Cabot (06/23/2007, 07/28/2017)

Date Hiked: June 23, 2007
Elevation: 4,120
Fee: $0.00
Trails Taken: York Pond Trail, Bunnell Notch Trail to Kilkenny Ridge Trail to summit of Cabot and back the same way
Weather: Early morning clouds, mid morning sun, sunny the rest of the day.
Total Miles: 4.7
Total Time: 5 hours and 5 minutes.

Started the hike at 11:00am. Arrived at the Bunnell Notch Trail/Kilkenny Ridge Trail junction at 12:35pm. By 1:45pm I was at the Cabot Trail cabin, and then made the summit at 1:57. I started back down at 2:05pm and reached the Bunnell Notch Trail by 2:55pm and was back at the Jeep by 3:55pm. The following is the original description of this hike: Mt. Cabot. Solo hike. Bunnell Ridge to Kilkenny. Easy hike, great weather, NO bugs. When I go to Mt. Cabot and went to take my first picture, the camera said, “No Memory Card”. I left the memory card at home so there are no images of this trip. Ten years later, I would take the hike again only to have documentation that I actually hiked this mountain.

July 28, 2017
Return To Mt. Cabot (plus The Bulge and The Horn)

Date Hiked: July 28, 2017
Elevation: 4,120
Fee: $0.00
Trails Taken: York Pond Trail, Bunnell Notch Trail to Kilkenny Ridge Trail to summit of Cabot, The Bulge and The Horn, then Kilkenny and Unknown Pond Trail back.
Weather: Early morning clouds, mid morning sun, sunny the rest of the day.
Total Miles: 11.6
Total Time: 7 hours and 40 minutes.

Today, I am back at Mt. Cabot. It is the northernmost of the 4,000 footers but since I have driven all the way up here, I will be also hiking The Bulge and The Horn, both which are a bit further north than Mt. Cabot.

Lost pictures of first hike, but still had the brief written description of the trails and times.

Late start, got at the trailhead at 9:10am. The start of the hike on York Pond Trail is pretty easy with some downhill grades and the easy grading carries over when you get going onto the Bunnell Notch Trail after 0.2 miles. The trail here is really overgrown with grassy weeds and ferns making it somewhat claustrophobic. After 1.1 miles of fairly easy walking, the Bunnell Notch Trail takes a sharp left and starts ascending on a rock staircase. By 11:00am, I reached the junction of Kilkenny Ridge Trail and the Mt. Cabot Trail. The Mt. Cabot summit is only 1.8 miles away at this point.

By 11:15 I had reached the sign indicating that the lower section of the Mt. Cabot Trail was no longer maintained due a dispute with a landowner. The sign does not say all that, it just says “Mt. Cabot Trail, No Longer Maintained” but a little bit of digging unearthed this:

A Lancaster, NH Town Report from 1990 lists the following: “ARTICLE 12; To see if the Town will vote to accept and approve the extension of the White Mountain National Forest so as to include and permit the United States of America to acquire approximately 90 acres of land, which is an irregularly shaped parcel bounded on the north by private lands presumably owned by Paul Crane; on the east by lands of the United States of America (White Mountain National Forest); on the south by private land; and on the west by other private lands. The parcel to be acquired is presently owned by Mr. Paul Crane and if approved will be part of a land exchange whereby Mr. Crane will obtain title to existing National Forest land in Lancaster and Kilkenny and will donate a road easement to the United States from the end of the existing Town road to National Forest land. This includes the Mt. Cabot hiking trail and part of York Pond trail plus parking access. (By Petition)”

Through most of this hike, I was not able to get much of a view and at 11:30am – about 3.8 miles into the hike, I was finally able to take a short spur trail to the right onto Bunnell Rock and get a view. Most of the view was the north peak of Terrace Mountain.

By 12:10pm I noticed a small building through the trees to the right and soon I came upon the sign indicating the Cabot Cabin was to the left and the small building I saw was an outhouse – which I would not go into if I could help it. I hiked behind the cabin to the right and soon came to the site of the old fire tower which is 4.4 miles into the hike and has an elevation of 4,070 feet. Since Mt. Cabot is listed at 4,120 feet that meant there was only 0.2 miles to go and only 50 feet of elevation left. It feels almost like the summit should have been the fire tower site, but a technicality has you wandering around the forest on a mostly level grade until you get to the Mt. Cabot sign. I swear the sign said 4,180 last time I was here, and the application for the Four Thousand Footer Club puts it at 4,170 so it is either sinking or nobody can decide on the true height. I took my backpack off and leaned it against a tree and got a few images of myself at the summit since there was nobody else there at this point.

I stayed on the summit for a few minutes and then headed toward The Bulge. The descent from Mt. Cabot on The Bulge side is fairly rapid and there are a lot of roots and rough muddy spots on the trail that tell you this side of Mt. Cabot is not traveled or maintained at the same level as the other side of the Kilkenny Ridge Trail. The ascent to The Bulge was mostly a gently sloping trail. A was stunned at the complete lack of sound. I stood still for nearly two minutes and there was no sound at all. No wind through the upper level of the trees. No babbling brooks. No birds or insects. Nothing. Sensory depravation level silence. At one point, I cleared my throat to make sure I did not go deaf. I had not, and once the wind gently moved the trees and I started moving again, the squeaking of my leather boots and the clicking of my backpack frame with the sloshing of water inside let me know that this was a unique experience.

There were no people on this side of Mt. Cabot as the few that I had encountered and let pass me had made the Cabot summit and passed me still going up as they were coming down. I did not see a single person once I summited Mt. Cabot so I had The Bulge all to myself and made it there by 1:20pm. The elevation is 3,950 feet but there is no sign – only a very small cairn there. I stopped to prop my camera on a stick leaning against a tree so I could get a picture. I did not feel like taking my backpack off this time. I started down The Bulge and about 15 minutes later I was at the junction of the Kilkenny Trail and The Horn spur trail. This is just a short and easy 0.3 mile walk that only looks difficult once you get to the rocks.

I read that this is a tough scramble, but as you approach with the boulders on the left side, get right up to the them and turn to the left so the boulders are on the right. Then just climb up onto the shorter one and walk all the way to the back, squeeze between some branches and hop down. Then you can walk around the boulder to the right and easily climb up to the lower level of the upper rock. Here you skirt to the left of the small tree and being very careful of your footing, climb onto the final section with the geodetic survey marker.

I am surprised that nobody who was hiking that day chose to take in The Bulge and The Horn. Getting to Mt. Cabot and back by the same route is 9.4 miles total trip. Adding on two more peaks that are both recognized as part of the NH’s 100 Highest will only add an additional 2.2 miles to the total and it is mostly downhill hiking at that.

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