Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Welch-Dickey Mountain Loop - White Mountain National Forest - 9/30/18

I'm absolutely certain that the Welch-Dickey mountain loop is well known to locals in the area and that guide books sing praise to these peaks.  I'm ashamed to admit that I had not heard of them before.  I spotted them from Route 49 as I was headed north towards Waterville Valley.  I said a few choice words before I pulled over to look at the map to see what they were.  Thankfully they are accessible and there is a fantastic trail to take you straight to heart of them.

I had actually spotted this pair of peaks the prior weekend on the way to Mount Tecumseh.  I put them right on top of my list for my next hike.  A little internet research confirmed that I should not wait to check them out.

So my son Nick and I had stayed at Sugarloaf Campground the night before and did a short morning hike to North and Middle Sugarloaf before checking out of the campground to head to these gems.  We had lunch en route and got to the trailhead around 1 PM.

The parking lot is quite large and probably holds a hundred or more cars.  We grabbed what was probably the last spot in the lot.  If crowds aren't your thing, consider saving this hike for a weekday.  Also save it for a dry day because half the hike is on sloping slabs of rock.  If you can only do this hike once, give it your full attention and some good weather.

Nick and I cruised around this loop pretty quickly as I had to head back to NY and Nick had things to do.  I believe the hike was 4.6 miles and we finished in just over 2 hours.  We passed a zillion people on the trail, but we did stop at a half dozen jaw dropping viewpoints along the way.

Entering the zone of slab rock and approaching the 1st viewpoint.

There were about 50 people at the first viewpoint taking a break.  The climb gets relatively steep, but it doesn't feel bad because you are walking up a slab of rock instead of climbing over chunky rock, boulders, roots and mud.

Looking at Welch Mountain from the 1st viewpoint.

Starting at the first viewpoint, the next couple miles is mostly walking on an expanse of slab rock like I've never seen.

Looking over to the descent route

Looking back at Welch Mountain

As you can see, every picture shows an expanse of rock and that is what sets this hike apart from any other.   Oh, by the way, the view isn't bad either.

Welch Mountain from a different angle.

Down we go!

A last look back before leaving the rock. 

This is definitely a hike that would be enjoyed by most people.  It is rated as moderate, but the steepness would be a challenge for some people.  Don't miss this one!

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance: 4.3 miles
Hike Time:  2 hours, 10 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  ~1850'

The route (done counterclockwise)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

North and Middle Sugarloaf Mountains - Twin Mountain, NH - 9/30/18

We had just climbed Mount Washington the day before, so on this day we decided to mix it up with a couple of short hikes.  We were still staying at the Sugarloaf Campground and the baby Sugarloaf mountains were right behind us... the perfect place to start.

These twin peaks are a great pair of small mountains and this hike would be an ideal hike for a family with young children.  In fact, we saw many families had the same idea.   The hike is only about 3 miles total, including both peaks, and the rewards are great.         

The Zealand Road

Great fall colors

The trailhead is just a half mile down the Zealand Road from the campground.  The trail follows the stream for a distance before veering away and climbing steeply for 500 feet to th col between the two mountains.   

We chose to climb the North Sugarloaf first.  It was a fine morning and we reached the summit to find a glorious view from the open rock summit.

Great color in the valley

Nick on a rock promenade

I was amazed that such a low peak would have such an open summit, and the middle mountain was supposedly even more open.  We had a hot chocolate before going back to the col to go to Middle Sugarloaf.

It was indeed true that Middle Mountain was also an open summit.  Quite amazing.  This was a warmup hike for us, but for young children, or people who don't hike much, these peaks provide a lot of bang for the buck.   They are quite accessible, as far as mountains go.  Many high peaks don't provide views this nice.

Looking to North Sugarloaf from Middle Sugarloaf.

The summit of Middle Sugarloaf

From this pair of peaks, we returned to the Sugarloaf campground to checkout and head south.  Our 2nd hike of the day would be the Welch-Dickey loop just south of Waterville Valley. 

Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  2.9 miles
Hike Time:  2 hours, 15 minutes, including stops
Total Vertical Gain:  ~900'