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 Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16 
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 Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16
Thegibba and I hit the trails again yesterday, so what better place to go on Cinco de Mayo than Mount Mexico?! :D Okay, there's probably a lot better places, so it was just our first stop for a little fiesta. We started at Ferncroft and headed out on the Gordon Path. An interesting little connecting trail that evolves from a woods road, to a pleasant path, to someones backyard and driveway ending on 113A, where we did a little roadwalk to the Big Rock Cave Trail. That one is not so interesting, other than the cave itself, but it does climb Mt. Mexico, so we used it just because. At the official wilderness boundary we bushwhacked up towards the actual summit, but could find nothing marking any of the possible high points so we called it good enouh and wandered back to the trail. From there it was down significantly to the cave itself, an impressive enormous rock that looks as if it was sliced in three, toppled over sideways and formed the cave. We clambered about the and then had a mini fiesta for no real reason before moving on. On a side note, I have camped here a few times years ago, and there's a perfect fire pit at the mouth of it. I knew no better then, but nowadays figured it was illegal to have done so in the wilderness. Turns out it's not. There's no setbacks of any kind in the Sandwich Wilderness, so while inconsiderate, you could camp right on the trail if you wanted, and in the cave is legal, plus we saw more than a couple great spots just off trail on this hike that might be used in the future. Who knew?!

Provisions for the Cinco de Mayo hike. We had no sombreros, so we improvised as best we could.
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The Gordon Trail, errrr, road, I mean...driveway?? Weird
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Lost keys on the post. I feel your pain!
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Looks like either the long lost BrianL finally caught up to Peter, or the forest service is marking it's territory
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Near the summit of Mexico we went into the wild
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And shortly came upon Big Rock Cave
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Appropriately named I'd say
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This is a great place to spend the night. Just saying
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Happy Cinco de Mayo from Mount Mexico!! :beer:
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Wearing our Red and Green for Mexico
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After that foolishness we dropped even more before beginning the steep, rough climb up Mt. Paugus. The trail was lots of fun and quite enjoyable even without views, climbing up a gully and then up through a mangled patch of blowdown and young pines. Higher we went, getting to the first view ledges but we were just getting into the clouds so there wasn't much to see. More wonderful green forests as we went up the last few hundred feet, with just spotty ice and snow remaining it was mostly pine and moss with a few slick, wet ledges mixed in as we made our way to the high point of the trail at the main view ledges. They however are located around 3100 feet, and the cloud deck stood firm at 3000 feet all day, so we got the big goose egg for views from there. Just one of many reasons to return to this one down the road.

Whitin Brook
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This looks like a fun guy
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Headed up the Old Paugus Trail
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Some yellow violets along the way
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Gotta love those wilderness trails!!
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Peek-a-boo
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Clouds severely limited views for the day
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View?? Maybe once upon a time
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Slick ledges with just a bit of snow
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But awesome wilderness walking sort of made up for the lack of views
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No views from Paugus today
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The Lawrence Trail descended, ruggedly in spots, and with a strange footing of crumbled stone. Almost like a crushed stone path, that made for good footing I thought (akthough the AMC guide will tell you the opposite) and easy travel. After a 1000 foot drop we passed under The Overhang for a level-ish stretch of trail, where plenty of trillium were just waiting for some sun to put their heads up. Eventually we came to the four way intersection and began the climb up the other Hedgehog Mountain on the very steep and rough Walden Trail, to the high point of the day, which was the large boulder on the summit of Hedgehog. Ledges just below the summit provided a glimpse before clouds rolled back over everything.

Headed down in a hurry
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Sort of a view along the way. Squam Lake and Mt. Israel perhaps??
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Lots of red trillium out in the pass
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More yellow violets too
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Then the trail went up with a vengeance
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But rewarded you with a quick view of Paugus with it's head still in the clouds
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A uniquely crumbling mountain
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Summit of Mt. Hedgehog, our high point for the day just below 3200 feet
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After that it was down through some more lime green forest. Most enjoyable to hike through on a cloudy day. The greens really popped whenever a bit of hazy sun poked through the clouds. Arriving at the joke of a summit that somehow gets called Mt. Hibbard there was nothing to see but clouds, however even without the clouds this one has trees grown up over any views it once had. Quite disappointing, and it's time to pull this one off the 52WAV list. There is a small viewpoint just off the summit from a cliff top, which looks ahead to Mt. Wonalancet, which was out next destination. Another enjoyable but viewless walk along the Wonalancet Range trail brought us over it, and then steeply descended down, out of the beautiful pines and into some ugly stick season beech forest. The only thing of interest here was a bear that had a staring contest with me briefly from about 100 feet away before bolting over the nearby ridge. Soon enough we found ourselves back at the car. 11.2 miles, 4200 feet and we saw more bears than people. If you're keeping track that's bears 1. People 0.

Mile upon mile of nice green forests today
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Summit of Mt. Hibbard. It should be ashamed of itself
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Nearby view towards Mt. Wonalancet
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Onward through more great greenery
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A little ice still hiding out around 2000 feet
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This ledge was slipperier than it looks
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Down steeply one last time
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Surprisingly the ferns were out already
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Down in the hardwoods we could see where we'd been
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And we could see a bear too!
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Spring Brook
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Back at Ferncroft for a look at Mt. Wonalancet
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And Paugus with some spring green
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One last look around. Our hike pretty much followed the ridge line here
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If the cloud deck had been 3500 instead of 3000 feet this would have been a spectacular day. I should say it was still a spectacular day, just would have been the icing on the cake to get those views. I loved the mile upon mile of lush, green, lightly used forested trails and rugged scenery. Having the views from a half dozen spots clouded in took away just a bit, but also just makes me want to go back and see what I missed, possibly as a backpacking route while working in some red-lining, and bagging Square Ledge for the 52 list also, which we opted to save for a better day, having missed out on enough views for one day by that point. Mt. Hibbard is a joke. A mere bump on a ridge with a prominence of a few dozen feet and the views it once had are no more. If anyone in charge of it still cares about that list get this one off it ASAP. I've never liked the list anyhow, but having things like this on it makes me think even less of it than I did before. I mean every list has it's clunkers, but if being 2500 feet high and having a view are the two criteria for it then there should be at least some sort of view.


Fri May 06, 2016 10:47 pm
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 Re: Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16
Fun Guy? :roll: Nice dad joke.

Must've been fun climbing the Walden Trail up to Wonalancet Hedgehog after the tequila. Yeah, Hibbard was lame, I thought maybe the "view" was from the ledges on the way up (or down in your case) but I think those are technically on Wonalancet. This is the best view I got of Whiteface from the summit.

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Still, a good hike... making the most out of this weather we've had for the last few weeks. Lots of awesome woods in that area. Cool to see the bear, too!


Sat May 07, 2016 8:42 am
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 Re: Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16
I find the lack of taco pictures disconcerting. :lol:

Greg, Desi and I did Mexico a few years ago, and for some reason I don't remember a whole lot about it, so this was a good mental refresher. :D I do remember the cave though. That was interesting at least.

Oh, and I hope I don't kill it for you (since I admit I may have missed a viewpoint along the way or something) but I found Square Ledge another one of those very disappointing 52WAV. Sort of like Wolf. You get there expecting something pretty neat (I mean, it IS 52 WITH a VIEW) and are like "what the hell???" :roll:

Greg and I keep talking about making our own view list. I know we can cobble something together leaps and bounds better than the current one. :beer:

Brian


Sat May 07, 2016 1:06 pm
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 Re: Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16
Brian - GO FOR IT!!!!! You guys should make your own list. Sounds like fun!

GG - Thanks for the flowers! Thanks also for telling us Mt. Hibbard wasn't that big a deal. Last fall we looped around Wonalancet (not that impressive, either) and I didn't feel like going on to Hibbard. Now I don't feel so disappointed like I missed something.

We are considering something like this for Monday. Prema doesn't work Mondays usually and when I saw it waws going to be sunny I asked for it off.


Sat May 07, 2016 9:29 pm
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 Re: Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16
I did not do Mt Mexico but did a hike much like this on a dreary day in May. I knew I wasn't going to be missing much for views. The wild flowers were in full bloom so that made up for it. I remember that ledge on Wonalancet being slick as snot too.

I was not, HUI though. :P

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Sun May 08, 2016 6:00 am
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 Re: Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16
I haven't met a wilderness trail that wasn't a logging road that I didn't like. Yeah sure the views were garbage today, but then again the only one with hopes really was Paugus. We could have had views towards the O's and the Squam Range. Oh well, for another day. The trails were the star of the show today. Walking misty trails in the conifers makes for one pleasant use of a cloudy day.

Doesn't get much better than this.

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I'm not sure how different wilderness trails are classified. I do remember when they were rebuilding the rocky branch and the Dry river trail. The officials were talking about some sort of level of improvement for the standards of the trails. I'm assuming the WODC is the org responsible for blazing the trails in this area. I just thought new blazes weren't allowed in wilderness areas. The obviously older yellow ones look like they could have been from before the Area became a wilderness in the 80's. But then again there is no 200 foot rule in the Sandwich one. I do prefer to err on the side of keeping these areas more primitive even if it does involve removing a rotting/destroyed bridge. Does anyone know where to find the rules/regs for these areas? Wilderness.net and from what I've dug through on the NPS.gov sites don't go too deep from what i have seen.

That 900 foot climb up to Unnamed Hedgehog(wonalancet) was a but kicker. My calfs were beginning to protest here. Its one steep bugger to go up. Especially since it was later in the hike. The profile of the hike looked a little rollercoasterish. Fun day though. HUI does have a nice ring to it.

We actually started at the Ferncroft lot but wouldn't let me connect the Gordon path to the Cabin trail to It shows up on the end of the profile.
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Sun May 08, 2016 8:26 am
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 Re: Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16
HUI! :D Too bad the effects of a shot and a beer didn't last any longer than the beginning of the ascent up the Old Paugus Trail. Another steep chunk that brought me right back to the real world, WAAAAAY before the climb up the Walden Trail. I do love the wilderness trails in general. Doesn't seem to matter what, if anything, they go up. They're always my favorites form just about any hike that uses them.

Peter and I have also thought about making a list of some sort. It always varies. Yesterday the ideas was Views Below the 52, a collection of hikes with great views below 2500 feet. Pawtuckaway, Fort, Major, Artists Buff... you get the idea. We were talking of New England, but if we put our collective heads together maybe we can all come up with a legit Hike-NH Views Below the 52 for just NH, since that's where people seem to focus their hiking more often than not.


Last edited by Granite Guy on Sun May 08, 2016 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun May 08, 2016 9:05 am
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 Re: Cinco de Mayo en Mexico - 5/5/16
I had actually come up with the name 52 WBV, or 52 With Better Views. :twisted: Then I also thought, why do just 52? Pick peaks we think deserve to be there and whatever we come up with is it. 25? 50? 75? 100? Who cares as long as nothing like Wolf or Carr gets on there! :lol: But I also like your idea....why constrain it to just New Hampshire!

Greg and I agreed though that any view list has to at least have Oscar (one of the Bretton Woods ski area peaks) MUST be on there. We also agreed, for the sake of being nice, no whack peaks would be on the list. 8)

Hmmmm, this may bear further thinking. At the very least it would boost community interaction here even more! :D

Brian


Sun May 08, 2016 9:31 am
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