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 Mt Cabot via Mt Cabot Trail 1/13/07 
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 Mt Cabot via Mt Cabot Trail 1/13/07
There’s been a lot of controversy about the Mount Cabot Trail and a dispute with the land owner about the use of the trail. The AMC guide mentions this too and so when Quint and I did Mt Cabot in October, we started from the fish hatchery which adds several miles of driving to get to the trailhead not to mention the problems of missing a turn due to construction (DOH!).
Wild Peaks (Tom) and I had hopes of picking off Madison and Adams today if the weather cooperated in order to whittle down his winter 48 list to single digits remaining. When we finally made it near Twin Mountain in the rain we decided the conditions were too questionable to hit the northern Presidentials and peeled off on 115A to Mt Cabot.
The trailhead is not too hard to find but you do need directions. Steve Smiths book gives great directions and we were soon parking the car in a small area near Heaths Gate. The area holds about 4 cars on one side of the road and about 3 on the opposite. Just be careful not to continue on as it’s another property owner’s driveway. This is easier said than done as Heaths Gate is not marked, just be aware that there is a small wood working shop to the left of the gate.
I will also say that we did meet another hiker, Wolfgang, who had parked next to us and when we finally met on the trail, neither of us could figure out the dispute. No one came out and said anything or chased us away with guns but I would use caution and good judgment just to be safe (and please keep the area clean, no sense upsetting the owner with things hikers can control).
There are not many signs along the logging road you start out on but there was 1 high on a pole near the intersection of 3 logging roads (take the one straight in front of you).
From here the logging road gradually turns into a trail that is not well marked this low. It was very muddy in sections and blow downs were frequent but I found the conditions very similar on the Bunnell Trail this past October.
There wasn’t any snow down low but about the 3K mark we found the snow line and eventually walked in winter. It isn’t until about 1 ½ miles in that we started noticing the yellow blazes.
The sun hadn’t come out yet but it wasn’t cold (36 at the trailhead) and there were minimal winds.
Soon we were in a couple of inches of snow and the trail did get a little icy. Stabilicers would be perfect, crampons were overkill but we decided to bare boot it to the cabin and decide from there if we needed to change footwear. We had made several layering changes along the way, starting out in a heavy poly pro shirts but eventually putting on lightweight jackets. It was like we had gone through 3 different zones….Fall, then early winter, and now middle of winter.
We hit the cabin and decided to continue the 2 tenths to the summit before returning to the cabin for lunch.
The summit is wooded but it was still a time to celebrate as it was Tom’s 38th winter peak, and my 14th, plus this is one of the mountains a lot of people avoid to last so it was nice to hit this summit on a calm leisurely day and to cross it off both our lists.
Back at the cabin we met several other hikers, some of which were spending the night. We chatted, ate lunch, and helped warm the cabin to a balmy 26 degrees before we decided to head back down. Of course the sun had come out by now and the views along the small outcrop near the cabin were spectacular! We just talked and walked back to the car taking our time to enjoy the day. Soon enough we were back at the car and admiring how beautiful and clear the northern Presidentials were.
After avoiding this hill for so long (saving it for #47 on my all season 48), I can say that both times I’ve done this one have been great days.
Keep that in mind, it’s the company you go with that can make or break a hike and I’ve been very fortunate to always have great company on my hikes.

Pics are posted just click on the link below and Cabot should pop up, but please feel free to check out any of the other albums.

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Mon Jan 15, 2007 9:50 am
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Congrats to you and Tom for tagging two more.

All I have gathered from VFTT about the big dispute is that it is mainly the landowner in question had a problem with snowmobile right of ways, but has moved his wrath on to hikers. And its not the landowner at the trailhead who is in question, but rather another whos land you pass through shortly after starting out. Plus it seems running in to him is hit or miss for many people...some day he is out there, sometimes not. My guess now that the heavy hiking season is over he would not be out in the cold looking for the odd person walking by. I wonder how serious he takes it all anyways since I don;t remember seeing a single "No Trespassin" sign anywheres. This situation is just plain wierd, and some ignore the potential threat, some are super jittery about it (and with rumors of "shotgun toting" running around the net its no wonder.) Honestly, I think if you were to meet the guy he would assess your attitude and knowledge of the "problem" and either tell ya to get the hell out or, more probably, just tell you nicely to turn around or continue depending on how you treat him.

I think the reason most people frown a bit on Cabot is mostly because its pretty much the longest drive to any trailhead in the Whites. I was grumbling last week when I had to get up at 4:30am to drive to Pinkham notch for a 9:00am start. Cabots trailhead (well, assuming one does not use the Mount Cabot trail that is) is another 45 minutes to an hour longer!

Soooooo............what was this new piece of gear I was piqued about??? Not un-bendable titanium tent poles is it!? :lol: :wink:

B.


Mon Jan 15, 2007 6:13 pm
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If I'm out hiking and someone points a shotgun in my face that person is going to have a serious problem. It's clear to me that the property lines are blurred at best, so how are you suppose to know you are tresspassing? Thanks for painting a good picture on where to park Puck. I'll be hitting this peak soon.


Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:46 pm
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