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23 March 2012

Cresting Mt. Crescent on an Early Spring Day

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.


Marty said...

A gorgeous blue sky day to be in the mountains. Can't believe the weather!!!!
In Boston, the Magnolias,Forsythia and Dogwoods are in bloom, so wild flowers in North country should be coming soon.It also looks like that the lower elevations will have no mud season!!!

Great photos as usual-


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks for your comments, Marty!

Wow! With so many things in bloom in the Boston area, it almost sounds like a different planet down there. On the bright side for things up north, I guess it can be said that at least we don’t have pollen issues to deal with . . .well, at least not yet! :)

Regarding mud season at the lower elevations, it’s raining pretty steadily as I post this reply. Perhaps the mud season doth cometh!


OPW5000 said...

Awesome pictures, John! What a unique and impressive view into King Ravine. I hope to do this hike one of these days.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Owen,

Thanks for your kind words about the photos included with this Blog posting!

As you might already know, the Crescent Range has quite a few little hikes like this one. Many can be done in about 2 hours (some, even less).
Don’t know how true it is, but I’ve heard tale of a few hardy hikers who complete a trek in the Northern Presidentials, and then tack on a short hike in the Crescent Range in order to get some overview snapshots of the high peaks they just climbed!


OPW5000 said...

Those must be some pretty hardy hikers. After a hike in the Northern Presidentials, I'm pretty whipped for likely the next week :-P

1HappyHiker said...

Karl, I totally agree, and I think this might be more in the realm of folklore than fact.
If I wanted an overview picture of the Northern Prezies after having just hiked them, I’d take a drive up to Randolph Hill Road and pull over to the shoulder of the road and snap a few photos! :)


1HappyHiker said...

Whoops! Sorry Owen . . . don't know why I addressed you as Karl! Perhaps I need to take a break and get some fresh air?! :)

Rita Wechter said...

Hi John,
Gorgeous photos from your hike, as always.
I really loved your moose story! Looks like you were fairly close to that big bull and it's a good thing that he chose not to follow you. I wrote up a moose encounter for my blog and if you're interested you can find it in my April of 2011 entries. It's both exciting and scary to come so close to a bull moose!
Sorry that you didn't find any wildflowers on your hike. I'll be looking for desert wildflowers tomorrow on my visit to White Sands National Monument. Yes, I'm in New Mexico this week and internet availability will be spotty. Luckily, the natural world will be plenty available!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita!

Well, first of all, thanks for your complimentary remarks about my Mt. Crescent posting . . . much appreciated!

But secondly, I just read your blog post in the link below about your encounter with a moose! You and Tim truly had an upper-case MOOSE encounter! My adventure was more of the lower-case moose variety, comparatively speaking! :)

Ahh . . . and how I envy you with your trip to NM next week. But at least I, and other followers of your Blog, will be able to get some vicarious pleasure from the report(s) that you’ll be posting. I look forward to it!

Best wishes for a terrific week!


Karl said...

Hi John,

Wonderful pictures as usual! I love when you are able to point out things such as the talus field seen from afar. I'm sure it's even more rewarding for you since you've bushwhacked out to this area in the past! That view of the Northern Prezi's is awesome and one that I've never seen before. Great perspective really.

Does the trail you took with the loop actually go over the summit of Mount Crescent?

BTW - I think I've figured out why I keep missing your blog posts as they come out. I think Blogger is listing them on my blogroll based on when you first start drafting your posts, not when you publish them. So, if you take a couple days to publish from the time you start, it never kicks your post to the top of my list...which is so dumb!!! Maybe I have to change something in my settings.


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Karl,

Thank you . . . on several counts! First of all, thanks for the compliments regarding the posting and the photos associated with it.
And secondly, thank you for your comments about your perspective on why my Blog reports don’t get kicked up to the top of your list. That is very interesting, and is something that I would never have known unless someone told me. Yes, I do sometimes begin drafting a Blog report the day before it is posted. Perhaps this does have an impact on the list order. Hmmm! I’ll have to think about that!

Oh! And before I forget to answer your question, yes the route that I followed does lead over the summit of Mt. Crescent. However, the summit itself is wooded with no views. However, just a short distance from the actual summit are the south and north viewpoints.

Thanks again, Karl

Karl said...

Hi John,

If this is the case, this is what I've done in the past, so that I can get credit to the top of other's blog rolls :) After your post is complete (before publishing), go over to the HTML tab, copy the complete post and start a new post by copying and pasting everything. This will bring over all your pictures, formatting, etc., to a new post, which is now timestamped at that time. Then, publish the new post, and delete the draft in the editor. Does that make sense or is it easy to follow? Anyway, when I have a long post that takes time (like my Iron Mountain History post), that's how I ensure my post gets viewed as a "new" item on other people's blog rolls...selfish reasons I suppose. I just don't want people to miss them. In your case, it's selfish for me too...because I keep missing yours which are certainly a delightful read.


Steve Smith said...

Excellent report and photos, John! Crescent is one of those off-the-radar gems. Hard to believe it was almost snow-free on 3/23! That north view to the Pliny/Pilot Ranges is unique, and there is a panoramic sketch of that vista on the back of the Randolph Mountain Club trail map.


1HappyHiker said...

Hey Karl . . . definitely, I was able to follow your train of thought! I think POSSIBLY the issue that I might have created stems from my use (or misuse) of "Post Options" that shows up on the lower left corner of the screen when you're creating a new posting. I sometimes use this option to "back-date" my post to correspond to the date when I actually did the hike. And so, I highly suspect that this is what is causing the issue for you (and probably others as well).

I think that from now on, I'll stop doing that and simply include the actual date of the hike within the body of the Blog report, which is something that I've been doing anyway (when I can remember to do so!).

Thanks again for alerting me to this, and for taking the time to offer a remedy . . . very much appreciated!


1HappyHiker said...

Thank you Steve, not only for the complimentary words, but also for the reminder about the panoramic sketch of Mt. Crescent’s “north view” being on the back of the RMC trail map. I had completely forgotten about it being there! For certain, it is a spectacular view!


Peter B. said...

Thanks. Was actually up there yesterday to hike, but wasn't real clear re parking. Guide says near Cresent House, but doesn't seem to say where Cresent House is/didn't appear obvious. Ended up doing Beeline/Diagonal loop instead. Any parking tips would be helpful (actually that's true for many of the less well-known hikes.) thanks for the post. I enjoy your blog--and use it and Steve's as a resource quite a bit.

1HappyHiker said...

Peter . . . first & foremost, thank you for your generous comments!

Regarding the parking situation there on Randolph Hill Road, it can indeed be problematic!! And, regarding the Mt. Crescent Trail specifically, directly at the trailhead (on the north side of the Randolph Hill Road), there is a widened spot for parking on the shoulder of the road. You will know you are at the correct spot when you see the trailhead signage. There is room for 2 cars to park comfortably, and I’ve seen up to 3 cars squeezed in there. If you were to launch the hike to Mt. Crescent from the nearby Boothman Spring Cutoff trail, then once again there is off-road parking along the shoulder (especially on the south side of Randolph Hill Road). Be advised that the trailhead signage for the Boothman Spring Cutoff is very easy to miss, but it is there! Also, to pick up the Boothman Spring Trail, you need to walk along what appears to be someone’s driveway to get to it.

I truly appreciate your suggestion about including parking tips in my Blogs for the lesser known hikes. I’ll definitely keep this in mind for future Blog reports!

Thanks again for posting your comments.