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 Bald Mountain & Artists Bluff 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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 Bald Mountain & Artists Bluff
My brother in law was over Saturday afternoon and asked if I wanted to take the kids on a hike Sunday. This was much sooner than I was expecting to get out after our newest daughter was born but figured it was a good excuse, I mean chance :wink: , to let my wife rest up whenever the baby was sleeping, since she wouldn't want to be out in the yard hanging with the rest of us like she has been so I jumped at the chance and convinced her it would be great for everyone. His girlfriend was joining us as was her 5 year old so planning was left to me as they're new to this hiking game. I picked a hike we'd taken our kids on a couple summers ago that I knew everyone could handle and would never be too far from the car if the thunderstorms they were threatening us with ever arrived. For those who may not have done this little hike it's a great one, especially for kids or as an add on after a bigger hike.

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This is to Franconia Notch what mt Willard is to Crawford notch. Top of the notch perspective with huge bang for the buck views. We started up the easy trail around one, all walking including my 2 1/2 year old so it was a slow pace to say the least. She feels the need to climb EVERY rock along the way, so as the older two girls searched out the red blazes and led the way we brought up the rear along the gently graded trail.

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When you hit the fork we fist took the spur up Bald Peak. It's a little steeper and rougher but has great trail work so footing is excellent. There's one small scramble about halfway to the summit where of course we had a traffic jam with the only other people we'd see on the way up. From there it switchbacked briefly before gaining the steep scramble to the bald summit area. This scramble has great traction but is exposed, steep and maybe 30 feet high. Very similar to the one right before the summit of Jackson IMO.

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After the scramble it's a quick turn and you're on top. It would probably take most people 10-15 minutes. With the little ones walking up to the last scramble it took us about 30 minutes. We were greeted with beautiful panoramic views of the notch. Eagle Cliff seemed to be what caught my eye the most but the Franconia Ridge and Cannon dominated the skyline with views into Vermont to the west and down the notch over Echo lake as well.

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A breeze kept the black flies away for the most part, although occasionally one got it's fangs into one of the kids necks. We hung around, had a snack and wathced the gliders being town out over the notch from little airport over on the other side of the Kinsmans. Then noticed that there were lot's of little bushes filled with blueberries. This made the kids day! They scrambled around the summit ledges eating as many as they could, which is always fine with me as it gives them a nice burst of healthy energy for the rest of the hike.

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After they'd had their fill I loaded my youngest into the pakc and we headed down the summit ledges to the trail junction and continued on the loop trail to Artists Bluff. This section went through some nice woods and climbed quite a bit to the wooded summit before descending quite a ways to the short spur to the bluff. We followed that out to more great panoramic views of the notch as well as Garfield and a peek of the twins a little farther to the northeast.

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It was only about 80 degrees at that point but humid as hell and Echo lake stood in front of us beckoning us to come take a swim. After soaking in the views and another quick snack break we headed down the underbelly of the cliffs to the newest connector that runs along a more newly cleared muddy rooty path back to the parking lot to finish this great little hike.

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We did answer the call and go take that swim. The kids were very excited, and while not a quiet swimming hole the sandy beach and swimming area made for a nice post hike stop. The water was cool, clear and refreshing. We hung out for a couple hours, which I only mention because we also saw a loon swimming around the lake and some bears up on the grassy ski slopes of Cannon mountain. I've only been to this lake twice and both times I've seen a mother and cubs in the exact same spot. Pretty far up and tough to get a good picture but they were fun to watch. The cubs kept running at eachother and tackling one another for abouth half an hour before finally wandering off into the woods.

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So that was that. A classic little White Mountain hike with excellent views, wild blueberries and wildlife all around. Great for kids or as a short trip after a hike or when you don't want to stray too far from the car. it's about 1.5 miles with 600 feet of elevation gain total if you do the whole thing. I can't figure out why this one isn't on the 52 WAV list, but I don't know their criteria either. I haven't done them all but it's almost certainly better than some of them and Bald Mountain is 2340 feet high. Maybe it's a little too easy for what they were after when they formed their list. List or no list however it's one of the best little hikes in the area. If you haven't done it before you should definitey give it a shot. You won't be dissapointed.

For the rest of the pictures from the trip you can click here

https://picasaweb.google.com/107457015580599787070/BaldBluff#


Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:50 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Cool that you got the blueberries, the loon and the bear with her 2 cubs. BONUS!!!

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Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:42 pm
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Tremendous pics as always.

52WAV are all over 2500 ft. FWIW. Of course I agree that it's a sweet little trip though! I think last year I read something about somebody finishing their White Mountain red-line with this hike and thought it shocking that somebody would go literally EVERYwhere else. . . but not this one?

I've read that those ski slopes are the most reliable places to see bear. I would LOVE to be able to see cubs play like that. Pretty amazing.

And of course my hearty congratulations on the new arrival!


Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:28 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Great photos. That's a nice little spot. Took my kids there when they were young (but still a few years older than yours are now). My younger son walked right up to the edge and my older one freaked out over the exposure. :wink:

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Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:50 am
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Adept Ascender
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Wicked awesome trip! Cute kids, bears. loons, great views- you couldn't have asked for more. That's the kind of thing that turns a kid on to hiking at a super young age.

I think this will be one of my next trips for the kids. You've inspired me. Thanks.

BTW- I was thinking of you a couple days ago. I took the family for some outdoorsing in your home town.

http://outdoorsbycracky.blogspot.com/20 ... amily.html

Thanks for sharing, and, nice to see you out again.

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Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:56 am
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Mountain Maestro
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Great family and wildlife shots GG. That panoramic would look great blown up and framed.

great pics,
Petch

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Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:57 am
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I'll second the comment on the pano. That came out great. I've spotted the Cannon bear or bears only once. But they seem to love ski slopes. I've seen them on Loon and have my own shot of a mother and 2 cubs in the grass.

I'm always questioning the 52WAV list. Elevation must come into play. I can't understand why Black Cap is not on it. It beats the hell out of Black in Jackson and that was a replacement of Wolf. Totally miffed by that one. You'll see what I mean once you've gone there.

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Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:10 am
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Great photos and trip idea as usual. Sounds like a nice spot for the kids to enjoy, might try to get there this year.

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Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:44 am
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I heard about that as a redline finish, too! We did the opposite. That was my kids' first real hike (as opposed to places near home and beach walks). Glad everyone had a good time!


Tue Jul 09, 2013 7:25 pm
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Yes a good time was definitely had by all and definitely a great little hike with, or without, kids. I have to thank the long lost Hoss for the panos. ICE works much better than Photostitch ever did. All I had to do was set the exposure and spin around clicking away and let the computer do it's thing later.

As for the 52WAV I checked their website and 2500 feet does indeed seem to be their cutoff but there's no strict criteria listed. They do say they are hike's in the White's and clearly some are not, so maybe there's room for a few replacements still. Or maybe I can form the Under the Hill hikers club and administer a list of great view hikes under that mark like this one, Black Cap, Pawtuckaway, Major, Fort etc etc and design my own patch. Then again maybe I can just enjoy them as I go since my spare time is quite limited now and probably in the forseeable future.

Cracky your boys would probably like this one. Then you can bring the yaks to the lake after and get a close up view of the loons. The bike Franconia Notch bike path also starts nearby so you could have a little triathalon of sorts and make quite a day of it. Great post on my hometown river too. I've hiked the trails along it's shores but never paddled. My oldest is 5 now and I can't imagine her kayaking the river like that, but maybe that's just because I don't have much experience with them. The section from Gilman Park upstream a ways towards Kensington is also very nice if you haven't been there yet and ever want to head back. My uncle tried to go over the dam in downtown Exeter once in a rubber raft with some friends. Lets just say that didn't end very well. Barely made it out alove and it took the rescuers about an hour to save them. :roll:


Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:20 pm
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Mountain Maestro
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Granite Guy wrote:
Yes a good time was definitely had by all and definitely a great little hike with, or without, kids. I have to thank the long lost Hoss for the panos. ICE works much better than Photostitch ever did. All I had to do was set the exposure and spin around clicking away and let the computer do it's thing later.



Hey hey hey, I'm not long, or lost...I think :D


Very busy taking care of all the things around the house that I didn't do last year while running around some mountains 12 months straight :lol:


Many thanks for the report. I'll add this one to the list of things to try with the little ones. My son loved a recent tram ride up Loon, and declared he want's to ride on more. This hike combined with a trip up Cannon in the buckets should be fun.
.


Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:04 am
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HOSSinNH wrote:
Granite Guy wrote:
Yes a good time was definitely had by all and definitely a great little hike with, or without, kids. I have to thank the long lost Hoss for the panos. ICE works much better than Photostitch ever did. All I had to do was set the exposure and spin around clicking away and let the computer do it's thing later.



Hey hey hey, I'm not long, or lost...I think :D


Very busy taking care of all the things around the house that I didn't do last year while running around some mountains 12 months straight :lol:


Many thanks for the report. I'll add this one to the list of things to try with the little ones. My son loved a recent tram ride up Loon, and declared he want's to ride on more. This hike combined with a trip up Cannon in the buckets should be fun.
.


Ha ha. Good to know you're still around. And I hear ya on the house. Things around home really build up quick when days off are spent on the trails. The hedges and bushes around my house look like the amazon right now with all the rain we've had and lack of time to do it in the past month or so. I probably have this afternoon free with the wife and kids off visiting the great grandmother all day and I'd usually sneak off for a quick walk somewhere but I think with the gray day the bushes are going to get trimmed up and save the walk for a sunny day. :( Of course if it actually rains I can't use an electric trimmer in the rain right? So maybe a walk in the rainy woods will happen. I guess if the hiking gods make it rain I wasn't meant to do yardwork today!


Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:49 am
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