I got an invite awhile black to go visit the three summits of Black Crescent Mountain in Randolph NH last Saturday. Two are 3000 footers with the southern most peak just shy of 3K. We approached from the Bog Dam Loop Road. The east side of the Bog Dam Loop Road has lots of recent tree damage that had been cut back on the first stretch from York Pond Road. Berlin has a raw water intake along this road so someone had promptly had a chainsaw party to make it accessible. It looks like a few other trees came down subsequent to the initial clearing but the road was accessible with passenger vehicles. Once the road swings up into the hardwoods the number of trees that had fallen dropped considerably and it looks like the local hunters took care of them. This is very active hunting area and we saw evidence of various folks along the way. We drove in 7.1 miles about 1/3rd of a mile past the Landing Camp Trail sign. We parked across from a regenerating cut from a few years back just before the road dips down to a bridge. It was quite cold with a breeze down along the road and it took quite awhile before many folks had to take off much gear. As we ascended the wind did slack off and with the sun things warmed up. Once we went in the shade it was still quite nippy.

The run up North Black Crescent was hard to beat, it was in open northern hardwoods all the way. Once we caught site of the top we just beelined up staying on the center of a broad ridge. Plenty of recent moose sign including a few melted bed sites and heavy browsing activity The woods stayed open all almost all the way to the top. We finally went into fairly mature softwoods for the final climb to the summit. Recent blowdowns started to appear but as we got near the ridge line they got quite thick. We wandered around a bit expecting the summit canister might be under any number of big blowdowns. Within a few minutes of wandering around someone found the summit canister. It luckily had not been taken out by any blowdowns. After a few minutes we headed down down off the summit cone in dense blowdown. It was scratchy going and definitely the trick was to avoid any open patches as they inevitably were big blowdown patches. The saddle then flattened out and the woods were more open, there were a few blowdowns but far nicer going all the way to the Black Crescent summit. The Black Crescent summit is well marked as its on the WMNF declaration boundary complete with survey marker and blazes. The canister really didn't want to open but with some persuasion it opened. After another brief break we headed to the South peak. This section of the ridge was slow going, we skipped a PUD along the way but the entire ridge had a lot of blowdowns aligned West to East perpendicular to our path. There was potential for good view east along this stretch but we were short of time so didnt do a lot of exploring. There is very interesting tongue of hardwoods that reaches the ridge just south of the knob along this route that has a distinct jog in the declaration boundary. It looked like the potential for prime skiing glade to the east to the Perkins Brook area.

Unfortunately as we had rounded the last corner to of the last knob and were setting up for the final run up South Black Crescent, the slow going along the ridge and the time of the day made for a bail out decision. Folks had traveled far to get here and I guess some may have been a bit cold so we decided the best course of action was to head down and leave South BC for a visit from the Ice Gulch side in the future. South Black Crescent has some cliffs facing south towards Randolph and is not hard to access from the RMC Cook Path. I picked a compass heading that slabbed across the slope back to the car. It was mostly hardwood up there until we encountered a regenerating cut, luckily no blackberries but the footing was treacherous. It looked like they had rototilled the slope after the cut. The surprising thing along the slope is that it was squishy wet in many places, unusual for hardwoods. We drifted out of the first cut and eventually popped out on a slightly newer cut that was was brushy but thankfully no blackberries. We came out directly across from our cars (Pretty good for not using a GPS). Folks packed up and as we were driving down the road the sun dropped below the Kilkenny Ridge. We no doubt could have tagged South BC but it would have been bushwhacking in twilight.

Over all a cold but fine day. Where we could have improved would have been to start earlier. We met in Gorham and the drive to the trailhead was over an hour. Bag Dam Loop road had snow cover and was icy in few spots. 20 MPH was about the safe driving speed without studs. 7.1 miles at 20 MPH adds up. As it is I have an excuse to go visit South Black another day via the RMC trails. Starting on Bog Dam road and coming out via the RMC Cook path could be an option to do the ridge but the car spot would be quite long possibly 1 hour and a half.

Always nice to see new territory.