View Full Version : weather considerations: Cabot and/or Mahoosuc Notch

09-15-2005, 05:20 PM
Weather forecast is looking somewhat lousy, 80-90% chance of rain in the Whitefield-Berlin area on Saturday, 50-60% chance on Sunday, rainfall amounts in the 0.1-0.25" range both days.

My questions:

1) is there any part of the following two hikes that would be hazardous (e.g. slippery ledges) assuming no thunderstorms or ice?
a) -- Mt Cabot via Unknown Pond from the Mill Brook Road (and is it at all worth trying to visit The Horn?)
b) -- Mahoosuc Notch loop via Notch Trail to Speck Pond & down Speck Pond Trail

2) If it's cloudy, any guesses as to how much cooler it might be at 4000' elevation than in the lowlands?

My gut call (not having done any of these) is that Cabot is doable, but if The Horn is ledgy it isn't worth doing; Mahoosuc Notch sounds like less fun w/ rain, and I'm a bit worried about the hike up to Mahoosuc Arm. If the rainfall predictions go up significantly I'll bail on both.

09-15-2005, 05:41 PM
I haven't been to the Mahoosuc area. But I think Cabot should be doable-- I don't remember any rocky sections. The Horn is right off the trail, definitely worth scoping out at least--view is great if you get any-- even just a view of the pond below would be nice. But the last little bit of getting on the Horn was a bit of a scramble up some rock-- you might want to play that by ear depending on the weather. Are you coming back down the same way? I remember reading old trail reports reporting of terribly muddy sections on the Bunnel Notch trail (an alternative way of coming down Cabot and ending up at the Hatchery)--you might want to check out recent conditions of that trail-- if you are considering coming down that way. When we went to Cabot, we saw a moose swimming in the pond near the Hatchery-- some locals said he was a regular so be sure to look out for it! Enjoy.

09-15-2005, 05:52 PM
Oops, Sorry, I didn't read your post close enough the first time, I was describing the area from the hatchery, not Mill road. I haven't been on that section of unknown pond, but the Kilkenny ridge trail should be ok to Cabot anyways.

09-15-2005, 06:39 PM
The summit of the Horn is not really ledgy. It is more like scrambling up on a large boulder. There are a couple different ways to get up to the top and it is definitely worth it if the weather allows for some views. If not, it is only a quarter mile off the main trail and you haven't lost anything. At least you'll be familiar with it the next time you go. It is a straightforward trail except for the very summit.

As for the trail itself, the lower sections along the stream can be muddy and have some flowing water but not so much to be totally dreadful. Once away from the stream you go up through a nice birch forest. Above that the trail is somewhat rocky and many of them are not oriented for your feet so take care in that section, especially if the rocks are slippery. Above Unknown Pond it is pretty strightforward. Don't mistake the Bulge for the summit. You'll go over the Bulge, descend for a ways, then continue the ascent to Cabot's wooded summit. There should be a sign at the summit. If you continue past the summit, the Cabin is a short ways down the trail. The WMG says 0.4 mi but it seems shorter.



poison ivy
09-15-2005, 08:25 PM
As other posters said Cabot can be a little muddy but shouldn't give you any trouble. I didn't have any views when I visited the Horn -- but it's worth going there in rainy weather anyway if you're going to be doing the 100 highest list at some point. You can always go back for the views again later.

I'd be a little more wary of Mahoosuc Notch in the rain... there are some mossy areas around the boulders that will be a little slippery. There is a small ledgy area at the top of Mahoosuc Arm and coming down to Speck Pond it's pretty open. I wouldn't want to be hitting that section in a thunderstorm but I don't remember the footing being too terrible. While I think overall the trip would be doable, I'd be more concerned about missing out on the awesome views on the north side of Mahoosuc Arm... foliage there was fantastic last year, so it's worth saving this one for a sunny day later this fall.

Hope that is helpful,

09-15-2005, 08:31 PM
I did Cabot from Mill Brook Rd a month ago. The trail is quite sheltered all the way, has several flat spots that are likely to become muddy (especially north of Unknown Pond) but no slippery ledges.
The Horn is a great view, but probably not in the rain. On the other hand, it's a short side trip and I think it's on one of those lists - hundred highest or something. The final dozen feet of elevation require a couple of fourth-class boulder moves; all but the last boulder can be bypassed if you prefer. It's not "ledgy" at all, you have to find a way onto a big rock but you're not in danger of falling or slipping far.
My only concern is Mill Brook Rd itself - it's dirt and gravel. Seems to be fairly solid and well-draining as far as I could tell on a really dry day, but I'd think twice about taking an ordinary car up it in heavy rain - you might get in but not get out.

Haven't tried Mahoosuc yet but the Notch is supposed to be a real jungle-gym of boulders, likely to be tough when wet.

Bob Kittredge
09-16-2005, 07:24 AM
I did the Notch last year in the rain, and it was one of the nicest rainy day hikes I've ever done. Of course, it wasn't pouring, but it was fairly wet. I don't remember there being any extensive sections that were actually under water.

You'll have to use some extra care on the rocks in the notch and on the ledges going up Mahoosuc Arm. The rain can also make it feel colder, so remember to bring gloves.

09-16-2005, 07:58 AM
I remember Mahoosuc Notch as all boulder-stepping as well as jumping over huge holes. It's not something I would ever want to do in the wet, especially considering how much hand-holding had to be done.

The route up from the end of the Notch to the area shown on maps as "Notch 2" is very mossy and is slippery all the time; I can't imagine it being any worse. :) However, I do remember one wide water crossing on big, smooth slabs, and if water is running over the entire width of that be very, very careful where you step. The climb up the Arm is nasty and steep and I don't think wet will affect it much, though in the eroded areas the mud spots will be softer than usual. Once you're up, the rest will be easy.

Cabot from Mill Brook Road should be fine even if wet. While you meander up along a stream there are no real crossings of noteworthiness. Once you attain Unknown Pond, however, you're into a stretch of Kilkenny Ridge that is muddy, and so I'd expect it to be mushier than usual. It shouldn't be impassable anywhere, just squishy. Once you gain a little elevation you'll be out of that.

I do not believe the side trail to the Horn has had its sign replaced; you might miss the path on your way out but it's very noticeable in the other direction so you'll see it coming back. The "summit" is an enormous (20' across?) boulder, and might be a bit slippery; go to the far left to to low spot to hop on. Imagine incredible views.

The rest of the way over the Bulge to Cabot will be easy.

Bob Kittredge
09-16-2005, 09:40 AM
A friend of mine was scheduled to lead a hike over some exposed ridge, but the weather was bad, and he decided to hike Waumbek instead. When he got there, he found 2 or 3 other groups who had similarly rerouted their hikes.

This caused my friend to speculated that "Waumbek" must be the Indian word for "backup plan".

09-19-2005, 07:17 AM
many thanks to all replies; I ended up not doing either (Mahoosuc Notch due to weather and Cabot due to other circumstances).