Friday, June 18, 2004

Big Sky Country
I've been able to get in a few hikes these past few weekends, building up to higher and higher peaks and ever widening vistas. Back in May I had a nice warmup hike up Mt. Blue Job (located near Rochester, NH). The hike to the summit was short and not particularly steep and the views from here were obscured by trees and cellular transmission towers. However, there is a stretch on the northern slope of Mt. Blue Job that is spectacular - a large expanse of open acreage the result of fires and livestock grazing. To get views like this up in the White Mtns. one usually has to hike pretty high up in elevation, however for the visitor to Mt. Blue Job they are within easy reach.

Two weekends ago, I hiked up popular Mt. Chocorua. The summit cone is very rocky with numerous ledges to navigate. The challenge is worth it though. The views are broad, the weather is warm, and the journey takes your through some inspiring and primitive landscapes.

Building up steam and strength, my wife decided to test out her new foot (freshly healed from a break suffered earlier in the winter) and we both ventured to reach the 4000' plus peak of Cannon Mtn. Anyone who has ever driven through Franconia Notch is well aware of the imposing cliffs that scar the southern slope leading off Cannon's summit. Another defining feature of the peak is the aerial tramway that transports visitors from base to summit in minutes. We decided to ascend on foot and traveled the steep path known as the Hi-Cannon Trail. Indeed, the climb was steady and continuous, yet in no time we were treated to some awesome views of the neighboring Franconia Ridge. In one place, a ladder was required to ascend a brief pitch of cliff that impeded the trail. Once above this challenging section, the trail levels out and offers astounding views of the surrounding lakes and terrain. Hiking in the month of June is a mixed bag, the downside is that bugs tend to be quite bothersome at this time, but that is outweighed by the glory that accompanies the blooming of alpine flowers. We hiked down from the summit and reached the parking lot that marked the end of our day hike. We were not too interested in racing home after having enjoyed such a great day, so we decided to enjoy a nice cold beer along the shores of Profile Lake - relaxing under the soaring towers of the Eagle Cliffs.

I love this Granite State.


At 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's Mt Blue Job? That sounds like it would be closer to home when we're looking for a little hike and don't want to drive too far north (typically we end up at Chocorua) or fight with bugs (Pawtuckaway is only manageable in the winter and you're not supposed to bring dogs...).

-Brian St. Pierre

At 7:41 PM, Blogger YouWho said...

Believe it or not, I have actually hiked up Blue Job. That would be the *only* thing I have ever done that could remotely qualify as a hike, I think. Myself, Bob (of 4KMnD) and Heidi (of Everyday News) did it one day during an extended lunch when we were at Ctron (for some reason Kreblog wasn't with us that day).We use to take lunchtime drives around the backroads of Rochester and drove by Blue Job and figured, why not?

At 9:51 AM, Blogger Granite said...

Hi Brian. Thanks for visiting. I think Blue Job Mtn. is located in Strafford, NH. Take the First Crown Point Road off 202A. I'd check DeLorme out first just to make sure. The summit is okay, but the back end where the blueberry heath is located is a real treat.

Dave, in your lunchtime explorations did you ever explore the section of roads just north of Blue Job? There's a road called Sheepsboro that leads through some pretty interesting country, with small ponds, hardscrabble farms, and a sense of an older NH. Mt. Blue Job is great, that was the first time I had ever been there (odd to say since I've lived so close to the peak for 10 years now).

At 7:11 AM, Blogger YouWho said...

Yup, Sheepboro, Meaderboro, Johnsonboro, Four Rod, Estes, Evans, Roberts, Crown Points 0, 1 &2... armed with trusty DeLorme and lunch from Wendy's that was my lunchtime recreation. A lot of it was like stepping back in time. Sometimes we'd suddenly find ourselves in the middle of the woods on a dirt road which the map showed as a solid red line ("shouldn't that mean asphalt? are we lost?") looking at a solitary compound of decaying mobile homes, sheds, trucks and tractors, straining our ears for banjo music and wondering if we were going to be greeted by some old-timer with a shotgun who doesn't like city-folk.

One downside to working in Portsmouth, you can't really find rural backroads like that. Closest is maybe MacIntyre/Newington Rd which runs along Great Bay behind the Pease runway. There's some great old farms back there.


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