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Amicus
06-14-2008, 08:01 PM
Our New England mountains have had no more illustrious tramper, perhaps, than Henry David Thoreau. His hike to Katahdin (not as far as Baxter Peak, however) is well-known from his The Maine Woods, and was discussed in an interesting thread here recently. That book also includes his account of a hike up Mt. Kineo, and A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers includes his first hike to "Agiocochook" (as he called Washington), with his brother in 1839 (tantalizingly just touched on), and his hike to Greylock.

The larger part of his mountain hiking reports, however,are to be found in his Journal, which he maintained assiduously throughout his short life, amassing some three million words, which have been published in 14 volumes. I have recently discovered a wonderful book which may be well-known to some of you - Walking with Thoreau - A Literary Guide ot the Mountains of New England (Beacon Press, 1982, 2001). In it, William Howarth, a prominent Thoreau scholar, has collected all of Thoreau's descriptions of his mountain hikes, adding an Introduction and commentary.

Thanks to the efforts of Prof. Howarth, I was able easily to compile the following list of mountains which Thoreau hiked and then wrote about:

Mass.

1. Wachusett

2. Greylock

Maine

3. Katahdin (which he called "Ktaadn")

4. Kineo

New Hampshire

5. Wantastiquet (in Chesterfield)

6. Fall/Kilburn (in No. Walpole)

7. Washington (f/k/a Agiocochook) (see below)

8. Pierce (f/k/a Clinton) (see below)

9. Eisenhower (f/k/a Pleasant) (see below)

10. Monroe (see below)

11. Red Hill (Moultonboro)

12. Lafayette (by Old Bridle Path)

13. Monadnock (his favorite)

14. Pack Monadnock (which he called "Gap M.")

15. Uncannunuc (his spelling - see below)

New York

16. South Mountain in the Catskills (speculative but likely)

His first hike to Washington followed the Crawford Path, and his terse account does not say whether his brother and he ventured to the summits of Pierce, Eisenhower and Monroe, which were probably a little off the Path. On his second, in 1858, he ascended by the route of the Auto Road, approximately. The "carriage road" was then being built and and had reached the half-way point. His group descended by Tuckerman Ravine, where their campfire touched off a conflagration (not the only such accident for Thoreau).

In his Introduction, Howarth includes "Uncannunuc" in a list of mountains climbed by Thoreau. I omitted it at first, however, because Thoreau does not explicitly say that, in the excerpts included in the book. In a description of the Hooksett Pinnacle, however, Thoreau makes the following statement, which implies that he had climbed U., so I have added it:

"As Uncannunuc Mountain is perhaps the best point from which to view the valley of the Merrimack, so this hill [the Pinnacle] affords the best view of the river itself."

I found an excellent little website (http://homepage.mac.com/sfe/henry/country_not_esta/centerhbr_conway/1858-trip-page-one.html) that combines excerpts from Thoreau's account of his 1858 journey to the Whites with fine illustrations, including a speculative map.

I recommend tracking down Howarth's book, or Thoreau's Journal (the 1858 trip is in Vol. 11), through your local library or bookstore. Thoreau's perceptions are always refreshingly acute, even when he is a bit off on his facts. (He was very strong on botany, a bit weaker on geology and geography.)

Thoreau also took one camping trip in the Catskills, but left no detailed account, according to Howarth. [Note, however, Mark Schaefer's research, below, which shows that he at least got close to the South Mt. summit.]

En route to Pinkham Notch in July 1858, Thoreau climbed Red Hill, from which he admired "Ossipee Mountain" to the east. He spent a long afternoon riding along its W and NW sides, before crossing the Bearcamp River and stopping for the night in Tamworth Village. I put this on the original list, but have deleted it, since I have seen no evidence that he tried to climb it. [Aug. 09]

bcskier
06-14-2008, 10:36 PM
Walking with Thoreau - A Literary Guide ot the Mountains of New England (Beacon Press, 1982, 2001). In it, William Howarth, a prominent Thoreau scholar, has collected all of Thoreau's descriptions of his mountain hikes, adding an Introduction and commentary.

Is this the same book?

Thoreau in the Mountains (http://www.amazon.com/Thoreau-Mountains-Henry-David/dp/0374517614)

bcskier

Amicus
06-14-2008, 10:54 PM
Is this the same book?

Pretty much, from the second-hand info I've seen. Walking with Thoreau is an updated edition, with a fair degree of rewriting, it seems. (I already have a library order in for your earlier version, mainly because I've read that it contains some maps - which might be interesting, although I doubt it - that were not carried over into Walking...)

rocket21
06-14-2008, 11:06 PM
This is a unique idea for a hiking list!

SteveHiker
06-15-2008, 10:21 AM
how could you leave out the mighty Hooksett Pinnacle? (http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/152473/hooksett-pinnacle.html)

Certainly not as lofty as any you cite, but you can avoid 13 and any controversy with Ossippee.

Amicus
06-15-2008, 11:20 AM
how could you leave out the mighty Hooksett Pinnacle? (http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/152473/hooksett-pinnacle.html)

I actually thought about that, since Thoreau did admire the view from its top (as you clearly know). I decided that if I included that 480-footer, however, I'd have to add all those little bumps around Concord, Mass. - a morass I wished to avoid.

In effect, I have gone with 1K in elevation as the cut-off.

NewHampshire
06-15-2008, 11:30 AM
Things may have changed since, but last I heard gaining access to Hooksett Pinnacle was problematic.

Brian

sweeper
06-15-2008, 08:43 PM
I've got the 'Walking w/T', and Excellent book with most of the stories in the books you've posted.

I like the one about the stay in Tuck where they burnt the side of the Ravine.

The Kaatdin story was great also. Poling up the Penob and the discriptons of the logg'n camps were great

rocket21
06-16-2008, 05:46 AM
I wonder if he has any references to Great Blue Hill? He lived/taught in Canton in his younger days, so I assume he probably hiked that peak a few times.

Amicus
06-16-2008, 09:06 AM
I wonder if he has any references to Great Blue Hill? He lived/taught in Canton in his younger days, so I assume he probably hiked that peak a few times.

Howarth has included no references to the Blue Hills that I recall (and there are none in his index). Still, if I had access to an index to all 14 volumes of Thoreau's Journal, I would expect to find at least a few mentions of them. Perhaps worth checking on a Library visit?

Roy: I thought about including a prediction that you had already completed the list, so you surprise me not in the least. :)

I still have Kilburn and Wantastiquet to go[, and "Uncannunuc" makes three]. As Roy knows, K. and W. are on the Connecticut River in southern N.H. As it happens, I was at the foot of Kilburn just a few weeks ago, on a Memorial Day weekend River camping trip, and took this picture of it (http://amicus.smugmug.com/gallery/5022338_BJGPU#301496084_iejKC-A-LB), from a canoe. Wantastiquet is the site of one of those Upper Valley Land Trust river-access campsites and we had originally planned to camp there (but instead ended our trip in Putney, VT, 10 miles upstream). So, both could be hiked in conjunction with a pleasant canoe trip.

Amicus
06-16-2008, 11:11 AM
A closer reading of Howarth's chapter on Monadnock - by far his longest, as that was Thoreau's favorite mountain and he made a number of trips there, some lengthy - reveals that Thoreau climbed Pack Monadnock (but not North Pack, it seems) in 1852, on his way west to Monadnock.

Also, while Thoreau does not state explicitly, in his writings included in the book, that he climbed "Uncannunuc," Howarth says that he did and Thoreau does at one point imply that, so I have added it, as well.

RoySwkr
06-17-2008, 06:21 PM
I still have Kilburn and Wantastiquet to go[, and "Uncannunuc" makes three]. As Roy knows, K. and W. are on the Connecticut River in southern N.H.
Uncanoonuc is a drive-up assuming it's the S Peak he climbed

Fall Mtn is a ridge with a HP at each end, fortunately Mr. A has experience in determining which peak Thoreau actually climbed.

Wantastiquet has a lovely view ledge with monument but the true summit is a bushwhack beyond the large radio tower. Of course Thoreau was not a peakbagger and probably didn't go there so listbaggers maybe shouldn't either. The first time I hiked up was from a field with a state forest sign but now the trailhead is tucked away behind homes and a WalMart. The best time to climb it is Wantastiquet Day in early May when you got a free T-shirt and lunch. Wantastiquet was supposed to go in the Day Hikers Guide to Vermont since it is visible to a lot more people in VT but it was left out at the last minute, if you don't believe this look at the area maps in the First Edition which show it.

NewHampshire
06-17-2008, 07:08 PM
Uncanoonuc is a drive-up assuming it's the S Peak he climbed


There are 2 hiking trails up to South peak. One follows the old incline railroad grade, the other was built (?) by Boy Scouts, or at the very least whoever built it it is now maintined by the Boy Scouts. I have only been up this one and it is quite tame to say the least. I hear the old Incline route is a bit sportier.

Brian

Amicus
06-17-2008, 09:49 PM
Fall Mtn is a ridge with a HP at each end....

Thoreau seems to have hiked the whole ridge, from north to south, during a visit to Bronson Alcott (who lived in Walpole) in 1856. He carried "a heavy valise on my back", and because his "shoes were very smooth," while "descending the steep south end" he "got many falls, battering my valise."


Fortunately, Mr. A has experience in determining which peak Thoreau actually climbed.

Or didn't climb, as the case may be. :o Roy refers to my failed attempt to establish that Thoreau reached an Ossipee summit. I am persistent, at least, even if often misguided, and willing to admit my mistakes.


Wantastiquet has a lovely view ledge with monument but the true summit is a bushwhack beyond the large radio tower. Of course Thoreau was not a peakbagger and probably didn't go there so listbaggers maybe shouldn't either.

Thoreau called this "Chesterfield Mountain" (although he had heard its "Indian name" of "Wantastiquet"). He climbed it in Sept. 1856 with "Miss Frances and Miss Mary Brown." He says he reached the summit and Howarth takes him at face value, but Howarth thinks the "summit" is marked by that monument, so he isn't a peak-bagger either.

The summit was more wooded in Thoreau's time, according to Howarth. Thoreau had a view west and north, including Ascutney (51 miles north), but he says that trees blocked Monadnock.

Roy, New Hampshire and others familiar with the "Uncannunucs":

Thoreau thought that the "Uncannunuc Mountain" that he climbed (it seems), was "perhaps the best point from which to view the valley of the Merrimack." Which of them does that sound most like?

Mark Schaefer
06-18-2008, 03:44 AM
Thoreau also took one camping trip in the Catskills, but left no detailed account, according to Howarth. Thoreau did write of his Catskill trip in his Journal, but the handwritten manuscript volume containing the Catskill trip has been lost. While we don't know conclusively which summits, if any, Thoreau may have climbed, some is known of where he was in the Catskills. The Catskill historian, Alf Evers, pored over Thoreau's other manuscripts for clues. His research was documented in his book The Catskills, from Wilderness to Woodstock (http://www.amazon.com/Catskills-Wilderness-Woodstock-Revised-Updated/dp/0879511621/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8), 1972, 1984, Chapter 66 (Professor Guyot Measures the Mountains), excerpt below:

"In 1844 the greatest of American walkers came to the Catskills -- he was Henry David Thoreau. Unfortunately, Thoreau left no easily identifiable sign of his brief walking tour in the Catskills. The volume of his journal in which he recorded the tour -- probably in considerable detail -- has vanished. A few paragraphs which found their way into later journal entries, a letter or two, and a comment by William Ellery Channing, his companion in the Catskills, are all that we have to tell us that Thoreau walked Catskill trails. It is not much, yet it is enough to be worth bringing together if only because Thoreau's trip to the Catskills resulted in a memorable passage in his Walden -- a passage in which the Catskills are not once mentioned."

Although not mentioned specifically in the final version of Walden, the Catskills are mentioned in an earlier draft; and in Thoreau's journal entries written at Walden Pond. Rather than quote Evers further I will cite later works which drew upon Evers' research and which are available online:
The relevant Walden journal entries with discussion can be read on pages 20-23 of this article in Art Bulletin, The (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0422/is_2_81/ai_55174798/pg_20), June, 1999 by W. Barksdale Maynard.
Another discussion of Thoreau's Catskill connection to Walden is found in Jane Parker Huber's book Elevating Ourselves: Thoreau on Mountains, 1999. This work cites the early research of Alf Evers and can be read here (http://books.google.com/books?id=JKATznQMUBIC&printsec=frontcover#PPA24,M1). It also speculates that Thoreau might have climbed North Mountain (3180') and South Mountain (2460', actually 2480' on the topo) but offers no evidence.

The location of Silas and Mary Scribner's "mountain house", where Thoreau lodged at least one night, is well established from old maps. It is on the south side of Lake Creek, just across the creek from the current base/terminus of Schutt Road. The location later became known as Glen Mary, named for Mary Scribner. In modern days it was once the site of a trailhead parking area (now moved to the top of Schutt Road). The house location is along the Escarpment Trail at the center cross of this topo map (http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=42.19462,-74.05922&z=15&t=T). Given the close proximity to the summit of South Mountain, it would seem very likely that Thoreau would have hiked on one of the mountain's hiking paths, known to have been present by 1844.

If you desired to include a Catskill summit on the Thoreau list, perhaps as an optional and asterisked summit, then the 2480' South Mountain would probably be the most historically plausible.

NewHampshire
06-18-2008, 05:34 AM
Roy, New Hampshire and others familiar with the "Uncannunucs":

As of right now, North Uncanoonuc. But I don't know what the views would have looked like from South back in his time. Right now the high point is fenced off on South, so I don't know if there is actually inything to see from it. And of course the railway grade was not built back then, but South supposedly had a ski slope. My guess is it was North....but it is only a guess.

Brian

rocket21
06-18-2008, 06:21 AM
As of right now, North Uncanoonuc. But I don't know what the views would have looked like from South back in his time. Right now the high point is fenced off on South, so I don't know if there is actually inything to see from it. And of course the railway grade was not built back then, but South supposedly had a ski slope. My guess is it was North....but it is only a guess.


I'd actually suggest the South peak. As of now, NELSAP has no references of ski trails existing prior to the railroad. Nonetheless, the south peak was, until recent decades, a more popular destination. Whereas North is blocked by South when looking down the Merrimack Valley (I assume that's what they mean, anyways, southeastish), South would have had clear views of it most likely. Considering South is also on the side of the pond, I assume it was the destination hike. Perhaps there were less communications towers blocking view potential when Thoreau hiked it :)

RoySwkr
06-18-2008, 08:55 AM
Thoreau thought that the "Uncannunuc Mountain" that he climbed (it seems), was "perhaps the best point from which to view the valley of the Merrimack." Which of them does that sound most like?
I still vote for South which once had a fire tower

Amicus
06-18-2008, 09:10 AM
If you desired to include a Catskill summit on the Thoreau list, perhaps as an optional and asterisked summit, then the 2480' South Mountain would probably be the most historically plausible.

I'm happy to do so, since I have included "Ossipee Mountain" with perhaps less justification. Henceforth, it will be the "Throreau 16+" (and more peaks may yet be added, if someone trolls the full Journal and finds one or two that Howarth and Huber may have overlooked).

Thanks for all this additional information, and in particular your link to the book by Jane Parker Huber. It is just 100 pages and seems to be out of print, but the extensive linked excerpts also confirm Thoreau's hike to the summit(s) of "Uncannunuc" - more below on that.


As of right now, North Uncanoonuc.

[Ed. - see #25 below for more on "which Uncanoonuc(s)?"]

rocket21
06-18-2008, 09:41 AM
Perhaps it should be called something like "Thoreau's Treks" so that more peaks can be added as they are discovered, without changing the name?

Mark Schaefer
06-18-2008, 11:22 AM
Many you may already know this, but I will post the links. 16 yet to be published volumes of a new publishing project are currently available in online transcripts (http://www.library.ucsb.edu/thoreau/writings_journals.html).

47 handwritten manuscript volumes (http://www.library.ucsb.edu/thoreau/writings_ms.html) of Thoreau's journals survive. As I understand this, these were excerpted and regrouped into the 14 Journal Volumes published in 1906. The new project (http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/article/8610) will publish the entire 47 surviving manuscript volumes, with some regrouped again. In the complete journal record there are several chronological gaps, including the one that covered his 1844 Catskill trip. So there may be several missing manuscript volumes in Thoreau's journals. If we are fortunate additional manuscripts may yet be found.

Amicus
06-18-2008, 12:16 PM
Many you may already know this . . . .

I only knew some of it, not including the availability of those on-line unpublished typescripts, so thanks again. Just to elaborate, the complete new edition of the Journal, which contains and will contain much that was omitted from the previous edition, will comprise 17 printed volumes, and Princeton University Press has already published 7 of those (Vols. 1 through 6 and 8, with Vol. 7 slated for publication later this year). I checked Vol. 8 out of my local library last week and it makes for fascinating browsing - very well done - although I found nothing specifically relevant to this thread.

What I do not know of is a way to word-search any of this stuff, or a comprehensive index to the entire Journal. Maybe something is out there now, or maybe the publication project will culminate with such an index.

Those typescripts are rough, but you can zero in on a particular date, if it is included. I just read some of the entries for his July 1858 trip through the Lakes district, by Red Hill and "Ossipee Mountain" and up to the Whites, including his second ascent of "Agiocochook." They didn't include anything significant that I hadn't seen in published excerpts.

In addition to the Journal, it is possible that Thoreau's Correspondence may shed light on his mountain hikes, and I see that the Thoreau Project is also working on a three-volume edition of that.

NewHampshire
06-18-2008, 06:07 PM
Whereas North is blocked by South when looking down the Merrimack Valley (I assume that's what they mean, anyways, southeastish), South would have had clear views of it most likely.

From the 2 main view spots on north you can see from downtown Manchester all the way to a Northerly direction....I would think this qualifies as "Merrimack Valley" :D


I still vote for South which once had a fire tower

According to Firelokout.org (http://www.firelookout.org/towers/nh/uncanoonuc.htm) (erroniously entered as being in Milford) the firetower on South Uncanoonuc did not begin operating until 1911 (tough for HDT to climb to the firetower when he was dead :p ;) )


The book by J. Parker Huber to which Mark S. has provided a link includes a Journal entry from 1848 omitted by Howarth. In it, Thoreau identifies the North peak as the one with the commanding view of the valley. He provides few specifics on his hike, on which he was accompanied by Ellery Channing, and Huber speculates that they crossed the summits of both South and North U.

Yup, that sounds about right. As I said, from the 2 main viewpoints one can see from downtown Manchester out to a northerly direction. Also, it is possible to do both peaks in one trip (I have heard of people doing, not that I personally have). My Uncle is a memeber of the local snowmobile club, and while viewing a trailmap of his I see it is possible to use hiking and snowmobile trails to connect the two peaks. However, just because there is a snowmobile trail does not necessarily mean it is legal to use said trail. I don't know what the private property issues would be, so can not comment if those who claimed to have connected the two in one hike have done so legally.

Brian

Amicus
06-18-2008, 09:03 PM
In [the Huber book], Thoreau identifies the North peak as the one with the commanding view of the valley.

The divergent observations of three Uncanoonuc veterans set forth above sent me back to the extract from Huber's book, from which I cannot cut-and-paste (copyright protection, I assume). I learn, however, that the identification of "North" U. is not in fact by Thoreau but by Huber - a bracketed insert by her in Thoreau's original text.

I also learn that Thoreau's text is not from his Journal, as I had assumed, but from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Here is what he actually wrote:


Its [Uncannunuc's] name is said to mean "The Two Breasts," there being two eminences some distance apart. The highest, which is about fourteen hundred feet above the sea, probably affords a more extensive view of the Merrimack valley and the adjacent country than any other hill, though It is somewhat obstructed by woods. Only a few short reaches of the river are visible, but you can trace its course far down stream by the sandy tracts on its banks.

Huber has added "North", in brackets, after "The highest...", in her version. I see from my AMC So. NH Guide that No. U. is indeed the higher, but by a mere 9 feet. That is well within Thoreau's margin of error - from his other writings I have learned that he was spotty on elevations and relative heights.

So, it seems to me that Thoreau is at least as likely to have been referring to South U. Does the full quote above change any minds on this important point?

NewHampshire
06-19-2008, 05:34 AM
Does the full quote above change any minds on this important point?
Nope. I still say it sounds like North. But tis nothing but MHO.

Brian

carole
06-19-2008, 08:05 AM
Your list may get longer if "the hills of southern Vermont (1856)" count.
(see page 73 of "Forest and Crag")

Amicus
06-19-2008, 08:19 AM
Your list may get longer if "the hills of southern Vermont (1856)" count.
(see page 73 of "Forest and Crag")

All of the peaks on the current List are over 1,000 ft. (including both Uncanoonucs - that remains unresolved, in my mind). Thoreau did most of his tramping within walking distance of Concord, Mass. and I wanted to avoid sub-1K bumps such as Mt. Misery in Lincoln.

So, are those Forest and Crag hills on the VT 1K List? (Sorry to confess that I don't own a copy, although I've read a lot of it in others' copies). In any case, that is a secondary source, and my experience with Huber on the Uncanoonucs makes me a bit leery of those. Quotations directly from Thoreau preferred, thank you.

carole
06-19-2008, 08:26 AM
All of the peaks on the current List are over 1,000 ft. (including both Uncanoonucs - that remains unresolved, in my mind). Thoreau did most of his tramping within walking distance of Concord, Mass. and I wanted to avoid sub-1K bumps such as Mt. Misery in Lincoln.

So, are those Forest and Crag hills on the VT 1K List? (Sorry to confess that I don't own a copy, although I've read a lot of it in others' copies). In any case, that is a secondary source, and my experience with Huber on the Uncanoonucs makes me a bit leery of those. Quotations directly from Thoreau preferred, thank you.
It doesn't specify what hills. That's for you to find out. :D

Amicus
06-19-2008, 08:52 AM
That's for you to find out. :D

On his excursion of September 1856, in the course of which he hiked up Kilburn and Wantastiquet on the NH side of the Connecticut River, Thoreau was a guest for four days at the home of Addison Brown, a former Unitarian minister, in Brattleboro. He took the occasion to make some quiet explorations around Brattleboro, searching brooks and hillsides for evidence of new plants. He walked the banks of the Conn. and West Rivers and traversed the Coldwater Path along Whetstone Brook (now in W. Brattleboro, north of VT 9). I'll check later if I think of it, but assume all that terrain is below 1K.

Papa Bear
06-19-2008, 10:18 AM
I'm happy to do so, since I have included "Ossipee Mountain" with perhaps less justification. Henceforth, it will be the "Throreau 16+" (and more peaks may yet be added, if someone trolls the full Journal and finds one or two that Howarth and Huber may have overlooked).

Thanks for all this additional information, and in particular your link to the book by Jane Parker Huber. It is just 100 pages and seems to be out of print, but the extensive linked excerpts also confirm Thoreau's hike to the summit(s) of "Uncannunuc" - more below on that.



The book by J. Parker Huber to which Mark S. has provided a link includes a Journal entry from 1848 omitted by Howarth. In it, Thoreau identifies the North peak as the one with the commanding view of the valley. He provides few specifics on his hike, on which he was accompanied by Ellery Channing, and Huber speculates that they crossed the summits of both South and North U.The south peak was used in 1848 by the U.S. Coast Survey as one of the primary triangulation stations of the original survey of the east coast. Note:

http://img.geocaching.com/benchmark/lg/fe1f6252-400c-4f88-a994-8cbf91564464.jpg

From the reports at the time, this station had to have a direct line of sight to
Belknap (Gunstock), Agamenticus, Mt. Ann (Thompson), Blue Hill, Wachusett and Monadnock.

See Eastern Oblique Arc (http://www.holoscenes.com/cgi-bin/moin.cgi/ObliqueArcEppingToFireIsland)


I'd say that must have had a pretty clear view nearly 360 degrees. The other day, Roy and I were up there and not surprisingly, we could see none of the above peaks.

A real peakbagger would climb both peaks (we of course drove up :D).

RoySwkr
06-19-2008, 10:48 AM
the firetower on South Uncanoonuc did not begin operating until 1911 (tough for HDT to climb to the firetower when he was dead :p ;) )

There were no fire towers anywhere in NH or perhaps the world in Thoreau's time so of course he didn't climb any. I merely thought that the peak selected for the tower was probably the one thought to have the best view.

I have done the loop up S by the boy scout trail and down the incline RR, not a bad hike up but depressing when you get there. Even without the radio towers the summit is too overgrown for sweeping views but you can peek out.

N peak is a nicer hike with bigger view ledges but still a lot of trash.

Amicus
06-19-2008, 11:03 AM
The south peak was used in 1848 by the U.S. Coast Survey as one of the primary triangulation stations of the original survey of the east coast.

Thanks for this interesting information. That the Coast Survey used the South, rather than the North, peak at around the same time as Thoreau's hike lends further weight to my suspicion that he meant the South peak in his paragraph quoted above. Moreover, while current topos apparently show the North peak to be 9 feet higher, that may not have been the perception in Thoreau's day. From this section of the 1906 Milford Quad (http://docs.unh.edu/NH/milfgc06ne.jpg), I would have concluded that the South peak was slightly higher. (Note also the striking resemblance to something of the two peaks.)

I had intended for a long time to hike the Uncanoonucs anyway, as a mildly interesting hike within an hour's drive. I will now make it a point to touch both summits.

rocket21
06-19-2008, 11:06 AM
I had intended for a long time to hike the Uncanoonucs anyway, as a mildly interesting hike within an hour's drive. I will now make it a point to touch both summits.

You'll have to hop a fence to touch the south summit :)

Amicus
06-19-2008, 01:44 PM
That's for you to find out. :D

I've done some more research on this, which seems to indicate that Thoreau's only hikes in Vermont were in the course of his September 1856 visit to Brattleboro. I've read his complete Journal entry for that visit, using the on-line typewritten archive to which Mark Schaefer provided a link. It seems that, while on the Vermont side of the Conn. R., he didn't wander too far from Town. His Vermont high-point seems to have been:


[Sept. 8, 1856] Pm-- Clearing up-- I went a’botanising by the Cold-water Path. For the most part along a steep wooded hill side on Whetstone Brook--& through its interval.

This indicates that, while he may have traveled some distance along the flank of one of the mountains west of Brattleboro, he did not ascend. This is consistent with the balance of that entry, in which he treats Wantastiquet, across the River, as "Brattleboro's mountain," and his ascent of that as his one mountain hike during his visit.

I happened upon a brief account by Miss Mary Brown, one of Thoreau's two female companions on the Wantastiquet climb, which I found interesting:


He struck me as being very odd, very wise and exceedingly observing. He roamed about the country at his own sweet will, and I was fortunate enough to be his companion on a walk up Wantastiquet Mt. I was well acquainted with the flora and could meet him understandingly there, but was somewhat abashed by the numerous questions he asked about all sorts of things, to which I could only reply “I do not know.” It appealed to my sense of humor that a person with such a fund of knowledge should seek information from a young girl like myself, but I could not see that he had any fun in him. The only question I can now recall is this. As we stood on the summit of Wantastiquet, he fixed his earnest gaze on a distant point in the landscape, which he designated, asking “How far is it in a bee line to that spot?”

Papa Bear
06-19-2008, 01:53 PM
You'll have to hop a fence to touch the south summit :)You go under, not over the fence. At least as of last Tuesday.
:D

NewHampshire
06-19-2008, 05:52 PM
I have done the loop up S by the boy scout trail and down the incline RR, not a bad hike up but depressing when you get there. Even without the radio towers the summit is too overgrown for sweeping views but you can peek out.

N peak is a nicer hike with bigger view ledges but still a lot of trash.

Agreed on both counts. I had done North 3 times before going up South. Considering how steep the trail up North was I figured South would be similar. It was an interesting walk up the Boy Scout trail, but I could not believe it when we emptied out onto the road without so much as breaking a sweat! I assume the RR incline might be a bit steeper (I saw Marc Howes had a trip report on his website up about it once.) Overall I would say these two peaks are an ok place to make a quick run up if you live in the area. If you have to drive more than 20 minutes to get them though it, very honestly, may be a bit of a let down and waste of a good day hike.

Brian

rocket21
06-19-2008, 06:53 PM
The incline is consistently steep, but certainly not killer. I found it to be more challenging than the trail that goes up the north face of the north peak. I drove down to hike both of them earlier this month, and added Oak Hill to make a three-small-hike-day, which justified the drive. I was let down by south, as there were very limited views to be had. North was nice, but as noted, the hike isn't too substantial.

RoySwkr
06-20-2008, 08:19 AM
(Note also the striking resemblance to something of the two peaks.)

I will now make it a point to touch both summits.
Uncanoonuc is an Indian word that means ...

You can get within inches of the height of S Peak by just walking up to the fence, if you want views like Thoreau they are to be found lower down anyway

Amicus
06-22-2008, 06:54 AM
Uncanoonuc is an Indian word that means ...

That's how they looked to me too. Those old maps are so beautifully etched.


You can get within inches of the height of S Peak by just walking up to the fence, if you want views like Thoreau they are to be found lower down anyway

I won't feel compelled to crawl under or over a fence for the highpoint - Thoreau wouldn't have bothered. Not that he wasn't an obsessive, but the Lists had yet to be invented.

rocket21
06-22-2008, 08:46 AM
I won't feel compelled to crawl under or over a fence for the highpoint - Thoreau wouldn't have bothered. Not that he wasn't an obsessive, but the Lists had yet to be invented.

You sir are not a Thoreau scholar.

From Ktaadn


Leaping over a fence, we began to follow an obscure trail up the northern bank of the Penobscot.

Not only did a fence not stop Thoreau, but he *leaped* over it :)

Amicus
06-22-2008, 03:52 PM
Not only did a fence not stop Thoreau, but he *leaped* over it :)

I don't lightly take issue with the inventor of the Ossipee X List, but I would like to point out that Thoreau is not known to have jumped a fence or otherwise put himself so that he could claim a high-point. That same volume from which you quote includes his famous account of his hike to Ktaadn, where he was content to turn around some 1,200 vertical feet (best guess of some people) short of the Baxter Peak summit.

For something that mattered to him, such as a rare botany specimen, he'd do more than jump a fence. :)

rocket21
06-23-2008, 05:37 AM
That same volume from which you quote includes his famous account of his hike to Ktaadn, where he was content to turn around some 1,200 vertical feet (best guess of some people) short of the Baxter Peak summit.


Jeepers, you'd be assuming I actually read the whole thing (instead of Googling his name and fence :) )

Amicus
06-24-2008, 05:51 AM
Is this the same book?
Thoreau in the Mountains (http://www.amazon.com/Thoreau-Mountains-Henry-David/dp/0374517614)


I've now skimmed this earlier edition, thanks to our local library. Howarth later rewrote the Forward and Introduction rather extensively, but not the rest. I thought I had read that it had some maps not carried forward, but they turned out to be identical.

What this does have that were dropped are dozens of illustrations - woodcuts of the scenes Thoreau describes selected from 19th Cent. books and periodicals. I enjoyed these but wouldn't call them essential.

So, if you have any interest in Thoreau's mountain hikes but don't care to invest in your own copy of Walking with..., I think this would do nearly as well, if your library stocks it or you see it in a used-book sale.

Nate
06-24-2008, 07:56 AM
Speaking of the Hooksett Pinnacle, why is it now closed to hikers, especially since it used to be listed in the Southern New Hampshire Mountain Guide? Did the land change hands, or was the peak becoming so trashed that visitors are no longer welcome?

Tom Rankin
06-24-2008, 08:33 AM
There were no fire towers anywhere in NH or perhaps the world in Thoreau's time so of course he didn't climb any. I merely thought that the peak selected for the tower was probably the one thought to have the best view.The oldest known fire tower was Masada, "It was built by King Herod's army in Palestine (TFR: about 2,000 years ago!) to protect against his enemies who were burning his empire." (from Wikipedia).

I know NYS had towers in the 1880's, but I could not find any references to other towers in the 1800's with quick search.

RoySwkr
06-24-2008, 06:19 PM
The oldest known fire tower was Masada, "It was built by King Herod's army in Palestine (TFR: about 2,000 years ago!) to protect against his enemies who were burning his empire." (from Wikipedia).

I know NYS had towers in the 1880's, but I could not find any references to other towers in the 1800's with quick search.
Someone you know can tell you which fire tower in the Catskills is often claimed to be the oldest forest fire lookout site in the US. Before the late 1800s, forests were often burned deliberately to clear land and they weren't considered worth protecting - if they burned, there were more somewhere else.

The earliest fire lookouts were in urban areas where buildings were valuable and human lives were at stake. They were often in fire stations although I saw a postcard of a cast iron free-standing tower in NYC. I'm not sure how many forests were near Masada, perhaps it was crops or cities they were burning.

erugs
06-25-2008, 02:57 PM
Perhaps this should be a separate thread, but there is also the "I Have a dream" peaks from one of Martin Luther King's speaches. The mountains he named are: 1. Mt. Whitney, 2. Mt. Elbert, 3. Mt. Washington, 4. Mt. Marcy, 5. Mt. Davis, 6. Lookout Mountain, 7. Stone Mountain, and 8. Woodall Mountain. The peaks range from 14,495 feet down to 806 feet.

Mark Schaefer
06-25-2008, 03:18 PM
Perhaps this should be a separate thread, but there is also the "I Have a dream" peaks from one of Martin Luther King's speaches. The mountains he named are: 1. Mt. Whitney, 2. Mt. Elbert, 3. Mt. Washington, 4. Mt. Marcy, 5. Mt. Davis, 6. Lookout Mountain, 7. Stone Mountain, and 8. Woodall Mountain. The peaks range from 14,495 feet down to 806 feet. Yes, I had also thought of the "I have a dream list" when I first saw the Thoreau list. When Amicus is satisfied with the complete list, perhaps it should be sumitted to the Peakbagger website (http://www.peakbagger.com/ListIndx.aspx#6) for inclusion in the Miscellaneous peak lists.

Some of the mountains in the Dream list (Lookout and Stone) were specifically mentioned near the end of the I have a Dream (http://www.mlkonline.net/dream.html) speech. Others were generally referenced as in "prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire". A representative or highest mountain was then selected from that reference.

The potential for literary peak lists could be endless. The Thoreau list inspired me with the thought of a John Burroughs list for the Catskills and Hudson Valley (but it would include other areas as well). Like the Thoreau list it would be a considerable effort. Perhaps I will work on it some day after I finish finalizing a few other peak lists on my plate. I would not be upset if someone else beat me to the Burroughs list.

Amicus
06-25-2008, 03:55 PM
When Amicus is satisfied with the complete list, perhaps it should be sumitted to the Peakbagger website (http://www.peakbagger.com/ListIndx.aspx#6) for inclusion in the Miscellaneous peak lists.

That website is new to me (as is the "I Had a Dream" List). I don't think any new information on Thoreau's peaks is likely to emerge any time soon, so I guess I will submit as is, except that I intend to make South Mtn. in the Catskills # 17, since I find Mark Schaefer's arguments pretty persuasive. While it seems that Thoreau did not reach a summit in the Ossipee Range, he probably got closer, in vertical feet, than to Baxter in Katahdin, so I'll probably leave it, making it Mt. Shaw as the generally recognized "Ossipee Mt." (Thoreau's term), and (incidentally) a great view-hike.

rocket21
06-25-2008, 05:56 PM
While it seems that Thoreau did not reach a summit in the Ossipee Range, he probably got closer, in vertical feet, than to Baxter in Katahdin, so I'll probably leave it, making it Mt. Shaw as the generally recognized "Ossipee Mt." (Thoreau's term), and (incidentally) a great view-hike.

Throeau in 1857 - "It is not worthwhile to go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar, unless you count and visit 10 peaks in the Ossipees." :)

Tom Rankin
06-25-2008, 06:31 PM
Someone you know can tell you which fire tower in the Catskills is often claimed to be the oldest forest fire lookout site in the US. Before the late 1800s, forests were often burned deliberately to clear land and they weren't considered worth protecting - if they burned, there were more somewhere else.That would be BLM! :)

Amicus
06-25-2008, 07:31 PM
Thoreau in 1857 - "It is not worthwhile to go around the world to count the cats in Zanzibar, unless you count and visit 10 peaks in the Ossipees." :)

I see you have your hands on what must be a draft of Walden. I'm impressed, and I suppose I'm sorry he (or his editor) lost the "Ossipees" reference in the published text, but that version is a but punchier.

Another good thing he is said to have said that is relevant here:


On tops of mountains, as everywhere to hopeful souls, it is always morning.

(I can't verify that, but it sounds like him.)

RoySwkr
07-08-2008, 09:11 AM
While it seems that Thoreau did not reach a summit in the Ossipee Range, he probably got closer, in vertical feet, than to Baxter in Katahdin, so I'll probably leave it, making it Mt. Shaw as the generally recognized "Ossipee Mt." (Thoreau's term), and (incidentally) a great view-hike.
If Thoreau's route from Red Hill to Tamworth approximated today's Rte.25, his high point would have been about 750' which is 2200' and 5 miles from the summit of Mt Shaw and only a quarter of the rise from sea level. How far did you say he was from Katahdin? And I don't see why the Ossipee 10 and Thoreau peaks can't be disjoint sets.

Amicus
07-08-2008, 06:27 PM
If Thoreau's route from Red Hill to Tamworth approximated today's Rte.25, his high point would have been about 750' which is 2200' and 5 miles from the summit of Mt Shaw and only a quarter of the rise from sea level. How far did you say he was from Katahdin?

I don't think Thoreau's route approximated Rte. 25 and Shaw is not the "Ossipee Mountain" I had in mind. Thoreau says he rode along the west and northwest side of Ossipee Mountain for a long afternoon, until he wondered when he'd be done with it. That sounds less like Rte. 25 then 108 and 171 to a point maybe south of Mt. Roberts, then north along something like Ossipee Mt. Road (appropriately enough), tracing the W and NW sides of the Range. Roberts would be my summit, although any of the Ten would do for purposes of this list.

So, I've raised my point reached and lowered my summit not reached, compared with yours. Still, the gap may be greater than the 1,200-foot shortfall Howarth believes existed for Katahdin.

So, I don't dismiss your point. I'll have to take it up with the Committee, of course, but the present 17 may shrink by one in the next iteration.

Amicus
07-14-2008, 07:28 PM
I see that Peakbagger.com has added a new "famous hiker - peaks I've hiked" - Henry D. Thoreau. http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=1403

rocket21
07-21-2008, 05:41 AM
There's a somewhat humourous story about Thoreau climbing Mt. Washington in today's Conway Daily Sun (page 6).

BIIIIIG .pdf: http://www.laconiadailysun.com/pdf/2008/7/21.pdf

carole
07-21-2008, 08:32 AM
If you had a hard time finding it like me it's on page 6 "Transcendental Tourists"

Regarding the article - page 2 'Today'sWord': grok. Seems appropriate

Amicus
07-21-2008, 11:27 AM
Regarding the article - page 2 'Today'sWord': grok. Seems appropriate

Change "grok" to "grouch" and I heartily agree. :) The author seems to be one of those tedious "Massh*les Go Home!" types (not very numerous, in my experience) and I detected no humor in his account. Incidentally, he blames Thoreau and his "eastern Mass." friends for that Tuckerman's Ravine campfire that burned out of control, but it was the doing of their local guide, Wentworth, who ignored Thoreau's advice to remove piles of dried moss near where Wentworth was building his fire.

rocket21
07-21-2008, 11:43 AM
Incidentally, he blames Thoreau and his "eastern Mass." friends for that Tuckerman's Ravine campfire that burned out of control, but it was the doing of their local guide, Wentworth, who ignored Thoreau's advice to remove piles of dried moss near where Wentworth was building his fire.

Interesting to hear the other side of the story. There are a lot of really slanted, negative editorials in that paper for sure. Nonetheless, I had a good chuckle from it.

Amicus
08-04-2009, 02:23 PM
Not to have hiked all the peaks on this List I compiled is a gap in my resume that I have determined to remedy. To that end, I hiked to four somewhat obscure summits in southern New Hampshire this past weekend. I enjoyed all four hikes in their own right, apart from connections to HDT.

Wantastiquet Mtn. On a visit to Bronson Alcott (Lousa May's father) in Walpole, NH in 1856, Thoreau stopped first in Brattleboro, VT for a few days. He climbed "Brattleboro's mountain," known to him as Chesterfield Mtn. but now called Wantastiquet. It rises fairly steeply on the New Hampshire side of the Connecticut River and a west-facing view ledge near its summit gave and still gives impressive views of Brattleboro below and the mountains of southern and central Vermont beyond.

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/608992947_Qc9gW-M-1.jpg

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/608992599_SEpE4-M-2.jpg

The Trail leaves from the small parking lot for "Wantastiquet State Natural Area," reached in .2 mile by a dirt road that is your first left after you cross the bridge from downtown Brattleboro into Hinsdale, NH, just before a Wal-Mart. It winds in switchbacks for about two miles to the summit plateau, through attractive mixed woods.

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/608992033_PZd4V-M-1.jpg

Saturday morning, about half of the Trail was a stream and most of the rest was at least damp. A local I met on my way down who has been hiking there for years said it was the wettest he remembers. Still, I enjoyed both the hike and the views from the summit ledge, with its graffiti'd memorial to Walter H. Childs (whose memory seems otherwise lost even to Google). I took a herd-path east for about a quarter-mile to some ledges, ascending en route a knoll that may have been the north summit, but I gather from subsequent map-study that Mine Ledge must have been to my south.

Fall Mtn. Twenty miles up the Connecticut, this steep summit dominates Bellows Falls, VT much as Wantastiquet dominates Brattleboro. What may be the same forest road that Thoreau followed leaves from the end of Mountain View Road in No. Walpole, NH (hometown of Hall-of-Famer Pudge Fisk), a little north of downtown. It winds up steeply to the summit in about one mile, crossing near its beginning a utility right-of-way, immediately after which you take a right-hand turn (a small pond will be on your left immediately after that turn).

As you approach the summit, you reach a fork, and the left will take you to the summit ("Mt. Kilburn" on the topo map), which offers a pair of cell-phone towers and hardly any views. The right takes you under power lines and, in about .3 mile, to a pair of ledges with great views from SW to NW, including Bellows Falls below. This fork ends at the more southerly ledge, which falls off steeply and is known as Table Rock.

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/608993690_u8PAu-M-1.jpg

The Uncanoonucs. That is a Native American word that signifies "pair of perfectly rounded [summits]." which is just how they look on topo maps, especially older ones. They overlook Manchester, NH from its western suburb, Goffstown, and Thoreau wrote so little about his hike there with his brother in 1839, on their trip to the White Mountains, that it cannot be determined which one they climbed. Each has fine trails, however, so I visited both on Sunday, en route from central NH to eastern Mass.

The trail to No. Uncanoonuc, blazed with white tin discs, climbs fairly steeply up the north slope, through a handsome hemlock forest and passing a mossy cave, reaching the broad summit meadow in .6 mile. I have read of trash, but good people have been at work, as I found a big fire-ring but no litter. The only decent view, however, was of So. Uncanoonuc, festooned with a fright wig of communications towers.

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/608995017_gVBbB-M-1.jpg

Several trails leave the Goffstown public beach, on Uncanoonuc Lake, for the summit of So. Uncanoonuc, and elsewhere a paved road permits you to drive there. The beach area served as base for a major ski operation in the 1930s - called by one "the St. Moritz of America" - that the interested can learn about on this http://www.nelsap.org/nh/uncanoonuc.html

I took the Incline Trail, which heads straight up to the summit road on the gravel bed of a sort of cog RR that operated for nearly 40 years, until sometime during WW II. While somewhat short on charm, it is direct. There were no very good views among the summit towers, nor at a clearing just off the Incline Tr. 100 yards below the summit marked by a "Viewing Area" sign. Another hundred yards or two down the Incline Tr., however, a side trail with the sign "Walker" heads west along the contour line for about .3 mile, before it turns right and starts heading down the mountain, due north. I think it must join the Summit Tr., which also goes up to the summit road from the beach area, but I didn't know about that then, so retraced my steps to the Incline.

Ten yards from its junction with the Incline Tr., an open ledge on the Walker Tr. gave me a terrific view east to Manchester and beyond - by far the best vista on either of the Uncanoonucs, as far as I could tell. I hope to head back there to explore those other trails and enjoy that outlook on a clear day, perhaps in Fall colors.

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/608996279_fgja9-M-1.jpg

You can see the rest of my pictures here (http://amicus.smugmug.com/gallery/9134557_4SbBW/2/608996279_fgja9#608996279_fgja9).

rocket21
08-04-2009, 02:38 PM
Nice photos! I enjoyed a visit Wantastiquet a few years ago when I still in Western Massachusetts. I wanted to check out Fall Mountain, however I never made it over there - looks like a nice vista!

RoySwkr
08-05-2009, 09:24 AM
I took a herd-path east for about a quarter-mile to some ledges, ascending en route a knoll that may have been the north summit, but I gather from subsequent map-study that Mine Ledge must have been to my south.

Somebody from the Brattleboro HS offered to sent me an old map of viewpoints on W, but I had no way to scan it and declined. There are still a couple outlooks on the road that point different directions than the monument. It used to be that once a year you could get a free T-shirt and bag lunch for hiking up, the official photographer took a photo of me at the monument eating lunch but somebody more photogenic made it into the album.

The true summit of Wantastiquet is the small contour perhaps .2 mi SE of the monument, there is no current trail there although there is junk radio stuff. Follow the road past the big radio tower (views here) and take the trail to Mine Ledge, then BW right uphill.

The most impressive part of Mine Ledge is the ridge SW from 416, there is a herd path along the top and a trail along the bottom from the col

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=42.85777,-72.53560&z=16&t=T

If you don't need anything at Wal-Mart, there is a trail from the SPNHF Madame Sherri Reservation, the page used to have a photo of the person the trail was named after unlike poor WC

Amicus
08-05-2009, 03:08 PM
The true summit of Wantastiquet is the small contour perhaps .2 mi SE of the monument . . .

That's about what I figured. I only read about the trail from the Madame Sherri Reservation to Mine Ledge after I got home. I hope I get a chance to hike it and explore other views and the highpoint, on a clearer day.

As to WC (Walter H. Childs), whose name is preserved by the W. view-ledge memorial but whom Google does not acknowledge, I asked that senior local hiker I met on my descent. He once heard that WC was an officer of Estey Organ Company (http://www.esteyorgan.com/), world-famous and a leading Brattleboro employer for 100 years, until it closed its doors in 1960. As he heard it, Mr. Childs put some effort into hiking trails to the top of W., as a beneficial pastime for the Company's employees.

buckyball1
08-07-2009, 08:55 AM
A--i enjoy these little 'niche TRs (but this thread does have over 2500 hits :) )--places i've never (and probably never will) hike, but always a good read/learning experience--your more recent addition of interspersed pics adds a lot--

j

Amicus
10-08-2009, 10:14 PM
South Mtn. - Catskills (Aug. 14, 2009)

Thoreau's Journal for his 1844 walking tour of the Catskills is lost, but he lodged at Scribner's Boarding House, about a mile from the summit of South Mtn., near Kaaterskill Falls, and as there were trails to its summit even then, he surely hiked to it. Armed with detailed information from Mark Schaefer, I hiked there too today, in a counterclockwise loop starting from the Scutt Rd. trailhead, just before the entrance to the NYS North/South Lake Campgrounds.

After passing the Scribner's site, I soon reached the Escarpment Trail, which winds counterclockwise like the parapet of a gigantic castle along the cliffs that rim the broad, flat summit plateau, .from the west to the northeast. The many stirring vistas, from Sunset Rock and Inspiration Point, in particular, would have been finer on a less hazy day, such as the view NW up Kaaterskill Clove:

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/619763712_UocYP-L-1.jpg

The summit was home to the grand Kaaterskill House until it conflagrated in the 1920s. It is hard do say exactly where the high-point is, but I tentatively located it at a bootleg campsite in open woods 20 yards north of the summit meadow.

The Escarpment Trail gave me more great ledge panoramas to south, east and NE, especially from Eagle Rock and the site of the Catskill Mountain House (the original grand hotel of the Catskills), as I completed my circle to South Lake, but clouds and haze kept thickening. My route was a pleasant loop of about seven miles. Not much of a day for pix, but a few more are here (http://amicus.smugmug.com/Hiking/2009/Catskills-South-Mtn-Loop/9276305_5amBY#619762826_NNkzK).

Mt. Kineo - Moosehead Lake, Maine (October 8, 2009)

On his third visit to the Maine Woods, in July 1857, Thoreau and a companion paddled the length of Moosehead Lake, from Greenville in the south to the Northeast Carry, in the birch bark canoe of their remarkable Native American guide, Joe Polis. Where the Lake pinches down to a one-mile channel in the middle, they camped on the east shore of that channel. There, while Joe Polis fished for trout, Thoreau and companion climbed to the summit of Mt. Kineo - a "great mass of rock rising precipitately 800 feet above the surface of the Moosehead."

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/674436842_FwNai-L-1.jpg

buckyball and I were happy not to be paddling today, as the choppy waters washed over the low bow of our little pontoon ferry during our 10-minute crossing from Rockwood. The steep Indian Trail to the summit Tower more than compensated in terrific views for its tricky footing, made worse by wet leaves. What a remarkable collection of vistas of neighboring mountains:

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/674438483_H5fse-L-1.jpg

and the Lake:

http://amicus.smugmug.com/photos/674439066_ZxTZs-L-1.jpg

for a hike of not quite 4 miles! The Bridle Trail down makes a mellow loop. A few more photos are here (http://amicus.smugmug.com/Hiking/2009/Kineo-October-8-2009/9897116_hrwBs#674436842_FwNai).

---

This completes my Thoreau 16. I know of two previous finishers - Henry David himself and, a couple of years later, RoySwkr.

"On tops of mountains, as everywhere to hopeful souls, it is always morning."

H. D. Thoreau

RoySwkr
10-09-2009, 11:43 AM
This completes my Thoreau 16. I know of two previous finishers - Henry David himself and, a couple of years later, RoySwkr.

:-)

I think my claim to have completed the list was before you added South Mtn. I have hiked the trail along the escarpment and visited the ruins of the Kaaterskill Mtn House, but made no attempt to find the true summit and haven't logged it on ListsofJohn.

HDT spent more time there than I did, but not knowing what was on the highpoint then he may not have been to that exact spot either as he may have preferred the clifftop views and hotel amenities. So Mr. A may be the first true finisher.

Amicus
10-10-2009, 09:18 PM
I think my claim to have completed the list was before you added South Mtn. I have hiked the trail along the escarpment and visited the ruins of the Kaaterskill Mtn House, but made no attempt to find the true summit and haven't logged it on ListsofJohn.

You are admirably scrupulous, but the flat summit of South Mtn. is a pancake with pimples, once occupied by the sprawling grounds of the Kaaterskill Mtn. House. Unless someone has isolated the highest pockmark with reliable equipment, I would credit anyone who has explored those grounds, as you did.

Nevertheless,


So Mr. A may be the first true finisher.

is an opinion that would gratify me, if generally accepted. Still, I would have to acknowledge the lameness of becoming a First Finisher only by dint of inventing the List.

Mark Schaefer
10-11-2009, 01:35 AM
You are admirably scrupulous, but the flat summit of South Mtn. is a pancake with pimples, once occupied by the sprawling grounds of the Kaaterskill Mtn. House. Indeed, it is a pancake with pimples. We may now have a site that was greatly altered and unnaturally leveled at the time the Hotel Kaaterskill (http://www.catskillarchive.com/kaaterskill/index.htm) was constructed in 1881. In addition to the Hotel, a vast area of the mountain was cleared of all vegetation for an extensive lawn. All of this construction and clearing was many years after HDT visited the Catskills in 1844.


HDT spent more time there than I did, but not knowing what was on the highpoint then he may not have been to that exact spot either as he may have preferred the clifftop views and hotel amenities. So Mr. A may be the first true finisher. Perhaps the question becomes whether HDT was more of a viewseeker than a peekbagger. The South Mountain summit would likely have had no clearing nor view when HDT visited, but the mountain as a whole was already laced with paths and carriageways built to connect the nearby Catskill Mountain House (http://www.catskillarchive.com/mtnhouse/index.htm) with the Scribner's Boarding House and the Kaaterskill Falls.

Amicus
10-11-2009, 04:59 PM
Perhaps the question becomes whether HDT was more of a viewseeker than a peekbagger.

HDT was the first peak-bagger. He completed the Thoreau 16 on July 15, 1858, when he climbed to the summit of Mt. Lafayette by the Old Bridle Path. His Journal entry recording his emotions upon achieving this feat is lost, but scholars conjecture that it would have read like this:


Today I climbed to the top of the mountain that is called Lafayette, also Great Haystack, thereby completing the list that I have named the Thoreau 16. (No harm in tooting my own trumpet a little, I think.) I am the First Finisher, which is pretty cool when you think about it.

I have written the name of each of these peaks on a slip of paper as I have climbed them, and have kept these slips in a hempen bag here by my writing desk. So, perhaps I could call this pastime that I have invented "peak bagging."

My little list will never appeal to the masses, I think, but I foresee a day, perhaps 151 or so years from now, roughly, when some superbad dude will follow in my footsteps. My hat is off to that hero!

- HDT

RoySwkr
10-13-2009, 11:53 AM
HDT was the first peak-bagger. He completed the Thoreau 16 on July 15, 1858, when he climbed to the summit of Mt. Lafayette by the Old Bridle Path.
He also apparently granted waivers for those who didn't quite reach the summit of Katahdin

Chip
10-13-2009, 12:00 PM
Today I climbed to the top of the mountain that is called Lafayette, also Great Haystack, thereby completing the list that I have named the Thoreau 16. (No harm in tooting my own trumpet a little, I think.) I am the First Finisher, which is pretty cool when you think about it.

I have written the name of each of these peaks on a slip of paper as I have climbed them, and have kept these slips in a hempen bag here by my writing desk. So, perhaps I could call this pastime that I have invented "peak bagging."

My little list will never appeal to the masses, I think, but I foresee a day, perhaps 151 or so years from now, roughly, when some superbad dude will follow in my footsteps. My hat is off to that hero!

- HDT

Clever Scholars ! :)