Today was a big day as the first of our merry demented bunch finished the New Hampshire 3000 footer list. 176 peaks spread throughout the state, many in the Pittsburg area and many, many bushwhacks. Brian had chosen Black Mountain in Jackson as his finish, a fairly short and easy one, so our large group met at the Bog Brook Trailhead where we took the logging road as the trail apparently had some beaver issues. It was a fair bit of extra mileage, but obviously easy going. I knew of a logging cut that stretched up the mountain a bit, and we ended up walking past it, not being sure of if that was it or not.
Backtrack! This haul road is fresh, with logs piled at the end, and so, lots of slash to walk over for some tricky footing. But one nice thing about logging is views, including a “backwards” view of Stairs
and of the long Wildcat ridge. Bob is looking longingly at a place with a proper hiking trail.
We also had a view across the valley to Washington. The Boott Spur Trail is surprisingly visible in this shot.
Gary was having trouble today, and Russ went back with him. Bummer as I haven't seen these two in a while, but I certainly can understand having those bad days. We came to the end of the logging cut and it was time to whack. The woods were good, although we'd hit patches of hobblebush, this being one of the more thicker sections I've seen. Bob is looking for his machete here.
We slabbed up the ridge through old cuts with varying growth, but nothing terrible, coming out near a small bump south of the summit. The ridge was awesome as I had heard it was.
It was a bit brushy in places, but the moose had created more than a few herd paths. Here's Becky apparently enjoying herself, and Bob taking a picture of where he'd rather be.
With only some scrappy stuff at the final climb to the view near the summit we arrived to meet Keith, Julie and Katahdin waiting for us enjoying the view and the copious black flies. They were flipping horrible today. I had to reapply 100% DEET every hour just to keep them somewhat at bay. The view, however, was quite good, including this view of the Sandwich Range. Too bad for the haze.
We chatted, let everyone catch up, and pushed off to the summit, letting Brian lead through scrubby growth, finding the summit nearby. And so it was done for Brian.
Out came the prizes. Obscene t-shirts, an obscene pen, and even an obscene lawn gnome. And finally, the patches (NH 100 highest and NH3k). I eyed them jealously, but my time is coming in the fall, and I felt really great for my buddy who I met in the winter of '09, and 8 months later we decided to do a whack up north on Kelsey and hit it right off. We had done almost all of the peaks together from there on and had a blast doing it. This wasn't an end, just a milestone.
Joe and I poked around from views east and north, and were yelling back and forth to check out each others' finds. I got this one of the Baldfaces.
Lucky for me, Joe found the view I'd been looking for all day. Carter Notch.
Bonus for having Madison behind it. Heading back there was a clear herd path to the viewpoint that we all missed. Oops. Oh well, finish the hard way. Heading back down was tedious through the hobblebush and scrub, but we finally emerged in the cut and walked the road out in the building heat. Everyone was going to tailgate at the falls, but it was later than expected, and I wanted to get home at a decent hour, so I found a way to bail on something today.
So, congrats, Brian. You earned this puppy, despite your humility and low-key nature about it, and I couldn't have asked for a better friend to join me on this adventure. Along the way we suckered, I mean picked up a couple of other great friends, which has made this insanity a blast.