To reach the trailhead for the Mt. Potash Trail on Rt. 112 (Kancamagus Highway), I drove down Rt. 302 to link up with Bear Notch Rd. This was made possible by the excellent and expeditious job done by the NH DOT in repairing the severe damage to Rt. 302 that was caused by Hurricane Irene.
Following the hurricane, there has been only occasional light rain, and therefore the brooks are now running at normal levels for this time of year. I mention this because crossing Downes Brook on the Mt. Potash Trail can be problematic at times of high water. On the day of my hike, there were no issues. Shown below is a snapshot of scenic Downes Brook, and as can be seen, the water level was quite low.
Potash Mountain only rises to an elevation of 2,700 feet, and the one-way hiking distance is only 2.2 miles. However, this little mountain provides some remarkable panoramic views. This hike was done too early in the season to experience the peak of autumn colors. However, there were definite signs that the full blast of autumn coloration is fast approaching. The next photo shows a few autumn colors scattered here and there.
The beginning stages of autumn can also be seen in the next two photos. The first snapshot features some autumn colors in the vicinity of Mt. Passaconaway. The second photo shows hints of coloration on the slopes leading up to the Tripyramids seen on the horizon.
I love the views of Mt. Chocorua that are present at many points en route to the top of the mountain. The next photo shows a distant vista, plus a closer view of the bare rock summit of this iconic New Hampshire peak.
At the top of Potash Mountain there are so many impressive views that it makes it difficult to chose a single favorite. However, one of my favorites is definitely the view of the mountains comprising the Carrigain Notch, as seen in the next photo. Green's Cliff (prominent in the foreground of this photo) is situated such that the notch itself cannot be seen in its entirety. But that's okay. The rocky cliffs of Green's Cliff are also a pretty spectacular view!
Another view that ranks high among my favorites is the vista of Church Pond near the base of Mt. Tremont and Owls Cliff with the Presidential Range on the horizon (photo below).
I spent well over an hour atop Potash Mountain. The temperature and the breeze were very mild, and the sun was brightly shining. What else can one ask for?!
The hike back down the mountain was leisurely and pleasant. There was still plenty of time left in the day to do my planned bushwhack along a tributary to Louisville Brook in order to reach a rocky precipice located at about 2,200 ft. elevation on to the north side of Table Mountain. I had actually been there once before in early June of this year. (Click HERE for the details of that adventure.)
My reason for wanting to do a repeat trek to this spot is that my view of some of the higher peaks was somewhat obstructed during my visit in June. With the viewing conditions being nearly ideal on this particular day, it seemed like a great opportunity for a return visit. Besides, it's a quick and easy journey that can be done in about 1.5 hours round-trip.
The next photo shows the view that was partially obstructed on my previous visit, but not this time! I am happy that I went back for a second look! This vista includes the Crawford Notch on the left side of the picture, and culminates with the Presidential Range on the right side.
The next photo shows the ledge/cliff from which the previous photo was taken. Quite a steep drop!
And lastly, shown below is a map which provides a general idea as to the location of my bushwhack destination.
To sum it up, it is good to remember that big things can oftentimes come in small packages. From my perspective, I had a BIG payoff, even though it was only a small hike up to Potash Mountain, and just a short bushwhack to the precipice on Table Mountain.
Oh! And if you are interested in knowing how it might be to hike to Potash Mountain in winter conditions, then click HERE to access a report contained on Steve Smith's excellent Blog.