Headed up the Kanc on 10-09-10 with a buddy of mine to hike Mount Potash. My buddy Sean had never hiked in the Whites before and this was his first mountain. I was pretty proud of him as he came extremely prepared with everything to told him he should bring, plus more. Few first time hikers are as prepared as he was...I know I certainly wasn't on my first hike.
We arrived at the trailhead at 8am and to my surprise, were the first ones in the Downes Brook parking lot. I wasn't sure what to expect on the Mount Potash Trail since I knew it wasn't a real "popular" mountain. I found the trail extremely well marked with crisp yellow blazes and directional arrow signs all over. However, the maintanence of the trail with regards to the clearing of trees was a bit lacking. I estimate we had to hop probably 15 trees...some more difficult than others.
There was a little bit of everything on this trail. The Downes Brook crossing was a bit tricky since the brook itself was as wide as a river and running pretty swiftly. However, a good set of trekking poles and gortex boots certainly made the crossing very feasible. The hike up brought us through a hard wood forest and then a hemlock forest. The footing ranged from rocky to rooty to slabby.
The first viewpoint was on a southeastern ledge that provided nice views of a foliage covered Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Passaconaway. It was a great place to get out of the northwesterly winds and have a snack. The second half of the trail, after the first viewpoint, went by very quickly. The footing was a little rough, but nothing too tough. The last push up to the summit was the steepest part, climbing slab rock all the way. Certainly nothing too crazy, but could be tricky if it was wet.
The summit was great. On the southern side, there were good (but a bit restricted) views of Passaconaway and the Tripyramids. The real good views were to the northwest, though. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing hard enough that I couldn't get the map out to checkout what mountains were in view. From looking at the map afterward, I suspect we were looking at the Handcocks and Carriagain, but I can't be sure.
A more detailed trip report is posted on my blog. Check it out if you have a few minutes: http://livefreeandhikenh.blogspot.co...-in-white.html
Here are some pictures from the hike:
Mushroom on the trail
Mt. Passaconaway from the first view point
Trees across the trail
Mt. Passaconaway, just before the slab push up to the summit. You can see what I think is the old Downes Brook Slide Trail, which was shut down many years ago for being dangerous, now known as the bootlegged Passaconaway Slide Trail...Info on it here
View to the northwest from the summit. Any help identifying the peaks in this photo would be appreciated??? Hancocks maybe???
A timed photo of Sean and I on the summit. Congrats to him on his first summit.
4.4 miles, in-and-out hike...Great views for little effort.