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 Plans made,plans changed.....then changed again. 
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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 Plans made,plans changed.....then changed again.
I waited with eagerness Tuesday morning for the projected forcast for this Sunday. The weather was shaping up to be a wonderful example of great New England weather. But the weather Gods decided they were the ones in charge, and the weathermen proved once again they have feet firmly placed in mouth, and their heads permanently stuck up their arses. The forecast turned more and more dreadful as the weekend neared until it got to the point when it seemed every weather site had their own version of what the weather woul be. But one constant seemed to ring through, and it was that the rain that was forecasted was supposed to come some time after 2pm. Yeah....right :roll: .

Now, the origional plan I formed on Tuesday was to head into Pinkham notch and do some sort of loop on Washington. The main idea was not so much to summit the Rockpile,but to explore some of the trails on that side since I have only explored the Presis from the west. I figured Boot Spur over to Slide Peak and Glen Boulder, or maybe take Lion's Head into the Alpine Garden and down Nelson Crag. But with the "good"weather window narrowing, and the fact I had been into Pinkham A LOT lately (its not so much I was fed up with Pinkham.....I mean, c'mon, Its Pinkham!!!.....but rather the loooong drive that was annoying me) I decided to change the origional plan. So what to do? With the "window" time frame I figured this might be a good time to do Moosilauke again and try and get some views that we were deprived the first time. I figured a shorter drive and an earlier start time would mean we summit during the Prime time and be down before the rain potential increased. Yeah......Right. :roll:

So there Jen and I found ourselves driving down 93 in varying degrees of rain intensity. Hmmm....no substantial rain was forecasted, so this was odd. We took exit 26 and headed up 25 on the "Moosilauke Highway" (which I see has the potential to be a lovely drive in nice weather) under yet MORE rain. We pulled into the trailhead parking lot for the Glencliff trail, the rain spattering the roof. We sat in annoyed silence for 20 minutes waiting for the rain to let up.....but it just kept coming down. DAMN. No way was I going to hike the Moose to get goose egged yet again! So I pulled out the New Hampshire Atlas and Gazateer and started looking at what else was around the area. I took out my WMNF Guide Book and zoned in on three possibilities. One was the Chippewa Trail, but there was a few sentances about beaver activity, bushwack around, and views near the top....nah, save that one. Then there was the Blueberry Mountain Trail...but again,views to be had. Plus, it was a bit shorter than I really wanted (we could have come in from the west, but apparently that side is little used, and even though it is written "though the treadway is apparent to experienced hikers", I knew it meant lots of foliage rubbing and brushing on us)....yup, save that one too.

So that left one last choice.......Cooley Hill. Huh, whats that? You know Cooley.....C-O-O-L-E-Y....aww c'mon. Alright, Ill admit most people on here will probably never have heard of Cooley Hill and its trail, the Jericho Rd. Trail. But it was a name familiar to me. When work gets slow I can sit there for hours with my Atlas and Gazateer opened up to the White Mountain region. So I stare a places and names and get to wondering some times. Jericho Rd. has been on my radar for about a year now. Today we would see it for ourselves.

Why is Cooley a not so popular destination? Well, for one its tucked up in the far Western shadows of the Cannon/Kinsmans, and always playing second.....ok maybe 5th......string to Moosilauke. Add to the fact that it is a viewless peak, its firetower long since removed, and its elevation of 2480' keeps it well away from any list. Another thing possibly going against it is that the guide book lists the trail as following old logging roads for its entierty. Lets face it, logging roads can be down right ugly, many serving as a simple utilitarian bridge between more interesting sections of trail. But, as I would find, a logging road can be every bit as interesting as a regular cut trail.

Jen and I parked to the side of the gate to the main loggin road that connected 116 to the trailhead proper (taking care to not block the gate as signs indicated.) The mosquitoes were out in ultra full force, swarming like squadron of jet fighters. It was still drizzling out, so I decided to put on my rain gear. It was not raining hard enough to soak me, but I figured I was getting wet one way or another (sweat or rain....take your pick) but at least the rain gear would create a barier against the skeeters. We set off at about 9:00......considering we arrived at the Glencliff trail about 7:45, the wait and then the drive over.....this semed not too bad. We warmed up quickly as the rain gear kept in the heat, but the skeeters swarmed harmlessly around with no way to penetrate. After .1 miles on the "superhighway" of logging roads we found ourselves directed by a sign onto the start of the trail.

The Guide book says that the logging roads are of varying ages. We found this to be quite true as the start of the trail was reminiscent of a "real" trail....not overgrown, but not large enough anymore for a logging vehicle to pass. The woods were damp, but the green was vibrant and wonderful, making for a pleasant amble along a well defined footway. We found that we were not the only hikers out on this today....though we were the only human ones. We continually came across bright orange salamanders as they basked in the morning dampness. Apparently these little guys are not aware of the proper trail ettiquet, but we did not complain and allowed them to pass along even though we had the right of way :lol: . Also out fairly recently was a decent sized moose (judging from the prints) and the odd deer.

This area looks to be continuously hit by heavy winds judging by the many blowdowns of varying ages that had been cleared. The trail crews did a real good job down low, but we would find they only went so far recently. When we turned at a signed marker we almost instantlycame upon the mother of all blowdowns. We had to skip around it only to eventually come across yet more. It was crazy. As we turned a bend in the trail a white cross, made of some kind of waterproof paper, was set squarely on the ground and makred by some flagging tape. I have seen some wierd things in the woods....but this has to be the oddest. We had NO CLUE what this possibly could have been. After pondering it for a few minutes we gave up and continued on.......only to be promptly stopped by another blowdown. This one was so severly bad we had to do a rather sunbstantial bushwack around it, eventually picking the trail back up.

If you love green, this trail is for you. I can't describe how vibrant and alive the woods looked! In fact, the woods were actually, truely alive.......well, maybe not exactly the woods. You see, we heard this rather odd squeaking that I at first thought was a rabbit. But to my surprise I saw a Grouse doing an odd dance just off the trail. When it spotted us it moved up a bit, then crossed the trail over to the other side, stopping just long enough for a photo op. But like Paris Hilton off to a hot party the little guy was gone in a full out run, squeaking as it went. Not more than 500 feet further along we crossed paths with another grouse, this one in a tree and bursting forth in typical fashion.

At the 3.3 mile mark we came upon the summit, marked by the remains of its long gone tower. Jen and I sat down and ate lunch as the skeeters still made their best effort to swarm down on us. When we could take it no longer the two of us packed up and started down. We moved along quickly, returning the 3.3 miles back with relative ease (save for the blowdown spots.) The trails end came under clearing skies and the sun appearing. Time? It was now 1:45.......so much for those rain showers that were coming after 2 :roll: . But I am not mad. The reason is, we got to drive through Kinsman Notch in beautiful sunny weather. If you have not driven through Kinsman Notch before, then I highly suggest you take the time out some day. It was MAGNIFICENT! One of the nicer Notch drives.

So here I write this, it is now 6:00. The sun is shining bright outside, light clouds.........and no rain. Yup, weather dudes suck! :roll:

B.


Sun Jun 10, 2007 6:01 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Brian --

Route 116 in that neck of the woods is very pretty -- in particular in the winter, after a nice snowfall and right after the plows have gone through the area.

By the way, regarding the "red salamanders" -- did you get any pictures of them?

They were probably Red Efts, the immature (post-larval) stage of the Red-Spotted Newt. Efts are really pretty, and their red/orange skin is dry and rough (but not scaly).

Sounds like a nice hike.


Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:07 pm
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Peak Bagger
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 Re: Plans made,plans changed.....then changed again.
New Hampshire wrote:

So there Jen and I found ourselves driving down 93 in varying degrees of rain intensity. Hmmm....no substantial rain was forecasted, so this was odd. We took exit 26 and headed up 25 on the "Moosilauke Highway" (which I see has the potential to be a lovely drive in nice weather) under yet MORE rain. We pulled into the trailhead parking lot for the Glencliff trail, the rain spattering the roof. We sat in annoyed silence for 20 minutes waiting for the rain to let up.....but it just kept coming down. DAMN.

B.

I cant help it :lol: :lol:
Serious consideration should be given to changing over to Hikes with Clouds :wink:

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Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:31 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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barkingcat wrote:
By the way, regarding the "red salamanders" -- did you get any pictures of them?

They were probably Red Efts, the immature (post-larval) stage of the Red-Spotted Newt. Efts are really pretty, and their red/orange skin is dry and rough (but not scaly).


Yes, they were newts. Salamanders/newts, its all the same to me :lol: . I did get pictures, but the desktop computer is in with the Geek Squad and I don't have the proper cable to download the camera to the laptop.

Erin, don'tyou go and be giving Jim any ideas. I'm betting he is already a bit miffed about the Happy Birthday thread on ROT where I got everyone calling him Jimmy (he HATES that :twisted: ). Its his own fault. The minute he said the words "I hate it" then he should have known he was doomed! I'll change my name to Hikes-with-clouds if Jimmy cahnges his to Speaks-french-but-can-not-read-it. :P

B.


Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:36 pm
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Brian,
You be nice to to Jim or I will give him more ideas. :P
Sounds like you did have a good time anyways and that is all that matters.

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Trail stewardship doesn't involve turning hiking trails into paved walkways....


Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:53 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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I will say it did make for a great rain day hike. The greens were awesome! And with no view to be obscured at least I was not upset at the "what could be". I am interested now in hiking some of the more obscure trails over there. The Cobble trail seems to be bland from its description in the guide book, yet I found a little gem in the wording. According to the guide book you can access on old road from the Cobble trail that brings you to abandoned farms.....VERY interesting!

B.


Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:04 pm
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