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 Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop..... 
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 Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
....or "Brian's new Favorite Loop."

So Greg decided he wanted to tag some more of his NH500 and town high points this weekend. After a wonky trip last weekend in Vermont I was feeling the urge to stay more in the way of trailside adventure. For a while I had been eyeballing a loop using the Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge trail over in Pinkham Notch. Hutmen's itself was not so much one of the trails that necessarily caught my attention (as I have not heard much about it) but it made a convenient loop with Hall's (of which I had rumblings of good things). As it turned out Greg had one of his NH500 peaks just off the Hutmen's trail. So he offered me a carspot (to save about 1 1/2 miles of road walking on Rt. 16) and in return I decided to do the short whack with him. I figured it would be pretty decent woods anyway (and they were) so nothing that would make me rue the day. So we spotted my car at the Rocky Branch trailhead and headed for the Hutmen's Trail.

I'm going all the way baby!
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Greg starting up the trail.
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The trail is one steep bugger at the start.
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We started the whack and this was the woods we had to push through. Easy Peasy!
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The jar on the summit of spruce. Red Raspberry jam. Yum!
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Back to the trail it was time to say goodbye to Greg.
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The trail is pretty mellow from here on out. A tiny bit of leftover snow, but nothing bad.
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Eventually I popped out on old logging roads that also serve as the trail and XC skiing trails in winter.
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Occasionally Carter Dome, Carter Notch and the Wildcats poke through the trees.
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An old cabin appears to have once graced this area.
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And here we are at Carter Notch Road and the other end of the trail.
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From here it is a roughly 3/4 mile walk up the road to the start of the Hall's Ledge Trail You pass a parking lot for the Jackson XC ski trails as well as an old run down cabin before approaching a gate that I assume is closed year round and which is the start of the Hall's Ledge trail. This trail also serves as a XC ski trail in winter with a number of side trails running through the area. Navigation can be tough as there are not a lot of signs indicating that you are on the Hall's Ledge trail, but plenty denoting XC trail names which have no connection to Hall's Ledge. I learned this for myself when I started down what was called the Orchard Trail to discover I was not on the correct trail and had to backtrack.

The gate (left hand one) that is the start of Hall's Ledge trail.
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There are a couple old cellar holes in the area denoting old habitations.
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I'll happily take this! Gorgeous woods road walking under great weather!
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This is the old apple orchard with a side trail I mistook for Hall's ledge tr.
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The view from the orchard is stunning!
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I got as far as this car before realizing I made a wrong turn. At least the driver found a good place to park!
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Back on the right track it is forward once again winding along old beautiful logging roads.
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A couple times you get quaint glimpses afar.
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Here I am almost to Hall's Ledge, and I am amazed to still be in beech and birch glades at close to 2700 feet of elevation!
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Finally, the star of todays show is Hall's Ledge:
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Just around the corner from there is a table with another neat view to Washington.
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From here the trail goes back to something more akin to trails we know, a bit dark and sprucy.
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But after a short distance it once again pops back into those beautiful glades!
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Finally it is out to the Ellis River alongside Rt. 16
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And one last parting view from the road before heading up to the Rocky Branch parking lot.
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So Hall's Ledge trail turned out to be quite a spectacular surprise. It was some of the best trail hiking I have done in a while. Hutmen's I would not rave about, but I also have nothing negative about it, and it does make a convenient loop option with Hall's Ledge. Hall's Ledge was the star of the show and I would recommend this loop without hesitation. If you want the abbreviated, bare bones option then park at the trail start on Carter Notch road and do an out and back to the Ledge. But you are depriving yourself a great dayhike if you do! But don't get me wrong. Hall's Ledge trail does have it's quirks. Mainly it needs some TLC from the Ledge down to Rt. 16 (including some better blazing), and the last 1/2 mile down to Rt. 16 is STEEP! But it is still too charming a trail to hold these faults against it. I think this trip would be even more spectacular during fall foliage due to all the glades walking. I told Joe I would gladly go back this fall with him and do this again. It is well worth it.

Brian


Last edited by New Hampshire on Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:54 pm
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
OK, Google+ is being a pain. Lemme sort out the stupid picture links. :roll:


Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:11 pm
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
Pretty neat little hike. Is Halls Ledge actually a ledge? It looks more like a logging landing. The orchard and car are pretty cool finds too. Hope there was nobody in the trunk when it was filled with lead. Wonder if they still have apples in the fall. Foliage and apples would be almost as good as the summer with blueberries. Hmmm...


Sun Apr 10, 2016 6:30 pm
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
Yes, the "ledge" is more like a clearing. I don't know it's history and if it was more ledge like at one time, but now it has a nice park like feel to it. And as for the orchard I will say this....bear scat galore. And the scat appears to have plenty of berry seeds in it, so I imagine there are at least raspberry and or blackberry bushes somewhere out there. :D


Sun Apr 10, 2016 8:14 pm
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
So what did Greg so after you left?


Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:48 pm
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
Cool, I didn't think.much of it, when I did it, but would love to xc ski in there someday!


Mon Apr 11, 2016 1:38 am
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
thegibba wrote:
So what did Greg so after you left?


I would like to think he curled up into the fetal position and sobbed like a baby for an hour because I went away...but I m guessing not. :D


Mon Apr 11, 2016 6:21 am
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
New Hampshire wrote:
thegibba wrote:
So what did Greg so after you left?


I would like to think he curled up into the fetal position and sobbed like a baby for an hour because I went away...but I m guessing not. :D


I almost did on the trip down, man was that a steep trail.

i did whitton ledges in madison and cragged mountain in freedom.

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Mon Apr 11, 2016 4:40 pm
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
HardcoreIdiot wrote:
and cragged mountain in freedom.


That almost sounds like something out of Bravheart! "aye, I coom from Cragged Mountain. And I cried FREEDOOOOOOOM!" :lol:


Mon Apr 11, 2016 5:16 pm
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 Re: Hutmen's trail and Hall's Ledge loop.....
New Hampshire wrote:
time to say goodbye to Greg.
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Goodbye Greg. :)

New Hampshire wrote:
That almost sounds like something out of Bravheart! "aye, I coom from Cragged Mountain. And I cried FREEDOOOOOOOM!"

HA HA HA. I thought something along those same lines. :lol:

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Mon Apr 11, 2016 10:26 pm
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