The snowfall in New Hampshire during this 2011-2012 winter season has generally been disappointing, and so I'm ready to say good-bye to this winter of discontent. Some early signs of Springtime are beginning to emerge here in the northern part of the State. Many low-lying hillsides, especially those with a southern exposure, have only a patchy (if any) snow cover. This can be seen in the photo below on the hillside above the covered bridge in Jackson, NH which I crossed en route to my trek to the twin-peaked mountain known as The Doubleheads.
During my hike, there were other signs of winter's end. For one thing, the temperature was nearly 50 degrees! In the following photo you'll note that I was wearing a T-shirt. This image was reflected from a window on the Doublehead Cabin located atop North Doublehead (3,053 ft elevation).
The next photo is a collage showing the front and rear of the Doublehead Cabin. Details of how you can arrange to spend the night here can be found at the Recreation.gov website (Click HERE.)
The next photo shows a gathering of snow fleas which sort of resembles pepper sprinkled on the snow! This is yet another sure sign of the approaching spring season. These tiny insects are not actually fleas but rather are a type of springtail with a scientific name of Hypogastrura nivicola. (Click HERE, to read more about the snow fleas.)
Okay, that's quite enough about the signs of winter's end! And so, here are some brief details about the hike itself which occurred on a sunny 11th day of March.
On the way to the hike, I pulled over to the side of the road to snap a photo of my hiking destination, the Doubleheads! (North Doublehead is on the left and South Doublehead on the right.)
I opted to do a counterclockwise loop hike over the Doubleheads. This meant ascending via the Old Path and using the Doublehead Ski Trail for my descent. From start to finish, the trails were snow-covered. Previous hiker-traffic had compacted the snow such that you could do the hike without snowshoes. Many hikers had done this which resulted in a choppy surface, but with only occasional postholes. Due to the warm temperature and softened snow, I opted to wear snowshoes to lessen the possibility of creating more postholes. On my descent, I had a backcountry skier stop and thank me for wearing snowshoes on the Doublehead Ski Trail.
The following snapshot is representative of the trail conditions encountered throughout the hike.
It took just slightly over an hour to reach the first ledge on South Doublehead. From here, there are expansive views of many high peaks in the White Mountains, but the starring-role in my opinion belongs to the view of the Presidential Range and the distinctive U-shaped Carter Notch.
And of course, a Presidential view would be incomplete without a zoomed photo of Mt. Washington!
The next series of photos show some of my other personal favorite views, which all happen to be from South Doublehead.
Shown below is the top of one of the knobs on South Doublehead. I don't know why it merits two large cairns!? The view is looking eastward toward the State of Maine.
The next snapshot highlights a picturesque body of water known as Mountain Pond, which seems like an appropriate name for any pond located in the mountains!
The next photo is a zoomed image. In the foreground is a tiny range of mountains in NH (Mt. Shaw is on the left, and on the right are two peaks collectively called the Gemini). Looming directly behind those mountains is Pleasant Mountain which is located in Maine.
The next snapshot is looking northward toward peaks in the Baldface-Royce mountain range.
To sum it up, this is by no means an all-day hike. Nonetheless, the views are rewarding, and the loop does provide a respectable workout with just over 1,800 ft elevation gain, and a round-trip mileage of just over 4 miles, assuming you include the spur-trail viewpoints on South Doublehead.