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18 April 2016

Unconventional Loop Hike: Middle and Peaked Mountain (North Conway, NH)

In mid-April 2016,  I decided to make a routine hike a little less routine by incorporating a one-mile off-trail segment into the loop involving Middle and Peaked Mountain at the Green Hills Preserve in North Conway, NH.  (As of the time this report was written, information about the Preserve could be obtained by clicking HERE.)

From the trailhead on Thompson Road, I hiked the Middle Mountain Trail to a point just beyond the junction with the Black Cap Connector Trail.  I then left the trail to fulfill my goal of bushwhacking up the ridge leading to Middle Mountain, rather than continuing on the trail leading to this mountaintop.  The impetus for the bushwhack was provided by Google Earth imagery which showed that my intended route would include open ledges that had potential for extensive views.

Seen below is a map which shows the entire route for the loop hike I did.   According to AMC White Mountain Guide online software, 5.4 miles is the distance for the conventional on-trail route for this loop.  Whereas, the loop I did was 5.0 miles.

The bushwhack route along the ridge leading to Middle Mountain did indeed result in some nice views, including this one that features snow-capped Mt. Washington and other peaks in Presidential Range, off in the distance.

The bushwhack route also provided the extensive vista seen in the next photo. The view stretches from Mt. Chocorua (at left) to Wildcat Mountain (at right).

Only rarely was there a need to "whack any bushes" along the bushwhack route leading to Middle Mountain.  It was easy-going through terrain such as shown in this photo collage.

The next photo shows a ledge just below the summit of Middle Mountain.  There are pleasant views from this ledge, but less extensive than the views along the bushwhack route.

The final approach to the top of Peaked Mountain is shown in the next photo.  There are pleasant views from this mountaintop and its nearby ledges, but again, less extensive than the views along the bushwhack route.

To wrap up this brief report, presented below is another off-trail vista that includes the Presidential Range.  This photo was taken from a spot located just a few hundred feet off the Peaked Mountain Trail at a point about 0.1 mile north of the junction with the Middle Mountain Connector Trail.


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4 comments:

  1. That is a nice loop. I remember looking down from Middle thinking that would be a nice bushwhack out. Your post inspired me to dig up an old trip report with my infant son:

    http://adventurewithalex.com/2012/08/06/middle-mountain-and-peaked-mountain

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog posting, David! Also thanks for sharing the very nice trip report you posted to adventurewithalex.com.

      You mentioned looking down from Middle Mountain and thinking that the route I took up the ridge would be a nice bushwhack out. Although the route is indeed nice with mainly open woods, there are a few steep spots with exposed rock that looked like they could be slippery during most seasons of the year. And because of that, my personal preference would be to use the bushwhack route only for ascending. “Slippery” down always seems worse to me than “slippery” up! :-)

      John

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  2. John, you do seem to enjoy excellent conditions on many of your bushwhacks. Unfortunately I've had some bad experiences with impenetrable vegetation and downed trees!
    I was visiting family on the east coast last week and our weather was picture-perfect. Looks like you had the same great weather in NH!

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    1. Rita, regarding the conditions that I experience on my bushwhacks, I try to reduce the “unexpected” by reading reports from others who have previously bushwhacked at my intended target. Also Google Earth can sometimes provide clues as to what type of trees and vegetation you might experience along your bushwhack route.

      And yes, we have indeed been experiencing an exceptionally long spell of wonderful weather here in NH during the month of April. Am delighted to learn that you had “picture-perfect” weather for your recent family visit on the east coast.

      John

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