Saturday, July 21, 2012

2012.07.21 Hedgehog Mtn - Minimal Effort; Great Reward

Over the past month Sue has been struggling with knee pain on our hikes.  This pain goes way beyond the norm that we 'older folk' get when descending on hikes.  She had her knee checked by an orthopedic surgeon and it looks fine.  She has been going to PT and they have found the issue is caused by a pinched nerve in her lower back.  The work they have been doing in PT is now causing back pain while hiking on the ascent.  So, after a weekend off, we decided to try a short hike with minimal elevation gain.

We settled on Hedgehog Mountain.  The trail head is located midway along the Kancamagus Highway.  We did the UNH loop trail in a clockwise direction (either direction would have been fine).  The University of New Hampshire has a forestry camp in the area and that is why the trail is named as it is (I believe).  It is a 5-mile loop with a total elevation change of about 1,500 feet with the summit being at an elevation of 2,532 feet.

This hike offers a number of ledge outlooks so the reward is very good for the effort expended.  Wanting to use an even slower pace than normal due to Sue's back and knee, the hike took us 4 hrs and 10 minutes.  Book time is 3.5 hours and I'm guessing it could be done in 3 hours so if you are lacking time this would be a great hike.

If you intend to do this hike please be aware that an entire section of forest in the early part of the clockwise loop has been harvested therefore a portion of the trail found on all maps and hiking books has been rerouted.  Even the White Mountain Guide Online has not yet been updated.  Follow the new signs and you will be fine.

 The obligitory trail head photo.
We will follow the Downes Brook Trail for about .2 miles where we will reach the beginning of the UNH Loop.

We've not even begun our hike yet and Sue was giving me grief about something.  I was looking up and likely saying OMG. 

This is the section that was harvested and therefore caused the initial portion of the loop be rerouted (actually uses the other side of the loop for a time).

This squirrel was hungry so he did not seem to care that I was taking his picture. 

 The rerouted trail uses the return portion of the loop for a time until it reaches a new trail that reconnects you to the South side of the loop.  You can see from this photo that this trail is freshly cut.
A rock toupee....

 There were lot's of roots in sections of this trail.  Though you cannot tell from this photo, nearly every root in this photo emanates from a single tree.

 Our first views from a small outlook.

 The second set of views from more open ledges.
 Yet another ledge with views that are more northerly.   Yes, that face on the left of the shot is a shear cliff.

 I had a trekking pole clamp that was loose so I was using my spool (spoon/tool) to tighten it. 

 I look across this long valley from what is known as Allen's Ledges.  Beautiful...


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