Winter Hike to Smarts Mt.

On November 28th our Meetup group headed up the Lambert Ridge Trail on our way to the summit of Smarts Mt. in Lyme, NH. It was overcast and foggy for most of our hike across Lambert Ridge.

We were surprised to see numerous bear tracks in the area between Lambert Ridge and the base of Smarts Mt.

bear-track-smarts-mt-hike-2016Good thing we had Microspikes since the trail was steep and icy. It was a tough climb and I was happy to reach the fire tower at the top. The great surprise of the day was the view from part way up the tower. It was so overcast and foggy on the way up I never expected such a nice view. It was a wonderful combination of snow covered trees, valley fog and interesting cloud formations.

smarts-mt-nov-26-2016-2smarts-mt-nov-26-2016-5

Return to Blueberry Mt., September 2016

On September 5th, 2016 we returned to Blueberry Mt. What a big difference from our April hike. Everything was lush and green. And we found lots of ripe blueberries!

blueberry-mt-sep-5-2016-3blueberry-mt-sep-5-2016-4This time we went past the summit and over the other side to a lookout with a view towards Mt. Moosilauke. Just off of the main trail we found a rocky area with a great view to have snack, relax and enjoy the view.  As luck would have it, our rest spot was surrounded by blueberries.blueberry-mt-sep-5-2016-12

blueberry-mt-sep-5-2016-11I put on my 300mm lens for a zoom shot of the exposed rock near the ravine.

blueberry-mt-sep-5-2016-15blueberry-mt-sep-5-2016-16The exposed “rock” looks more like loose gravel and dirt. I bet it’s a stream bed and waterfall during the spring.

We have already made plans to go back next season in early September for the blueberry feast hike.

Blueberry Mt. Hike, Benton, NH

On April 16th our Meetup.com activities group explored a trail we had not been on before. We went up Blueberry Mt. in Benton, NH. We had been to nearby Black Mt. many times. We heard from another hiker in our group that Blueberry Mt. was a little bit easier and had slightly different views than Black Mt. It was about 2.5 miles to the summit but the elevation gain was a lot less than Black. Mt.

View of Black Mt.
View of Black Mt. from the summit of Blueberry Mt.
View west towards Vermont.
View west towards Vermont. I think those are the mountains of Groton State Forest.
View towards Mt. Cube in Orford, NH
View towards Mt. Cube in Orford, NH. You can just catch a gimps of Lake Katherine.
View towards Peaked Mt. in Piermont, NH and the cliff on Rt. 5 in Fairlee, VT.
View towards Peaked Mt. in Piermont, NH and the cliff on Rt. 5 in Fairlee, VT.
View of Killington Ski Resort 50 miles away in Killington, VT.
View of Killington Ski Resort 50 miles away in Killington, VT.

 

Links to more info about Blueberry Mt.:

 

Qingyuan Mountain Hike in Quanzhou, China

One of the best adventures during my trip to Quanzhou was an early morning hike up Qingyuan Mountain. The mountain is favorite destination of locals and tourists alike. We arrived early so we would be there before the crowds. It was still dark as we started up the path. Eventually the “trail” became more of a staircase than a path. Climbing the stairs was a good workout. After an hour or so of hiking we arrived at Sky Lake. It was a beautiful little lake with an impressive visitors center on one side and function hall on the other. Much to my disappointment (I was hoping for a hot drink), the visitors center was not open yet. I was also looking forward to seeing the black swans and white swans that lived at the lake. Apparently it was even too early for the swans.

 

Sky Lake and the visitors center.
Sky Lake and the visitors center.

We continued past the lake where we noticed a sign for the Qingyuan Cave. We followed the trail to the cave, which took us higher towards the summit. Instead of an actual cave we found a small temple complex. A sign explained that the temple was built over or on the site of the cave, which made me happy since the temple site was very nice.

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-4

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-1

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-2

Not only was the temple beautiful, the view from the temple was fantastic.

Quanzhou and the Jinjiang River
Quanzhou and the Jinjiang River.

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-7

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-8

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-5

Upon going back down the mountain we discovered the red roofed buildings in the photo above served hot tea and food.

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-14

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-15

We were hungry and thirsty so this place was a welcome site. We got a package of tea, a tea pot, a thermos of hot water and a small heater to keep the tea pot warm for 15 yuan. Much of the food looked strange (like chicken feet) or was not what I would consider breakfast food (like yams) and stuff I could not even identify. We did find some red grapes, orange slices and french fries to eat which tasted pretty damn good to us at that point. It was just cool enough outside so the hot tea really hit the spot.

On they way down the mountain we got some fantastic views of Quanzhou near West Lake Park.

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-18

Qingyan Mt Hike January 9 2016-17
The large modern looking building near the lake is the China Museum of Fujian-Taiwan Kinship. We stopped there for a short time on our way back to World City.

We took a different trail down the mountain so that we would end up at the Laojun Rock. Along the trail we observed numerous inscriptions carved into the rocks. The characters where painted red to make them easier for visitors to read. I think they were part of the Qi Feng Inscriptions mentioned on the Travel China Guide website.

Stone Statue of Laozi

Jennifer and I at the Stone Statue of Laozi
Jennifer and I at the Stone Statue of Laozi

The Laojun Rock is a beautiful statue in a very peaceful garden setting with a nice view of the mountain in the background. There is an incense burner in the viewing area which adds to the peaceful atmosphere of the exhibit.

The Qingyuan Mountain Website tells us, “The Song-Dynasty statue represents a man with a long beard-believed to be the philosopher Laozi (Lao Tzu), the founder and Saint of Taoism.” China Culture.org mentions, “He is credited with writing the seminal Taoist work, the Dao De Jing” also known as Tao Te Ching.

Qingyuan Mountain would definitely on the list of places to visit again during another visit to Quanzhou.

Hike to Mt. Cube on the Cross Rivendell Trail

On July 3rd I joined a Meetup.com group for a hike to the two peaks of Mt. Cube in Orford, NH. Last September I hiked to Mt. Cube on the Appalachian Trail, which is 3.3 miles from the trail head to the south summit. This time we would take different trail to the top. The Cross Rivendell Trail is only 2 miles from the trail head to the South Summit. I liked the idea of a shorter hike and I heard the views are better along the way.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-1

Everything I head about the views on the way up are true. There are several scenic views along the trail.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-4

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-5

One of the first scenic views faces Orford, NH and Fairlee, VT. I can see the cliffs of Fairlee peaking out behind Sunday Mt. in Orford.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-8

The view from the next scenic look out is even better.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-9

We can see Killington to the southwest.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-14

I can barely make out the ski trails through the haze.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-15

I can see most of Indian Pond behind that damn tree top. I also recognize the cliff face of Peaked Mt. up in Piermont, NH.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-16

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-18

We were all hungry by the time we made it to the top. We wasted no time digging lunch out of our packs and settling down to enjoy the view and eat.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-17

I recognized the distinctive shape of Mt. Cardigan in the distance. The hike to Holts Ledge helped me to recognize the mountain.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-20Way off in the distance we could see the windmills at the Groton Wind Farm in Groton, NH.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-23

A visit to Mt. Cube is not complete without a trip to the North Peak for some awesome views to the east and north. It’s only about another half mile hike.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-21

Mount Moosilauke dominates the view from the North Peak.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-22

I like the view towards Lake Tarleton and Armington on the right. I’m pretty sure that’s Black Mt. in the distance on the left.

Mt. Cube Hike July 3 2015-25

We easily spent anther half hour to forty five minutes taking photos and enjoying the view.

I have no doubt I will take the Cross Rivendell Trail rather than the Appalachian Trail on my next trip to Mt. Cube.

Hike to Holt’s Ledge in Lyme, NH

I recently hiked to Holt’s Ledge along the Appalachian Trail for the first time. Holt’s Ledge is located in Lyme Center, NH.

Although the top is only 1930 feet, hikers can enjoy great views to the east and south.

Goose Pond and the ski trails on Mt. Sunapee.
Goose Pond and the ski trails on Mt. Sunapee.

Looking towards the south we could see Goose Pond and the ski trails of Mt Sunpaee in the distance.

Holts Ledge Hike May 6 2015
Mt. Cardigan from Holt’s Ledge.Holts Ledge Hike May 6 2015

Zoom photo of Mt. Cardigan from Holt’s Ledge.

To the east we could see Mt. Cardigan with it’s distinctive bald top and fire tower on the summit.

Franconia Ridge in the distance.
Franconia Ridge in the distance.

Way off in the distance we could see the distinctive profile of Franconia Ridge near Woodstock, NH.

Top of the ski life at Dartmouth Skiway
Top of the ski life at Dartmouth Skiway.

After enjoying the view for a while the group walked over to Dartmouth Skiway lift and ski trails. From there we had a nice view of Smarts Mt. to the North.

Ski Trail signs at Dartmouth Skiway
Ski Trail signs at Dartmouth Skiway.

We walked down the Upper Papoose ski trail for part of the return trip.

Snow on the ski trail in May
Snow on the ski trail in May.

We even found a small pile of snow on the Upper Papoose trail.

Holts Ledge Hike May 6 2015-12

We had a great view of Lyme Center and the mountains of Vermont off in the distance.

Giant boulder along the Papoose trail at the Dartmouth Skiway.
Giant boulder along the Papoose trail at the Dartmouth Skiway.

An interesting sight along the Papoose trail is a giant boulder beside the trail.

Giant boulder beside the Papoose ski trail at the Dartmouth Skiway.
Giant boulder beside the Papoose ski trail at the Dartmouth Skiway.

Holt’s Ledge is a great hike since you get impressive views yet the hike is under two miles.

Mt. Cube Hiking Trip

On Sunday, September 7th I went with a Meetup group on a hike to the summit of Mt. Cube in Orford, NH. I have live in the area since the early eighties and had never climbed Mt. Cube, but had wanted to for quite some time. This Meetup.com event for the Upper Valley Hiking Group was a good opportunity for me to go. In the early eighties the trail crossed route 25A near the Thompson Sugar Shack. In the late eighties the Application trail was moved so that it crossed route 25A down near Lower Baker Pond. This made the distance to the summit longer. The Dartmouth Outing Club Wiki is a great resource for information about the trail. They rated the trail as easy. However, I would rate the trail as intermediate.

The area around Mt. Cube has an interesting history. The Rivendell Cross Trail site has a great page on the Mt. Cube section of the trail.

Naturally I had to check Google Earth carefully to identify all the landmarks we could see from the summit. We first went to the south summit which gave us a view down the Connecticut River Valley and west into Vermont.

Mt. Cube trail sign.
Mt. Cube trail sign.
Holt's Ledge at Dartmouth Skiway.
Holt’s Ledge at Dartmouth Skiway.

We had a nice view of Holt’s Ledge at Dartmouth Skiway.

Looking south towards Mt. Ascutney.
Looking south towards Mt. Ascutney.

Looking past the skiway we could see Mt. Ascutney down in Windsor, VT.

Bradford, VT from Mt, Cube south peak.
Bradford, VT from Mt, Cube south peak.

We had a great view of Bradford, VT from the south peak.

 

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-5

Looking a little closer I got a great shot of the Mt. Cube products farm on Baker Rd.

We hung out, ate lunch, and took photos on the south summit for about an hour.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-9Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-10Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-11 I found a survey marker in the rocks on the south peak. It was difficult to read so I took a photo for later research.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-12Wikipedia has a great article about these Geodetic Survey Reference markers. The text on the outside circle says, “Coastal & Geodetic Survey Reference.”  The text in the center of the circle says “CUBE” above an arrow symbol. Below the arrow is says, “NO 2.” Below that is the year 1874.

The Wikipedia article about the US National Geodetic Survey explains that, “The original predecessor agency of the National Geodetic Survey was the United States Survey of the Coast, created within the United States Department of the Treasury by an Act of Congress on February 10, 1807, to conduct a “Survey of the Coast.” The article later tells us, “In 1871, Congress officially expanded the Coast Survey’s responsibilities to include geodetic surveys in the interior of the country.” The NGS datasheet for this marker describes the original station on Mt. Cube.

It says, “DESCRIBED BY COAST SURVEY (CGS) 1873 (ETQ) FROM OXFORD VILLAGE TAKE ROAD TO WENTWORTH, STOP AT MOUNT CUBE HOUSE AT N END OF MOUNTAIN. THENCE A PATH LEADS TO TOP. TWO POINTS, SIGNAL IS ON S AND HIGHEST ONE.  STATION IS MARKED BY BOLT AND TRIANGLE.”

After lunch we headed over to the north peak for some more great views.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-13The photo above is showing Upper Baker Pond with Mount Moosilauke in the distance.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-14With less zoom you see Piermont Mt. to the left of Upper Baker Pond. Tucked behind Piermont Mt. you can see part of Lake Armington and Lake Tarleton.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-17Naturally I had to zoom in on Mooseilauke.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-16I think the building in the lower left corner of the photo is the Glencliff Home for the Elderly.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-20There are some great views a bit closer to the mountain. This is looking at Route 25A at the curve in the road near East Cemetery Rd.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-19This is a few of the houses and a pond along East Cemetery Rd.

Mt Cube Sep 8 2014-21We can also see part of Lower Baker Pond along Rt. 25A.

It was a wonderful hike! I would like to try a different trail to the summit next time. Perhaps the Cross Rivendell Trail from Baker Rd., which is a much shorter (but maybe steeper) route to the summit.