Mt Cabot in the rain

Hikes, NH48, TripReport , , , ,

A very nice trail loop hike up to Mt Cabot. This started early with roughly 3 hour drive. Kevin and I got an early start anticipating being on trail by about 0700. We followed the directions to the trail head from http://4000footers.com/cabot.shtml . Particularly this section:
“Drive 0.3 miles and turn left onto 2nd Ave. Drive 463 feet and take your second left onto Madigan Street. Drive 374 feet and take your 1st right onto 3rd Avenue. Drive 0.2 miles and continue onto Wight Street. Drive 0.5 miles and continue onto NH-110 W / W Milan Road.”
Sadly we followed it somewhat blindly and got mixed up. After a couple turnarounds and doubting our direction, we found our way back to RT 110. I suspect when this was first written, this was accurate, however, it is no longer needed and is vastly simplified. Suggestion, use your favorite GPS app to navigate to ‘Fish Hatchery Road, Milan, NH’
Our delay in routing turned out favorable. Just as we reached the gate to the fish hatchery, a gentleman pulled up to it in a pickup and opened it. We double checked with him and he directed us up the road to the trail head.
We reached the trail head at about 0715 and readied for our hike. The bugs were flying but not biting. Their population reduced by the drizzle. We expected a bit better weather, but prepared to get wet.
Starting up York Pond Trail was relatively flat through overgrown ferns. They held the rain on them quite efficiently. This wasn’t great, as we made our way through, the water collected on our legs/pants. We pushed on through and the ferns thinned out after we reached Bunnel Notch Trail and began to gain elevation.
The rain continued on and off throughout the trip. With the lush greenery and low cloud cover made this trek seem more like the Amazon than northern NH. Perhaps a weak analogy as it was about 50 degrees cooler than the Amazon 😉 .
We reached the junction of Kilkenny Ridge Trail in decent time even with puddle/mud dodging. The trail has a relatively mild grade and decent footing, except for some mud. As we gain more elevation, becomes more rocky but still decent footing. I can’t speak for the view from the lookout as we were socked in. I bet it’s an amazing scene of northern NH hills.
Not long after, the trail levels off and we are presented with an outhouse just off trail. Seems odd placement, but quickly reach the cabin. This is an older US Forest Service cabin no longer in service. It is small and certainly in need of a little TLC. The step stringers have severed from the porch and were just resting on top. There is no longer a stove inside for heat, but there is a healthy fire pit just outside. It appears as though some overnight campers bring hot rocks inside to radiate warmth during cold stays. We don’t stay long and press on for the actual summit of Mt Cabot, only a short distance from the cabin.
We reach the summit and snap a few photos and begin our descent down the other side of the loop. It is a slightly steeper descent, but still decent footing and we make quick work of it. The photos do not do the green forest floor justice. A quick bump up The Bulge which has a small dilapidated cairn. We blow by on our way to the next stop. We bounce up the spur trail to The Horn. This is another highlight on this loop which is supposed to have beautiful views. Again we missed out on the views due to weather. We still appreciated the mildly challenging scramble to get up to the actual summit pin.
We bounced back down the spur trail and rested a bit and chowed some grub. Continuing down the Kilkenny Ridge Trail, we march on to the Unknown Pond. We’ve been there, it’s now known.
Again this site is supposed to be filled with a certain beauty and again we’ve missed out. Contrary to my comments, I really don’t mind missing the sunlit views. I do enjoy the hikes in less than stellar weather as they offer a different appeal.
At the pond we hear a couple voices… our first siting of other humans.. after about 8 miles of hiking. The weather kept the crowds away. It was a nice couple just bouncing up from Mill Brook Road. They were also enjoying the ponds edge.
Just beyond the pond are the designated campsites. They seem well used, even though this is a bit remote. They were spacious and level.
We started down the final trail, aptly named, Unknown Pond Trail. This is a 3.3 mile stretch back to the parking. This was a nice trail, much our descent is completed. Only about a tenth from the site we see our second couple of folks. They were packing in to the camp site for the night. They asked how much further and questioned how the other trails were. They were wondering as they just walked through miles of wet ferns, too. Apparently the only way in, either way, is through soaking ferns. All 4 of us shared in that misery.
We parted and marched on…down through the ferns. The trail was very wet and muddy at times as it followed the outlet from the pond. The stream ran along the trail pretty much the whole way keeping the vegetation lush. We pushed on with out feet squishing at each step from our thoroughly soaked pants/legs which dripped down to our socks and into our shoes.
We made it out to the other lot, as expected, and bounced up the road ~.1mi to our car. After a welcome change of clothes and footwear we were on our way home. All in all this is an enjoyable loop hike with mild elevation changes and good footing.

Map of the loop from http://www.wmgonline.org
Map of the loop from http://www.wmgonline.org
This shows just a taste of the ferns. The lower sections of these trails were lined with overgrown ferns covered in rain drops. Soaked us from the waist down and into our shoes.
This shows just a taste of the ferns. The lower sections of these trails were lined with overgrown ferns covered in rain drops. Soaked us from the waist down and into our shoes.
Kevin navigating stream crossing. This lush trail left most rocks slick with moss.
Kevin navigating stream crossing. This lush trail left most rocks slick with moss.
After most of the ferns, this the start of the elevation.
After most of the ferns, this the start of the elevation.
A seamingly random trail sign as there didn't appear to be a junction and the trial was well cut.
A seamingly random trail sign as there didn’t appear to be a junction and the trial was well cut.
We found the rainforest! In NH.. huh?
We found the rainforest! In NH.. huh?
Covered 3miles, couple more to go to the goal. Puddles and mud scattered about the trail.
Covered 3miles, couple more to go to the goal. Puddles and mud scattered about the trail.
Newer sign amidst the aging forest.
Newer sign amidst the aging forest.
Oh no.. more ferns!! I was just drying out.
Oh no.. more ferns!! I was just drying out.
Suck it up, rain from above, ferns below ensuring a saturated day.
Suck it up, rain from above, ferns below ensuring a saturated day.
Making our way up. Gaining elevation at a decent rate now.
Making our way up. Gaining elevation at a decent rate now.
Nice, let's break up the elevation gain, the rain and ferns with a beautiful view...
Nice, let’s break up the elevation gain, the rain and ferns with a beautiful view…
...um, lovely view?? I can only imagine.
…um, lovely view?? I can only imagine.
I hope we're nearing the cabin. Otherwise this outhouse is out of place.
I hope we’re nearing the cabin. Otherwise this outhouse is out of place.
Some debris scattered from the when the cabin was in full use. I think this is the old iron stove.
Some debris scattered from the when the cabin was in full use. I think this is the old iron stove.
Ah nearing the summit...
Ah nearing the summit…
... but not before reaching the cabin.
… but not before reaching the cabin.
At the cabin, sadly falling apart. (The cabin, not us) The stair stringers are resting on 'top' of the porch.
At the cabin, sadly falling apart. (The cabin, not us) The stair stringers are resting on ‘top’ of the porch.
It's a very quaint looking cabin near the summit.
It’s a very quaint looking cabin near the summit.
Looks smaller from the inside. Ok, it looks small from the outside too, lol. Small table lined with sheet metal, likely for cook stoves/protection. The wood stove removed years ago.
Looks smaller from the inside. Ok, it looks small from the outside too, lol. Small table lined with sheet metal, likely for cook stoves/protection. The wood stove removed years ago.
Meager sleeping quarters. A pair of bunks at the back,
Meager sleeping quarters. A pair of bunks at the back,
Kevin posing, providing scale for this humble abode.
Kevin posing, providing scale for this humble abode.
Kevin says back into the Sherwood forest.
Kevin says back into the Sherwood forest.
Kevin checking the summit elevation on his phone
Kevin checking the summit elevation on his phone
Yay! the summit. Wait, that trail leads to a bump higher than we stand. hmmm? Oh well, the sign is here.
Yay! the summit. Wait, that trail leads to a bump higher than we stand. hmmm? Oh well, the sign is here.
Very lush vegitation around the summit. At 4170', seems very green.
Very lush vegitation around the summit. At 4170′, seems very green.
Kevin snapping a selfie
Kevin snapping a selfie
And we make our descent down the other side of this loop. Still quite green and mossy and wet.
And we make our descent down the other side of this loop. Still quite green and mossy and wet.
Damn ferns! Go away, I don't want to play with you today.
Damn ferns! Go away, I don’t want to play with you today.
The Bulge. Very anticlimactic summit of this bump along the trail.
The Bulge. Very anticlimactic summit of this bump along the trail.
Junction of the spur trail to The Horn. Another summit to grab on this loop hike.
Junction of the spur trail to The Horn. Another summit to grab on this loop hike.
A short .3mi goes by quickly.
A short .3mi goes by quickly.
Large rock is the summit. Requires a little negotiating to get up.
Large rock is the summit. Requires a little negotiating to get up.
Kevin at the summit pin. So shiny on the rock surface. If only Kevin would move so we could admire the amzing views.. just messin' ;-)
Kevin at the summit pin. So shiny on the rock surface. If only Kevin would move so we could admire the amzing views.. just messin’ 😉
The pin at the summit of The Horn
The pin at the summit of The Horn
Back down the spur trail and making our way on the Kilkenny Ridge Trail.
Back down the spur trail and making our way on the Kilkenny Ridge Trail.
This loop had quite a variety of trail surfaces.
This loop had quite a variety of trail surfaces.
Kevin making tracks toward the Unknown Pond
Kevin making tracks toward the Unknown Pond
Frequent misuse of the shoreline has damaged the ecosystem. Hopefully this helps rejuvenate it.
Frequent misuse of the shoreline has damaged the ecosystem. Hopefully this helps rejuvenate it.
A peek from the shore, still heavy cloud/fog cover.
A peek from the shore, still heavy cloud/fog cover.
Lillypads, tree reflections, and a rockgator fill this scene.
Lillypads, tree reflections, and a rockgator fill this scene.
I bet this is beautiful on a clear day.
I bet this is beautiful on a clear day.
On an dank overcast day like this, makes it feel like a campy(excused the pun) horror movie scene.
On an dank overcast day like this, makes it feel like a campy(excused the pun) horror movie scene.
More signage along the trail so we don't get lost.
More signage along the trail so we don’t get lost.
And more signs
And more signs
We've come 2.8mi from the summit.
We’ve come 2.8mi from the summit.
The home stretch.. 3.3 miles back to the lot.
The home stretch.. 3.3 miles back to the lot.
A quick peek at the campsites
A quick peek at the campsites
Decently level and spacious sites.
Decently level and spacious sites.
Ugh, ferns.. My pants were just drying out again.
Ugh, ferns.. My pants were just drying out again.
A different kind of beauty when the clouds sit on the field.
A different kind of beauty when the clouds sit on the field.
Northern NH, not the Amazon.
Northern NH, not the Amazon.
Flowers adding their color to the mass of green
Flowers adding their color to the mass of green
Thoroughly soaked through by this point from the overgrowth and rain.
Thoroughly soaked through by this point from the overgrowth and rain.
The trail runs along a stream which grows to a river.
The trail runs along a stream which grows to a river.
Squish Squish Squish. Each step sloshes the water in my shoes. The ferns soaked my hiking pants, which contacted my socks which drain down 'into' my shoes. Can't wait for footwear change at the car.
Squish Squish Squish. Each step sloshes the water in my shoes. The ferns soaked my hiking pants, which contacted my socks which drain down ‘into’ my shoes. Can’t wait for footwear change at the car.
Ah, the end. Aside from the aboundance of moisture on this trip, the trails really are beautiful remote forest.
Ah, the end. Aside from the aboundance of moisture on this trip, the trails really are beautiful remote forest.
Not a difficult loop hike of about 11.5 miles, I enjoyed every step with great company.
Not a difficult loop hike of about 11.5 miles, I enjoyed every step with great company.
Decent stats.
Decent stats.

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