Sunday, May 27, 2012

2012.05.27 Waumbek via Starr King - Little "Reward"

This Memorial Day weekend we planned to accomplish our first 4,000 footer of the 2012 season.  A little late I'd say.  We planned on staying in the Whites for a holiday weekend getaway so it made sense to accomplish one of the more northerly 4,000 footers.  With that we decided to climb Mt. Waumbek on Sunday and get it "ticked off the list".

Saying the latter is somewhat funny to me.  You see, I tell everyone that I am not attempting to accomplish the entire list of 48 NH peaks of 4,000 feet or more however, I do find myself keeping track of each one we complete.  That approach is merely so I can have an excuse when I later choose not to do some of the longer treks that might require an overnight stay.  As much as I love the mountains and hiking, sleeping on the ground is just not appealing to me.  Call me a wimp I guess.

Mt. Waumbek is a baby 4,000 footer and barely makes the list at 4,006' which makes it number 46 of 48.  My GPS must need calibration as it indicated the elevation was 4,014'.  Though, now that I think about it, I was holding the GPS in my hand which likely added 3-4 feet of elevation.  Overall it is a pretty accurate device I guess!

Mt. Waumbek is actually in the Pliny mountain range.  The trail head is easy to find and is located on Starr King Road off of Route 2 in Jefferson, NH.  On this holiday weekend the parking lot was full but there was space along the road and also in some more open wooded areas adjacent to the roadway.

To reach Mt. Waumbek, at least from this direction, you will first summit Mount Starr King (2.6 miles from the trail head).  Once you "climb" out of your car, the climbing will not end until you reach the summit of Starr King.  The grade is easy to moderate but it is non-stop with few if any flat sections.  Once you summit Starr King, watch closely as the limited views from here are all you will see during this entire hike.  Nice as these views are, they left me wanting.

From Mount Starr King it is another 1-mile to Mt Waumbek which is reached by crossing the essentially flat col between the two peaks.  All in all this was a 7.4 mile hike which took us just under 6-hours.  With the typical bug-fest one experiences in the woods of NH in May, we were kept moving and our breaks were minimal.  Some photos:

The limited views from Mount Starr King.  Mount Washington is in the distance.

The ledge at the summit of Starr King with an old chimney/fireplace in the distance.

Apparently this was a portion of an old cabin that had burned to the ground.  Who carried the 50 lb. bags of mortar up the mountain for the stone and brick work?

This is it folks.  The entirety of the 'view' from Mt. Waumbek.  A lowly little cairn (a.k.a. a little pile of rocks for you non-hikers).

While near the summit of Mt. Waumbek I spotted this sign for the continuation of the trail.  I paused for a moment and thought about continuing on to South Pond.  After all, it was a beautiful day and the weather was clear.  Something about the distance had me reconsider though.  Clearly by the time I could complete the 41.2 mile round trip, I would be tired, very tired.  Maybe another day - NOT!
We had some company at the summit.

My required vegetation shot of the trip.

This was one of three wells/springs along the trail.  Two of the three had stone walls like this one.


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