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 Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016 
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
I opted to stay south of the notches today, and as I headed up I-89, I decided to hike good 'ole Mt. Kearsarge, but via a route new to me- the Lincoln Trail from Kearsarge Valley Rd; this trail is part of the 75 mile Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway. I had hiked the upper 0.4 mile of the Lincoln Trail before, but never set foot on the other 4.2 miles. Left the house at 7:40 AM, got there a little under an hour later. Owing to its low starting elevation and its trailhead being far from the summit, the full trail is 4.6 miles one-way with 2,200 ft. of elevation gain (rev. 100 ft). Hit the trail around 8:50 AM.

The trail started out at an easy grade through some hemlock(?) woods, passing through a boulder field early on. After about 15 min, I came to a junction with an old snowmobile trail, which was closed to snowmobiles but open to hikers. I turned left here and followed the trail for about a mile or so, passing by some clearings and over a couple bridges. Shortly after going by a large clearing with some sand pits, the trail veered left into the woods onto a narrower corridor. It then dipped down into a sag and then made a relatively easy climb to a wooded knob, where a 0.15 mile side trail to a viewpoint called Baker's Ledge diverged left. I said what the heck and made the 0.3 mile diversion. Dropped down about 50-100' vertical to the ledge, which was complete with a big American flag and a good view toward Mt. Sunapee. Spent a few minutes here and then continued to Kearsarge.

From the wooded knoll, the trail descended briefly through a clearcut and then ascended moderately up the side of Black Mountain (sub peak of Kearsarge), with some PUDs thrown in for good measure. There were also some nice yellow birch glades. There were also a few really steep pitches, but they were short, and the going wasn't too bad. After 4.2 miles and 2 hours of hiking, I came to a side path to the Rollins State Park parking area, then took the path to the lot and ate some snacks there. 10 min. later, I headed up the Rollins Trail. Decided to take that to the top rather than the Lincoln Trail partly due to easier grades/footing and mostly to tack on 0.4 mi of extra distance.

The Rollins Trail had easy grades almost all the way to the top, with neat spruce woods and some scenic outlooks along the way. I can see why this route is so well-liked; it's an excellent bang for your buck hike. Near the top, I passed the upper end of the Lincoln Trail, and then I made a short, steep climb to the open summit. Very overcast, but great views in all directions. Mounts Moosilauke, Smarts, Cardigan, Ragged, Sunapee, Monadnock, Killington, Bromley, ect. were all visible. I got my customary summit clip/pics, then headed to the tucked-away picnic table for lunch. After about 15 or so min, I headed back down the way I came.

Not a commonly used route to Kearsarge, but I might as well have climbed a 4K, since the stats were equivalent to many 4K climbs. It wasn't an incredibly scenic hike, but it was a nice, long, lush, mellow walk in the woods to a superb summit. Roundtrip distance was 10 miles with 2,400 ft. of elevation gain, and it took 4 hours 55 minutes not including breaks.

Here's the video recap: https://youtu.be/S3W5djD6sNU

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:03 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
hiker0200 wrote:
It wasn't an incredibly scenic hike, but it was a nice, long, lush, mellow walk in the woods


Ya gotta have days like this Spence. :)

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Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:34 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
hiker0200 wrote:
it took 4 hours 55 minutes not including breaks.


Mellow is right, that's a slow day by your standards! :D

I have only hiked Kearsarge by doing the loop up Rollins and back to the lot on Lincoln with the kiddos, but that stretch of Lincoln from the lot to the top is one rugged little bit of trail. Could have been interesting if icy. Sounds like it could make a really nice spring hike when the bigger peaks up north are in full on shoulder season though. I will have to return and find out then. Maybe add on the trails in Winslow State Park too.

Surprised the weather was so crappy too. We took the girls out around Adams Point today in Durham and it was blue sky and 55 degrees. Crazy.


Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:23 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
I gotta say, I never really realized just how massive of a mountain Kearsarge is until I took this 10 mile approach to it. Much bigger than one might think by taking the shorter trails from Winslow or Rollins SP. In fact, if I had no idea what its elevation was whatsoever, I'd swear it was a 4K.

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Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:08 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
It sure stands out from many places in NH you wouldn't really expect to see it. I'm sure you know it's on the 50 Finest. Hard to make that list without being fairly massive I'd think, although I'm not familiar with all of those peaks.


Tue Feb 02, 2016 6:48 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
Granite Guy wrote:
It sure stands out from many places in NH you wouldn't really expect to see it. I'm sure you know it's on the 50 Finest. Hard to make that list without being fairly massive I'd think, although I'm not familiar with all of those peaks.


Mount Monadnock may be higher in elevation, but Kearsarge seems to be bigger in terms of area and scope. Better views too- not just views of flat nothing :wink: . I might come back in summer/early fall and see what it looks like with leaves and color 8) .

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Tue Feb 02, 2016 8:17 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
It's nice in the fall. We were there about 9 years ago.


Tue Feb 02, 2016 9:18 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
Thank you for the great report. :) Sounds like a tough hike! It's on the 52 with a View list as well!


Wed Feb 03, 2016 9:54 am
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
We have only done the Winslow and the Rollins trails to get to the top. I think we'll put this approach on the back burner for now. :wink:

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Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:25 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
I'm convinced I'm the only one who hasn't hiked this... and with impending snow tonight, this weekend might be a good time to get up there and finally get 'er done.

Please note that this next question makes me cringe to even ask, but is there cell phone coverage on the mountain? I hate nothing more than to come across people yakking on their phones in the wilderness, but I'm on call for work this weekend and have to be reachable.

Thanks for the report. I needed the reminder to do this mountain.

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Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:47 am
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
I know my wife had service because she facebooked a summit photo of the kids (we have ATT). I-89 runs nearby too so it should have service in the area. And there's a huge tower up there. I don't know if it's a cell tower or not.

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Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:57 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
There's at least a couple providers with antennas at the top, Verizon is not one of them. Their tower is in Davisville (around exit 7), but I'm shadowed a bit by hills and still get a couple bars. If you have Verizon, the only time you might not have service is near the bottom as I'm not sure where the next tower on the north side is, but I can say in general their coverage is very good in the area. If you have someone else, chances are you'll be using the tower on the summit and won't have an issue.

I've hiked the Lincoln Trail a couple times to make Kearsarge a real mountain hike. Also agree it's quite a pleasant way to the top, though I never found those ledges. Got momentarily lost one time. Oops.

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Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:29 am
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
Argh. Bad info. I went looking at antennasearch.com and it appears Verizon is the only one on top of Kearsarge with 2 antennas, but it's not clear to me that they're for cell use. Check your carrier's coverage map to get an idea of how decent coverage is. :D

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Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:22 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
Thanks again for the report - I was inspired enough to hike this today.
Went up Winslow, down Barlow.
Could've used much more snow.

To answer the lingering question, I had service everywhere on both ATT and Verizon.
It's well covered.

While hiking, I heard some god awful noise from the sky.
I looked up to see a giant jumbo jet being escorted by three fighter jets.
I'm thinking the Donald rained on my hiking trip.

Not to wax political, but if I were to call the Tuesday primaries based only on the signs I passed today, it'll be Trump and Sanders.

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You see alot up there, but don't be scared:
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Sat Feb 06, 2016 6:32 pm
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 Re: Mount Kearsarge the LONG way- 1/31/2016
You carry two cell phones with you at a time Jaime? Data overage charges must be nasty. :lol: . I agree politically. Two polar opposites make sense for our population at this time.


Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:48 pm
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