Saturday, June 9, 2012

2012.06.09 Mt Tecumseh - A Path Less Traveled

Our hike this week departs from Tripoli Road off of Route 93 just South of Lincoln, NH.  The Mt. Tecumseh trailhead is located about 5.5 miles off the highway exit with about half that distance being on a dirt road.  There is a sign and turn on the right of the road simply marked "Hiker Parking".  A small parking area exists but other than the trailhead sign, you might not even notice the trail leaving the parking area.  It was immediately clear that this trail was a path less traveled.  It was a very quiet hike at least until we reached the summit and there the hiker traffic increased because of those coming from other directions.

This trail climbs the back side of Mt. Tecumseh which is the mountain making up Waterville Valley Ski Area (on opposite side of the mountain).  Tecumseh is a qualifying 4,000 footer but it is the shortest in the State of NH at just 4,006'.  The elevation gain to the summit was listed in our hiking book as being just over 2,000 feet.  We soon learned though that the total elevation gain on this hike was just over 3,000 feet.  My legs today (two days later) are telling me that this extra 1,000 feet really did matter.

I will tell more of the story with the pictures below:

The requisite trailhead photos were taken.  It was 9:30 am and we finished the hike at 3:45 pm.  The total distance traveled was 7.8 miles. 

Well before you reach the summit of Tecumseh there is an unmarked path to the right which takes you to this viewpoint.  From this point we supposedly had just another 150' of elevation gain to accomplish however, we soon learned that we would be spending some timing climbing down the mountain before gaining elevation again in order to complete the final summit to Tecumseh.  This was the first of several undulations that would add that extra 1,000' of elevation gain I mentioned earlier.

This weeks vegetation shot of the week.  Psychedelic mushrooms?

Here the climb steepens and goes on for some time. 

Just under 2.5 hours into our hike we reach the summit of Mt. Tecumseh. 

 More views from the summit of Mt. Tecumseh.
At this point we have descended Mt. Tecumseh (summit in the background) and we are on our way to the top of the Waterville Valley Ski Area.  We will return by the same route.  This extra leg adds about 1.6 miles RT to our hike but I would highly recommend it to all.

This is the elevation plot from my GPS.  As I've noted, there are a number of undulations after you think you may have reached the summit.  The scale of this plot does not do the changes justice.  You'll also note that the last leg to the summit of Tecumseh has a rather steep grade.

I never expected to find a construction zone at the top of a mountain (near Waterville Valley). 

We all love our cell phones so that forces the construction of contraptions like this on our mountain tops.  I am not a true "tree hugger" but, isn't there a better way?

If only we had been able to ride this lift up the mountain our hike would have been much, much easier.  We were not allowed to ride it down either.  We waited for about 15 minutes for an operator to show up but it was not to be.  Maybe we should have carried our skis up the mountain so we could ski down.  It would have been tough on the edges though... 

A look down the ski slope. 

My GPS plot (black line) overlaid in Google Earth.  The maze on the lower right is the ski area.

All in all this was a great hike and reasonably tough when one considers it is the shortest 4,000 footer in NH.


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