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New Hampshire, United States
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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mt. Kearsarge North  (3,268') via Kearsarge North trail, December 27, 2014.

Mileage: 6.2 miles RT

Elevation gain:  2,500'

Trailhead:  Route 16 to N. Conway /Intervale take the Hurricane Mt Road (across from the rest stop/tourist center). Follow this road for about 1.5 miles.  A small parking area is on the left.

Hike with Rich and Sandy, our first official hike of the 2014/2015 winter.  I hadn't hiked since early October and was itching to get out.
 
We'd all hike Kearsarge North before (not to be confused with Mt. Kearsarge located in the western part of the state). The summit's spectacular views and fire tower make for a desirable destination any time of year (see previous report).
 
Temps were in the high 40's when we got out on the trail.  It's a great thing when you don't need gloves or hats on a winter hike! 
 
 
The trail was wet but bare for the first mile or so, with patches of snow and ice becoming more prevalent as we ascended. We were out of shape but glad to be out.
 
Didn't take long for us to be walking on soft snow cover.
At 1600' snow covered the well trodden path.  On went our Microspikes. The path gets steeper and just before the summit there is a steep right turn, quite icy (there is a walk around to the left).
 
Fire tower on top.

Beautiful view of Mt. Washington.
 
At the summit we climbed the fire tower and went inside to have lunch - though it was sunny and calm enough to just sit on a snow pile outside. 
 
After a few photos we headed back. Many friendly hikers were out today and they all stopped to say hi and chat, which made for a delightful 5 hour hike!  We didn't care that it took a long time to get up and down; the sun was warm, sky bright blue, not much for wind, and we had no place to be. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Panorama Point (State High Point #25) 12/13/14

Panorama Point (5,424'), Nebraska, December 13, 2014.


Mileage:  Drive-up

Directions to high point:   (Coordinates: 41.00720°N/104.0305°W). It's easy to find Panorama Point. Directions are taken from summitpost.org, with my comments:  
  • Leave I-80 E to US 30 to enter the town of Pine Bluff (left at end of ramp, right is a rest area).
  • (Take a right onto 8th Street - there's a Subway on the corner and community center in back).
  • (Follow 8th Street to Beech Street -my GPS referred to it as Beech Ave - take a right).
  • Pass under I-80 and go about 9 miles to dirt road #203 leaving left (east). (I almost missed this road on the left.)
  • Follow this road, which jogs south and becomes road #6, for 3.4 miles.
  • Turn right (south) on road #5 and go 2.0 miles. (There is a sign to Panorama Point at 2 miles.)
  • The dirt road to Panorama Point leaves right (west), just a hair north of the Colorado state line. From the road sign, it is 1.3 miles to Panorama Point. 

Work brought me to the Denver area and I took the opportunity to visit Panorama Point (and Mt. Sunflower - see previous report). 

I spent the night at the Best Western in Loveland, CO, woke up early and took I-25 to I-80 east.  I reached Panorama Point at 7:45 a.m. and returned to Denver in plenty of time for my 3:10 p.m. flight back to New Hampshire.

The town of Pine Bluff, Wyoming is nestled next to a rise in the terrain and you will drive up the bluff as you head to the high point.  The sun was just rising and the view of the plains was beautiful.     

The 9 miles to Road 203 were enjoyable but it's tough to pull over for a photo.

Sun rising - most of my drive was in the dark.

Wind power nearby.

I never knew when I actually crossed the border into Nebraska.  I kept looking for the small monument on the rise in the distance.

At the entrance.  There's a box where you put your $3.

Though the day was warm and dry (particularly for December) I'm glad I rented an SUV.  The road's in good shape but I imagine it can be sketchy in winter. There are several deep ruts.  I drove to the monument and register.

Road up to the monument.
The monument and register (the black metal "desk" on the left).

I opened the drawer and signed the register, looked around and took a few photos.  This is bison country and while here I kept hearing snorts and grunts.  The area is fenced and the property owners ask that you don't hike. There's a tri-state marker nearby as well but hiking to it is not allowed.
  



After enjoying a few more minutes in the warm sun, I jumped into the car and headed back to Denver.

Golden plains in the morning.



Mt. Sunflower, Kansas (State High Point #24) 12/12/14

Mt. Sunflower (4039'), Kansas, December 12, 2014.


Mileage:  Drive-up

Directions to high point:   (Coordinates: 39.02190°N/102.037°W).    Mt. Sunflower is easy to get to thanks to the many signs along the way.  I drove this route get to the high point. Directions are taken from summitpost.org, with my comments: 

The high point is 38 miles from I-70 (about 21 of those miles on a wide dirt road). 

  • From I-70 take exit 17 in Goodland Kansas, which is route 27 South. 
  • 17 miles later, there is a sign to Mt. Sunflower. Take a right onto the dirt road (Blue Bird Road, Sharon Springs, KS -  follow the main dirt road. Several wide, well established roads shoot off of the main road - can be confusing).
  • The dirt road goes about 15.7 miles to another sign to the mountain.   (Before you get to this sign the road will curve to the left and the road name will change - keep going!).  Turn at that sign.
  • 6 miles later (across from Washboard Road) there is another dirt road with a sign that reads, "1 mile to Mt. Sunflower." This is a right turn.
  • One mile later, there is a sign at the approach to the high point - on the right. (I drove right to the high point.)
Alternate route: The high point can also be reached via I-70 to Route 40. My GPS chose this option (I returned to Denver this route). This way has only about 11 miles of dirt road but Route 40 is a two lane highway (with only two gas stations on the route) so you may be behind slower vehicles. 

  • I-70 to Route 40.
  • Drive to the CO/KS border (past Cheyenne Wells, CO).
  • About a mile past the CO/KS border is "3 Rd" (Rd Wa N3) in Weskan, KS.  There is a sign at the road "Mt. Sunflower."
  • Take the left onto the dirt road for ten miles then a left onto the road with the "1 mile to Mt. Sunflower" sign, on left.

Work brought me to Denver and I took the opportunity to get this high point.  It's about a three and a half hour ride from Denver airport, a somewhat monotonous trek down I-70 for most or all of the way (Route 40 is more interesting with some small towns and farms).  Miles and miles of flat.  I was glad to get to Goodland and see the sign to the highpoint.

Twenty-one miles on a wide dirt road.


Really wide road!
 
This wide road (signed as Blue Bird Road) is well maintained. I was anxious to get there and twenty-one miles of dirt wasn't appealing.  Blue Bird Road apparently ends and on a curve to the left the road name changes.  I kept going and found the next sign.

I followed the signs to the high point and the roads (all dirt) are well maintained.

This is the entrance to the short road up to the register.

In these conditions any vehicle can make it up the road to the register, though it's just a short walk.

Road to the register.

After a few photos I signed the register and looked around. There's a picnic table and this tribute.

A memorial to the original homesteaders of this property.