A moose, a mountain, a creamery, in that order, too. Cameron was feeling up to hiking, so we made last minute plans to hike Whiteface, for a few reasons. One of which was that we weren’t sure how fast his leg was going to heal or how much hiking he wanted to do. We decided to do something smaller and closer to home if he decided early in the hike he was done for the day. The weather looked like it was going to improve, even though we woke up to rain.
On our ride up to Whiteface, we scanned the boggy areas on the side of Rt. 113 and 113A for moose, since we know they like to hang out there early in the morning. Cameron said he thought he saw one, so I turned around to check it out. Sure enough, far out in a pond was a big bull moose. We snapped some pictures, watched him for a while and then were on our way. On both of our trips to Whiteface, we’ve seen a moose on the way to the trailhead.
Feeling pretty lucky that we’d seen a moose and that we’d have a good day, we pulled in the Ferncroft parking lot and headed up to the Blueberry Ledge Trail. The first part is pretty easy because walking along a dirt road through a rural residential section isn’t all that hard. Once in the woods, we quickly came to the Blueberry Ledge Cutoff junction and decided to take the Cutoff because neither of us had been on that section of trail and we wanted to see what it was like.
The first section is very easy and follows the stream and in .3 mile, a bridge across the stream to Dicey’s Mill Trail is reached. We stayed on the Cutoff and after a little ways we entered into the Sandwich Range Wilderness and then hiked up the first steep hill. This put us above the stream on a ridge. After a flat section, we headed steeply up hill again and away from the stream for good. The trail was less used than Blueberry Ledge, but it was a pleasant hike through the woods, and soon we started to see large rocks, and then slabs. We knew then we were getting closer to the junction where the trail rejoins the Blueberry Ledge Trail. We went over the last ledge, following cairns and there it was, the junction.
From this point, we had been on this trail before, but about a year and a half ago. The first section is easy, and then there is a steep section of nice rock steps, which we barely remembered from the last trip. The last trip was in May, so the were no leaves on the trees, and it was cloudy and foggy. Trees full leaves and sunshine made this look like a different trail! Once past the steep section, we came to the Tom Wiggin Trail junction and took a break. We knew the ledges we’d have to scramble were next, but what we didn’t know was what the views would be.
Once we started scrambling up the ledges and getting higher up and above the trees, we started to have some really nice views! We really enjoyed the views we missed last time over to Passaconaway, Chocura and the Sisters and out to the rest of the Sandwich and Belknap ranges. For Cameron this was even better because he didn’t have views on Passaconaway, either, so this was the first time he had really seen this area.
After enjoying a bit of lunch at the south summit, we headed over to the summit of Whiteface, along the Rollins Trail. Upon reaching the summit, we enjoyed a few extras treats, as this was the last remaining summit I needed for my second round of the NH48. A friend of mine recently finished his second round a few weeks ago, so I was motivated to finish up, too! I needed this peak for several months, but put it off to hike other places when the weather was nice. We enjoyed a nice quiet celebration at the cairn, and then packed up for the trip down.
On the way back to the south summit, we passed at least four other groups, all headed to the summit and possibly on to Passaconaway. We imagined the summit would be a busy place, once all those hikers arrived. We stopped at the south summit for one last look at the views and Cameron found a reference marker. We looked around for the other marker it pointed too, but found nothing but a bent pin. Satisfied, we headed down the ledges and down the trail. Once back at the top of the Blueberry Ledges, we had to make a choice, go down the ledges or back down the Cutoff. We decided to take the ledges, as the steep hills on the Cutoff would not be much fun to descend. The trip out was pretty easy and quick and with the motivation of ice cream, the trip became even quicker.
We got back to the car and headed out for a stop at the Sandwich Creamery on the way home for ice cream and a block of cheese to share with the rest of the family when we got home. It was a great way to end a really nice day, filled with all sorts of blessings starting with seeing a moose, to having great views and just being healthy enough to enjoy the trail.