There is always something of interest to see when hiking at Mt. Prospect (2,077 ft) located near Lancaster, NH. On an overcast April 22nd day, it was the wildflowers' turn to strut their stuff! For me, the stars of this floral show were the Purple Trillium and the Dutchman's Breeches, both of which are shown below.
The next photo collage shows the entire cast of characters
in this colorful production, including the two superstars that are highlighted in
the previous two photos above.
On a clear day, Mt. Prospect provides 360-degree views of
the surrounding countryside, from the White Mountains to the south and east, to
the Green Mountains in Vermont to the west, and the Connecticut River valley to
the north. However, on this overcast
day, the views were limited to nearby features on the landscape such as the
Mountain View Grand Hotel with its wind turbine that was added to the property
in recent years.
Also visible on this dreary day was the unique landscape feature
named Cape Horn which is located in Groveton, NH. Shown below is a snapshot of
Cape Horn that was taken on my 22-April jaunt to Mt. Prospect.
With my limited knowledge of matters such as this, I won't
attempt to explain the geologic technicalities of the Cape Horn
outcropping. In simplest terms, it is
what is known as a ring dike which is the remnant of an ancient volcano that
was once present at this location. In
2007, the New Hampshire Natural Heritage Bureau prepared an extensive 67 page
report about Cape Horn. It is loaded
with interesting information, and best of all, it's available online (click
In July 2010, I did a trek to Cape Horn. If you're interested in my short report about
that hike, please click HERE.
Okay, let's return now to my recent hike of 22-April-2012
to Mt. Prospect! In keeping with my
desire to try something new for most of my hikes, I decided to use a route that
was different from my other outings to this little mountain.
Although there is a nice map of the trails on
Prospect Mountain at the HikeNewEngland.com website, it doesn't show everything
needed to depict my hike. And
so, I offer my own crude map that is shown below (click on map to enlarge).
If you study my map, you can see that there are many
possible route combinations. I chose to
park at the trailhead for the Heritage Trail on Martin Meadow Pond Road and
begin my hike from there. My route
involved a combination of the Heritage Trail; Around-the-Mountain Trail, Davidge
Path, Old Carriage Path, and a short segment of the Auto Road.
Shown below are a few of the trail signs that were seen
along my route.
And lastly, for those interested in such things, the
420-acre Weeks State Park encompasses Mt. Prospect plus the John Wingate Weeks
Historical Site which was once the estate of John Wingate Weeks
(1860-1926). He was an avid
environmentalist, and served as both a U.S. representative and senator and was
Secretary of War under Presidents Harding and Coolidge. More notably, Weeks was largely responsible
for the Weeks Act which spurred the establishment of the White Mountain
National Forest, as well other national forests in the U.S.
Weeks built his retreat at the top of Mount
Prospect in 1912, and in 1941 the Weeks' children donated the property to the
State of NH. The property includes a lodge
(National Register of Historic Places), and a beautiful fieldstone fire tower (National
Register of Historic Lookout Towers).
There are about 5 miles of multi-use trails, plus an auto road
(designated as a New Hampshire Scenic Byway) to the summit. There is even a tow-rope downhill ski slope which
is managed by volunteers from the Mount Prospect Ski Club.
Shown below are 3 snapshots taken on the grounds on
the Weeks Historic Site. In order of
appearance, these photos include the lodge, the fire tower, and a picturesque
To sum it up, Mt. Prospect at Weeks State Park is open year round
for hiking, snowshoeing, XC-skiing. For
folks like me who live within a short drive, it provides a nice venue for those
times when you just want 1 to 2 hours worth of outdoor activity. And for people who live out of the area, it
can be included as part of a day's itinerary when visiting other locations in
the North Country of NH.