A sunny forecast for Saturday provided a perfect day for hiking after a long, rainy week. Still working on his list, Cabot was my son’s objective for the day, so very early on Saturday we got up and headed up toward Berlin and York Pond Road. The trail head for our intended route of the day, York Pond, Bunnell Notch and Kilkenny Ridge trails is located at the end of York Pond Road, just past the York Pond Fish Hatchery.
We enjoyed the nice sunshine on the way and good views the whole way up to the trail head. We started the hike by following the York Pond Trail for .2 miles, and then turned off onto the Bunnell Notch Trail for the longest leg of the hike, 2.8 miles. The lower portion of the Bunnell Notch Trail is wide and has a nice view up to Cabot. We also found some muddy areas with fairly fresh moose prints, although we never saw any moose.
About one mile down the Bunnell Notch Trail, the trail turns left, off of what was most likely an old logging road and heads uphill on rock steps.
The next section of trail alternate flat, easy grades with more moderate climbs and includes quite a bit of muddy and wet areas as it climbs up to Bunnell Notch between Terrace Mt. and Mt. Cabot. After what seemed like quite a bit of time, we ended up at the junction of Bunnell Notch and Kilkenny Ridge Trails in a wet section.
We had a short traverse and then we knew the real work would begin, the steeper one mile hike up to Cabot Cabin. The steeper section was not without reward – we stopped at Bunnell Rock for a break in the sunshine to enjoy the views toward the south and west. We had heard and experienced some wind on the way up, but we could tell it was much windier here, and were glad for the trees.
After a break, it was back to work heading up hill and before we knew it, the cabin was in sight. After checking out the cabin, which looked pretty clean inside and out, we decided to head for the summit first and then come back to enjoy lunch in the sunshine by the cabin.
We headed over to the summit, .4 miles away, and saw a few hikers and a grouse along the way. The trip over to the summit from the cabin is easy and quick and soon we were standing at the tree with the Cabot sign. I had heard that this tree wasn’t actually the highest point and that there was a tree nearby with a smaller sign that indicated a slightly higher point. Since my son is a purist in the sense that he has to be at the absolute high point, I figured it was worth looking around for. Sure enough, there was a faint herd path over to a tree close by with a very small piece of wood nail to it (facing westward), that must have been at one time inscribed with “Cabot”. I’ve seen a similar sign on Whiteface, so I’m guessing we found the highest point. That made him very happy, as did the surprise announcement that I had packed up some fresh pineapple to eat with lunch.
Back at the cabin, we settled down on a pallet near the fire ring, out of the wind (which was stronger here!), but in the sunshine to eat lunch. After lunch and after reconstructing the rocks for the fire pit, it was time to start the descent back to the car. The descent was really quick and in a few hours we were back at the car and starting the long drive home.
We had a great day – warm, sunshine and some wind. While many people probably wouldn’t have wasted such a nice day on an out of the way peak such as Cabot (evidenced by the scores of hikers we didn’t see!), we still had a great time and were happy not to have been out anywhere truly windy! We also had a chance to try out his latest piece of gear – a new pack, an Osprey Ace 48, which he is very happy with. It is almost identical to my Opsrey Atmos 50, with a few different/better features and should be good for all sorts of adventures over the next few years.