Return to Mount Chocorua- 10/5/2016
A little late, but better than never.
On 10/5/2016, I hiked Mount Chocorua via the Liberty and Brook trails. The last (and only) time I had hiked it was in August 2008, when I was 13. That was also my very first hike in the White Mountains. I figured that it was way past time for a return trip, so off I went!
The Liberty Trail wasn't the most spectacular route to the top, but it got me there, and that was the way I went up in 2008, so I took it again. It followed old woods roads to boot, then transitioned to a more standard footpath in spruce woods. Due to a late start (boots on trail at 1:08 PM), I only saw about five people going up, and about a dozen on the whole hike. At 2.7 mi, I came to the junction with the Hammond Trail, then kept left toward the Jim Liberty Cabin, which I reached at 3.3 mi. Spent a few minutes here reminiscing, then headed to the summit.
The trail started out moderately, then started climbing abruptly with occasional scrambles. I soon came to the first of many open ledges, and joined the Brook Trail at 3.6 mi. From there, I made a short 0.3 mi climb to the 3,500 ft. summit. The views were absolutely incredible. The foliage, which just started to pop, made it even better.
Upon reaching the top, I remembered something. In 2008, I didn't go all the way to the top, but to a ledge near the top. I was new to hiking, and my Dad didn't want to chance it on some of the scrambles. I don't, however, remember the climb to there and from there to the top being so abrupt. The point where we turned back was a long, flat, rocky area below the top, which loomed in the distance. The way I went was short and abrupt with no such long, flat areas. Therefore, although my memory of the 2008 hike is fuzzy, I think my Dad and I, in 2008, accidentally took the West Side Trail and were emptied onto the Piper Trail, which we followed to our turnaround spot. Just my $.02
It was getting late, so I headed back down, but not via the Liberty Trail. I decided last-minute to turn this into a loop hike and went down the Brook Trail, which ended at the same trailhead from which I started. The Brook Trail descended abruptly down some steep and rocky pitches- about 1/2 of the vertical loss was in the first mile and a half or so. From there, the grade became more mellow, and down I went into the trees. About a mile or so from the trailhead, the woods became open and lush, with a brook to the right in close proximity. I soon came out on a FS road, then followed signs along it back to the trailhead.
There are definitely more scenic ways to hike Chocorua, but hey, at least I got my butt back there! Definitely one the best views in NH and NE, at least in my opinion. Next time I go, I'd like to hike it from Champney Falls. Roundtrip distance was 7.5 mi with 2,750 ft. of elevation gain, and it took about 3.5 hours not including breaks.
Here's the video recap: https://youtu.be/rukpSAhd-Ok