Sunday, January 12, 2014

Middle and Peaked Mountains, January 12, 2014

Middle Mountain (1,857') and Peaked Mountain (1,739') via Middle Mountain, Peaked Mountain and Middle Connector trails, 1/12/14.

Mileage:  5.4 miles (lollipop) 

Elevation gain:  1,800'

Trailhead: Thompson Road, North Conway. From Rt. 16 N in N. Conway, turn right onto Artist's Falls Road; go .3 miles bearing right on Thompson Road.  Park at Pudding Pond trail parking area, .4 miles on Thompson Road.

Hiked with Sandy today. We'd planned to hike Wildcat but when we reached Pinkham Notch, the wind was horrific and trails scraped bare of snow (with thick ice flows). So we opted for a lower peak closer to town.

I've wanted to hike Peaked Mountain for a while.  Sandy often spends weekends in North Conway and at a brief 3.4 miles round trip, Peaked is her favorite area short hike. I wanted to see what it was all about. 

Limited parking but maintained.

We added Middle Mountain - which increased our total mileage and elevation gain - so we would at least feel like we hiked the good hike.  These mountains, along with Black Cap and Cranmore, are part of the Green Hills Preserve.   Snowshoes were our traction of choice but microspikes would have also worked nicely.  

Left and then a quick left.  

The path is a road, crossing power lines. We started with two lefts which put us on a wide trail. We crossed over a small brook that'd gotten quite full of itself since the heavy rains.

The trick is to account for your snowshoe's heel drop!

When we reached a split in the trail (the beginning of the loop), we went right.

Trail splits.

You can get to Peaked either way.
The trail starts to ascend gradually.

And narrows.  We're skirting the side of the mountain.

Good signage here.  

We headed up to Middle Mountain. The rains washed most of the snow away.  

Ice replaces snow on many of the steeper areas.

Nice views on top!

Hang on Peaked Mountain, we'll be right over!
As we headed down from Middle, we saw the sign for Peaked.
More ice.

At Peaked
Well, we DID have snow under our feet a few minutes ago!
After the lovely windy path with wonderful views, we reached another kiosk.

The sign indicates Thompson Road is to the left - don't go left!

Several skiers passed us before we reach the kiosk and sign.  The trail to the left of the sign will take you back to Thompson Road but NOT to the parking lot. Take the path directly in front of this sign to get back to your car.

You'll complete the circle and head right back to the parking lot.

We were down after a few hours and really felt we'd had a workout. Best part about this hike is the path is sheltered from the wind and there was a relatively small amount of ice on the path, considering the recent weather.