Hiking purests will probably hate me for this however, I have a right to my opinion. To my thinking there are, at best, three reasons to hike Mt Cabot (though the Horn was nice). Here they are:
1) You need to bag it to achieve your 48 4k's (the reason we were here) or,
2) You need to bag it for your winter 48 or,
3) You need bag it (12 times no less!!!!!) to complete the Grid
Short of that, speaking solely for myself, I would not choose to do this hike again.
The trailhead is a full 3-hours from our home so we elected to stay the night in Gorham, NH. I don't like to diss businesses on the web because for every negative posting there are 20 people who had a great experience yet they never post anything about it so, I will keep the totality of my thoughts to myself, save for the following: I have stayed in this hotel, eaten at their restaurant and spent time in their lounge many, many times over the last 30-years. Most but not all of those experiences were two decades ago and they were great. The problem is that things have not changed in 30-years at this place. Society has changed, our expectations of service have changed, and our definition of good food has changed over those decades (not just mine, society as a whole) however, this place has not changed. Too bad. But, I acquiesce. Let's get back to hiking which is the focus of this blog.
We were feeling pretty good at the start so we opted for the longer loop hike as opposed to an in and out which would've been much shorter. Our loop included the Bunnell Notch, Kilkenny Ridge and Unknown Pond Trails. This loop is 11.4 miles long with an elevation gain of about 2,500 feet. Don't let that fool you though, add about 1,000 feet to find the real elevation change due to the undulations in this trail. Our total RT time was just under 8.5 hours.
What makes things worse is that this entire trail needs lots of maintenance. Bog bridges are in bad shape, the trail is overgrown and more. The remote location of this mountain likely diminishes the available trail adopters. Again, take it easy on me you purists. I like a remote, wilderness hike as much as anyone but....
Okay, let's move on before the AMC cancels my membership.
My best guess is that some 3-miles of this trail looks like this. Yes, I am standing on the trail.
This is one of the better views on the ascent. Limited but not too bad.
We reached the old fire warden's cabin (I think that is what it is) a short distance before the actual summit of Mt Cabot. Sue decides she want's a nap but finds the bedding a bit hard.
The "kitchen." We need to find the name of this world renowned kitchen designer. Is that a granite counter top?
The built-in dining room table. Seating for six.
Sue seems happy to have found the Mt Cabot summit marker.
I on the other hand seem to be saying, "Are you serious? I hiked 5 miles, uphill no less, just to find this? Really?
Here we are at the Horn, a large bulbous rock protrusion, looking back at Mt Cabot (left) and "The Bulge" (right). There are great views from the top of the Horn but Sue did not like the final 10' approach to the top so we stopped at the lower tier of the rock and had lunch.
A lot of the bog bridges on this loop really need some TLC.
At least there were some pretty flowers...