On most Wednesdays I have an obligation which results in so little time for hiking that I usually don't bother to go out. However, on this particular Wednesday (27-April) I opted to take the hour and half that was available to me and do the short loop-hike over Bald Mountain and Artist's Bluff. It seemed like a good "fit" since it would take less than 15 minutes to drive from my home in Bethlehem to the trailhead located at the top of the Franconia Notch. And besides, it had it been several years since I'd done this short hike and so it seemed like a good time for a refresher course!
Probably most everyone who is reading this report has done this loop-hike at least once. It is a timeless hike that folks have been doing since the mid 1800s. Possibly there were some early trekkers who made their way to Bald Mountain and Artist's Bluff even before the Profile House opened in 1853. This long-gone hotel once occupied the space that is now the parking lot for the Cannon Mountain Tramway. Click HERE if you're interested in reading more about the history of the Profile House.
As I was looking through the photos that I took on my short hike, it struck me that if you can ignore the intrusion of I-93, today's view is basically the same as seen by hikers over 150 years ago.
Just for the fun of it, I grabbed some historical images from the Internet to compare to my photos. Shown below are two photo collages. The first collage compares one of my snapshots to an oil painting done in 1887 by Edward Hill. And the second collage compares an old postcard to one of my snapshots. The oil painting and the postcard both show the old Profile House resting at the south end of Echo Lake.
And, even though most readers have similar snapshots in their collection, nonetheless shown below are a few additional photos taken during this brief hike.
View from Bald Mountain
View from a Ledge between Bald Mountain and Artist's Bluff
View from Artist's Bluff
After my hike, I took a quick jaunt down to the shore of Echo Lake. The wind was whipping up small waves and whitecaps!
The trails involved in this hike were the Bald Mtn/Artist's Bluff Path, plus the Short Circuit Trail which connects the two ends of the Bald Mtn/Artist's Bluff Path, and thus enables you to return to the same trailhead where you parked.
With a total distance of about 1.4 miles, I think this loop hike is ideal for anyone seeking a short and extremely satisfying White Mountain adventure!
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