Date Climbed: 07/25/2010
Distance: 3.9 miles
Low Elevation: 1480 feet
High Elevation: 3053 feet
Elevation Gain: 1790 feet
Elevation Loss: 1790 feet
Start Location: Doublehead Ski Area TH
Finish Location: Doublehead Ski Area TH
Route: Doublehead Ski Trail, Old Path, New Path, Dundee Rd.
Weather: Mostly cloudy, warm and humid, some sprinkles
Companions: New Hampshire, Andy S.
Me, a Bri and a Bro: Knuckleheads on the DoubleheadsMy oldest brother’s been seeing some of my awesomely mediocre hiking pictures on Facebook, and has asked a couple of times when we can go together. Seeing a good long pestering coming along if I didn’t relent, I relented. With too much going on these past few years, I’ve been getting to be known in my family as “Mike Who?,” and this would be a good chance away from all the family reunion distractions to have some quality time. I chose the Doubleheads for a number of reasons. Short, good views (52WAV), and… what else was it? Oh yeah, the north peak is on some 3k list or another. So I invited Brian along since he’s the only one that I hike with regularly that actually will admit to pursuing the 3k list. Andy is as much of a smart-ass as me for some odd reason I can’t fathom, so the three of us would surely meld nicely. I warned Brian that he would be facing Salty times two, but he was bravely up for the challenge.
A nice short hike dictated a nice late start. I got up at the human hour of 6:30 and was off to Wolfeboro to pick up the Bro at 9:00, then to meet Brian at the southern trailhead at 10:30. Brian was doing a short hike prior to meeting us, and as it turns out, we came up right up behind him on Rt. 16. The Doublehead Ski Trail is marked by a ski sign on Dundee Rd., while the New Path was right before the gate. You have to park on the side of the road here, half on and half off. We just opted for the ½ mile road walk on the way back. We headed up the ski trail, which was a rather soggy start. Yep – more of a ski trail than a hiking trail. Coming to the Old Path junction, we opted for the easier, albeit longer route continuing on the ski trail. Grades were great the whole way, and there were a few raspberries left. Looks like a fun ski run in the winter, if you don’t mind hiking for an hour in order to ski for a few minutes.
We got to the cabin on the summit of North Doublehead, with Andy doing great considering he hardly hikes. Uhhh, where’s the views? There was a rock where you could see peaks behind the trees. Huh? Brian found the spur to a SE looking ledge – ah, much better. Views, food and shooting the bull. Very nice. Actually, the three of us hardly shut up for the whole trip. On to the south peak. Coming down off the north peak we could see our destination complete with the col, and it was very steep heading down. Glad we didn’t come up this way! Heading up to S. Doublehead was nice and easy. We came to another view before the summit, another ledge overlooking Jackson, with views to the Whites, and the only sprinkles we’d see all day. Name That Peak was a miserably confusing affair. Carter Notch was at least identifiable with a deck of dark clouds just below Carter Dome. We got to what we thought was the summit, but descended to the spur trail and on that we went up a bit to another bump, and another. They’re all on the same contour – who knows. The spur ledge finally gave some views to the northeast, as well as again to the south and west. There were a few blueberries left.
We then headed down the new path, which is a very steep, straight shot down. Ugh. Brother kept asking for a switchback, and then proceeded to lose his feet out from under him several times due to wet slabs and roots. Or crappy shoes. Or he’s klutzier than me. Near the bottom it finally leveled out a bit, Andy decided he could keep his ass from meeting the ground and then it was a quick walk to the cars. A fun, quick trip, and a joy to be out with the Bro, and more plans for the future. For his effort, I forced him to cook me hot dogs and hamburgers, and in my gratefulness, I made some room in his fridge by removing a couple of beers. Definitely recommend this direction for this route, as all the steepness is on the downhill. Very few people out today – only saw 3 groups. Hopefully none heard our conversation before we saw them.