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KD Talbot
05-17-2010, 07:57 PM
http://www.ghostflowers.com/forumshots/chocorua_5-15-10-34a.jpg
Chocorua 3500'

Piper/Weetamoo/Hammond/Liberty/Middle Sister/Carter Ledge/Nickerson Ledge

8.9 Miles 2800'

Kevin, Judy and Emma

We like to return to places we've previously enjoyed and try to cover some new ground. On this trip to Chocorua Jude wanted to explore the Weetamoo/Hammond Trails as a route to the summit. I had been up it once about 30 years ago, and down it once about ten years ago, so really it felt like new ground to me. My plan was to hike the Carter and Nickerson Ledges to scout for the exceptional patches of Rhodora I had photographed at the end of May last year, so it was planned we would make a loop over Chocorua and the Sisters and descend by the ledges if time, weather and fatigue levels would allow.

http://www.ghostflowers.com/forumshots/chocorua_5-15-10-22a.jpg
View north as we descend the summit

We were quickly at the junction to the Weetamoo Trail and Emma took several dips at the various crossings along the Chocorua River. Weetamoo Trail rises nicely along a gentle grade with an excellent wide, smooth path up to the enormous namesake glacial erratic, Weetamoo Rock. Just beyond here we connect with the Hammond Trail and turn northwest to the junction with the Liberty Trail, which wound through the spruce over steeper terrain to the Jim Liberty Cabin which was another objective of the trip as Jude had never visited before. From there the trail winds from south to north around the west side of the summit cone across relatively smooth granite ledges becoming increasingly steep as we climb. Eventually the trail comes to a junction just below the summit where it becomes a short scramble to the top.

http://www.ghostflowers.com/forumshots/chocorua_5-15-10-24a.jpg
View west to Passaconaway and neighbors

Cloud cover was about 90% and there was a cool breeze at the top. We ducked down out of the wind and had a good lunch. When the sun did manage to peek out it was quite warm. On the way up we had seen a moose just below the cabin and I found evidence of some budding on the Rhodora, there were even some open, wind-battered blossoms. It seemed to me that things were on schedule to be in full bloom in about 2 weeks, which would match last year. It also seemed to me that a lot of the Rhodora seemed winter damaged and was not yet recovered. I could be wrong, but it reminded me of winter-kill on my Rhododendrons at home.

http://www.ghostflowers.com/forumshots/chocorua_5-15-10-25a.jpg
Summit Cone

After lunch and the precarious scramble down from the summit cone we stopped at the junction of the Piper trail, just north of the summit. Here we reassessed and decided to head over the Sisters and down the route we had originally planned. We stopped again at the vacant summit of Middle Sister and had 2nd lunch and soaked in the views in peace and solitude. We could see lots of showers to our north and most everything beyond about 5-6 miles was obscured by clouds. To the west we could see Passaconaway and Whiteface along with the Tripyramids, to the north we could see Carrigain Notch, but Carrigain was in the clouds, and to the east we could see the Moats and Kearsarge North.

http://www.ghostflowers.com/forumshots/chocorua_5-15-10-41a.jpg
Rhodora Rhododendron canadense

This route down is pretty steep with a lot of scrambling and if it were wet could be a little dangerous, so I wouldn't recommend it in bad weather, but otherwise it was a fine way to descend and got us down rather quickly. Along the way I was disappointed to see that a lot of the Rhodora seemed to be winter-killed, but maybe I'm wrong and it will come back. I'll be returning in a couple of weeks to see. It was amazing to see it in so many different stages from full bloom to just buds to nothing depending on the spot and amount of sunlight reaching it.
http://www.ghostflowers.com/forumshots/chocorua_5-15-10-42a.jpg
Painted Trillium Trillium undulatum

Finally below the ledges and back in the woods we came across quite a bit of Painted Trillium in different stages of awakening and sometimes in huge patches of dozens of flowers. The further down we got we came across the occasional Pink Lady's Slipper mostly just opening or just about to. It was a great hike on a beautiful spring day. Jude and Emma both did well and had excellent days. The sun never beat down on us, the sky never rained, the wind kept the bugs down, we covered new ground, we visited an old friend. Can't ask for much more than that!

Complete set of pics here (http://ghostflowers.smugmug.com/White-Mountain-Hikes/Chocorua-5-15-10/12215670_ZxcBb#870006146_DZZHi):

KDT

Anna LeBlanc
05-17-2010, 09:30 PM
Looks like everyone had a good time Kevin.Great that Judy and Emma are back to their old hiking selfs.Thanks for the photos and TR.

___________
Anna

Jimmy Legs and Little d
05-18-2010, 01:28 PM
Kevin,
A great set of pictures and report. The cloud cover enhanced the effect; where those photos look more like a painting. We'll put this hike on our list as we'd like to see the cabin and come up the other side of Chocorua. Looks like Emma made a trip to the "doggie salon":D

Donna:)

KSearl
05-20-2010, 09:02 PM
Hey, great landscape pics. You picked a good day. The type of cloud cover you got make the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Karl