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Thread: 11/23/08 - Bald Knob in the Ossipee Mountains

  1. #1
    Senior Member Tobit's Avatar
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    11/23/08 - Bald Knob in the Ossipee Mountains

    Well, I am really glad I ended up doing this hike today instead of many others I had on my short list. Today featured several firsts:

    • First time in the Ossipee range
    • First time hiking this time of year and in weather this cool

    My initial plan for todays hike was to do both Bald Knob and Turtleback Mountain. However, I overslept and didn't make it to the trailhead until 9:15am and it was a bit windier than I thought it was going to be so I decided to play it safe and only went to Bald Knob. However, had I known I'd have made it back to my car so quick, I might have attempted Turtleback as well.

    I started the day on the Shannon Brook trail and quickly made my way to Bald Knob Cutoff trail. Shortly after I started on the Bald Knob Cutoff trail, I had happened to look back and saw a tree with 3 blazes on it. This seemed to be quite excessive but I guess it is better than no blazes. Blazes were quite plentiful all along the cutoff trail. Many times, the trail was covered completely with deep leaves so I was thankful for all the blazes. That tree just seemed a bit of of place with all those blazes.

    At the other end of the cutoff trail, I continued the 0.4 miles up to the top of Bald Knob. However, soon after I started, I came upon a tree with a normal white blaze along with a green triangle shape blaze with a white arrow pointed at this mess. I thought it might be noting a geological oddity but I didn't see anything other than a very steep and thick area I had no interest in climbing. I continued on to the summit. Do any of you Ossipee regulars know what this is/was?

    I had truly awesome views of the lakes from the summit. However, the wind was gusting quite a bit up here and made it feel much colder than it was. I don't normally where a watch so the only time I had was what my digital camera was telling me. The camera was telling me it was already 12:44. I didn't think it had taken me this long to make the ascent. However, I trusted it and, also because of the wind chill, decided to not ascend Turtleback after all and just head back.

    Rather than return the way I came, I decided to continue down the main Bald Knob Trail. Holy cow, the type and condition of this trail was a sharp contrast in difference compared to my ascent route. Now I know why Rocket21 suggested I not ascend via this route. The very top of this blue blazed section of the trail was quite steep, rocky, and densely covered in leaves. This side of the mountain also had quite a bit of ice at upper elevations. I made my way very slowly down this route as I had no clue what was under the leaves with each step and I did not have my usual Asolo hiking boots on. About 3/4 of the way down this side of the trail, I ran into my first people sighting. A group of 6 adults and a large dog were making their way up the trail. Eventually I reached the flat, smooth, beginnings of this trail and reached Route 171 and began the 1 mi. road walk back to my car. After the descent, I found walking on the asphalt to be an excellent cool down.

    I made it back to my car at 1:38pm. Based on the time shown on my digital camera at the summit, and my slow descent, I had half expected it to be closer to 4pm. This meant the time on my camera was off by almost 2 hours. I was pleasantly surprised because my pace wasn't as slow as I feared it was. However, I was a bit disappointed as I probably would have had time to go to Turtleback as well. Oh well, it probably worked out for the best anyway.

    I really enjoyed this hike. I'm not sure of the actual mileage or elevation gained/lost. I need to sit down and look at the maps again. I really do need to strap some type of time piece to my pack. However, I've been saying this for awhile now. Maybe now I will finally learn my lesson.

    I will be back in the Ossipees soon. Will probably head back in a few days to do Turtleback. 8)

    Picture Gallery: http://albums.phanfare.com/3472949/3...ageID=53580098
    Slideshow View: http://albums.phanfare.com/slideshow...9&a_id=3039517

  2. #2
    Registered User AndyF's Avatar
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    Check the camera for daylight savings time. I did a similar thing a couple weeks ago. I checked the time on the camera at the summit and didn't believe it took me that long to get there. Sure enough it was still in daylight savings time.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tobit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyF View Post
    Check the camera for daylight savings time. I did a similar thing a couple weeks ago. I checked the time on the camera at the summit and didn't believe it took me that long to get there. Sure enough it was still in daylight savings time.
    That's exactly what I figured as I was descending. I half expected it to be exactly an hour off. However, when I got to the car much earlier than I thought, I investigated and found it to be closer to an hour and 50 minutes fast. Not sure how that happened but I should have a watch on or in my pack anyway.

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    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobit View Post
    I thought it might be noting a geological oddity . . . .
    There is a geographic oddity in the form of some striking "columnar jointing" on the Bald Knob Cutoff Trail, which perhaps the leaves obscured. There were signs and markers last year, when I went that way. "C. jointing" (natural octagons) is associated with volcanoes, I believe, and can be seen spectacularly in Devil's Tower and in the Giants' Causeway (Ulster).

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    Senior Member Tobit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amicus View Post
    There is a geographic oddity in the form of some striking "columnar jointing" on the Bald Knob Cutoff Trail, which perhaps the leaves obscured.
    Yeah, I saw these and the signs describing them on the Bald Knob Cutoff trail. However, this triangular marker with the arrow was up on the Bald Knob trail itself well after the signage (probably 5 minute walk after leaving the cutoff trail. It could have been something similar I wasn't able to see.

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    I think some of the attached trail markings on the trees (vs. the painted blazes) may have to do with snowmobile or XC-ski trails. In regard to the three with the two painted blazes, that actually signifies a turn in the trail (in the direction of the top blaze).

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