Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Cool and Windy on Cabot

With a windy day in the forecast and a late start I decided to do Mount Cabot (4,170'). It's a good sheltered hike only fifteen minutes from my house and I needed it for July. My route would take me into the York Pond fish hatchery starting on the York Pond Trail to Bunnell Trail and up the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the summit of Mount Cabot. My return trip would take me down the same trails instead of completing the loop around Unknown Pond.

There were many vehicles at the trailhead which did not surprise me, it was a beautiful day and also a holiday weekend. It pays to get an early start when it comes to parking but there was still plenty of room along the road. I was soon on my way down the York Pond Trail and onto the Bunnell Notch Trail.

There was a wide variety of wildflowers in bloom. Parts of the trail required pushing through waist-high brush and I found myself checking for ticks on my lower body. I got out of the tall grass and appeared to be tick free. There was a constantly blowing wind and it kept the bugs down as well as kept the temperature comfortable.

This was a solo hike but I was not alone. There were many hikers on the trail today. At 2.4 miles I turned onto the Kilkenny Ridge Trail. As I made my way up over a sunny spot on the trail I was looking at the scenery through the trees and came very close to stepping on a snake that was basking on a large rock. The snake slithered away and I was unable to get a photo. I kept a closer eye on the sunny parts of the trail after this.

I reached the viewpoint on Bunnell Rock and temporarily had the views to myself. I quickly got a panoramic video and a few still shots before other hikers arrived. It was here that I put on a long sleeve layer, the wind was making it very cool. A quick break and I was on my way again. Up at the cabin I took a few more pics before making the final push to the summit.

There were several hikers at the summit. I went over to the summit and noticed that the marker on the tree had been removed. It was here back in January and looked new, guess it wasn't official and was unceremoniously taken down. I spent a few minutes on this viewless summit before starting my descent on the same trails I came up on.

The wind continued to blow but as I got back down to the Bunnell Notch Trail it started to warm up. As I looked down the trail there was an animal just ahead of me. A little closer and I could see it was a porcupine waddling slowly along. I was right behind him and got a video. He eventually walked off the trail and was not really bothered by me.

As I got back down to the lower part of the trail it was getting very warm. I went through the same high brush and checked myself as best I could for ticks and was actually surprised that I had not picked up any uninvited "guests". Back at the trailhead there was a lot more vehicles and I was pinned in but managed to carefully ease my truck out of a tight spot without incident.

I picked up a fellow hiker that was just starting his road walk back to the fish hatchery gate where he had left his vehicle early this morning because the gate was locked. I had met him on the summit of Cabot. I had taken a photo of his group and he took my photo. He was very appreciative of the ride to his vehicle.

There were several hikers I met that commented it felt like a Fall day and I have to agree. It was a very unusual day for July but this is the White Mountains and almost any kind of weather can be expected in the summer especially at higher elevations. I picked the right hike for today!

Enjoy the pics!

Upper Ammonoosuc River

York Pond

At the trailhead

Turning onto the Bunnell Notch Trail

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

A view of Mount Cabot

White Admiral butterfly

A very overgrown Bunnell Notch Trail

Easy water crossing

The trail takes a sharp turn and starts a moderate climb

Small waterfall beside the trail

Kilkenny Ridge Trail junction

The Mt. Cabot Trail...still closed

Easy under blowdown

First view from the trail

Standing on Bunnell Rock

Terrace Mountain

View from Bunnell Rock

Blue-bead Lily


Mount Cabot cabin

A view from the front porch of the cabin

A view to the west from Mount Cabot

The Mahoosuc Range in the distance

Summit marker has been removed from this tree

Summit signage

Mount Cabot from the trail

Starting my descent on the Bunnell Notch Trail

Northern wood sorrell

Birdsfoot Trefoil

Cow vetch


Prunella Vulgaris known as Self-Heal or Heal-All


Black-eyed Susans

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for this fine report. I am going there, for my final 48 4K, with some friends. Thank you also for the photos with names of the wild flowers. That is a hobby of mine too.