Salty's Bald Mink Trip Reports

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Hiking Dates

05/12/2011

01/02/2009


Date Climbed: 05/12/2011

Distance: 1.2 miles

Low Elevation: 899 feet
High Elevation: 1539 feet
Elevation Gain: 640 feet
Elevation Loss: 640 feet

Start Location: N. Village Rd and Cunningham Pond Rd.
Finish Location: N. Village Rd and Cunningham Pond Rd.
Route: Direct whack up and back

Weather: Mostly sunny, near 70, a little breeze up top
Companions: (none)

Photos: http://saltynh.smugmug.com/Hiking/Bald-Mink-12-MAY-2011

I had to work from home today. It was a gorgeous sunny and warm day, with showers in the forecast for the weekend. Sounds like a lunch plan to go hike something quick and local, so Bald Mink fit the bill. I've hiked this before from my house, which was a 6.8 mile haul. Today I'd find a nice parking spot nearest the summit and do a quick 640' gain. Checking Google Earth, I saw there was a wet area to avoid which turned out to be a beaver pond, with a rock wall going right through it.

Beaver Pond with Bald Mink behind it

It started out fairly steep, with plenty of boulders and ledges.

Bouldery from the get go

Lots of 2 to 4 foot ledges along the way

I was huffing and puffing, and made plenty of stops, including sucking in numerous blackflies, which made me retch. Just don't like things in the back of my throat. The slope lessened and out on the pretty summit I came.

Summit 'cairn'

Nice summit area

As I had seen in the winter, there's not much for views, it isn't bald, and I saw no minks, but I did spy what was moose or deer poop, and Rowe (home of Gunstock) and Belknap Mountains.

Rowe (aka Gunstock) and Belknap Mtns

I climbed a tree, but only got a view of the main Mink Hills ridge. A very quick trip down for a nice little walk in the woods.


Date Climbed: 01/02/2009

Distance: 6.8 miles

Low Elevation: 450 feet
High Elevation: 1540 feet
Elevation Gain: 1700 feet
Elevation Loss: 1700 feet

Start Location: Bean Rd., Warner, NH
Finish Location: Bean Rd., Warner, NH
Route: Old Osgood Driveway, White Trail, Cross Minks Trail, Chandler Trail for short distance, old tote road above ski tow, then direct bushwhack to Bald Mink. Down Bald Mink to N. Village Rd. to Bean Rd.

Weather: About 7F, light winds towards end
Companions: (none)

Photos: http://community.webshots.com/album/569486448nlWiaT

Another interesting hike into the Mink Hills of Warner. Oh I know, borrrrring. No clear views, summits only 1200-1700 ft., but there are some trails and most importantly, them thare hills are right behind my house. Drive to the trailhead? I donít need no steenking drive to the trailhead. There are bits of 19th century history I keep stumbling upon on my hikes, there are some nice steep sections, and there are views to be had, albeit limited. So set a spell, grab a few of your favorite beverages (whatís a short trip report??), and indulge me in my journey. Money back guarantee! To those who havenít read my TRís yet, hikes to me are whole stories in themselves. Unfortunately, so are my TRís... My last two hikes were in late October and late November. This latter hike was on that first day of bitter Arctic air with nasty winds to boot. I was nice and toasty, but I canít say the same for my lungs. That air sapped me badly. I had planned on Nancy or Duck Pond Mtn., but only made it to the cascades, and that took a whopping 3 hours. I was left feeling pretty demoralized. Iíve been trying to get out since for that confidence booster hike, and with the holidays and all, just havenít managed it. Finally, I found some time Friday (big sigh oí relief). Iím fortunate to live in the old Osgood house built in 1789 (whatís a square corner?), so the old driveway to another Osgood house (now a cellar hole) is on my property, making access to the trail going up to Chandler Mink (the northernmost peak) as easy as pie. Wait, Iíve made pie. Pie isnít easy. Itís a freakiní pain! OK, easy as someone else making pie. So off I went with temps. in the single digits (but blessedly windless), and quickly met up with the real trail, and saw evidence of our recent and ever-so-patience-testing ice storm. Fortunately, it was not a blowdown-hell day at all. There were constant reminders, but nothing terribly annoying. The first stretch up to the cellar hole is an easy grade, and was made in good time. Past that, things gradually end up getting moderately steep, and my old friend SuckForBreath starting walking with me. OK. Fine. I will do this. Period. Plenty of time. Iím not totally lame. Iím sure as heck not sitting in all winter. It was fairly slow going, but I did make the familiar 1.1 mile trip to Chandler Mink in decent time. Chandler Mink is a 1250 foot peak that long ago held a 30 or 40 foot tower with a flag flying from it that was quite visible from town. I havenít seen pictures of this, but it must have been pretty cool to see it up on this nearby prominent peak. Itís since toppled in half, and is not a good place to get a view (plus thereís a definitive Iím Gonna Poop My Pants factor being up there). Elsewhere on the peak, there are limited views of Kearsarge and its surrounds, but a better viewpoint is had whacking some 900 feet NW of here, where views of Chocorua can be had. Some nice hot tea, a few pictures later and I was off for the prize of the day, unvisited by me as of yet. One of the minks is called Bald Mink. Bald? Mmmmm, views. Yet part of the Mink Hills Conservation Plan shows no views from this peak (note: Bald Mink is inadvertantly labeled Chandler on this map). Yet Google Earth shows a bare area on this peak. Only one way to figure this out. There are two trails that continue from here, splitting just below the summit. I was watching carefully for the junction, but I have continually missed the danged thing. One trail heads off to further down Bean Rd., making a loop of sorts, and the other goes to the bottom of an old ski tow. I hadnít hiked the latter yet, and was keen to get it mapped out on the GPS. I was about 150 vertical feet below the summit, making quick time (ohhh, lovely downhill) when I realized something was missing. My poles! Ar-rar-ragagh. My knees let me my brain know just what it thought of having to go back up again, and folks, I just canít reprint here what was said between those two. I had also realized I had missed the junction earlier, but as it turns out, you naturally head to the ski tow anyway. The route is flagged, and other footsteps were present, so of course, following them took me right off the trail before I realized it. Ah well, theyíre going in the right direction, and the trip up to Bald Mink would be a whack anyway. Apparently this was a tote road, although at the point where it veered away from Bald Mink, it was pretty much an annoying brook, too. Looking back, I was above the ski tow by about 200 feet. The whack started out reminiscent of the Whites, with lots of young firs with dead branches all in your face (and lots going down the shower drain later), but for the most part as youíd expect at this elevation, itís open woods (apparently with more blowdowns to skirt as of late). I had another slow breath sucking, many-a-stopping slog up a ridge, only to see a valley below separating me from Bald Mink (no map today). I donít like them PUDís, no sirree (the bright side of a break from going uphill cannot be seen by this author). OK, fine, Iím getting up there. Period. I was feeling mighty lonely out there, thinking I could very well be the only person to have walked this particular spot of land in a long time. Needless to say, this romanticized hiking vision was soon put back into reality with the sighting of footprints. Hmm, going in my direction, too. I followed this for about 20 minutes before losing them in a windswept area, and never had any indication they were on Bald Mink. Possibly just a hunter. So now this is where it got steep. 40 degrees or more sections, where upon reaching a more level area, I was greeted with yet another steep section. And on and on. The topo belies this because of the alternating steepness. I considered bailing at this point down to a nearby road, but I was only 1000 feet from my objective. Sigh. Suck it up. Onward. 20 seconds of hiking, 10 seconds of resting. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Finally, I could see a high point coming up and knew I was there. The all too familiar boost of energy kicked in. And there were views, albeit limited by the tops of deciduous trees. It was more like Rogaine Mink, rather than Bald Mink. Patís Peak and the Uncanoonucs in Goffstown were readily evident. Monadnock shouldíve been, but I was looking in the wrong direction. I was a happy man again. Granted, it was only about 3 miles, but jeesh, I accomplished what I wanted and was even rewarded for it. On top is a combo cairn and firepit, and a little shelter. OK, the fir boughs were long dead and blown off, but the wind was picking up at this time, and it worked well to enjoy some more tea out of the wind. I checked the time, and was surprised to see it was 2:00, 4.25 hours after I left. Yes, there will be no hint of speed for Salty this winter. I wasnít going back the way I came with 2 hills to climb again, so I took a bearing on a structure I could see below on N. Village Rd. I was crushed after a quick descent (and I mean quick --- it was steep, but Iíve now experienced the joy of glissading) to see a ridge rising above me in my way. Oh, wait, stupid. Down in the valley, the valley so low, was a road. Duh. OK, time for the 2.5 mile road slog. Even the slight grade going up Bean Rd. was causing much huffing. Oof. The muscles on the insides of my thighs hurt. Thatís a new one. But only an hour after I left Bald Mink,, I walked into my home, tired, happy and full of tales of adventure! I fell asleep 10 minutes later. Later I was pleasantly surprised to see I had done 1700 of total elevation gain for a 6.8 mile total trip. Not terribly shabby. Now whereís my danged crampons?