Franconia Ridge

Franconia Ridge

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Hancocks on a Warm Fall Day

There was another warm day in the forecast and I wanted to get an early start to beat the heat. I would be hiking the Hancocks today, both North Peak (4,420') and South Peak (4,319'). It would be my usual route up North and down South. I was tempted to go up the Arrow Slide on Hancock but was under a time constraint so would be saving that for another day.

It was a dark start on my drive to the trailhead but would brighten up before I got there. I arrived at the Hancock Overlook parking area and there was plenty of available parking, another benefit of an early start. It was actually cool enough that I started my hike with a fleece layer. But once I got going down the trail it quickly came off.

When I got to the Hancock Loop Trail I veered off to the left for the hike up to North Peak. There were glimpses of the Arrow Slide through the trees and I was still giving that route some thought. I dropped down to a dry stream bed just before the steep climb up. 

I decided to find the bottom of the slide. I stayed on the right side of the stream bed below the main trail and a short walk into the woods led to the bottom of the slide. I started up just to make sure I was in the right place. It was very enticing to keep climbing up. The going was very loose and I didn't go far before turning around and making my way back to the main trail. I look forward to climbing the Arrow Slide on a future hike to the Hancocks.

It was a steep hike up to North Peak. I arrived at the outlook and had spectacular but somewhat hazy views of Chocorua, Passaconaway, Tripyramids, Osceolas and Scar Ridge. The temperature was very comfortable and it felt good to bask in the warm sunshine. After some photos I was on my way to South Peak.

The hike across the ridge was very nice. Along the way I was able to capture some video of a woodpecker just above my head. Through the trees I could see the observation tower on Mount Carrigain. When I arrived at South Peak there were a couple of hikers at the outlook but not the usual crowd that I'm used to seeing on previous hikes. South Hancock was my 200th hike of the 48 4,000 footers toward the grid, that's 200 of 576.

It was all downhill from here. The descent is steep. There were many hikers coming up and it was a very warm climb for them. I was glad to be on the way down. Once back at the loop trail junction it was a nice relaxing hike back to the Hancook Overlook parking area.

It was good to get that early start and I was back down before the heat of the day set in. While I came close to ascending the Arrow Slide I'm glad I didn't. I'll wait for a cooler day and allow myself more time for this adventurous route. 

Enjoy the photos!

 Hancock Overlook parking area

 Early morning sunshine on the mountain tops

Hancock Notch Trail starts here after crossing the Kancamagus Highway

 Lots of mushrooms along the trail

 Arrow slide

 I was tempted to go up this route but didn't

 I found the bottom of the Arrow slide

 I turned around here and went back to the main trail

 South Peak from the North Peak Trail

 On the summit of Mount Hancock

 Chocorua and the Sisters

 Mount Chocorua

 Mount Passaconaway

 The Tripyramids

 The Osceolas

 Scar Ridge

 South Hancock

 Enjoying the views from Mount Hancock

 Swayback tree

 Observation tower on Mount Carrigain

 Mount Carrigain and Signal Ridge

 On South Hancock for my 200th summit toward the grid

 A view of the Arrow slide during my descent

 More mushrooms

Nice easy trail at the end of the hike

 Mushrooms growing out of a birch tree

 Mushrooms sprouting from a mossy bed

 Kancamagus crossing up ahead

Back at the Hancock Overlook parking area after 10 miles

Having Fun in the Great Outdoors!

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