Hiking Moose Mountain
With another weekend of beautiful weather upon the New England region, I was once again left with the difficult predicament of decided what I wanted to do. To ski? To hike? To take a bike ride? To…? Life sure is tough living in New England when the warm spring weather rolls in.
After waking up, I had a relaxed morning of photo editing (it takes a lot more time than you might imagine), and soon thereafter begin my deliberations as to what I actually wanted to do. I had decided to go on a hike, but to where? I wasn’t particularly keen on going anywhere far away, and I’ve been up to Holt’s Ledge a number of times, so I went searching for a new trail to explore. After checking out various sources, I finally ended up deciding to take a hike up to Moose Mountain, the highest point in the boundaries of the town of Hanover. Feel free to read up a bit about the trail on the Dartmouth Outing Club’s site. On a side note, I imagine that Moose would have quite thoroughly enjoyed this eponymous hike.
I got the the trailhead in the early afternoon, and off I went.
This dead tree had sorts of neat fungi, and they were big too.
Looking up the muddy Harris Trail.
Dartmouth really does own everything around here!
A pretty trillium sitting on the forest floor.
Not too long after I had started out, the trees cleared out a bit and all of a sudden, I found myself at the south summit. The views weren’t terribly great, as there were lots of trees all around. As well, there’s all sorts of debris around the summit, mostly on the easter hill side. This is due to the fact that in 1968 a Northeast Airlines flight crashed somewhere down there. Oddly enough, they drove a bulldozer up the Harris Trail and all the way to the summit in order to clear out a landing zone for a helicopter, and so this is the reason that the summit is as free of trees as it currently is, although they’re coming back slowly but surely.
After coming down off the South summit, I wasn’t ready to head back, so I decided to try to make my way to the North Summit of Moose mountain as well. On the way, I passed this awesome sign for the shelter that was along the trail. This is quite possibly the coolest trail sign I’ve ever seen.
In my trek towards the north summit, I even found a little bit of snow still hiding from the heat amongst the pines.
I kept on walking for a bit heading towards the north summit of Moose mountain. I went on for a little while, ascending the ridge and then slowly beginning a descent. I’m pretty sure I hit the summit, although it’s hard for me to be certain. From the map I had (and looking at a few things online, after the fact), the trail doesn’t actually pass over the summit (it does come close), and I imagine the summit itself is a fairly wooded area. If it had been a bit earlier in the day, I would have kept on walking to see whether or not I truly made it to the summit, but it was getting late in the day and I still had to get back down the mountain, so I decided to turn around.
Even at the higher elevations in the region(~ >2000ft), life is starting to come back to the forrest.
I descended the mountain down the Clard Pond Loop, which follows the old Wolfeboro Road, a road originally cut in 1772 so that the governor of NH could attend Dartmouth’s first commencement. Apparently at one point, this road was a “major thoroughfare,” although these days it’s kind of a mess, as erosion has not played nicely with the road. Even so, according to the guidebook, much of the original route is still passable as a class VI road (if you don’t care to read about class IV roads, they’re basically “historic public roads that are no longer maintained for traffic” [source]).
At the bottom of the Clark Pond loop, I headed back along the Harris Trail. Somewhere in there, I found one of the larger white pines I’ve ever seen. I bet this tree was around before this country was - how awesome is that?
There was a nice stream near the trail.
Crossing back over Mink Brook as I was nearing the end of my hike.
Once I got back to the car, I noticed this tree a few feet away. I guess there were some good bugs that really interested the woodpeckers in that tree.
What a fun, quick and easy way to get out and about for a few hours. It’s always good to be reminded to there’s so much to do out there. You’ve just got to open your eyes and ears and search about for it. So get out there and get after it!
Lastly, I wish to add this cautionary note to anyone who is thinking about getting out into the New England woods any time soon – the bugs are out. Bring your bug spray, or you will be sorry. But don’t let them stop you from getting out into the woods and enjoying an awesome afternoon with nature!
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