This will be an experiment. On a sporadic basis, I plan to post reports about some adventures undertaken before my 1HappyHiker blog was created. However, if reader feedback suggests that these postings from days of yesteryear are of little interest, then I'll simply end the experiment.
Anyway, in July 2009, I ventured to the top of a large cliff located on a NW spur of Hutchins Mountain in the Pilot Range. This cliff is unnamed on any map that I have ever come across. However, it is my understanding that some of the locals refer to it as Owl's Head Cliff.
This cliff is a prominent feature on the landscape which can be seen from many places in northern New Hampshire. Where I most often see it is when traveling northeast on Route 115 along the base of Cherry Mountain. When looking northward, I can see it there, taunting me!
Shown below is a photo of the cliff. However, it was not taken from Route 115. It was taken from a much closer vantage point near Lost Nation Road. The cliff is on the left of the photo, and Mt. Hutchins is the peak on the right.
|The cliff is on the left of the photo, and Mt. Hutchins is the peak on the right|
This cliff resides well within the boundaries of the White Mountain National Forest. However, there are no official trails leading to it. Although it would be a long and arduous approach route, you could bushwhack to this place completely on public land. Thankfully, I had the good fortune of being granted permission by a landowner to begin my bushwhack on private land which made for a somewhat easier approach.
The top of this cliff is a very pleasant place to just “hang-out”. It’s flat and it’s roomy enough that you don’t feel like you’re going to fall over the edge with one wrong move! Even though the photos that were taken don't do it justice, the views from the cliff are expansive and quite remarkable.
Shown below is a sample of the view looking SSW. On the distant horizon (beginning on the left), peaks in the Willey Range can be seen, as well as the top of Mt. Carrigain. As the vista extends further to the right, peaks can be seen in the Twin Range, Franconia Range, as well as Mt. Moosilauke.
|Vista (L to R) includes peaks in Willey Range; Twin Range; Franconia Range; Mt. Moosilauke|
The next photo shows a WSW view. If you look closely, you can see the red roofs of the Lancaster fairgrounds complex. It’s adjacent to the large green field that is seen in the upper portion of the image.
|A WSW vista that included red roofs of Lancaster fairgrounds complex which is adjacent to large green field at upper portion of photo|
The final photo shows this massive cliff as seen from a point near its base. There are two things that should be mentioned here. One, I did not use a frontal assault to climb this cliff! I approached it from its backside. Secondly, this photo shows a lot of the cliff. HOWEVER, there is still a sizeable portion of the cliff that is hidden behind the trees in the foreground of the photo.
|Cliff as seen from a point near its base|
The map shown below provides very little detail, but perhaps it might be somewhat useful for orienting yourself as to the location of the cliff.
To sum it up, this was an interesting place to visit. If it were more accessible, then it would likely be a very popular destination.