Seniors Not Acting Their Age: Challenging conditions on Doublehead Mountain

Scenic ledges in close proximity to the summit of South Doublehead present panoramic sights of encompassing mountains. Ron Chase pictures

Situated south of the Carter Mountain Array, Doublehead Mountain is a twin-peaked prominence in Jackson, New Hampshire. 3 mountaineering trails on Doublehead lead to the summits of North and South Doublehead and offer chances for loop and out-and-again hikes. Scenic ledges in the vicinity of the summits provide panoramic sights of the taller surrounding mountains and the valleys beneath.

When our retired close friends, Laurie Wunder and Tom Meredith, invited us to be part of them for a climb of Doublehead, my spouse, Nancy, and I readily agreed. A unique occasion of kinds, it would be our very first mountain hike of 2023 on the second day of the yr.

Hikers move washed-out regions climbing Doublehead Mountain.

The four of us fulfilled at the Doublehead Mountain Trailhead parking location on Dundee Road on a partly sunny, seasonably heat, breezy early morning. When Nancy and I arrived, Tom and Laurie were inspecting path situations. Early winter season snowstorms, adopted by rainy climate, have manufactured predicting path disorders difficult, specially at greater elevations. Tom noted that the path floor at the trailhead was challenging-packed snow and they planned to use stabilicers for traction. Nancy and I opted to have on micro-spikes. Right after some dialogue, we decided to forego carrying snowshoes centered on the assumption that recurrent path utilization would outcome in packed trails in the course of the trek.

Two of the three Doublehead trails, Doublehead Ski Trail and Previous Path, can be accessed from the parking space. The third, New Route, is situated about a fifty percent-mile farther up Dundee Road but lacks parking.

In the beginning, we hiked progressively uphill on the huge, snow-covered Doublehead Ski Path in a blended hardwood and conifer forest. As the gradient greater, scattered wet, washed-out locations resulting from new rains complicated and slowed progress.

Following six-tenths of a mile, we arrived at the junction for Previous Route on the ideal. A conclusion was required whether to carry on up the Ski Trail to North Doublehead or follow Outdated Path to the col amongst the two peaks. We opted to climb the steeper Old Path and possibly descend the a lot more gradual Ski Path. A ultimate determination on that choice or returning above South Doublehead by means of New Path was postponed.

Bearing suitable on Outdated Route, the path narrowed and steepened although we continued to grapple with some soaked sections. Getting into a predominantly conifer forest in further snow, the path angled remaining. We traversed alongside the west facing slope for a short distance prior to turning abruptly proper and climbing precipitously to the col and the junction with New Path.

Mountain Pond and the hills of western Maine can be seen from an forget about on North Doublehead. Ron Chase picture

Our arrival at the path junction necessary much more final decision-generating. The descent on New Path from South Doublehead is even steeper than Outdated Route and requires strolling again to the parking place on Dundee Road. We observed that possibility unappealing and made a decision on a brief hike to the summit of South Doublehead adopted by a return to Aged Path for a climb of North Doublehead.

The short jaunt to the summit of South Doublehead was swiftly achieved. Views from ledges just down below the summit are phenomenal. Donning parkas for protection from severe winds, we savored wonderful panoramic vistas of the Carrigan-Hancock location, and the Wildcat and Carter Ranges. Alas, Mount Washington and the Southern Presidentials were enveloped in clouds and hidden from view.

Returning to Aged Path, we started the ascent of North Doublehead. The three-tenths mile route needed negotiating by way of some drifted snow in advance of scrambling up icy precipitous ledges. Our micro-spikes and Stabilicers supplied considerably-needed traction on the ice.

Doublehead Cabin, designed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, marks the summit of 3,05- foot North Doublehead. Right away reservations can be made via the U.S. Forest Provider. On the reverse facet of the cabin is an exceptional viewpoint dealing with east.

Sheltered from the northwest winds, we comfortable at the top of the forget for an overdue lunch. Sights of Mountain Pond and the hills of western Maine have been a visible delight during our repast. Leftover getaway candies were a well-liked menu item.

Snow situations though descending the Ski Path varied. We proceeded simply down sections compressed by sleds applied for hauling equipment to and from the cabin. In a several parts, terribly rutted snowpack designed travel difficult. Snowshoes would have been handy in those people sectors.

We hadn’t viewed any other hikers all day right up until we commenced descending the place we met numerous climbers, together with a few who had reservations at the cabin. I acknowledge pangs of envy.

Ron Chase resides in Topsham. His newest e book, “Maine Al Fresco: The Fifty Greatest Outside Adventures in Maine” is readily available at northcountrypress.com/maine-al-fresco or in bookstores and as a result of on the web suppliers. His prior textbooks are “The Wonderful Mars Hill Lender Robbery” and “Mountains for Mortals – New England.” Take a look at his web site at ronchaseoutdoors.com or he can be reached at [email protected]

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