Peaks: Cabot (4170', NH4K), The Bulge (3950', NEHH), The Horn (3905', NEHH), Rogers Ledge (2940')
Mileage: 16.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 4450'
Book Time: 10hr 25min (actual 9hr)
Wow, I've gotten way behind on trip reports. It's gotten to be something I put off, instead of doing right away as I used to. Point in case, this trip was nearly 3 months ago now. But, I'll try to fill back in with the unique routes. This one certainly fills that checkbox. The last couple of years, I've greatly enjoyed taking new/different routes to the "same old" peaks on the New Hampshire 4000-Footer list as I work towards "the grid" (doing each peak in each calendar month of the year). For this hike, Ian and I discussed cleaning up some mutual un-hiked-by-us trails way up in the Northern woods of the Kilkenny Range.
We met early at the South Pond recreational area in Stark, NH. The gate officially does not open until 10am, but it was wide open when we got there a bit after 8, which meant the added bonus of not needing to road-walk the 1-mile walk at the end of the hike (the gate wasn't to close until 8PM, which we should have been able to get out before). Leaving a car there, we headed over to the Berlin Fish Hatchery and the York Pond Trailhead.
The first part of this hike was pretty standard: we headed via the most direct route up to Mount Cabot via a gradual climb to Bunnell Notch, a brief descent, and then the main climb up to Cabot Cabin. Along the way, we ran into Jim, a fellow I've hiked with a couple times before, and Holly, Steve, and their canine friend Kibo, whom we've run into and even hiked with in the past as well. Also, shortly before Cabot Cabin, the trees were covered in a thin coating of snow/rime ice, as the weather was fairly cold on this day.
|Views from Bunnell Rock en-route to Cabot|
|Frosty trees atop Mt. Waumbek to the South|
|Color in the valley towards Lancaster, NH|
|Nearing Cabot Cabin|
|View from Cabot Cabin's porch. I've never had clear enough skies to see anything from here before.|
|More color in the valley as viewed from the old fire tower clearing (NOT THE SUMMIT!)|
|The Cabot Spring. Just a still puddle of water honestly.|
|There historically has been a stick sign on the back of a tree at the true highpoint on Cabot a few yards off-trail. Last fall, someone took it down, leaving just one of the screws that held it.|
|The trail signs on Cabot have been recently replaced (the old ones were all but unreadable). In the process, they dropped 60 feet off the elevation of this peak (old sign used to read 4180', and the AMC lists it at 4170').|
|Marlie is unimpressed with the summit of The Bulge.|
|The Northern Presis from The Horn|
|A crowd atop the rocky summit of The Horn|
|Nice color in the valleys this weekend!|
|Cabot (C), and The Bulge (R)|
|The un-trailed Pilot Range stretching West.|
|The Horn from Unknown Pond|
|We continue North towards Rogers Ledge|
|Awesome birch glade woods as we travel around the trail-less summit of "Unknown Pond Peak".|
|Bridge crossing of Kilback Pond|
|View of Rogers Ledge from Kilback Pond|
|Woods behind the Rogers Ledge Campsite|
|Northern Presis from Rogers Ledge|
|Marlie on Rogers Ledge|
|View South towards The Horn, Cabot, the Pilot Range, etc.|
|Mahoosuc Range, Carters, and Presidential Range|
|Looking straight down Rogers Ledge|
|The color was again very nice in this valley below the Pilot Range|
When we neared South Pond, we took the spur over to the Devil's Hopyard. Both of us were expecting something akin to Mahoosuc Notch, but on a smaller and shorter scale. In reality, what it was was a cool gorge with tall walls and water running underneath, but it was less interesting than we wanted it to be. Also, the White Mountain Guide hinted at a waterfall waiting at the end of the trail, but we continued a ways past a "end of trail" sign up a steep, rocky, and slippery stretch with many holes in the rocks before finally giving up on the waterfall in the interest of safety and saving the last minutes of daylight. Perhaps we will return another day just to explore this area, as it is only a little over a mile from the South Pond parking lot.
|Kilkenny/Stark town line|
|Old woods road walking on the Northern-most stretch of the Kilkenny Ridge Trail|
|Entering Devil's Hopyard|
|These trees growing along the ledgy walls were pretty neat.|
|Views from South Pond|
|Geese at South Pond.|