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27 November 2013

Black Mountain (Jackson, NH): 2 Treks, 2 Days Apart!


Yes, one might rightfully wonder why someone would hike to the same destination only two days apart.  The reason?  Well, as occasionally happens when I do a hike, something catches my attention that I'd like to further explore.  However when this happens, it usually means making a second trip since there is rarely enough time on the initial trek to investigate that "certain something".

The goal for my first hike was merely to hike to Black Mountain (Jackson, NH) using the corridor known as the East Pasture XC-Ski Trail.  Although I had visited Black Mountain on several occasions, this route would be new to me.  And, as frequent readers of my Blog know, it is a passion of mine to try to do something different on each of my hiking adventures.

When doing the initial hike, it occurred to me that I had never hiked the Bald Land Trail which diverges from the East Pasture XC-Ski Trail.  And furthermore when I returned home and studied the maps, it became apparent that I could do a nice loop hike of about 7.5 miles by using the Bald Land Trail in combination with the Woodland XC-Trail and the East Pasture XC-Trail.  Upon realizing this, a second visit to this area was inevitable!  It had to be done!

NOTE: It should be mentioned that the trails used for both of my treks involve corridors that lie mostly within the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF), but are managed by the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (click HERE).  I mention this since the Foundation operates under a Special-Use Permit with the WMNF, and during the XC-ski season, a pass must be purchased from the Foundation to use these trails.


Before proceeding further, perhaps it might be useful to show a map that shows the trails involved in the two hikes that are presented in this Blog report. 
Map showing trails involved in 2 hikes presented in this Blog report (CLICK TO ENLARGE)
Okay, with the scene being set via the map shown above, the remainder of this report will consist mainly of photos showing things that I found of interest during these two treks.

It was interesting to see trail signs with distances listed as kilometers rather than miles.  (Of course, you can multiply the kilometers by 0.6 to get a rough idea of the distance in miles.)
Trail sign showing distances in kilometers
The Bald Land Trail, Woodland XC-Trail and Pasture Path Trail lead through attractive woodlands.  They are wide and easy to follow corridors with grades that are generally moderate in terms of steepness.
Collage showing typical segments of trails that were hiked
There are attractive sights to be seen along the way when using the East Pasture XC-Ski Trail to access Black Mountain.  Early into the hike is an open field with a sign reading "Hazelton Pasture".  From that spot is a pleasant view of North and South Doublehead.
The Doubleheads as viewed from an open field along East Pasture XC-Ski Trail
Then, as you hike about a half mile further up the trail, there is a faint remnant of an old skidder road off the west side of the trail.  Following that somewhat rough corridor for a short distance will earn you yet another view of the Doubleheads.
The Doubleheads as viewed from a log landing off an old skidder road
After hiking about a half mile beyond the old skidder road, there is a well-worn path off the west side of the East Pasture XC-Ski Trail.  This pathway leads you to the marker shown in the next photo.  I was able to confirm with the Jackson Historical Society that this is the burial place of Nathaniel Kimball (born 16-Sep-1747 in Exeter, NH; died 18-Jul-1827 in Jackson, NH).  He was a member of General John Stark's Brigade from July 1777 through September 1777, and fought at the Battle of Bennington on 16-Aug-1777.
Gravestone marker for Nathaniel Kimball who fought in American Revolutionary War
The highest point of this hike is the viewpoint on the 2,757 ft knob at the south end of Black Mountain.  It is reached by a short spur path off the Black Mountain Ski Trail.  From 1913 to 1947, the Davis Memorial Tower once stood at this site.  Details about this viewing tower, as well as some old photos, can be seen at a Blog that I wrote a couple of years ago (click HERE).

But even without the benefit of the old Davis Memorial Tower, there are still a number of pleasant views from here.  The vista that I find most impressive is the nearly head-on view of Carter Notch.
View of Carter Notch from the 2,757 ft knob at the south end of Black Mountain
By including a short 0.9 mile loop involving the Black Mountain Cutoff and Black Mountain Ski Trail, you can also visit the site of the Black Mountain Cabin.  You can make reservations to stay overnight at this USFS cabin via the Internet (click HERE for details).
Black Mountain Cabin
Whether you're staying overnight, or just visiting, you've got a nice view of the Presidentials from the cabin's doorstep!!
Mt. Washington as viewed from Black Mountain Cabin
Although less impressive than the vistas from Black Mountain, there are several attractive views as you traverse the Woodland XC-Trail and Bald Land Trail.  I particularly liked the view of Sable and Chandler Mountains as seen from a viewpoint along the Woodland XC-Trail.
Sable and Chandler Mountains as seen from viewpoint along Woodland XC-Trail
From a spur trail off the Bald Land Trail, there is a view of North Doublehead.
View of North Doublehead from spur trail off Bald Land Trail
Some of the other appealing sights during my travels included a view overlooking a small pond (presumably from beaver activity), as well as a number of small brooks at various points along the route.
Small pond along East Branch Rd, presumably from beaver activity
One of several small brooks along the route
To sum it up, these two treks were quite enjoyable.  Also, they provided me with a much better idea of how all the pieces fit together in this part of the WMNF where there are a variety of XC-ski trails, hiking trails, and old logging roads.  One never knows when information such as this might be useful for future adventures in this area!


Anonymous said...

You make the prospect of a trip upstate to Jackson sound very appealing. I used to head up once a year for an annual 10k road race in town that included a long stretch up the road toward Black Mountain. Your photos make it clear that I was missing all the good views. Never mind the roads - I'm ready for the trails.

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks so much Ellen for taking time to read and respond to my Blog.
Hope you have the opportunity to head upstate and explore the various trails leading to Black Mountain.
Perhaps if you are an XC-skier, then hopefully there will soon be enough snow so that you can ski them rather than hike them! :-)


One Day in America said...

John, this looks like a wonderful place for a cross-country ski trip. Is the cabin available for rent in the winter? Is it hike-in or drive-in access?
You always manage to find the most interesting and scenic places and this network of trails is no exception.
Thanks for another fine report!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita!

Although I’ve never XC-skiied on the trails on Black Mountain, they do look inviting, especially the segments at the lower elevations where the terrain is less steep.

Regarding your questions about the Black Mountain Cabin, it is “hike-in” access, and is available to rent year round.

Thanks for your comments . . . greatly appreciated, as always!


Anonymous said...

Did you hike down East Branch Road to the site of the washed out bridge? It's about a half mile from the pond on East Branch road pictured in the photograph. Irene washed it out. It's definitely worth a look.

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks for your reply!
Although this particular trek didn't include a visit to the bridge washed out by Irene, I have seen the damage done by that horrific storm at this and other locations.


Karl said...

Hi John - I was just doing a little research on Black Mountain and the tower that used to stand on its south summit. Your blog post popped up! I certainly missed this one a while back. fantastic narrative of your treks, as always. Wonderful pictures too.

Regarding a couple things. Is the south summit the one in the map just northeast of the cabin location? Also, regarding Nathaniel Kimball's resting spot, how far into the hike is the side path. Based on your directions, seems to be about a mile. Does that sound right?

Also, and sorry for the questions, is the tower location easy to find? Are there still foundation blocks up there to your knowledge?


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Karl,

It’s never a problem to answer questions about my blog postings. Please never hesitate to ask.

Here are the answers to your specific questions:

1) Yes, the south summit is the one that is just a short distance (probably about 0.3 mile) northeast of the cabin location.

2) Regarding Nathan Kimball’s grave site, it is located about 0.7 mile south of the summit. It’s accessed via a shot side-path off the East Pasture XC-Ski Trail. The map coordinates are: 44.1903, -71.1641.

3) Yes, the location where the wooden AMC Tower once stood is very easy to find. As I understand it, the tower stood on the spot that is described as the “outlook” in the White Mountain Guide. It’s reached by hiking about 250 ft off the main trail via a well-defined spur path. As to whether there are still any footings visible for the old tower, I don’t recall seeing any. But, that’s not to say there are none. It might simply be a case of me not remembering.

All the best,