Click for Mount Washington, New Hampshire Forecast

Mt. Washington Temp.
Click pic for forecast.

...More Topics...

 

 

Get Firefox!

Backcountry ski and snowboard gear, camping

Donate towards my web hosting bill!

Made with CSS

Validated by W3C

       
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:41 pm



Reply to topic  [ 11 posts ] 
 To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22/16 
Author Message
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
Reply with quote
 To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22/16
My friend is headed out to climb Mt. Rainier in a couple weeks and has been training hard in the gym but not been able to get in much real hiking, so he asked if I wanted to go Sunday. Well, sure, why not? It was supposed to be sunny in Maine so we tossed around a few ideas but I unfortunately couldn't go for an overnight trip to Baxter and he didn't want to do it as a day trip, so our plan B was to head for the Great Gulf and hike up that trail and come down either Sphynx or Wamsutta, but we had mixed forecasts and when we neared the PNVC it was dark grey clouds and spitting rain, so I directed the ship east into the promised blue skies of Maine, arriving at the AT crossing in Grafton Notch State Park around 8:30. As this was a training run my friend insisted on playing Sherpa and carrying all the gear he could get in his pack, so, I got to go on the easiest hike I have in a long time, carrying nothing more than my camera. And now I know why so many people head out into the mountains with next to no gear. It makes hiking so much easier!! :D

I have read that the Mahoosucs and White Mountains officially end in the notch, so I don't really know which mountain range the Baldpates are in, but they were the destination for the day. After jamming all our stuff into one pack we headed out up the Appalachian Trail, passing the Table Rock Trail, which we decided to leave for the way back when the skies hopefully cleared a bit more, as we could see the blue coming from the south but we were still firmly under low, grey clouds and Table Rock itself appeared to be in the soup. The trail started off pretty easy, as I find the AT to do more often than not, coming to a trail register maybe half a mile from the road. Then it got slightly "steeper" but never anything I'd actually describe as "steep" as it climbed through the hardwoods for a couple miles. After the upper junction of the Table Rock Trail things leveled out as we curled past Hedgehog Hill, with a brief glimpse up at it's wooded top from a clearing while the trail slowly dropped a bit before making the final push to the summit of West Baldpate.

Parking for the hiking trails of Grafton Notch
Image

This group was headed into the clouds to Table Rock. I doubt they saw much of anything.
Image

Leaving the White Mountains and starting our hike on the AT
Image

Image

Plenty of bog bridges and stone stairs on this 4 mile section of trail
Image

My Sherpa ascending some of the many stone stairs
Image

I guess they should have specified to use the cards inside
Image

The summit of hedgehog Hill I belive
Image

Nice green woods to wander easily through
Image

Image

After the AT shelter spur the final and steepest climbing to the first summit began. The trail work however was impressive and made life pretty easy. About half a mile or so (no joke) of almost continuous stone stairways made a steep climb fairly simple (or maybe it was just because I had no pack :roll: ) and we went up non-stop, arriving at the top at about 10:45 to a blanket of white clouds. :( Patches of blue had come and gone but the forecasts had all been in agreement that by 11 or so the sky should be blue where we were so we remained hopeful, sat down and had a snack, and what do you know, for once the weather-robot/computers were right! The summit must have been in it's own fog, as quickly things cleared out and we had blue skies overhead and views ahead to East Baldpate, which momentarily had it's own cloud-cap but gave it up after a coupe more minutes also.

A collection of images of the continuous stone stairs along the final half mile to the top. Never seen anything quite like it
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Joe commented in his Crockers report he didn't recall ever seeing any of these other than on the Crockers. Well, here's another! :D
Image

The actual 3662 foot high summit is wooded
Image

But there is a view just a bit past it
Image

Image

Cloudy on top??!!
Image

Not for long 8)
Image

East Baldpate was a nice looking mountain sitting across the little alpine valley between the peaks. Full of ledges and alpine zone, so we left it's wooded western brother and dropped down into that valley on a ladder and some ledges, where we crossed an alpine bog on bog bridges, similar to the one north of Mt. Jackson. A few large patches of open bedrock gave us great views ahead and behind as we made our way to the base of the rocky wall that starts up the summit come of West Baldpate. The wind picked up quite a bit in the notch between the peaks, and the climbing while pretty steep, was short and sweet, gaining about 400 feet on the well marked AT and the rock had great traction, so we rose up easily on the rock shelves that seemed similar to the ones on South Baldface, only more open and exposed. A few big steps here and there, some long slabs to climb up in other spots, and we found ourselves nearing the top of this domed mountain which was basically alpine zone with a few patches of trees along the way.

Onward
Image

Nice view as you go
Image

Now that looks like fun!
Image

Stopping at the top of the ladder
Image

Image

A few hundred feel below and between the two 'Pates
Image

Reminded me of the section between Jackson and Pierce...
Image

Nothing this nice between Jackson and Pierce however
Image

Bog bridges connect the rocky islands
Image

Image

Image

Starting the climb up East Baldpate's summit ledges
Image

Non-stop ledge to the top
Image

Image

Looking back from halfway up
Image

Continuing the climb
Image

Image

Leveling off nearer the top
Image

Image

We spent about 45 minutes up there and had the whole place to ourselves. It was such a large, flat area that even though it was open you had to walk away from the summit proper a bit to have any real views. A few minutes snacking, a few taking in the views of the Maine Mountains and White Mountains (which were mostly still in the clouds) and picking some of the millions of blueberries that covered the entire summit! :D It was amazing how many there were and I probably should have picked some to go, but a group of teenage rookie backpackers and their guide came up hooting and hollering, at which point we were packing up and ready to go anyhow so we let them have it and left rather than stick around and pick berries. On the way back down the ledges we passed another half dozen hikers, a couple of which looked like they could be thru hikers, but could also have just been out doing the Grafton Loop for the weekend too and since I had no trail magic I didn't ask. Back at the viewpoint atop the west peak a family of 8 and their dogs were having lunch, but otherwise we saw nobody else on the next few miles down.

Made it!
Image

East Baldpate 3780 feet or 3812. Your choice I guess
Image

Me and my Sherpa
Image

East Baldpate summit view south
Image

North
Image

AT departing the summit with Mt. Blue beyond
Image

Whites still in the clouds. I think we made the right call 8)
Image

Absolutely covered in blue berries!
Image

Anyone know what the red berries mixed in with them are??
Image

Image

All good things must come to an end, so we headed down
Image

Image

Nice views along the way of West Baldpate and Old Speck
Image

Down down down...
Image

Image

Image

East Baldpate summit
Image

Re-climbing the east peak
Image

One last look back before heading down
Image

Back at the Table Rock Junction we headed up the half mile to the viewpoint out over the notch, which was, as promised, extraordinary, and would make a great 2.5 mile loop all on it's own in the bang for the buck category. From said rock the mountain drops away from you straight down into Grafton Notch where the road winds through the bottom. Old Speck sits straight across from you and the fantastic looking Sunday River Whitecap down the notch to the south. It immediately jumped higher on my to-do list with it's scrubby looking top and views I have heard are quite good, so hopefully sooner rather than later I can get back for that one too.

We'll be the judge of that!
Image

More nice trail work
Image

Maine just adores iron rungs!
Image

Table Rock
Image

Nice spot for one last break
Image

Nice view across to Old Speck
Image

The Eyebrow cliff
Image

South towards Sunday River Whitecap
Image

That mountain is calling... and I must go...
Image

Image

Image

The final stretch of the hike involved the orange blazed branch of the Table Rock Trail, which descends around the base of the cliffs where Table Rock is perched, with an option to explore some slab caves (possibly the largest such caves in Maine) which we did before starting down the steepest section of trail we used all day. It drops about 800 feet in half a mile on rocky slopes but often with rock steps built in to make things safer and probably control erosion. We passed about a dozen people on this trail, which flattened out about 1/3 of a mile from the car so we could finish up on cruise control.

Going down, around, under and through the cliffs
Image

Image

Image

Caves?? You kind of have to check them out don't you?
Image

Image

A rope to help you along
Image

Image

Image

Image

A few iron rungs to help you out and you are on your way
Image

Watch your step
Image

Quick descent from the caves
Image

Image

Really useless iron rungs. Must have had extras and just mounted them wherever they could.
Image

Looking up at Table Rock and the caves beneath it from the notch
Image

Image

We had discussed a dessert hike since we finished so early, but decided to just explore the roadside attractions of Grafton Notch instead, none of which really impressed me, although I have seen Screw Auger Falls in spring when the water is flowing better and it is a nice waterfall for sure. Maybe more water improves Mother Walker Falls (or even makes it, as we saw nothing I'd call a waterfall) and it could certainly turn Moose Cave into a mini flume rather than just a cool little slot canyon I guess you'd call it. We grabbed dinner in Portland (because it's an hour quicker to get there that way vs going back through NH) and got home at a decent hour for once. Totals for the hike were 8.2 miles with about 3300 feet of elevation gain. If I had to do it again and the weather was good from the start I'd go up Table Rock first but it didn't work out that way. It was however another excellent hike in Maine and is on the Hundred Highest and Fifty Finest, among other lists. If you go save this one for a good day. It is far too nice of a hike to waste on a lousy day just for the sake of peak bagging.

Moose Cave
Image

Image

Image

Mother Walker Falls
Image

Image

They put this there too, just in case you need something more interesting to watch
Image

Screw Auger Falls
Image

Image

I can't say for certain that's where I'd take my kids to swim, but hey, what could go wrong?!
Image


Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:50 pm
Profile
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:39 am
Posts: 5663
Location: Not Mass 8)
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
Granite Guy wrote:

Anyone know what the red berries mixed in with them are??
Image


LOWBUSH CRANBERRIES


Saw a lot of them on the Six Husbands Trail. Which if I read right are at their ripest in fall. I tried a couple but still very tart.
Image

I've only done the Baldpates in winter conditions. April but still with a ton of snow. You should have seen me trying to get back up that ladder section. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know there was a ladder there. Must have taken me 15 minutes to make it up there. Man, Screw Auger Falls looks pitiful. :? And since it was basically still winter, I didn't get to check out the caves. Looks like it's definitely worth checking out.

_________________
Adventure is not a race. - Unknown


Last edited by JustJoe on Tue Aug 23, 2016 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:19 am
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 pm
Posts: 2364
Location: Natick, MA
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
East Baldpate - one of my favorites for sure. The summit as you point out is only OK since it is so flat and you have to walk around to get all the views (which is fine mind you), but that section from the col up to the summit rocks (literally of course)!

And yes you must go to Sunday River Whitecap someday. Much quieter than the AT, and lots of space to sprawl out and enjoy the views. If it was easier accessed as a day hike (such as Puzzle Mountain just South of it in the notch is), it would be busier than most other peaks I'd say. Billions of blueberries there too ;)

_________________
NH 4K x6 || NH W4K || NE4K || NEHH || WNE4K 64/67 || 52WAV 19/52

My Trip Reports: http://mattshikes.blogspot.com/


Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:28 am
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
Posts: 2754
Location: south of the notches
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
Inspiring. Has been on my list. I think I will make this my 1st Maine hike.

Of course, I have no Sherpa but it's all good. 8)

Oh. And you both look thrilled in that summit shot. :wink:

_________________
Life is a trip ~ pack accordingly


Tue Aug 23, 2016 8:54 am
Profile
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
Hmm, mountain cranberries. I always figured the bright red was a sign I would be better off not eating them. Now I want to try them. Going to have to seek some out the fall. I can see the ladder ledge being tough when iced over, but those ledges up East must have been interesting too if icy. :shock: One wrong move and it would be a long slide down!

Matt, I'm thinking maybe a west side Grafton Loop traverse would make a nice day hike?? I need the Eyebrow trail for redlining, and SRW because, well, look at it! Oh, and it'll be on the Hike-NH list as well I suppose for peakbagging purposes.

Kathy wrote:
Inspiring. Has been on my list. I think I will make this my 1st Maine hike.

Of course, I have no Sherpa but it's all good. 8)

Oh. And you both look thrilled in that summit shot. :wink:


I'll believe the trip to Maine when I see it! :wink:

Thrilled about the summit shot, we were trying to not get photo bombed by the outward bound group who was passing behind us. I'm actually surprised we were both looking at the camera. Should you ever get the opportunity to use a Sherpa I highly reccomend it. It's quite choice. If I had know ahead of time he was going to that if have brought the grill again, and maybe flip flops... and if this one doesn't quite inspire you to go to Maine there's a White Mountain 4000 footer right across the street! :P


Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:11 am
Profile
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 9:39 am
Posts: 5663
Location: Not Mass 8)
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
Granite Guy wrote:
I can see the ladder ledge being tough when iced over, but those ledges up East must have been interesting too if icy. :shock: One wrong move and it would be a long slide down!



Not ice, very deep snow. Until your pic, I didn't even know there was a ladder there. I butt slid down but getting back up was ridiculous. I'd just get near the top and it would collapse under me and I'd slide back down. You know, one step up to lose three. It was April and Car to car snowshoes. Would have made a great video. :lol:

_________________
Adventure is not a race. - Unknown


Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:32 am
Profile
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:52 pm
Posts: 4700
Location: Goffstown Avatar:I love you, you love me!
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
As Joe already pointed out they are indeed cranberries. I sampled some too, but Joe was right, they need some more ripening. I mean, cranberries are supposed to be tart, but these things....WOW! :shock: :lol:

Brian


Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:26 pm
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 pm
Posts: 2364
Location: Natick, MA
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
Granite Guy wrote:
Matt, I'm thinking maybe a west side Grafton Loop traverse would make a nice day hike?? I need the Eyebrow trail for redlining, and SRW because, well, look at it! Oh, and it'll be on the Hike-NH list as well I suppose for peakbagging purposes.


It is certainly doable as a long day. I schlepped with a full pack up and over the Eyebrow to Sargent Brook in a shortish day last summer, and it was only a few hours of walking to the South end from there the next morning. YMMV of course. The footing is pretty good for the majority of the section between Old Speck and the South end, other than a few short stretches here and there. Well worth it even though only 2 spots have views (Old Speck and a lengthy stretch over SRWC).

_________________
NH 4K x6 || NH W4K || NE4K || NEHH || WNE4K 64/67 || 52WAV 19/52

My Trip Reports: http://mattshikes.blogspot.com/


Tue Aug 23, 2016 5:49 pm
Profile
Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:23 pm
Posts: 2264
Location: Lakes Region, NH
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
Ran out of places to hike, so now u r forced into the north country! I love that area. I still need to get the other baldpate, but the thought of rehiking that trail does not excite me. Steep and rocky and rooty iirc. Beautiful pics, u guys r killing it this yr for northerly hikes!


Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:21 am
Profile
Hiking Forums Are My Crack
User avatar

Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
Posts: 7137
Location: Exeter, NH
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
hiking lady wrote:
Ran out of places to hike, so now u r forced into the north country! I love that area. I still need to get the other baldpate, but the thought of rehiking that trail does not excite me. Steep and rocky and rooty iirc. Beautiful pics, u guys r killing it this yr for northerly hikes!


Well, if it were in NH it would be the north country, but in Maine it is still in the south country (lower 1/3 of the state :wink: ) and well south of most of their 4000 footers. And we haven't run out of places yet either, just haven't didn't time to get to the Adirondacks or Baxter on this particular day. This was a nice consolation prize however.


Sun Aug 28, 2016 8:05 pm
Profile
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3734
Location: Newmarket, NH
Reply with quote
 Re: To The White Mountains...And Beyond!! - Baldpates - 8/22
Great report, looks like lots of ledgy goodness on the Baldpates.

Joe and I are going to do some Maine 4Ks this weekend...your friend is welcome to come along and carry our gear. 8)

_________________
"Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes" -Steven Winterburn


Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:11 pm
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 11 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by Hike-NH.com based on STSoftware.