Shelburne Moriah Mountain
Hiking/Walk DATE: 07/29/2018 - 07/29/2018
Trip/Event Location: Shelburne [Gorham] , NH
Trip Leader(s): phoenix
Max # People: 12
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
The date of this hike has changed to Sunday 7/29 (postponed one day so the weather is better).
We will meet at an abandoned wayside area on the southside of US 2. I drive a blue Subaru Forester.
From Gorham, New Hampshire
Drive east on US 2 about 9 mi. Watch for a sign (Parking) and hiker symbol marking the wayside area and turn right.
Drive west on US 2 across the Maine/New Hampshire border for another 0.2 miles. Watch for a sign (Parking) and hiker symbol marking the wayside area and turn left.
After everyone arrives at the wayside area, we will carpool/drive the remaining 1 mile (gravel forest road) to the trailhead.
When I arrived at the meeting place, Andy was already there. Since I knew he was a new club member, I welcomed him to Gay Outdoors as we greeted each other. He was the only one signed up for this hike, so we immediately drove the one mile forest road found on the east side of the meeting place. There was another vehicle with a trailer already parked at the Sherburne trailhead.
I quickly put on my hiking shoes and we were ready to take off. The beginning of the Sherburne trail is a continuation past the gate of the forest road. As we started down the road, we observed how plants were reclaiming much of the road except for the tire tracks. We were happy there were no biting bugs, so we did not put on bug repellent. However, we were walking through grassy areas so we remained vigilant for ticks.
As Andy and I hiked along the fairly level road, we discovered that both of us are retired and had majored in biology in college. We have a love of nature and try to keep our carbon imprint to a minimum. We hiked the 2.1 miles to where the trail turns left off the road. Although the AMC guidebook warns that this turn could be easy to miss, we had no trouble spotting the sign.
At this point the trail began to incline upward. There were a few wet spots from the rain of the previous week. The guidebook indicated there would be four crossings of a branch of East Brook. However, I only noted three of them, although there were several other places where we jumped over drainage ditches. As we continued hiking, there were places where the plants on both sides were encroaching on the trail and we needed to watch more carefully for the trail underneath.
We reached the junction where the Kenduskeag trail goes off to the right. We briefly stopped there to take pictures and drink some water. As we looked at the Kenduskeag trail, we were surprised that it initially went down when we were headed up to the summit of Shelburne Moriah. The initial part of the trail was also a bit waterlogged, but we were able to cross through it fairly easily. Then the elevation gain became steeper. We did need to watch our step in some places because the damp rocks and tree roots could be slippery.
The trail maneuvered below a couple of rock faces. We encountered some wild blueberries along the way. The first ones were a bit chewy and leathery. As we climbed further, the blueberries became tastier. At one rocky outcrop on the right, we had a perfect view of the mountains in Maine to the east. We also came across wild cranberries. Andy tried one of the cranberries and promptly announced that the cranberries were not ripe yet. I decided to take his word on that rather than confirm it. We continued our increase in elevation and eventually reached the summit cairn.
The views from the fairly flat summit were most excellent. We could see the city of Gorham below us and the Berlin water tower in the valley further north. Looking west, we were able to identify Mount Madison and Mount Adams. We were not sure of some of the other westward mountains, but hypothesized that the bump to the west was blocking some of the mountains on the Carter-Moriah ridge that would have helped in identification. We stopped to eat lunch on the summit. I discovered a tick crawling on my leg and immediately dispatched it. After we finished lunch, I took a picture of Andy on the summit ledge before beginning our descent.
We then retraced our steps back to the trailhead. Andy was a faster hiker than I (or else stopped less to eat blueberries on the way down), but waited for me at the Kenduskeag-Shelburne trail junction. The descent was a bit trickier than the ascent with the damp, slippery rocks and tree roots. At the junction, we compared how many scratches we had gotten descending from the summit. We were about equal in that regard. I guess we were now "blood” brothers. However, Andy’s were on his lower legs and mine were on my arms, so we must have used different techniques in descending. A small price to pay for enjoying nature this day so soon after a week of rain!
A few bugs were out during the last two miles. We also discovered blackberry bushes that we had not noticed on the way up, although the berries will not likely be ripe for several weeks. We reached our cars without having seen anyone else during the hike, but the other vehicle was no longer at the trailhead.
Thanks Andy for choosing this hike for your first GO adventure. It is always nice to have someone else along. Hope to see you on other GO activities!
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