a sign, OVERALLS to the left and the SRKG sign going right. The Guidebook mentions viewpoints of Ragged Mountain and Mount Kearsarge, but we could not identify these mountains in our vista. From the Overalls we turned right and headed south toward Royal Arch Hill. 

    Mt Sunapee and Lake Sunapee Viewed from Royal Ledges
    The spur trail to the Royal Arch ledges was well worth the short path. We had a panoramic view, especially seeing Mt Sunapee with Lake Sunapee at its feet. Magnificient. 

    Our hike continued snaking up and down three short hills, till we crossed over the Kidder Brook Bridge. We were now 3.7 miles and three hours into our hike. We were still in the woods and did a short climb to an unnamed road, with SRKG signs pointing right. We followed the road, and shortly we took a left into the forest and its uphill path, and in another .2 miles, we met Perley Road. This would be our exit way and 1-mile hike downhill to Twin Lake Villa, where we left Tim’s truck.

    Altogether, our hike was 5 miles – four miles on SRKG and one mile on Perley Road. A four-hour hike.

    Day 2

    On day 2, 7 am, I leave my car at Twin Lake Villa’s parking area at the Kidder Brook Trail Stone Bridge. I huff and puff 1 mile uphill on Perley Road, where I spot the SRKG trapezoid sign as it exits from the western trailhead path on the left. There is another trapezoid directing the SRKG up the hill, and I continue another .2 miles on Perley Road, and take a right on the wooden carved Old Poor Road sign, a wood road.

    I stay on Old Poor Road for .2 miles when I spot a beaver pond, and the path and its trapezoid turn me right on the SRKG trail. I take a spur to the pond and spot pink lady slipper flowers – always a beautiful flower to see, stop, and enjoy. The path crosses a few small run-off streams and follows the pond to another large beaver pond where the SRKG trail signs give me two choices of routes. I refer to my trusty SRKG Trail Guide and go left to inspect the beaver dam which, appears to be the headwaters of the Great Brook. Frankly, the dam looks as if the beavers did not show up this year.

    The path by the beaver dam joins the second choice of the trail and descends in the woods and then beside the brook’s Upper Cascades for as far as I can see in the woods. The pond, the source of the water of the cascade, is low, so I see only ripples of water over these vast granite rocks. I would expect if this were the spring season, the brook would be roaring and splashing as a series of waterfalls that fall in stages down steep rocky slopes, to where the Great Brook will eventually find its way into Pleasant Lake.

    The trail now turns into the woods on an old forest road and straightforward walking. I cross a footbridge over Crockett Brook. Shortly after passing the brook, there is a yellow sign indicating signage for an old Hays farm, identified only by cellar holes. The trail then makes a sharp left with the trapezoid identifying the turn. The Guide indicates I am 7.6 miles from the Route 114 Trail 5 trailhead, which tells me I have less than a mile to my destination of the Great Brook Bridge trailhead. From here, the trail follows the Great Brook.


    My wife was waiting at the Pleasant Street and Lake Shore Road parking area. My time from Twin Villa to the eastern trailhead was 3 ½ hours. My MapMyRun graph showed me hiking for six miles.

    Hiking from Twin Lakes to Great Brook Bridge was a great hike. I took my time and enjoyed the habitat. The hardest part of the hike was the initial one mile continual uphill on Perley Road. The wooded trails were rather easy to walk, but I did have to cross a fair number of small brooks and run-offs. If this were a spring hike, I would recommend gaiters as I did pass through a few spots of thick mud that it in spring would be a challenge.
    Pink Lady Slippers
    Hiking along the two beaver ponds is quite scenic, and seeing the rare lady slippers was enjoyable. The last two miles of hiking through the woods was an effortless wood road walk.

    The whole trail is readily marked. I had essentially no issue having to locate the trapezoids. The trail is very well-maintained, as indicated by recently sawed blowdowns. Trail 5 is categorized in the Guidebook as DIFFICULT. I would agree, only because of the distance.


    Now prepare yourself for a hike, get yourself a partner, stay two hiking poles apart, and never say, "I wish I had hiked the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway."


    Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG) Trails Hiked by OutdoorSteve and Friends - Click below links

    ++++++++++++++++++
    "Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
      Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle and hardcopy at Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH.

      Outdoor Play has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email  and we can work out the logistics.



      Additional Sources of Books at:

      Wednesday, June 3, 2020

      Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway: Trail 1 Old Province Road, Goshen to Newbury


      For those following my posts on my Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (a.k.a SRKG or Greenway) hikes, this is my tenth of the designated 14 trails. The red arrow in the below map points to SRKG Trail 1 – Old Province Road in Goshen, NH to Newbury Harbor.

      The SRKG is a 75-mile "emerald necklace" of hiking trails surrounding Lake Sunapee, and crossing Sunapee, Ragged and Kearsarge mountains.


      Mount Sunapee is a 5-mile-long mountain ridge in the towns of Newbury and Goshen in western New Hampshire. Its highest peak, at the north end of the mountain, is 2,726 feet above sea level. We snow ski here. We hike here. We zipline here. I have taken telemark ski lessons here. I have hiked the trails in summer to train for hiking the Knife-Edge Trail on Mt Kathadin, Maine. I have participated in triathlons here. I have competed in a January Winter Wild ski race here. We swim and boat at its foot in Lake Sunapee. 


      Majestic Mt Sunapee is a jewel in the Sunapee-Dartmouth area of New Hampshire. And now, I have hiked its back trails as part of the SRKG.

      Mark and I got an early 7 am start on this chilly 46 degrees May 31st morning – a perfect day for a hike. We left his car at the eastern trailhead at Newbury Post Office and drove to the western trailhead at Old Providence Road, Goshen, near Mt Sunapee's South Peak lift. The trailhead has numerous trail signs of other trails heading to the summit of Mt Sunapee. 


      Within feet of our entrance into the woods, we came to a fork in the trail with the right turn marked with the SRKG trapezoid - a sure sign telling us we were "on trail." Thereafter, we went more than
      five-minutes into the hike without seeing any sign, which usually means we missed a turn in the path, or the trail was poorly marked.
      We retraced our steps back to the junction and, referencing the SRKG Guide, assured ourselves we were on the SRKG trail. Little did we know we would not see another SRKG sign until we came to a trail junction ten minutes later. We quickly realized the Summit Trail is not readily blazed with SRKG signs. We followed the Summit Trail, most winding uphill, for over two hours, before breaking out in an open grassy area behind the Sunapee Summit Lodge. 

      We climbed to the third level of the Lodge for its magnificent panoramic landscape views and my video camera trying to encompass the mountains and lakes within a 100 miles on a clear day.  We then followed the SRKG signs on the gravel downhill service road, where we entered the forest where SRKG trail joins onto the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway and Solitude Trail.

      We came upon the spur trail to the white ledges vista overlooking Lake Solitude. We spent 15 or so minutes at this stunning overlook, then returned to the trail continuing down the mountain. At the Jack and Jill junction where Andrew Brook Trail, Monadnock-Sunapee Trail, and Newbury Trail meet, we took the Newbury Trail. 

      Going uphill on the Summit Trail is not so hard on the body, but going downhill on the Newbury Trail puts high stress on one's quadriceps muscles, and the physical challenge of this hike begins, and it lasts for the remaining last two hours of the Trail 1 trek.

      Before the Newbury Trail meets the Rim Trail, we stop at the SRKG/Newbury Trail overlook with an impressive northeast view along Lake Sunapee, Newbury Harbor, the John Hay Fells estate, Lake Todd, and Lake 
      Massasecum

      Where the junction of the Newbury and Rim Trail meet, we keep right on the Newbury Trail – for our last 1.3-mile leg of the journey.
      Nine-tenths of a mile from the junction, a small rock cairn marks a left turn to the Eagles Nest spur trail, a two-tenths of a mile side trail to an open ledge view of Newbury harbor and the village. Be careful here as this spur can easily be missed, as it has no signs.

      Now let's talk about black flies and our last hour of the hike. We had some suggestions for black flies before we reached the Newbury Trail, but they eventually found us. The last hour was discussing our hurting quads and swatting black flies.

      We finished our 6.3-mile hike in five hours and 35 minutes. The weather was perfect. The mountain views were spectator. Our trail chat was enjoyable as we shared outdoor and professional experiences. I will not discuss our quads and black flies.


      Now prepare yourself for a hike, get yourself a partner, stay two hiking poles apart, and never say, "I wish I had hiked the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway."

      Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG) Trails Hiked by OutdoorSteve and Friends - Click below links
      References
      ++++++++++++++++++
      "Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"
        Steve’s books are available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle and hardcopy at Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Gift Shop, Lebanon, NH.

        Outdoor Play has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. The book will motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life. If you want 5 or more books signed, send Steve an email  and we can work out the logistics.



        Additional Sources of Books at: