52 With A View DATE: 08/28/2021 - 08/28/2021
Trip/Event Location: Albany, NH
Trip Leader(s): dpbyrnes
Max # People: 8
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate to Strenuous
Join in for this great 9.5 mile loop hike, which will encompass the steep Carter Ledges, the Three Sisters and the summit of Mount Chocorua. While not a 4000-footer, Mount Chocorua has the feel...
Meeting Time : 8:15am
Hike Start: 8:30am
FROM POINTS SOUTH CONVENIENT TO ROUTE 16: From Portsmouth, NH, drive Route 16 North for roughly 70.8 miles to the Davies Campground and General Store (see above). Davies Campground and General Store (located on the left just before Moulton Drive) is roughly 5 miles from where Route 16 and 113 cross in Albany, NH.
FROM POINTS NORTH ON ROUTE 16: Heading south on Route 16 – Davies Campground and General Store (located on the right just after Moulton Drive) is 6.1 miles from where Route 16 and 112 (Kancamagus Highway) cross in Albany, NH.
FROM POINTS SOUTH CONVENIENT TO ROUTE 93: Take Route 93 to Exit 23. Take Route 104 East for 8.2 miles. Turn onto Route 3 and follow for 0.9 miles to the intersection with Route 25. Take Route 25 for 19 miles and then turn onto Route 113 East. Follow NH 113 for 2.9 miles. Just after the village of Tamworth, turn right onto Page Hill Road. Follow this for 3 miles to Route 16 in Chocorua (NOTE: If you stay on NH 113, you'll get to the same point.). Take Route 16 North for 6 miles to the Davies Campground and General Store (on your left just before Moulton Drive).
The trailhead parking area is accessed by a dirt road off NH Rt 16 behind Davies Campground and General Store, 6.1 miles south of the junction with the Kancamagus Hwy (Rt 112) in Conway. Look for a white Honda CRV.
For GPS Users: 43.939451, -71.225266 (approximate address 2509 NH Route 16; Albany, NH – at the intersection of Moulton Drive).
The 7 of us (me, Ricardo, Russell, Jim and three new GO’ers Topher, Marc, and Peter) met up at the Piper Trailhead parking lot behind the Davis Campground at around 8:15am and were on our way by 8:40am. I thought the parking might have been difficult (it has been everywhere else this summer!) but the lot was mostly open. We could have met up at least an hour later and given the Boston folks a bit more sleep in time. Oops. Anyway, the weather was great, comfortably cool the whole day which helped offset the sweating climbing that was to come. No sun, but clear views and no wind. Off we went. The Piper Trail was initially fairly wide and ascended at a comfortable moderate grade. We reached the junction with the Nickerson Ledge Trail and once on this trail the climbing began in earnest. One of the lovely aspects of this loop is although there’s plenty of climbing and ledges before you get to the ridge, there are continual stretches of flat and not very rocky sections where the trail levels out and you can catch your breath. As we climbed up we saw only 3 women coming down and passed 1 rather handsome gentleman, and oh yeah, he might have been with his female partner. :)
Nickerson led to the Carter Ledge Trail, which led to the Middle Sister Trail. We ruggedly pushed onward to the first summit, Third Sister, where we took a short break at the rock remains of the old fire tower foundation. This is when the epic 360 views kicked in and continued past the Middle Sister summit all the way up to the Chocorua and down from there. The loop really is one of the prettiest, varied and well maintained of the trails in the Whites. It was truly beautiful every direction you looked and Marc (as a NH native) was quite adept at identifying the landscape and other peaks. Of course the legend of Chief Chocorua was shared among our stalwart hiking team which as it turns out doesn’t quite jive with what’s on the NH plaque (see pix) but that’s kind of the way with legends, isn’t it?
Anyhoo, we pressed on. We were up on the open summit of the third "sister" in only another 10 or so minutes. After that we descended and reached the trail junction with the Champney Falls Trail, and then headed to the summit of Mt. Chocorua (3475'). After emerging from the woods, we just had the final open, rocky summit to ascend. Moments after I was wondering out loud where “all the people were”, we reached the summit and found them all. There were a whole lot of adorable small dogs we had to greet (and some adorable young men attached to them) and then we broke for lunch, just ten minutes shy of noon. Most of the other folks cleared out and we had the summit to ourselves. I brought Chocolate Chip cookies to share for desert (because we had newbies) and Jim of course brought like 6 different food options to share such as cheese wrapped with salami, cashews, clementines, raw figs, you get the picture. I swear that boy was a bubbe or something in a previous life.
After a decent lunch break, we started back down by 1:30PM. We re-traced our steps off of the summit back to woods and this time turning onto the Liberty/Piper Trail. As we descended this trail, we once again encountered open ledges. There were great views back towards the summit and over to the ridgeline that we had ascended. It was shortly after the ledges that the trail descended back into the woods and came across the Liberty cabin (see pix), which stands, on the location of the Chocorua Peak house hotel which was opened in 1892 and blown off the mountain in 1915 (see more pix). Safe to say that Granite Staters have clearly always been super impressive and a little bit crazy?
The rest of the trail back was a pretty and modest descent (even a few switchbacks!) through the woods and though we stopped for another break at the last mile to snack again (Marc brought awesome chocolate balls to share) we reached the trailhead parking lot by 2:45PM.
Peter had to head off, but the rest of us landed at Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Company in Ossipee for a nosh and brew and to relive our great day of hiking. And to discuss drag of course. All told, fantastic day! Lots of laughs and great conversation and camaraderie among the gang. A big welcome to Marc, Peter and Topher on their first GO hikes, we hope to see them on many more!
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- Awesome trip report and pictures. Loved it! Reading the report made me feel as if I was there in person. - Gandalf