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16 July 2016

A Surprise Along the Way to Mt. Parker (Bartlett, NH)


Mt. Parker is a 3,004 peak located along the southeastern edge of the Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness.  There are spectacular views from its open summit.  (Click HERE for more details about Mt. Parker, as contained in a document written by Steve Smith.)

Over the years, I've hiked to Mt. Parker several times.  In early July 2016, I opted to make a return visit by launching a hike at the trailhead in Bartlett, NH and then using the standard route involving the Mt. Langdon Trail and Mt. Parker Trail.  This round-trip trek is about 7.8 miles.

While en route to Mt. Parker, I made a pre-planned, off-trail exploration to a small ledge that I'd seen on Google Earth prior to my hike.  This ledge is located only a few hundred feet off the Mt. Parker Trail at about 0.3 mile SSE of the summit.  As I had hoped, there was a nice view from this little ledge.  BUT, much to my surprise, there was a pile of milled lumber on top of the ledge.  It was weathered and had obviously been there for quite some time.

I can find no record of any fire lookouts at this location.  And, since the ruins are situated high up on a very steep part of the mountain, it's doubtful that they are related to past logging operations.  I saw no lettering, etc on any of the boards that would provide a clue as to the nature of these weathered remains.

It’s difficult to image how this much lumber could be schlepped to such a remote spot.  It seems very unlikely that this material would have been airlifted to this location, but who knows!  I posted this trek on my Facebook page, and one of the respondents suggested that perhaps the lumber was transported to this spot during the winter months via snowmobiles.  This seems like a valid theory to me.

As to what type of structure might have been built from this material, I suppose it's anyone's guess.  Perhaps it was a cabin built by a group of outdoorsmen for some unknown purpose?
Google Earth image showing GPS location of ledge where pile of weathered lumber was found just a few hundred feet off the Mt. Parker Trail (yellow line).

1) Photos taken at the off-trail ledge where lumber was found:
Photo shows some of the milled lumber found atop a ledge located a few hundred feet off Mt. Parker Trail at about 0.3 mile SSE of the summit.
Photo shows the view from the ledge where the lumber was discovered.   Some of the peaks seen in the photo are: Mt. Chocorua (left of center on horizon); Bear Mountain (at center); and at far right are various peaks in Sandwich Range, such as Paugus, Passaconaway, Whiteface, Sleepers.
2) A Few Photos Taken from the Trail, and from Mt. Parker's Summit:

While on Mt. Parker, I waited and waited to see if Mt. Washington would come out of the clouds.  Finally, I could wait no longer, and so I snapped this photo.  At least there were still a few colorful blossoms remaining on the Rhodora to liven up the photo.
This is a slightly-zoomed snapshot taken from Mt. Parker that features Mt. Crawford (at CENTER), with the Willey Mountain Range looming at far RIGHT of photo.  The Twin Range if off to the LEFT of Mt. Crawford.
Just a few hundred feet to the west of Mt. Parker's summit is another viewing area from ledges that are reachable via a short (but somewhat thick) bushwhack.  Seen in this photo is the southward view from those ledges.   The photo shows peaks ranging from Mt. Chocorua (LEFT) to Mt. Bemis (RIGHT).
Seen along the Mt. Langdon Trail was this vibrant beauty which certainly grabbed my attention!  I'm told that it's called "Chicken of the Woods" mushroom.
Signage where trail enters Presidential Range-Dry River Wilderness
And lastly, just a few yards from the trailhead is the grave of Dr. Leonard M. Eudy who was born in my hometown of Bethlehem, NH on January 8, 1843, and attended school in Bethlehem through grade 12.  In 1865 Leonard Eudy entered Harvard University's medical schoolAnd, in 1870 he began his medical practice in Littleton, NH, and then moved to Bartlett, NH in 1871.  While practicing in Bartlett, an epidemic of smallpox broke out in a lumber camp in 1877.  Dr. Eudy assumed charge of the camp and established a shelter (known as a 'pest house' at the time) for treatment of those afflicted with the disease.  Within a few months, Dr. Eudy himself contracted smallpox and died at the age of 34 on November 28, 1877.
Grave site of Dr. Leonard M. Eudy located in Bartlett, NH near the trailhead for the Mt. Langdon Trail.



ADDENDUM (added 22-Oct-2016):

Further regarding the mysterious pile of lumber that I found slightly off-trail when doing the hike to Mt. Parker, a USFS staffer copied me on a document containing recollections of a USFS retiree who worked for the Forest Service during the 1960s.  It seems to indicate that this lumber could possibly have been there since 1963 when a Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar experienced a cargo-drop failure when delivering materials for construction of a backcountry shelter in the Dry River Wilderness.  It was estimated that only about 60% of the material was recovered.


One Day in America said...

Hi John,

I appreciated the inclusion in this post of the story about Dr. Eudy. It added a human dimension to this trail. What a sad story though.

The "chicken of the woods" mushroom photo is great! I saw this mushroom profiled on a Food Network show. I think it's supposed to be a delicacy?

And lastly, speaking of an added human dimension, how about that pile of lumber! Isn't it fun to discover mysteries while hiking? Perhaps it was a cabin built by hunters?

1HappyHiker said...

Rita, many thanks for your comments.

This hike, like so many hikes, had some pleasant surprises. I suppose that one could paraphrase the Forest Gump quote by slightly changing it to read: “hiking is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get!”

Regarding the “chicken of the woods” mushroom, yes I think it is edible. However, I’d personally be very hesitant to eat one unless I had it positively identified by someone who is skilled at identifying such things! :-)

Also, thanks for letting me know that you appreciated the bit about Dr. Eudy that was included at the end of this posting. If you and/or others want to read more about him, you can cut and paste the link below into your Internet browser.


Karl said...

Hi John,

Great post! I enjoyed it. The lumber is very cool! I'm hoping someone can shed some insight as to what would have brought lumbar like that to such a secluded location. It must feel great to sort of "report" the findings of his lumber before it's well known through the community. Very cool stuff.

I missed the grave site the other day when I was there hiking Cave Mountain. Where is it in proximity to the trailhead parking?


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Karl,

Thanks for reading my blog posting, and for taking time to post your comments.

Regarding Dr. Eudy’s grave site, it’s easy to miss unless you know it’s there. It’s located just a few steps off the east side of the trail, probably less than 200 feet from the trailhead. Actually, you can see the trailhead parking lot from the grave site.

And regarding my stumbling upon the ruins of whatever it was, that was certainly quite a surprise! :-)


Unknown said...

If anyone ever sees this comment the lumber is from a platform my dad built a long time ago, we looked at it and he aaid thats his old platform

1HappyHiker said...

Shea, thanks so much for solving this mystery! Must have been quite a feat to get all that lumber up there!