Mt. Cube Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 11/04/2018 - 11/04/2018
Trip/Event Location: Warren, NH
Trip Leader(s): Gandalf
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Open ledges on its two summit knobs provide completely different panoramas! We will hike the Mt. Cube Trail [Appalachian Trail] to the summit of Mt. Cube, elevation 2,909 feet. On the south [main s... Driving directions to the location and spot to meet at:
I-93 Exit 26
NH-25 west [for 15.7 miles]
NH-25A west [for 4.6 miles]
Parking at trailhead along left side of road, just after small bridge over Pond Brook. Trailhead on same side as parking, marked by Dartmouth Outing Club sign. Note that there's a hiker sign on right before the bridge and old logging road on left after the bridge that looks like the trail, but it's not. Trailhead is a little farther down the road, at end of parking area if coming from I-93 direction. We will be driving a blue Toyota Tacoma truck.
Few White Mountain hikers realize that there are sections of the White Mountain National Forest far to the west of Mt Moosilauke, as far west as Hanover, New Hampshire, on the border with Vermont. Mt Cube is one of these western sections along with Smarts Mountain and Moose Mountain, both on the New Hampshire Appalachian Trail. While these western peaks aren’t 4,000 footers, the trails that run over them are quite pleasant, including their own share of sublime viewpoints!
Because of the rain and winds forecasted on Saturday we moved the trip to the sunnier Sunday forecast. So we went from 14 members attending to five. Quality is more important than quantity and we had a fantastic quality crew to join us!
It started with meeting John, from Lewiston, Maine for the first time who spent Saturday night with us. We gathered around the fireplace to get acquainted and enjoyed an awesome dinner cooked by Jon including pulled pork sandwiches, spinach and pesto pizza, Cole slaw, potato nachos and salad. We then went upstairs to our loft to watch a movie, “Sausage Party.” It’s not what you think, LOL.
With all the rain the Mad River was roaring so we decided to use the Cross Rivendell Trail to hike up Mt. Cube instead because the Mt. Cube Trail due to the tricky Brackett Brook crossing. Round trip distance – about 5 miles with 1500 feet of elevation gain.
I hiked up using Cross Rivendell Trail once many years ago and Jon never has. With some research I discovered that the trail is maintained by the students of a regional school.
We kept the initial meeting spot in place with the plan of letting everyone know that we were going to use a different approach up. We arrived early and met Jeff from Milton, Massachusetts who was scouting for the Appalachian Trail. He was excited to hike the Appalachian Trail to the summit but became a bit disappointed to hear we changed our approach up and not using it. We told him we would still hike a very short section that link the south and north peak summits so that made him feel better. It was very windy so we went back into our vehicles waiting for Fred to arrive.
Fred is from Barre, VT and upon his arrival was trying to give away various items include a dry bag, baby bib [was he trying to tell us something?], a bunch of colorful plastic plates in a zip lock bag and a polo shirt of his that no longer fit him that we were told that if it could talk, had many stories to tell! Jon took the dry bag with the remaining items going back into his CRV.
We hopped in our vehicles and drove to the Cross-Rivendell Mt. Cube Trail. The bottom of the trail is reached by driving down the gravel topped Baker Road off NH25A to a trailhead sign, which has space for four to five cars on the side of the road. We found a small parking area for about four to five cars before reaching the trailhead sign that was across someone’s driveway. The trail below was covered with wet leaves. Once, we gained some elevation we reached a beautiful spruce forest and the trail became considerably steeper and rockier, eventually topping out at a series of viewpoints with excellent views of nearby Smarts Mountain and further back, Killington in Vermont.
We met a woman coming down, who had just left the summit, who shared with us that the hike this day, reminded her that winter was approaching. The temperature was comfortable at around 40 degrees with sunny skies, but with a few icy patches, gloves on our hands and a wool hat on our heads, we agreed!
We popped out a short distance later at treeline, following blue blazes painted on the rock scramble up to the summit. These summit rocks are easy to see from the highway and make Mt Cube look far more formidable than it actually is!
There were about 4 people on the summit and more arriving. Our plan to have lunch on North Peak so after a brief break, we continued on our way.
We used the AT to reach North Peak. It was not very long from leaving the summit that spotted the sign to the North Peak spur. The trail is easy to follow but peters out when it arrives at the northern ledges. No matter. Once we arrived at the ledges, there is a vast expanse of open slab where we had lunch!
We retraced our steps for the return. Jon and I both agreed that we like this approach more than the way up we’ve been taking up in the past using the Appalachian Trail.
Back at the trailhead, Fred took out the items once more to see if there would be any takers with Jeff saying he knew someone who could use the plastic dishes. As for Fred’s polo shirt, I guess he’ll have to keep wearing it so it can tell more stories for a later day! John hopped back in our truck where we took him back to our house where he could grab his gear and venture back to Lewiston.
While hiking up Mt Cube is a treat, the views from North Cube take the cake! The hike was marked with easy conversation and a quality crew! Thanks to everyone who could join us!
Mike and Jon
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Robert.L Nov 5, 2018 at 9:07 PM
Suhweet - it was a FUN day - missed you gents!!