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22 May 2014

A Short Bushwhack to Bald Mountain (Chocorua) from the Hammond Trail

Throughout the U.S. there are several mountains named Bald Mountain.  New Hampshire has its fair share of peaks bearing this namesake, including the 2,140 ft. peak located off the Hammond Trail in the Mt. Chocorua region of the White Mountains.  My attention was directed to this mountain by reports posted by Steve Smith in his Mountain Wandering Blog. (Click HERE for a link to one of his reports.)

My trek began at the trailhead for the Hammond Trail on Scott Road.  I eventually left the trail to do a short bushwhack eastward to the ledges on Bald Mountain.  As can be seen on the Google Earth image shown below, the trail comes very close to the ledges, but doesn't actually go over them.
Google Earth image showing Bald Mountain and the Hammond Trail
(Click to enlarge.)
From a historical perspective, the Hammond Trail is one of the oldest pathways in the Mt. Chocorua region.  I think it has been around since the late 19th century.  From reading descriptions of this trail in early 20th century trail guides, it appears that the ledges have never been incorporated into the routing for the Hammond Trail, nor has there ever been a spur trail leading to them.

My visit to Bald Mountain was a very pleasurable experience.  I enjoyed the views, and relished the fact that it was a place that was new to me.  It has generated ideas for yet other pioneering adventures in this same vicinity, which often happens when I visit a new location.

Shown below are some snapshots taken during my Bald Mountain journey.
Ledges on Bald Mountain provide classic views of Mt. Chocorua, the Three Sisters and Carter Ledge rising above the Chocorua River valley
Zoomed view of Mt. Chocorua.  (If you look very closely, you can see hikers standing atop this mountain on right side of summit cone)
There are many fine viewpoints from the ledges on Bald Mountain, but I found the widest vista to be from atop this rocky outcrop.  (None of my snapshots showed this outcrop as well as one taken by Steve Smith who granted permission to include his photo in my report.)
From the rocky outcrop, you can see some of the other Bald Mountain ledges
One of these ledges has an interesting assortment of randomly scattered rocks
A vista that includes the Moats, Kearsarge North, peaks in the Green Hills
Looking southward toward Chocorua Lake and the Ossipees
An eastward view where Pleasant Mountain in Maine is seen on the distant horizon (right of center) rising above its surroundings
Zoomed view of Pleasant Mountain; Whitton Pond is in foreground
After visiting Bald Mountain's ledges, I returned to the Hammond Trail, and opted to extend my hike by continuing onward to the Liberty Trail junction. This is where the Hammond Trail ends at its northern terminus.  Along the route, one can catch occasional glimpses of the imposing presence of Mt. Chocorua, as seen in the above photo.



JustJoe said...

Great report John. I remember reading Steve's on Bald Mountain. You just can't go wrong with anything on or near Chocorua.

Lastly, that first photo is a postcard. Beautiful!

Thanks for sharing,

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Joe!

Yup, there's total agreement with your comment: "You just can't go wrong with anything on or near Chocorua."

Not only was this my first time to visit Bald Mountain, but it was also only my second time to hike on the south side of Mt. Chocorua. When visiting the summit of Mt. Chocorua, I've always used a northern approach via the Champney Falls Trail. The trails on the south side are a much longer drive for me. However, I'll probably be heading down that way a little more often for some more adventures on that side of the mountain!


Steve Smith said...

Terrific report, John! Glad you enjoyed Bald. Like Joe said, that first photo is a gem. There are many interesting places to explore on the south side of Chocorua!


1HappyHiker said...

Thank you, Steve!

Having your blog reports for reference, along with my brand new WODC map, I should be all set for some interesting explorations on the south side of Chocorua! Will mean putting some extra miles on the 1HappyHonda, but so be it! :-)


Karl said...

Thanks, Jon! Another great report of a not so sought after peak. I like how you noticed the assortment of rocks on the ledges. The colors of those rocks are pretty cool as well (greens, blacks, oranges, etc.). I never get sick of looking at Mt. Chocorua from different viewpoints.


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Karl,

Thanks for taking a moment to read my blog and to post a reply!

For certain, Mt. Chocorua is a picturesque mountain! If there was a beauty contest for mountains, it would certainly be a frontrunner!

And just as a side note, many years ago when I first saw this mountain, I thought surely there cannot be a hiking trail to the top of that sharply pointed peak. Well as I later learned, there are indeed trails, and what great fun it is to hike them!


One Day in America said...

I enjoyed the photo of the hikers atop Mt. Chocorua; it certainly puts into perspective the enormity of the mountain.
As you noted, several states have one (or more) "bald mountains" located within their borders. In Utah, one of our bald mountains is in the High Uintas. It's a thrilling high-elevation hike.
Looks like you had great fun on your Bald Mountain hike as well! Thanks for sharing!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

Thank you for your reply!

Perhaps you and/or others might be interested in reading some additional information about this mountain by cutting and pasting the link below into your web browser. As stated in this short article, Chocorua is more than a mountain. It is also a legend. Back in the early to mid 1700s, Chocorua was not yet the name of a mountain. It was the name of a real person. Chocorua, the person, was a Native American chief. The legend about him is explained in this article.


One Day in America said...

Thanks for providing the link to the legend of Chocorua. Interesting!