November 19, 2016: Mt. Shannon, Mt. Anna and Goat Pasture Hill

Time for more redlining in the Belknap Range! Today’s hike started out at Hidden Valley Scout Camp (which was populated with a scout troop from Massachusetts this weekend). Retracing some of my steps from two weeks ago, I started out on the orange/yellow trail. But instead of taking a left at the split to follow the Mack Ridge trail, I took a right to follow the yellow trail to Mt. Shannon.

The trail is rocky, and steep in some areas, but it’s a quick hike up to the summit. I reached it in just about a half hour, approximately a mile of hiking. From the lower overlook on the summit, there’s a view over the scout camp and Lake Eileen. At the high point, the summit opens to the southwest with a view over Hill’s Pond and Sunset Lake.

Click on any photo above to enter the gallery and read captions.

From the summit, I followed the yellow/blue merge trail toward Mt. Anna. After another half hour, and just about a mile of hiking, I reached the junction with the blue trail. To the right takes you to the south side of Goat Pasture Hill, and to the left takes you to Mt. Anna. I went to the left. This section is a relatively easy hike around a marsh and up to Old Stage Road. (Here, take a right and walk down Old Stage Road several yards to the upper section of the trail.) After crossing Old Stage Road, the first half of the Anna-Old Stage Road Link trail (still blazed blue) is a gentle climb. The upper half becomes much steeper, climbing to an overlook with a view to the south(ish).

After gaining a little more elevation, the trail reaches the summit of Mt. Anna and the junction of the Anna-Goat Pasture Hill trail (blazed red). I’ve been down this trail before, detailed in my October 15th post. The main difference this time was that I took the spur over to Carbonneau Cave. I had a little difficulty finding the spur – it clearly looked like a trail branching off to the left, but I didn’t see the sign. Then I noticed it propped up against the bottom of the tree it had once been mounted on. Hopefully it just fell down and wasn’t damaged due to vandalism.

Once I reached Old Stage Road (again), I crossed over it and continued following the red trail to Goat Pasture Hill. After a short, easy bit of trail, it quickly becomes steep as you climb up the rocky hill to its summit at a little over 1130 feet. There’s an equally steep descent down the south side toward the scout camp.

At the bottom of the south side of Goat Pasture Hill, the red trail meets the southern end of the blue trail. For redlining purposes, I followed the blue trail to its junction with the blue-yellow merge trail, then retraced my steps back to the red trail. It was pretty short, and made more sense to add it as an out-and-back instead of trying to hike some sort of oddball figure-8. This was also a very pleasant hike along a stream the entire way.

Returning to the red trail, I continued south toward Sunset Lake. Along the shore of Sunset Lake, I reached a spot where the eastern end of the yellow trail joins it. Again, in order to redline this section, I followed the yellow trail here over to the summit of Mt. Shannon (so I summited this one twice in the same day from two opposite directions). When I reached Mt. Shannon again, there was a group of scouts and scout leaders at the top, taking in the view. Heading back down, I passed another group of teenaged scouts on their way up.

Once back at Sunset Lake, I followed what had now become the red-yellow merge trail back to the scout camp. Sunset Lake looked exceptionally low due to our lack of rain over the summer. I’m pretty sure where I was standing to take a picture is a spot that is normally underwater by at least a couple feet.

map
8.6 miles of hiking = 4.9 miles of redlining (only 4.1 more miles to go!)

Today’s hike checked off a little more than half of the 9 miles I had remaining to redline; I’m now down to the last 4.1 miles. All that’s left to do is two trails (which I believe are either snowmobile trails or logging roads) on Straightback Mountain, and the trails in the Morse Preserve in Alton, NH.

Looking at the map above, you can see where I did my out-and-backs. I started out where the green box is, went up the left side all the way to the top, then down the right side. Where the upper horizontal bar is, was my out-and-back on the blue trail, and the lower horizontal bar is my out-and-back on the yellow trail. From Sunset Lake to the red box was the last leg of my hike to return to the scout camp.

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