Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blueberry & Jeffers Mountains with a Side of Hogsback 3/16/13

Saturday it was time to do this trio that's been near the top of my list for a while now. Weather Gods said this was the day. Liars. :(  I parked at the end of Long Pond Rd. to start the first leg of the journey to the Blueberry Mtn Tr. Things looked good at the beginning. One side note: The gate was open, and in my SUV I probably could have driven to the Blueberry Mtn. Tr. Status says closed though. Anyone know the rules in this case?

After about a .6 mile road walk, I hit the Blueberry Mtn. Tr. Although they were not necessary  I put my snowshoes on from the start. 1, I hate carrying them. And 2, traction. 

It wasn't long before I hit that wonderful lookout just off the trail with the view of Mt Moosilauke. It was here I wondered if I should have gone with plan B. Snow squalls started moving in and The Moose was no where to be seen.

With not much time spent taking photos, I was at the point where I wanted to start the bushwhack to Jeffers Mtn & The Hogsback. Forgot to mention, no trails to those 2. :) I started the bushwhack 2 -3 tenths of mile past Blueberry's summit. And was almost immediately greeted with great woods.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love woods like this?  8) You could play baseball here.

My plan was to whack to the ridge and and follow it to Jeffers. Pretty simple when it looks like a trail.

Once on the ridge it took me only 15 minutes to reach the summit of Jeffers Mtn. and the prize.

At this point I was considering just retracing my steps and heading out. But it was only 11:30 and because of the morning road conditions it took me nearly 3 hours to get here. I needed to make a longer day of it. So even though I doubted I would get any views at all, I continued with the plan to head to The Hogsback. At least I'd know what I was dealing with for my inevitable return trip. The ridge was a bit thick so I dropped down to better woods and saw this old bandanna tied to a tree. Actually probably not, that old.

It was probably a mile or so when I could see a lot of day light on the ridge. So I headed up and popped out on The Hogsback. And saw what I thought I would. Oh wait, didn't see what I'd hoped to. Moosilauke.

It was around 12:15 now so I took my pack off and figured I take a nice long lunch in hopes the squalls would pass before I had to head down. I should mention something before I forget. I did not realize how, knife edge, like The Hogsback was. With snow and ice this was a very dangerous place. I used an extreme amount of caution while up there. One slip on either side and I would have gone for a long ride.

But as I sat there, more and more blue patches were showing up over head. Finally after almost an hour, I did get some views. Not enough to keep me from returning, but good enough for having made the effort.
South East
North East
North to Black Mtn
Looking back to Jeffers
The Moose  8)

Didn't get the views of Franconia Ridge but could just make out South Kinsman and Wolf.

Satisfied I'd gotten all I was getting out of this day for views, I made my way off the Hog and into more great woods. But more important, better footing.  :) For the descent I slabbed past Jeffers on the east side slowly making my way down to Long Pong Rd. Passing through great woods and future logging cuts.
Note the blue blazes and orange flagging. I was told those are logging markers.

I eventually made it to Long Pond Rd. where I promptly took off the snowshoes and jogged most of the 2.5 miles I had to go to get out.

Made it to the car just before 3:00 P.M. 

6 hours and just over 9 miles. Not what I'd hoped for in the views department but as always, a great day in the forest. Follow up Blog coming some time this summer. ;-)



  1. Joe, your report and photos are such a delight!

    Bushwhacking in the Benton Range is terrific at most any time of year. It's difficult to choose a favorite spot in that range, but I guess if "push came to shove" I'd choose The Hogsback.

    I'll look forward to your follow-up Blog report when you make your return visit.


  2. Thank-you for the comments John. Truly beautiful woods in that area. And I will be compelled to return to The Hogsback for better views.

  3. Can I just say that the top of Hogsback is really scary looking?? Especially with snow on it that could result in some serious slide! Wow. Unfortunately for me I was never a fan of that Benton area for some reason, but it looks like it suited you just fine! I continue to be happy to be a non-bushwhacker, despite the ease with which you make it appear Joe!

    Happy Trails!
    Hiking Lady

  4. Thanks Hiking Lady. You should give the Benton area a try. Looks of interesting hikes and beautiful woods in that area.

  5. Great report on a fine adventure, Joe! Aren't those Jeffers woods great? And the Hogsback is pretty hard to beat. Looks a little precarious with snow!


  6. Thanks Steve. I've no complaints about the Benton area at all. Now I just need to get back to the Hogsback on clear day.