Monday, December 15, 2014

Bald Knob - Turtleback: 12-5-2014

Mileage: 6.45
Elevation gain: 1717'
Trails used: Shannon Brook Trail, Bald Knob Cutoff, Bald Knob Trail, bushwhack, Turtleback Mountain Trail, Turtleback Summit Trail, Brook Walk Trail, road walk.

The day was going to be wet and miserable.  We had planned to do the Mount Langdon traverse up in Bartlett, New Hampshire but with very icy conditions and snow forecasted we decided to stay south and play it safe.  We discussed doing some Belknap peaks or Ossipee's  and Ossipee's won out.

The Ossipee Mountains are the remains of an ancient ring dike and the various peaks that comprise the Ossipee's are located in New Hampshire in Tuftonboro, Moultonborough, Tamworth, Ossipee, and Sandwich.  Mount Shaw is the highest peak in the Lakes Region and in the Ossipee's but we did not go there on this hike.  Many of the trails are old carriage roads and seven of the Ossipee peaks are on the Castle in the Clouds property.  For more information for the Castle in the Clouds, go here.

After we parked the car at the hiker parking area off of NH 171, we headed up the red blazed Shannon Brook Trail on fresh snow which covered recent tracks of people before us.

After a short walk on the Shannon Brook Trail, we took the Bald Knob Cutoff up to the junction of Bald Knob Trail.

The views for the day.  We knew with the weather we would probably not get any views at all and early on from this section along the Bald Knob Cutoff, it didn't look promising.

A section of the Bald Knob Cutoff.  This yellow/blue blazed trail uses a few switchbacks to get up to the Bald Knob Trail.

Information on columnar jointing, which is somewhat visible on the rocks in the upper right corner of the picture.

We decided to take the Bald Knob Trail to Bald Knob, even though we both had been there several years prior when we did Mount Shaw in winter.

Look!  Still no views along the Bald Knob Trail, which is an old carriage road.

The clouds started parting for a few minutes and I was able to get a view of the Castle in the Clouds mansion.

Bald Knob elevation sign with Turtleback Mountain in the background which would be our next objective.  We decided we would bushwhack up instead of going back down the trail and then taking the Turtleback Mountain Trail up which zig zags its way to the summit.

Looking back towards the Bald Knob area.  I had followed an old trail and what looked like someone else's old tracks up to the Turtleback Mountain Trail.

Mount Shaw, in the clouds from the summit of Turtleback Mountain.

Brian just below the summit of Turtleback Mountain.  At this point, it was raining so it was time to call it a day and head back down.

Mount Roberts decided to make an appearance.

We followed the Turtleback Summit Trail back down to the Turtleback Mountain Trail.  We would have followed it down further if not for all the switchbacks which makes it seem a lot longer than the mileages listed.

Shannon Brook from a bridge along the Shannon Brook Trail.

We decided to take the Brook Walk out.  From the Shannon Brook Trail, it goes down rather steeply besides Shannon Brook.

Brian heading down the boardwalk that leads to the Falls of Song.

Information on the Falls of Song along the boardwalk.

The Falls of Song was in full effect today, as it was flowing pretty good.

An enormous glacial erratic on the road heading in towards the Falls of Song area.

The Castle in the Clouds entrance, which is closed for the season.  We had to either hop the rock wall or walk around it down by the water (which we did).

The least productive day I think we've had this year thus far, but we'll blame it entirely on the weather.  In our attempts to hopefully go farther north and it be snowing, it instead rained on us for the entire trip down.  This made for bad views and with us being wet to the bone and cold, it also made for a poor hike.  

With good weather, this is actually a nice hike.  In winter, its almost entirely on snowmobile trails and in summer....well, summer is summer so that's another 5+ months away at this point.  

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