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Bethlehem, New Hampshire, United States
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04 July 2015

A Hike to PATN (Peak Above The Nubble)

It has been over a month since I've posted anything to this blog.  Not only is there an element of laziness involved, but also a fair amount of time has been spent over the past few weeks coordinating and attending a large family gathering.

Regardless, here is a brief posting about a trek recently taken to visit a mountain that is on the list of New Hampshire Hundred Highest peaks, and also on the list of New England Hundred Highest.  The mountain of which I speak has an elevation of 3,813 ft, and is often referred to as simply PATN, which stands for Peak Above The Nubble.  The "Nubble" part of its name refers to a smaller, but very prominent, peak just to the north of PATN that tops out at 2,713 ft.

There are no formal hiking trails to PATN.  Reaching the summit involves a bushwhack.  The more traditional route involves an approach from the north beginning at Haystack Road. (Click HERE for a link that describes this route.)
    
Rather than using the traditional northern route, I recently bushwhacked to PATN using a western approach which is preferred by some, myself included.

Shown below is my GPS track superimposed on a topographic map.  The round-trip mileage was about 3.9 miles.
My GPS track superimposed on a topographic map
The majority of this bushwhack was through open woods such as shown in the following snapshot.  However, there were a few sporadic gnarly spots, especially near the top.
Majority of this bushwhack was through open woods, but there were some gnarly spots, especially near the top.
I exited the woods about 0.25 miles from the top of PATN, and then followed a slide for a little over a tenth of a mile.  The photo shown below was taken looking down the slide from near the spot where the slide ends.
Looking down a slide which I incorporated into my trek to PATN
From the slide there is a view of peaks in the Franconia Range (upper left of photo below).
Photo taken from upper end of the slide where there is a view toward peaks in the Franconia Range (upper left).
Shown below is a snippet from my GPS track that is superimposed on a Google Earth image.  It shows the portion of the slide that I traversed.  I purposely waited until reaching this spot before incorporating the slide into my route.  From previous explorations in this area, I knew that the upper portions of the slide tended to be more navigable than the lower portions which can be very slippery/wet and more like a steep brook bed with actively flowing water.
A snippet from GPS track superimposed on a Google Earth image.  It shows the portion of the slide that I traversed en route to PATN.
Upon reaching the top of PATN, there is a viewpoint just below the summit that provides a sweeping vista.  It includes the Presidential Range, as well as Middle and South Sugarloaf, plus Mt. Hale, the Willey Range, and North Twin.
Sweeping vista from viewpoint near summit of PATN.  It includes the Presidential Range, as well as Middle and South Sugarloaf, plus Mt. Hale,the Willey Range, and North Twin.
Also taken from the viewpoint on PATN is the slightly zoomed photo shown below.  The Presidential Range is featured, but also seen are the tops of Middle and South Sugarloaf, as well as a portion of Mt. Hale.
The Presidential Range is featured in this slightly zoomed photo taken from the viewpoint on PATN.
Shown below is another zoomed photo taken from PATN.  It shows a rare look at the orange-colored ledges on top of South Sugarloaf (center of photo).  And, directly behind South Sugarloaf, are the ledges on Middle Sugarloaf.
(As an aside, a report was posted to this blog in April 2013 about a bushwhack to South Sugarloaf.  Click HERE.)
Zoomed photo showing a rare look at the orange-colored ledges on top of South Sugarloaf (center of photo).  Directly behind South Sugarloaf, are the ledges on Middle Sugarloaf.
During this bushwhack adventure to PATN, I didn't see any moose.  However, I did see something that was once attached to a moose!  Certainly wish I'd gotten to this antler BEFORE the woodland critters gnawed on it.  It was simply too chewed up to bother carrying it out of the woods to add to my collection.
A moose antler seen along my route to PATN
To sum it up, I'm not a person who aspires to hike a mountain just because it's on a particular list.  But, will admit that it's gratifying to navigate your own way to a trail-less mountain, and then have it be one that qualifies as a New Hampshire Hundred Highest peak, as well as one of the hundred highest peaks in all of New England. :-)

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POSTSCRIPT:  Please note that at the top of each of my blogs there are two search tools that can be helpful in locating a particular topic.  One is an icon labeled "CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF ALL MY BLOG REPORTS".  And located above that icon is a search box that enables you to search my entire collection of blog postings for specific words and word combinations.

13 comments:

  1. Nice, John! Such lush greenery in the New Hampshire mountains this summer!

    I'm glad that you got to the top of another one of New England's hundred highest peaks, however the section of "the slide" would have put me off—at least for this summer; my physical therapist says I'm not to do ANYTHING that could involve falling (re-tearing my rotator cuff muscle) for the next few months!

    Loved the moose antler!

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    1. Thanks for your comments Rita . . . much appreciated,as always. I know that injury to your rotator cuff muscle must be annoying. But, if I know you, it will not slow you down. You'll simply find other exciting ways to enjoy life while you heal. :-)

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    2. You're right, John. I recently took a trip to Michigan to visit old friends and we had a great time riding the ferry to Mackinac Island, and taking a carriage ride on the island. That's about as adventurous and exciting as it gets for me these days!

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  2. Very nice John. I've only done PatN once via this route. Loved it. But boy, do I need to make a return on as clear a day. I had nothing like that for views. Great photos. And I love the woods in the lower elevations of this approach.

    I'm sure you've been there a few times but how did you let yourself skip Haystack Mtn. (The Nubble) ? I could not have. ;-)

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Joe!

      Regarding skipping The Nubble (Haystack Mtn.), since I live so close to it, I go there quite often. For me, it’s only about a 2-hour round-trip outing, including driving time! And actually, I’d been there only 4 days prior to my trek to PAtN.

      Hope your ankle has healed well enough for you to soon make a return visit to PAtN via the western approach, and to incorporate a side trip to The Nubble along the way.

      Best wishes for happy days, and happy trails!

      John

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  3. I started up the north side fire road at 4:30pm yesterday. I found it to be a very tough bushwhack through massively dense 10 foot high saplings that obscured view of the "trailbed" so it was far more like feeling your way up, rather than look then step. I didn't have enough time to get to the summit, but did enjoy the bushwhack up through the steep mature forest once I got past the young growth and old logging operation. I will try your western approach next time. The slide seems right up my alley.

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    1. Sorry you didn’t make it to the summit, but perhaps you would agree that oftentimes the adventure alone can bring as much joy as reaching the destination.

      Regardless, if you do decide to try the western approach, it should be mentioned that the slide bifurcates as you near the top of it. I’ve always taken the left branch, and then once the slide peters out, I’ve poked around on the right side of the slide to find a faint pathway that leads to the summit.

      John

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  4. Nothing to add beyond what's been said already EXCEPT that I have always enjoyed the Super-imposed GPS tracking you place into your blog. It really brings me into the hike with you! Thank you for that special treat!

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    1. Thanks JimmyO for the feedback about GPS tracks that are added to my blog. There are times when I don’t include a GPS track for a variety of reasons, but I do try to provide the reader with a map of some sort whenever possible. I totally agree with you that a map and/or GPS track is a very helpful aid to visualizing where the hike occurred. As they say . . . a picture is worth a thousand words! :-)

      John

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  5. Hi John,
    we're planning to do PATN soon and wondered if you could give me more definitive directions on where you actually started, etc... Anything would be appreciated!
    thanx!
    hikerkid3

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    1. You should be able to access my GPX track by copying the link below and pasting it into your browser, and then saving the GPX file to your computer. If that doesn't work, or if it works, but isn't useful to you, then let me know, and we'll try something else.

      https://sites.google.com/site/gpx88test/home/files/PATN_track.gpx?attredirects=0&d=1

      If you want to contact me by e-mail, you can do so by sending a message to:
      randonneur8 AT yahoo DOT com

      John

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