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View Full Version : Eagle Crag/ Mount Meader 10/15/09



KD Talbot
10-18-2009, 02:30 PM
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Carter Dome and Mount Hight from Bicknell Ridge Trail

Eagle Crag 3030'/ Mount Meader 2782'

Baldface Circle Trail/Bicknell Ridge Trail/Meader Ridge Trail/Mount Meader Trail

9.2 Miles trail (.5 miles roadwalk) 2500' elevation gain

Kevin, Judy and Emma

Well, although we didn't get the "Indian Summer" days we had been hoping for on this trip north, we did get beautiful scenery and our first little taste of the days ahead. Missing from our packs were some of the items we would liked to have had with us for the cool weather we had. A thermos, hand warmers and a parka to name a few items. We hadn't planned to spend these days in Kevin's Notch, but decided we were not well enough prepared to venture too high, so the question became, "Where have we not been in Kevin's Notch?"

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South Baldface from the Bicknell Ridge Trail

With the previous day's hike to speckled Mountain there were scant few trails from the notch we hadn't been on. scouring the maps Jude came up with the idea of visiting the Bicknell Ridge Trail, which we soon expanded to a hike north to Eagle Crag, then continuing north on the Meader Ridge Trail and descending the Mount Meader Trail. Next morning we drove back down the notch and parked at the Mount Meader Trail trailhead. from here it was an easy roadwalk to the Baldface Circle Trail trailhead where we would begin.

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North Baldface

The one time we descended this way from North Baldface we had remained on the Baldface Circle Trail, so the Bicknell Ridge Trail was all new territory. I have to rate it as: "Our kind of trail!" easy grades to where the elevation gain becomes a factor, then hiking from ledge to ledge through mixed forests, occasionally dipping down into spruce, then scrambling back up over ledge to sometimes filtered and sometimes wide open views of the surrounding peaks. The views to snow-covered South Baldface were breathtaking and difficult to do justice with a mere photograph. This trail put me very much in mind with the Nickerson/Carter Ledge approach to Mount Chocorua except rather than Chocorua always looming to my left, in this case it was South Baldie.

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South Baldie

We took our time, stopping at each viewpoint and taking in what I consider some of the best viewing conditions. Snow-covered peaks rising above brilliant foliage is hard to beat, but also hard to truly appreciate without experiencing firsthand. I try to share the experience with photos, but in the end a photo is still just a photo. You may look at it and say, "Oh, that is nice!", but unless it is a truly outstanding photo it will soon fade from most memories except maybe of the one who took it. By being there to take the photo the scene is etched in my mind where it nourishes my soul.

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On the Ledges

We bumped into a group of 4 guys and 2 dogs coming down from North Baldie and that would be the extent of everyone we met on the trail these two days. At the top of the ridge we came to the junction and stopped to marvel at the views to the Carter Range to the west, the Moriahs further north and the snow-covered Mahoosucs further north still. To our south we longingly glanced at the mass of North Baldie, but it had not been in our plan and views to Mount Washington were obscured, so after a few minutes of pondering we set off north on our original course. We were still in new territory and the views west north and east were open along the ridge. we crossed Eagle Crag and dropped down out of the wind a little to eat some lunch.

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North Baldface

From here the Meader Ridge Trail dropped back down into a mostly spruce forest. There were a couple of tricky little scrambles made more difficult by ice and snow. We had the microspikes but never needed them. Some spots were a spongy mix of freezing, but not solid, mud and ice. We each soon had a case of chocolate foot. Emma's middle name is "Chocolate Foot." In this beautiful forest there was much more snow than we had encountered so far, but still not enough to impede progress. At one point there was a steep drop off a ledge on one side and below us in the blow-downs we could hear a woodpecker tapping. Some patience revealed a Black-backed Three-toed Woodpecker. I took some pictures, but nothing worth posting.

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Baldies from Mount Meader, by Jude

Last year on Labor day weekend we had taken the Mount Meader Trail. Apparently we came up shy of the summit of Meader from that approach. A friend told us the summit was marked with the word"END". We were determined today to find this spot. After coming to a kink in the trail that offered a nice viewpoint we soon came to a spot with a sign that said, "View". we hiked the 50 yards or so up onto the ledge and there, lo and behold, painted on the rocks was "END." A quick look to the north showed that we were not on the highpoint at all, but it didn't matter, we had found the "END."

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"This is the end. My only friend. The end."

Well, of course we were not at the end. We still had to hike back down the Mount Meader Trail, which was just fine with me. This trail crosses ledges which also afford good views, mostly to South Baldface, but some to the north of the Royces and Speckled Mountain. We stopped at Basin Pond on our way back north. Another fine day in Kevin's Notch!

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Kevin's Notch

On our way home next morning we stopped in Pinkham Notch and climbed Square Ledge where we had the pleasure of running into Ed O'malley. If you don't know Ed he is fundraiser/volunteer/photographer extraordinaire for the Mount Washington Observatory. Pretty unselfish for a guy to help an organization that gives so much to the lovers of these mountains, especially considering he's from New Jersey, not New Hampshire!

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Adams and Madison from Square Ledge

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From the Vista

Complete set of photos here:

http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/Eagle-CragMount-Meader-101509/9992867_txEY7#683343141_vwTcJ

KDT

Anna LeBlanc
10-18-2009, 04:32 PM
Thank you for a great TR and photos Kevin.I'm stuck inside in southeastern MA right now.The wind is blowing and the rain is pounding on the window pane.For a few minutes you took me to a little piece of heaven on earth.Thank you again.:)

___________________
Anna

P.S.I think Nigel is in love with Emma.:D

JimS
10-18-2009, 04:34 PM
Whoa...love the snow...and the snow, foliage combo is killer. Looks like a great hike!

Was talking to Ed earlier today...suprising how small the mountains, and the mountain community is sometimes!

On your website, you have an unpano'd pano...want me to see what I can do?

CHRIS
10-18-2009, 04:55 PM
Great trip report and love the pics.. It does look a bit chilly but hey less people and no bugs is a wonderful thing. thanks for sharing.

Snow Miser
10-18-2009, 04:58 PM
Great TR and photos! I love the slight humor that you inject into your TRs. It makes for great reading. And Emma's middle name is so funny. Thanks for sharing with us!