Friday, August 28, 2015

Vose Spur (#100/NEHH) & Carrigain

08/28/15:  Vose Spur my #100 of New England Hundred Highest via Bushwhack from Mt Carrigain.

This was a very hard but enjoyable bushwack from Mt Carrigain with my grandson Kris.

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Time line:
0630: Trailhead off Sawyer river Road
1200: Mt Carrigain via Carrigain Notch trail and Signal Ridge trail (5.5 hrs)
1530: Col between Carrigain & Vose Spur via downhill bushwhack  (3.5 hrs)
1600: Vose Spur peak via uphill bushwack (0.5 hrs)
1800: Back on Carrigain Notch Trail via downhill bushwack (2.5hrs)
2030: Back at Trailhead via near level section of Carrigain Notch trail (2.5)
Total: 14 hr; 8 hrs on trail, 5 hrs of bushwack, 1 hr peak times &  breaks.

We drove up from Rhode Island the night before and camped at the Jigger Johnson campground on tne Kancamagus.   This was my last NEHH and my grandson Kris agreed to try another bushwhack with me. He had done "Peak above the Nubble" with me the month before. I kind of felt guilty about doing peaks on my list without helping him with his NH4k list lately so I decided to push for a much longer and harder hike to include Mt Carrigain for him.  Most people hike Vose Spur by going in on Carrigain Notch trail and starting their bushwhack at a large boulder 4 miles down the trail and go up and back via a combination of bushwhacking and following herd-paths (mostly near the top). For those who want to add Carrigain you can continue the bushwhack from Vose to Carrigain then come back down via signal Ridge trail or do the reverse by starting with Carrigain.  After considering advice from various websites I decided to  do Carrigain first so that mostly all of my heavy bushwhacking would be downhill and gravity would help me push through the spruce.  The risk would be that if I ran low on time that I may have to pass on Vose Spur. All in all everything went nearly to plan and we both had a hard but great day.  No mishaps other than losing a trekking pole in the 1st 0.25 miles of the whack from Carrigain.

Click here for Our Track posted to Wikiloc.

Click here for All pictures posted on Picasaweb.

Pictures of our track:

Full Track
 Bushwhack from Carrigain to Vose Spur to Carrigain Notch trail. Followed ridge down from Carrigain. dropped east before the lower peak avoiding some uphill whacking and down to the talus field just above the col. hit it to far north and followed it south before jumping back into the thick- See next pic
Satellite view from Carrigain (left). Hit north tip of 1st talus field. Followed field south then started whack up to Vose.  Coming down entered 2nd talus field on top(north)  and climbed down it. If we went SW from there we could have hit a third field and followed it down (maybe)

Pictures and the rest of the story:
Kris at the trailhead   0630 he chose to start out with long jeans that he would need for the bushwack. I started with shorts and changed to jeans and long sleeves when we reached Carrigain

 Grey jay
 This was Kris's first time feeding a Grey Jay. He ended up feeding him a whole pkg of crackers.
 First view of my main objective (Vose Spur) from Signal Rridge.
 Mt Lowell
 Kris on open section of Signal Ridge with Vose Spur (left) and Mt Lowell in the background.
 First good view of Carrigain from Signal ridge . We will be going down the right ridge from the tower on the bushwhack to Vose.
 Zoom in of the towerf on Carrigain
 Good view of Vose Spur from the tower. We will be coming up from the col on the left and down through that smaller upper Talus Field.  On hindsight, from there we may have been able to come down through the lower larger field as well.
 Survey marker below the tower.
 Kris on the tower. This is his 9th NH4K peak.
 Fairley clear day with only Mt Washington in the clouds.

 This is where we broke into the clearing after a tough bushwhack down from Carrigain. The plan was to break through at that large talus field left and above us, but we veered too far north.  we started down the ridge from Carrigain is some very thick spruce (where I lost one pole) but shifted north and picked up some herd paths for a short while.
 Looking back up toward Carrigain. This was a tough Bushwhack. We were able to follow a few faint herd-paths but mostly it was just plowing through the spruce.

 From here we followed along the  lower edge of the large talus field until we found a good area to start our next section bushwhack up to Vose.
 Lots of perfectly ripened blueberries in this area just below the talus and back along the open area of Signal Ridge.    Kind of small though - a lot of work to get a mouthful.
 This is about where we left the talus field and started back into the thick wooded area up Vose.
 It was a fairly tough bushwhack up to Vose - had to climb one small cliff. But we finally intercepted a good heard path coming up from the way we would be going down. We dropped our packs there and just followed the path up to the top. Some kind soul had carried a beach chair up and left it at the peak.
 My final New England Hundred Highest peak.  Now all I have left is half of my Winter New Hampshire 4K list. And No, I will not attempt the NEHH in the winter list, so this is the last time I'll ever be in this spot. 
 This is Kris's 11th NEHH,  9 NH4K + Peak above the Nubble + VOse
 Kris chilling out on the Spur
 The first part of coming down was following herd-paths. I was hoping to take one that hit this talus field at the bottom of it, but we came out at the top so we had a long way down the unstable field climbing down backwards on all fours. Kris actually really enjoyed this part.
 The left ridge line in the background is Signal Ridge trail that we had taken up to Carrigain.
 After the talus field, it was a fairly easy combination of herd-paths and spruce whacking then eventually following a ravine until it came out at Carrigain Notch trail near the big boulder where most people that whack up from the notch typically start their whack. My main objective of the day was to get back to the notch trail before dark. We made it with just an hour to spare. If at any point I had thought we wouldn't make it I would have passed on Vose Spur.
 Signs at the junction of Signal Ridge and Carrigain Notch trails. - End of the loop
 1.7 easy miles of easy (but muddy) trail back to the trailhead
Back at the truck at 1830  after 14 hrs & 12 miles of hiking. I had predicted 13 hrs based on my slow uphill rate and the slower bushwhacking rate but forgot to allow for peak breaks. Now for some warm food, a celebratory beer  (and soda), and a 4.5  hr drive home - ugh!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dorset Peak VT (#99/100) NEHH

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Dorset Peak 08/01/15

This is my 99th of the New England Highest 100 peaks. One to go; Vose Spur New Hamsire.

I had scouted out the trail-head the previous day.  Its along a backwoods road that starts at the end of Tower Hill road in Dorcet VT. Depending on your vehicle you can park at the end of Tower Hill Road or drive up the jeep path as far as you dare. There are several spots were you can park and turn around but there are some bad washed out areas that you would need a high clearance 4 wheel drive (like my tacoma). I think I saw one posting that suggested that you may be able to drive as far as the cabin (picture later) but that is no longer the case.  Before reaching the cabin the road has been completely washed out and is now just a boulder filled dry river bed see the next couple of pictures.

I didn't realize it on the way in, but if you cross the "river bed" right were the road clearly ends.there is a new herd path on the left (west) side of the washed out road.

The previously mentioned "cabin" that every post takes a picture of is pretty much grown in this time of year.
Surprising there was evidence of recent tracks  Some dirt bikes but some that looked like 4 wheel jeep or ATVs, i cant imagine that they came in the same way I did.
This section of the trail is not particularly difficult but it does have a pretty good continual grade to it.

About an hour and half into the hike (~ 1.25 miles from the hut). The trail/road comes to a "T" intersection. You take the right here.  I noted that the road coming from the left looked in really good shape, and I wondered if that may be a better way up. I have since found out that that is another way up from Danby Four Corners and may be a easier grade but may be la bit longer. I was told by a hiker I met on the way down that that route is described in the Vermont Day Hikers guidebook..
Shortly you come to another split. the fastest, but steeper  way is to the right, as someone has marked with branches.
This part of the trail, though in good shape is quite steep. Not "scramble" steep, but "puff-puff-puff" steep.

Part way up you come to a very tempting cairn and a herd path sharply to the right. The track that I had did take this path but rejoined the main path later. If you are just looking to bag Dorcet, dont take this turn. It leads to an old fire tower, that has fallen down, from what I here there are no viewsther anyway
Later you come to more choices but the signs say that the road to the right also goes to the tower and nowhere else (except maybe a the herd path back to the main trail at that cairn).

Right after the  split to the tower is another split, at first I went right but it had many blowdowns and didn't seem right by my map so I turned back then noticed the door knob tree that i've seen in other post. You take the trail  just to the right of the door knob.
Another junction with worn out signs, I think the trail to the left is from the that left fork8npictures back. Aany rate you can just make out the sign pointer that says that the summit continues on straight here.
Finally the weirdly written Dorset sign with the canister and rusted out metalpitcher. #99, One to Go!

More rusted out pans and pitchers. No mountain views to take pictures of so these show up in  everyone's trip reports.

I didn't take any pictures on the way down.

Back at the spot I parked the truck.  I was tempted to see if I could drive all the way to where the road ends at the washout, but wasn't sure how much room there would be to turn around. It would not have saved much - only .25 miles of near level road.
Back at the White Marble Quary off of Rt 30 at S. Dorset that I had stopped at yesterday when I was scouting out the trailhead after hiking the Jays.  Took a few more pics changed into trunks and repeated my quarry jumps from yesterday. Just as I was leaving it started to rain and there were pretty good down pours for the first few hours of my drive home to R.I.

 This leaves only one to go for my New England Hundred Highest ; Vose Spur, which is suppose to be a fairly tough bushwhack in New Hampshire.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO New England Hundred Highest (NEHH) list.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO my Winter New Hampshire 4K (NH4K)Hikes.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO my Maine/Vermont 4K Hikes.
CLICK HERE TO GO TO my New Hampshire 4K Hikes.