Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mt. Lowell (3720 Ft.) and Mt. Anderson (3720 Ft.)

Mt. Lowell from the Carrigan Notch trail
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Livermore NH
DESTINATION: Mt. Lowell / Mt. Anderson
ELEVATION: 3720 Ft. / 3720 Ft.
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 06.216, W71 25.092 / N44 06.749, W71 25.069
TRAIL: Signal Ridge Trail, Carrigan Notch Trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 9.15 Miles
HIKING TIME: 6 Hour 45 minutes
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 24, 2015
WEATHER: 40 Degrees, sunny, clear, windy

PARKING: Parking can be found 2 miles down Sawyer River Rd at the Signal Ridge Trail head.  There is room for 25-30 cars in the lot and additional roadside parking is available.

USGS QUAD: Mt. Carrigan Quadangle

MAP: (Mt. Lowell) (Mt. Anderson)


This was my first trip back to the Signal Ridge Trail since the winter of 2010 and the first section (approximately 0.5 miles) has been relocated to the west side of Whiteface Brook and avoids the first brook crossing.  The rooty trail meanders through hardwoods and glacial erratics before returning to Whiteface brook and the original Signal Ridge Trail. The Signal Ridge trail follows an old logging road along very gradual inclines making for easy walking 1.6 miles to a crossing of Whiteface Brook reaching the Carrigan Notch Trail at 1.7 miles. The incline of the Carrigan Notch Trail remains very gradual however is much less trodden due to most hikers following Signal Ridge to Mt. Carrigan.  the 2.3 mile trail transitions through hardwood, fir and back to hardwood trees reaching Vose Spur rock (N44 05.862, W71 25.479) after 1.5 miles.  The 'trail' to vose spur is another 50 Ft. past the rock. The Carrigan Notch trail begins a slight incline reaching the height of land and Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary 0.75 miles from Vose Spur Rock and 4 miles from the trail head.

Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary sign
I was hoping to find a strategic and easy entrance from the Carrigan Notch trail to commence the bushwhack however never did. I entered the woods at a less thick section approximately 0.2 miles North from the height of land. The woods were thick and heavy making progress very slow.  I'm typically good at finding the path of least resistance however really struggled during this whack.  My intention was to hike due East to the col between Anderson & Lowell but the trees kept pushing me to the right and towards Mt. Lowell. The conditions were challenging ranging between thick, heavy and impenetrable dense live fir trees to thick, heavy and impenetrable dense dead fir trees.  The live trees were so thick it felt like people pushing against me every step of the way. I couldn't see my footing and took several blow downs to the shins and thighs. At one point I lost my footing and tripped but never fell due to the density of the tree branches holding me in place.  Hiking through the dead fir trees was worse causing scratches and puncture wounds all over my hands and arms.  I felt like a human spruce plow ducking my head, closing my eyes and taking 3 steps forward.  Repeat for 0.7 miles and 90 minutes to the summit of Mt. Lowell.  The most recent register entry was from Jan 2015.

I descended a different route along the eastern side of Mt. Lowell heading back to the col. Descent was very steep with many cliff bands and still containing thick fir.  After reaching the col I was completely spent with my energy drained. I decided to call it a day and leave Mt. Anderson as a dangler that I would attempt from the Nancy Pond side.  As I began my descent through the col I was getting closer and closer to Mt. Anderson.  At 0.19 miles to the Mt. Anderson summit (Yes, I used the GPS) I decided that the summit was too close to pass up.  The ascent was steeper and thicker than Mt. Lowell and I fought the firs every step of the way.  The 0.65 mile whack from the Lowell summit to the Anderson summit took 80 minutes.   The same group of January hikers were the last entries in the summit register.

I attempted a more direct descent from Mt. Anderson hoping to find thinner tree cover.  Due to the heavy tree density I almost walked off a 30-40 foot drop. The cliff significantly impeded my progress and dropped my already low morale.  I back tracked parallel to the horrible route I ascended and never found easy terrain finally reaching the Carrigan Notch trail approximately 0.1 mile to the North of my entry point.  2 miles of bushwhacking returning to the trail 4 hours after entering the woods.

I was drained of energy and enjoyed the non-technical return along the gradual Carrigan Notch and Signal Ridge trails on my spaghetti legs.


Parking - Signal Ridge trail jct. 1.7 Mi. 1.7 Mi.
Carrigan Notch Trail - Pemigewasset wilderness boundary 2.3 Mi. 4.0 Mi.
Pemigewasset wilderness boundary - Start of bushwhack 0.25 Mi. 4.25 Mi.
Start of bushwhack - Mt. Lowell 0.7 Mi. 4.9 Mi.
Mt. Lowell - Mt. Anderson 0.65 Mi. 5.55 Mi.
Mt. Anderson - Carrigan Notch trail 0.6 Mi. 4.85 Mi.
Carrigan Notch trail - Pemi. Wilderness boundary 0.3 Mi. 5.15 Mi.
Pemi. Wilderness boundary - Signal Ridge trail 2.3 Mi. 7.45 Mi.
Signal Ridge trail - Parking 1.7 Mi. 9.15 Mi.


Parking - Signal Ridge trail jct. 40 min 40 min
Carrigan Notch Trail - Pemigewasset wilderness boundary 45 min 1 Hr 25 min
Pemigewasset wilderness boundary - Start of bushwhack 10 min 1 Hr 35 min
Start of bushwhack - Mt. Lowell 1 Hr 40 min 3 Hr 15 min
Mt. Lowell - Mt. Anderson 1 Hr 15 min 4 Hr 30 min
Mt. Anderson - Carrigan Notch trail 1 hr 10 min 5 hr 40 min
Carrigan Notch trail - Pemi. Wilderness boundary 7 min 5 hr 47 min
Pemi. Wilderness boundary - Signal Ridge trail 43 min 6 Hr 30 min
Signal Ridge trail - Parking 45 min 7 Hr 15 min


It's been a couple years since my last bushwhack and I found myself with a free day on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  I decided to finish off the last 2 mountains above 3700 Ft. in NH that I haven't climbed.  These two mountains kicked my butt, I'm battered, bruised, sore and exhausted but feel really proud for my perseverance and the accomplishment.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Merrimack NH Highpoint (Unnamed) - 512 Ft

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Merrimack
DESTINATION: Merrimack Town Highpoint
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N42 51.863, W71 33.186
TRAIL: Gateway Trail, Ridge Trail, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 1.8 miles
HIKING TIME: 40 minutes
SEASON: Summer
DATE: September 28, 2014
WEATHER: Sunny, warm

PARKING: Parking can be fount at the playing fields behind Merrimack Middle School off Madeline Bennett Drive.

USGS QUAD: USGS South Merrimack Quad

MAP: (Merrimack HighPoint)


Drive past the entrance to Merrimack Middle School and park at the lot providing access to the soccer fields.  The gravel access road called the Gateway Trail  makes a S pattern and continues 0.45 miles to the Ridge Trail entrance. The Ridge Trail is marked with a vertical sign post on the left. After 0.04 miles the ridge trail exits left and a path continues straight. Drop and cross the culvert continuing on this unparked trail 0.11 miles to a 'end of trail' sign and rocks blocking passage of wheeled vehicles. Continue walking another 0.2 miles to a trail merge. Bear right and begin your gradual ascent. After 0.55 miles you reach the height of land and the true summit is a few hundred feet to the left. The summit was marked with a glass jar and small log book. Most registries were accidental finds by local hunters.


Gateway Trail - Ridge Trail 0.35 Mi 0.35 Mi
Ridge Trail - End of Ridge Trail 0.1 Mi 0.45 Mi
End of Ridge Trail - Summit 0.45 Mi 0.90 Mi
Summit - Parking 0.90 Mi 1.8 Mi


Gateway Trail - Ridge Trail 10 min 10 min
Ridge Trail - End of Ridge Trail 2 min 12 min
End of Ridge Trail - Summit 8 min 20 min
Summit - Parking 18 min 30 min


After examining Google Earth and topo maps, I expected to bushwhack approximately 0.4 miles.  It was a pleasant surprise to find such a well defined trail system leading a few hundred feet from the summit. Coming from the height of land you'll need to bushwhack a few hundred feet over a false summit to the true summit marked with a small cairn. I was extremely surprised to find a canister jar at the summit.  The entries were all from local hunters who stumbled upon the HP. I didn't see any hiking names or reports from people intentionally trying to find the high point.

The Gateway and Ridge Trail junction. 
Merrimack NH Highpoint

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pliny Mountain - 3605 Ft

STATE:New Hampshire
TOWN: Kilkenny
DESTINATION: Pliny Mountain
SUMMIT COORDINATES:44 25.018, W71 23.577
TRAIL: Abandoned Priscilla Brook Trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 5 miles
HIKING TIME: 3 hours
DATE: November 24, 2013
WEATHER: 15 degrees, light snow, windy


From the Route 115 and Route 2 intersection follow route 2 north for .4 miles. Directly opposite Six Gun City turn right on Ingerson Road. At 1.0 miles bear left at the intersection with Pond of Safety Rd continuing another 1.3 miles to the unmarked Priscilla Brook Trailhead on your right just before the single lane bridge crossing of Priscilla Brook. There is a small pull off capable of squeezing 2 cars and roadside parking is available.

USGS QUAD: USGS Jefferson Quad

MAP: (Pliny Mountain)


The Priscilla Brook trail is no longer maintained and it's condition is extremely poor. The first mile of trail follows the right bank of Priscilla Brook and drainage makes it extremely muddy in places, runoff has caused additional erosion. 2-3 inches of snow prevented me from seeing several pockets of mud before placing my boot down sinking ankle deep in a few places. The trail is full of blowdowns which get progressively worse as you increase elevation. As the trail breaks right separating from the river it is a jumbled mess of downed trees combined with hidden mud pockets. I intended to follow the Priscilla Brook trail to the height of land then bear South to the Pliny summit however the trail was extremely difficult to navigate walking the tightrope of downed trees and attempting to avoid the wet mushy trail. I found it easier to depart the trail and indirectly bushwhack towards the Pliny summit. I set a bearing in a northwesterly direction bushwhacking through 4-5 inches of powder in mostly open woods then turning south with about 0.3 to the summit. The woods contained random blowdowns to hop over but were primarily open making this an easy bushwhack. The summit is marked with a PVC canister and most recently entry was from Wayne R on 8/25/2013


Priscilla Brook Trail - start of bushwhack 1.5 miles 1.5 miles
bushwhack - Pliny summit 1.0 miles 2.5 miles


Priscilla Brook Trail - start of bushwhack 45 minutes 45 minutes
bushwhack - Pliny summit 1 hour1 hour 45 minutes
Pliny summit - parking1 hour 15 minutes3 hours


I planned on hiking a different mountain today however my late start, last nights 3-4 inches of snow along with the excessive wind and raw conditions caused an impromptu change of plans. As I passed through snowy Franconia Notch I considered mount Martha but was looking forward to a bushwhack. After perusing my DeLorme the nearby Pliny Mountain called my name due to it's short whack, limited views at the summit and a great hill to test my bushwhacking ability and start off the winter hiking season. At 3605 feet it's ranked 87th on the list of New Hampshire 100 highest. I didn't take a lot of photos on this hike for a couple of reasons, the cold temperatures and there weren't a lot of photographic opportunities.

Priscilla Brook trailhead on Ingerson road

 The open woods bushwhack

The Pliny mountain summit canister

Monday, November 11, 2013

Shelburne Moriah - 3735 Ft

Shelburne Moriah from the Kenduskeag Trail
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Shelburne
DESTINATION: Mt. Shelburne Moriah
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 21.186, W71 05.928
TRAIL: Rattle River Trail (AT), Kenduskeag Trail
DISTANCE: 10.2 miles
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 15 minutes
DATE: November 9, 2013
WEATHER: 40 degrees, windy, partly cloudy

PARKING: Parking for 8 to 10 cars can be found on Route 2. 3.5 miles East from the intersection with Route 16 South.

USGS QUAD: USGS Wild River Quad

MAP: (Shelburne Moriah)


The Rattle River Trail is a 4.2 mile section of the Appalachian trail which travels from Maine to Georgia and is a wide and well trodden trail that begins on a light grade paralleling Rattle River to your right. The river offers several pit stop pools tempting me to dip my toes even in the cool crisp weather conditions. In a short distance you'll cross a tributary entering the Rattle River and continue along a light grade 1.6 miles to the Rattle River Shelter. The shelter is a typical AT shelter with trail names carved into the wooden walls, fire pit, tent platforms and an outhouse a short distance away. Continuing past the shelter the trail crosses then re-crosses the Rattle River before transitioning into a moderate rock step ascent. After approximately 1 mile the trail crosses Rattle River a final time and ascends steeply over rock steps. There were several sections requiring care where black ice covered some of the path. You reach a short section of footbridges leading into the col between Middle Moriah and Shelburne Moriah. Turn left onto the Kenduskeag Trail following additional foot bridges soon popping out onto an open rock face and you are presented with excellent views of the Carter Range and the rocky northern Presidentials in the background. The Kenduskeag trail is overgrown in several sections as it dips in and out of the tree line presenting better and better views before reaching a medium sized cairn at the summit of Shelburne Moriah. The summit is mostly open and offers spectacular views in nearly all directions. A 100 foot spur path leads to a rocky outcrop with excellent views to the east and south.

Overall the trail was a bit muddy in the lower sections and contained a few blowdowns to avoid however was well maintained and easy to navigate to the ridge. All river crossings can be navigated with strategic rock hopping. The Kenduskeag trail was overgrown and in need of maintenance but easy to follow to the Shelburne Moriah Summit.


Parking - Rattle River Shelter 1.6 miles 1.6 miles
Rattle River Shelter - Kenduskeag Trail junction 2.6 miles 4.2 miles
Kenduskeag Trail junction - Shelburne Moriah summit 0.9 miles 5.1 miles
Shelburne Moriah Summit - Kenduskeag Trail junction 0.9 miles 6.0 miles
Kenduskeag Trail junction - parking 4.2 miles 10.2 miles


Parking - Rattle River Shelter 30 minutes 30 minutes
Rattle River Shelter - Kenduskeag Trail junction 1 hour 15 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Kenduskeag Trail junction - Shelburne Moriah summit 30 minutes 2 hours 15 minutes
Shelburne Moriah Summit - Kenduskeag Trail junction 30 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes
Kenduskeag Trail junction - parking 90 minutes 4 hours 15 minutes


Mt. Shelburne Moriah is a little peak with a big punch. At 3735 feet it is not tall enough to qualify on the primary lists of 4000 footers and is shy of making the New England 100 highest list however, it does qualify for the New Hampshire 100 highest at #64. Shelburne Moriah is ranked #5 on the NH 52 With A View list and #69 on the YMCA alpine Club list. Regardless of list, it is a worthy peak to visit and it's expansive panoramic views will not disappoint.

 A USFS sign marking the Rattle River trailhead
The Rattle River Shelter
A series of wooden bridges on the upper section of the Rattle River trail 
 The Shelburne Moriah summit cairn

 Middle Moriah (foreground) and Mt. Moriah (background)

View of the Carter-Moriah range

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bunnell Mountain, North Blue Mountain

Snow covered spruce on Bunnell Mtn.
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Columbia
DESTINATION: North Blue Mountain / Bunnell Mountain
ELEVATION: 3190 Ft. / 3730 Ft.
N BLUE SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 49.219, W71 29.548
TRAIL: Washburn Rd, Unnamed trail
DISTANCE: 11.67 Miles
HIKING TIME: 4 hours 10 minutes
DATE: October 26, 2012
WEATHER: 30 Degrees, Snow showers, light wind

PARKING: From Route 3 in Columbia turn right at the Irving gas station onto the one lane Washburn Rd. Continue 1.5 miles and park at the gate.

USGS QUAD: Bunnell Mountain Quad

MAP: (North Blue) (Bunnell)


I didn't expect to find Washburn Rd gated at 1.5 miles and had hoped to park 2 miles deeper east. I cursed my poor planning. The gate caused me an unexpected 4+ miles of road walk. The very cool temperatures and trace snow falling caused me to pick up my pace and I was sweating when I reached Cleveland Notch hiking 3.25 miles in just over 60 minutes. I planned to make the short out and back to North Blue returning to Cleveland Notch then traverse the ridge south to Bunnell continuing west attempting West Blue (and possible Mt. Pleasant). At the height of land in Cleveland Notch I found a 4x4 trail and followed it North towards North Blue. The trail petered out at a section of hobblebrush however I was able to pick up a single track trail in approximately 100 ft. It was my only bushwhacking the entire day. The unmarked trail headed through open woods directly to the N. Blue summit. The N. Blue summit is marked with a PVC canister with the last entry by K-Dawg and Julie on 8/10/13. I signed in chuckled at a cartoon and returned to Cleveland Notch. My spirits were high after finding the unexpected trail to North Blue and my good karma continued as I followed the unmarked trail south. The trail was in great condition with easy grades, moderate ascents and minimal overgrowth. I encountered my first moose antler at ~3300 feet and considered taking it home however it was much heavier than I expected so I left it for another hiker (or rodents). The Bunnell summit canister was easy to spot at the highest point and I was very surprised to find fresh footprints in the snow and a register entry by Wayne R. earlier this morning. I was getting chilled from the unexpected snow and decided to skip West Blue leaving a NH3k dangler for another day. I followed my footprints 1.2 miles to a clearing then followed a logging road 1.4 miles back to Washburn road, only 2.6 miles back to the car.


Parking - Cleveland Notch 3.25 miles 3.25 miles
Cleveland Notch - North Blue Mountain 0.63 miles 3.88 miles
North Blue - Cleveland Notch 0.63 miles 4.50 miles
Cleveland Notch - Bunnell Mountain 2.0 miles 6.50 miles
Bunnell Mountain - Parking 5.17 miles 11.67 miles


Parking - Cleveland Notch 60 minutes 60 minutes
Cleveland Notch - North Blue Mountain 25 minutes 1 hour 25 minutes
North Blue - Cleveland Notch 20 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Cleveland Notch - Bunnell Mountain 45 minutes 2 hours 30 minutes
Bunnell Mountain - Parking 1 hour 40 minutes 4 hours 10 minutes


Washburn Rd wasn't shown on my GPS topo maps and was a challenge to find. From initial appearance the road didn't look like it traveled deep into the woods and took me a few drive-by's before believing it was the correct road. Finding Washburn road gated after 1.5 miles requiring a long gravel logging road walk really dampened my spirits. I was pretty hot and sweaty after hiking the 3.25 miles in just over 60 minutes and cursed myself for overheating in a snow squall and the frigid temps.

3723 foot Bunnell Mountain is the highest mountain north of the White Mountain National Forest. It was originally known as Blue Mountain but renamed in 1998 in memory of former Colebrook selectman and part-time judge Vickie Bunnell, who was killed in August 1997. Vickie Bunnell often climbed the mountain in her spare time. More information about the Bunnell Legacy tract can be found here: Bunnell Legacy Tract.

 The gate on Washburn Rd.

 North Blue Mountain

 "Bushwhacking" to Bunnell Mountain

 Moose antler on Bunnell Mtn.

Bunnell Mountain (formerly Blue Mtn.) summit.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mt. Snow (Cupsuptic) - 3784 feet

The PVC canister on the Mt. Snow Summit.
STATE: Maine
TOWN: Cupsuptic
DESTINATION: Snow (Cupsuptic)
ELEVATION: 3784 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N45 10.157, W70 49.607
TRAIL: Logging road, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 3.0 miles
HIKING TIME: 1 hour 45 minutes
SEASON: fall
DATE: October 16, 2010
WEATHER: Cool temperatures, overcast skies, fog


From ME 16 west of Rangeley turn onto the graded gravel Morton Cutoff and follow it 3.2 miles to it's intersection with Tim Pond Road. Turn right then bear left onto Burnt Mountain road following it 1.6 miles to a sharp left turn to skirt the base of Burnt Mountain following it a total of 5 miles. At the intersection bear right for 1.2 miles and bearing left at the Y intersection for a total of 3.25 miles to Cupsuptic Tote road. At 1.3 miles continue right and 0.2 miles later bear left driving 2.5 miles to a small parking area just before a logging clear cut area. Refer to the driving map below.

USGS QUAD: USGS Little Kennebago Lake Quad

MAP: (Snow - Cupsuptic)


The most challenging aspect of this hike is finding the correct route though the maze of unnamed logging roads to access this peak. Mt. Snow is often hiked from the North due to easier navigational access from Wiggle Brook Road. My ascent (shown in red on the map) from the south made for a shorter hike but a much longer driving time. Follow parking directions above to approximately 2700 feet elevation then continue on foot, walking the logging road approximately 1.0 miles to 3100 feet elevation. Find a suitable entry point to begin your bushwhack in the relatively open woods heading almost due north.  During the ascent I hoped to find a herd path as I increased elevation however ended up in a band of relatively thick 5-10 foot tall spruce trees between 3400 and 3600 feet elevation. I needed to skirt east to avoid heavy bushwhacking. Once I broke through the spruce trees the woods opened up and last few hundred feet of elevation was smooth sailing. I encountered a herd path leading 500 feet to the summit canister. The viewless summit contained a PVC canister.

I descended (shown in blue on the map) the herd path leading southwest for approximately 0.25 miles, unfortunately the herd path was curving it's way to the north in the direction of Wiggle Brook Rd bringing me further from my southerly destination. I left the herd path heading south - southeast through very open woods hitting the logging road a few hundred feet lower than my entry elevation. If you intend to replicate this route I would recommend starting the bushwhack between 2900 and 3000 feet elevation and ascending the southwest shoulder of Snow.


logging road - bushwhack 1.0 miles 1.0 miles
bushwhack - Snow summit 0.5 miles 1.5 miles


logging road - bushwhack 30 minutes 30 minutes
bushwhack - Snow summit 30 minutes 1 hour
Snow summit - parking 45 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes


Snow (Cupsuptic) is a trail less peak with no views from it's summit however it is the 24th highest peak in the state of Maine placing it 94th on the AMC list of New England 100 highest Mountains.  The relatively short unidirectional hike requires limited navigational skills and is an excellent confidence booster for my novice bushwhacking ability. 

Looking closely at the blog header picture shows the top of the PVC canister painted green.  The significance of a green top is not for camouflage but signifies a hiker has completed all 770 New England 3000 foot mountains on this particular peak.  After reading the log book I congratulate "Carl" who finished his NE3k list here.

 A moose eyeing me as I bushwhack to Mt. Snow.
 A dusting of snow covering the summit area of Mt. Snow.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mt. Mary (E Pilot), Middle Pilot, NW Pilot, Hutchins

a cabin near the summit of Mt. Mary
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Stark
DESTINATION: Mt. Mary (East Pilot), Middle Pilot, NW Pilot, Hutchins
ELEVATION: 3560 feet, 3615 feet, 3520 feet, 3730 feet
Mary SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 31.799', W71 25.760'
Middle Pilot SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 33.034', W71 26.232'
Northwest Pilot SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 32.241', W71 26.721'
Hutchins SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 32.875', W71 27.276'
TRAIL: private trail from Lost Nation, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 9.0 miles
HIKING TIME: 5 hours 15 minutes
SEASON: Late Summer
DATE: September 14, 2013
WEATHER: Rainy, 55 degrees


From Route 2 in Lancaster, at the center of town turn on to Middle street (also North road) for 2.0 miles. Turn left onto Grange road following it 2.0 miles bearing left on Lost Nation road. Follow Lost Nation road 1.9 miles to Herman Savage road on the right. Follow Arthur White Rd 0.35 miles to the house at it's end.


MAP: (Mt. Mary) (Middle Pilot) (Hutchins)


Previous reports describe access from a private trail at the end of Arthur White Drive. The property appears intimidating with no trespassing and no hunting signs however as you get closer it mentions hikers are welcome with permission. I parked in a small parking area below the house, knocked on the door and spoke with the property owner Joe who was extremely friendly and welcome to hikers (as long as you don't have a motorized vehicle or gun) using his land. He described the trail in detail and offered some sound advice. The mowed grassy trail leads up the right edge of the property fields then continues into the woods. At the first Y bear left, at the 2nd intersection bear right. After approximately 1 mile the grassy road ends and impressive trail (that's right I said trail) enters the woods. The trail is unmarked but very easy to follow as it moderately ascends over an easy grade through hardwoods paralleling a stream to your left. At 2700 feet the trail bears right, increases elevation and gains the ridge along a contour of Middle Pilot. The trail continues northeast descending to a cabin and continues past the cabin to the wooded 3560 foot summit of Mt. Mary. There is a wooden summit register box marking the summit.

Return past the cabin to the height of land on Middle Pilot and I made a straight line bushwhack through heavy spruce trees and loose moss footing gaining the Middle Pilot summit relatively quickly. The summit has no views but is marked with a PVC canister very high on a tree.

From Middle Pilot I heeded the advice I received from Joe and descended along the northeastern side of M Pilot bearing in an easterly direction whenever I encountered thicker sections. It was awesome advice and I descended through a very healthy fern glade with an occasional blowdown to the col. My luck continued along the eastern ridge of Northwest Pilot to it's summit. Northwest Pilot doesn't have enough of a col to be counted on most New Hampshire lists and I wondered if there would be any markings or canister on it's domed summit. The highest point was a challenge to find and after wandering in circles performing a drunk bee dance I found a glass jar mounted to a twin white birch tree.

I continued an open woods bushwhack. My only complaint was the excessive rain over the past few days made the ferns strong, tall and healthy causing the inability to see my footing through the fronds and occasionally catching a blowdown in the shin. The blowdowns and terrain pulled me to the east of the col and I had to adjust my bearing to catch the centerline of the col to ascend Hutchins. My good bushwhacking karma faded resulting in very thick whacking along the centerline of the ridge. I attempted to float east and encountered waves of ferns mixed with heavy fir trees and a rare herd path. This continued approx. 0.3 miles before I hit a demoralizing 15 - 20 foot tall band of cliffs. I managed to find a notch to weave my way up and was rewarded with open woods for approximately a tenth of a mile before a very thick section just below the summit. I broke through directly under the PVC canister and found limited views to the east. There is also an open area to the west approximately 75 feet from the canister with directional views to the South.

I wasn't excited about the return bushwhack and descended in a easterly direction much further east than I was comfortable with however found very open woods (avoiding the thick stuff, cliffs and fir waves) all the way to the col. I bypassed the NW Pilot summit following a high contour on the eastern side of the peak and descended to the col ascending Middle Pilot. I made a significant error in judgment to avoid the Middle Pilot summit by following a low contour along the western side of M. Pilot. It was a huge mistake and I encountered very difficult terrain. The steep western slope of Middle Pilot was littered with blowdowns and mossy covered boulders with insecure footing slowing my pace to a screeching halt. I would highly recommend returning back over the top. I exited the woods about 100 feet from my height of land entrance point and enjoyed following the well defined trail back to civilization.

Joe was in his barn as I passed and I stopped to thank him for allowing me to cross his property, complimented the excellent condition of his trail and expressed my thorough appreciation for his advice "Stay to the east of the ridge". Round trip was 5 hours and 15 minutes.


*NOTE** - All trail distances below are approximate

mowed grass path - start of private trail 0.75 miles 0.75 miles
private trail - Cabin 2.0 miles 2.75 miles
Cabin - Mt. Mary summit 0.25 miles 3.0 miles
Mt. Mary summit - Middle Pilot summit 0.5 miles 3.5 miles
Middle Pilot summit - NW Pilot summit 0.45 miles 3.95 miles
NW Pilot summit - Hutchins Mtn. summit 1.0 miles 4.95 miles
Hutchins summit - private trail 1.5 miles 6.45 miles
private trail - parking 2.55 miles 9.0 miles


mowed grass path - start of private trail 15 minutes 15 minutes
private trail - Cabin 50 minutes 1 hour 5 minutes
Cabin - Mt. Mary summit 15 minutes 1 hour 20 minutes
Mt. Mary summit - Middle Pilot summit 25 minutes 1 hours 45 minutes
Middle Pilot summit - NW Pilot summit 25 minutes 2 hours 10 minutes
NW Pilot summit - Hutchins Mtn. summit 1 hour 3 hours 10 minutes
Hutchins summit - private trail 1 hour 4 hours 10 minutes
private trail - parking 1 hour 5 minutes 5 hours 15 minutes


After arriving at the end of the road on Arthur White Dr. I was a bit apprehensive to chat with the land owner after seeing several no trespassing and no hunting signs. I found the courage to get out of my car and take a closer look and found the property owner welcomes hikers and is extremely friendly.  He described in detail the trail leading all the way to the Mt. Mary summit and suggested I stay to the east along the ridge.  His advice and tutelage made this a very easy hike and bushwhack. 

 A mowed grassy path leading to Mt. Mary
 The end of the mowed path and trailhead ascending Mt. Mary

 A property marker.  I suspect this is the upper left corner of the red square on the map above.

 Mt. Mary summit register
The very high summit canister on Middle Pilot

 Healthy fern bushwhack from Middle Pilot to NW pilot

 Northwest Pilot summit jar

3730 foot Mt. Hutchins summit sign and canister.