Blake Mountain (1,561 ft) in Thornton, NH is one of those rare spots which provide a view that looks directly down the throat of Franconia Notch. Perhaps the snapshot shown below will provide an idea of this view.
|Slightly-zoomed photo of Franconia Notch and surroundings, as viewed from Blake Mountain|
Shown below is a highly-zoomed image to further illustrate the view perspective. It is fuzzy and of very poor quality. However, please consider that the area being zoomed is nearly 20 miles away from the point where the photo was taken. Also, please understand that it was taken with a simple "point and shoot" camera. Just think what type of image could possibly be obtained with a high quality telephoto lens!
|Highly-zoomed photo of Franconia Notch, as viewed from Blake Mountain|
In addition to the Franconia Notch view, there are other views from this same location (as shown below).
|Zoomed image: Mt. Moosilauke, and top of Jobildunk Ravine (far right of photo)|
|Zoomed image: pyramid-shaped Mt. Flume (left); tops of Twins, and Guyot (right)|
It should be noted that all of the above views are the result of logging cuts on the north side of Mt. Blake. The actual summit of Mt. Blake is wooded. The following snapshot was taken as I was descending from the mountaintop.
|Looking up at summit area of Mt. Blake|
Regarding the route taken to Mt. Blake, I followed old logging roads nearly all the way. As I got closer to the top, I did a small amount of bushwhacking. The logging roads for about the first two-thirds of the trek are pretty open. However, for the about the last one-third of the journey, these roadways are grown in with saplings and prickly brambles.
|Typical segment of logging road for about the first two-thirds of the trek to Mt. Blake|
|Typical segment of logging road for about the last third of the trek to Mt. Blake|
Particularly because of the grown-in condition of the logging roads toward the top of Mt. Blake, I suspect that winter and late Autumn might be the best times to do this hike. A trek during warm-weather months would likely result in being gashed by bramble-filled corridors, and bitten by a multitude of blood-sucking ticks!
But regardless of when the hike is done, the route that I and other hikers have followed involves a one-way distance of about 1.25 miles, with an elevation gain of about 900 ft.
The location of Mt. Blake is shown on the following map. To get to the starting point for the hike, take Exit 29 off I-93. Very near to this exit is Adams Farm Road which you drive to the end. On the day of my trek, there was plowed parking with room enough for about 4 vehicles. The map shows the spot where I parked. Also shown is a blue line. This is merely a rough depiction of the route that I followed to Mt. Blake. It is NOT a GPS track. (Click on map to enlarge.)
|Map showing Mt. Blake, and other relevant aspects of the hike|
And lastly, I was very reluctant to do this hike. I normally hike only on public land, unless I have landowner permission to hike on private property. However, this time an exception was made to my personal policy since I knew that others have done this trek without any landowner issues. Obviously, that doesn't make it "right", just because others have done it. It was a judgment call on my part to go forward with this adventure. Each person will need to decide for themselves whether to do this hike.
Despite my qualms with my decision to bend my own rule, I felt somewhat reassured upon arriving at the "trailhead" and seeing that it had been plowed, plus I saw no "posted" signs anywhere. It was also a bit reassuring when I looked at the backside of the parking area and saw a snowshoe track going in my intended direction of travel (see next photo).
|Plowed parking, and a snowshoe track leading in my intended direction of travel|
To sum it up, this was truly a different hike! It was particularly remarkable for providing an impressive viewing perspective of the Franconia Notch.
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ADDENDUM: A few days after doing this hike I was studying some maps and inadvertently noticed that there was another obvious route for reaching this destination. And best of all, this route utilized public land. I became obsessed with giving this route a try. And so, within days of my first visit to Blake Mountain, I once again hiked to this location. Click HERE to read that report.