Considering our unusually warm (okay, hot!) springtime weather, I'd hoped to spot a few early-blooming wildflowers on my way to Mt. Crescent. No flowers were seen, and so it must be just a bit too early for them at this particular location in northern New Hampshire. However, the other item that wasn't seen along my route was snow! Well, at least nothing of any significance. There were a few widely scattered patches near the top of the mountain (such as shown below). Overall, I'd judge this to be a snow-free hike!
This week has been busy for me, and as a result, I've only been able to squeeze in a few short hikes and walks. To give some perspective, this 3.4 mile (round-trip) hike was the longest trek I've done this week! Regardless, this is a hike that I enjoy doing, especially during periods such as this when time is limited. Although there are ways to make this into a longer loop hike, I normally do a simple "lollipop loop" that involves the Mt. Crescent Trail and Crescent Ridge Trail (map below).
For my 23-March trek to Mt. Crescent, I opted to do the loop in a clockwise manner. However, on other occasions, I've done it counterclockwise. Although some hikers might have a preference as to the direction of travel, it has always seemed to me like it's six of one, and half-dozen of the other.
Located on the Mt. Crescent Trail (very near to the summit of Mt. Crescent), there is a small ledge which is known as the "South Viewpoint". The vista from here stretches from the Carter-Moriah Range to the Franconia Range. However, the star-attraction is the view of the Northern Presidential Range which is nearly right in your face!
Although the next photo is obviously a zoomed shot looking into King Ravine, you can pretty much see this same level of detail with the naked-eye while perched on the ledge of the South Viewpoint.
It's only about a 5 minute walk from the South Viewpoint to an outlook on the north side of the mountain where you can get a sweeping view of peaks in the Pliny and Pilot mountain ranges. (photo below).
Another feature that can be seen from this outlook are the talus fields on Black Crescent Mountain (circled in yellow on the next photo). Each time I see this feature from where ever I might be, it brings back a flood of memories from bushwhacks that I've done to this location. Particularly memorable was the adventure that involved an encounter with a moose (click HERE to read about this).
On my way back to the trailhead, I took a very short side-trip to visit two viewpoints at the northern end of the Castleview Loop Trail. In the past, these viewpoints might have provided a wider vista. However, the surrounding forest has matured, and as a result, the views are now limited.
The view from the spot known as Castleview Ledge is the better of the two (photo below).
Whereas, the view from Castleview Rock is all but gone (photo below).
Also on my way back down the mountain, I continued to look for wildflowers. Once again, I saw none, but I did notice that high up in the canopy of the forest, many of the trees are just starting to bud (next photo)!
To sum it up, the short hike to Mt. Crescent is nice to keep in mind for those occasions when you only have limited time for hiking. It provides a decent-size payoff for a very modest amount of time and effort.