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Bethlehem, New Hampshire, United States
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20 June 2013

A Fun Adventure in the Southern Mahoosucs

This type of adventure will likely have little appeal to some readers.  Nonetheless, it was the sort of exploit that I find truly enjoyable since most of it was covering ground that was entirely new to me.

Briefly stated, I launched my trek from the parking area at the junction of North Road and Hogan Road.  I walked the short distance eastbound on North Road to Lead Mine Road.  I followed the Lead Mine Road corridor for about 2.7 miles until it ended, and then did a 0.2 mile open-woods bushwhack to the Mahoosuc Trail.  After making a side trip to visit Cascade Mountain, I hiked the Mahoosuc Trail westbound to pick up the Centennial Trail which was used to return to my starting point.  The only part of this loop that I'd previously hiked was the Centennial Trail.

The Lead Mine Road corridor, as I'm told by a local Shelburne resident, is permissible to use for foot travel.  It's very easy to follow, and as can be seen from the Google Earth image below, it shows up very clearly on satellite imagery (click to enlarge) 
Google Earth image showing route for my loop hike (click to enlarge)
The treadway is a bit overgrown in spots, whereas in other spots it's almost trail-like.
A segment of the Lead Mine Road corridor
From the upper end of the corridor, you catch glimpses of some of the ledges on Cascade Mountain.
Some of the ledges on Cascade Mountain as viewed from Lead Mine Road corridor
And speaking of the ledges on Cascade Mountain, the next 3 photos show some views from these ledges.
A view of Presidential Range from ledges on Cascade Mountain
Another view of Presidential Range from other ledges on Cascade Mountain
Eastward view from lower ledges on Cascade Mountain
Just as I was about to leave the ledges on Cascade Mountain, who should come along but Ryan Linn!  Some of you might know him better from his truly excellent Blog named Guthook Hikes. Although this was the first time we'd ever met in person, I recognized him immediately from photos I'd seen of him.  We had a delightful to chat.  And who would've ever guessed that we would meet at such a relatively remote location as Cascade Mountain?

My trek from Cascade Mountain back to my starting point was rather uneventful.  I met a few Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, and I met a large toad (photo below).
Warts and all! A fine looking toad seen along the Centennial Trail
Near the end of my descent, I stopped at a viewpoint on the Centennial Trail where there is a view of Reflection Pond and peaks in the Carter-Moriah mountain range (next photo).
Reflection Pond and peaks in the Carter-Moriah Range, as viewed from Centennial Trail
Perhaps I should also mention that on the way up the Lead Mine Road corridor, I made several excursions off the corridor to explore Lead Mine Brook.  The water flow was remarkably low, especially considering our recent wet weather.

I only found one cascade worthy of a photograph.  However, the image composite shown below is one of the worst I've ever taken of a cascade.  My timing was less than perfect.  When I arrived at this cascade, it was about noon and the sun was directly overhead and illuminating the water like a spotlight.  It didn't matter if I photographed this cascade from the front, or from the side, the reflected light off the water was just too much for my camera to handle!
Cascade along Lead Mine Brook
To sum it up,  I would roughly guesstimate that this was overall about a 9.5 mile trek.  It took about 6 hours of actual hiking time to complete the loop.  However, the time flew away before I knew it.  It was such fun to experience new things at nearly every step of the way!

12 comments:

  1. It's super that there are people like you who still enjoy exploring the unfamiliar instead of just following the herd and hiking the familiar trails. Don't comment often, but do enjoy your blog.

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    1. Thank you! It's gratifying to know that there are those who have an appreciation for blogs such as mine.

      John

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  2. I'm a huge fan of the blog and a Shelburne native, so count me as very interested. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you so much Ted for your positive feedback. I am deeply appreciative!

      John

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  3. How nice to meet a fellow hiking blogger on the trail! This trek looks and sounds like another fun time in the New Hampshire mountains. I can't believe how green everything is out your way! We're in a drought right now in the west.
    I really enjoyed seeing the photo of the toad. (And I like your caption!) Amphibians are in decline throughout the country so it's great to see one thriving. I wonder what kind of toad it was?
    As always John, it's a pleasure to read about your hiking adventures!

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    1. Hi Rita,

      Thank you for your comments. Yes, indeed it was quite a surprise and a real treat to meet Ryan on the trail.

      Regarding that huge toad, he/she was certainly thriving and doing well! As to what kind it was, I could be wrong, but I think it’s simply called the American Toad. Perhaps another reader of this Blog can correct me if I’m wrong.

      Hope your drought situation in your part of the country will soon ease.

      John

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  4. Nice exploration, John! Never been up that old road. That cascade looks interesting the way the brook makes a 90-degree turn at the base. Those are some fine ledges up on Cascade Mountain.

    Steve

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    1. Thanks Steve!

      Regarding that cascade, I’m glad you picked up on the fact that the brook makes an abrupt 90 degree turn at the base of the cascade. I don’t ever recall seeing anything quite like this at any other location.

      And yes, Cascade Mountain does have some fine ledges. I’ve wanted to visit this location for quite a while. I was pleased to have found a way to include it as part of a loop hike.

      John

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  5. John, it was so wonderful to meet you out there! And incredibly so, since it seems you only spent a small part of that hike on trail– and if I hadn't gotten a much later start than planned, we also probably wouldn't have crossed paths. That really made my day. Not to mention the fine views along that stretch, too! Maybe I'll see you out there again some day!

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    1. Ryan, thanks for taking time to post a reply to my posting. It seems like “Fate” played a role in our meeting. You got started later than expected. And then, if you hadn’t shown up on the trail at the precise moment you did, I would’ve already been off-trail doing that mini-bushwhack to the ledge that I mentioned to you when we met.

      Looks like a soggy stretch of weather for the next several days. I know you had quite a few hikes planned. Hopefully you have enough flexibility in your schedule so you can get back on track with your plans once conditions improve.

      It was awesome to meet you, and I wish you many happy trails!

      John

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  6. I am so happy to find your blog. My grandparents had a camp in Shelburne on what is now called Hubbard Grove Road off North Road. I spent most of my childhood summers hiking and fishing the area. Back then the old dirt roads and various trail blazes were still visible and I enjoyed following them to see where they would lead me. I was always fascinated by the remnants of the lead mining community that I came across and wondered about the history. Most of the houses were abandoned and falling apart. Some were used as "summer cottages" like my grandparents. Most are gone now. The houses nearer to North Road were torn down and replaced by newer homes. The ones deep in the woods have been reclaimed by the forest. It has been many years since I have hiked that area, but I remember the spots your photos show. Thanks for taking me back in time.

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    1. Rachel, thank you for stopping by to read my blog. And also thank you for taking time to post your comments!

      I know precisely where Hubbard Grove Road is located, and even met a person last summer who currently lives on that road.
      How I envy you for having spent childhood summers hiking and fishing in Shelburne. It wasn’t until my adult years that I discovered this truly glorious area of NH. I love hiking there, and nearby at places just across the border in Maine.

      John

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