Hedgehog Mountain (Albany), April 19, 2008Preview
Hike Mileage: 4.8 miles compete loop following the UNH trail in a clockwise direction.
- East Ledges at 2.0 miles
- Hedgehog summit at 2.9 miles
- Estimated loop time is 4 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate loop
Elevation range: 1250'-2532'
Beginner hikers should find this an appropriate hike; however, expect snow conditions that could require snow shoes. Stabilicers or yak trax may be in order in slick areas. (Jack hiked most of the route on Tuesday 4/15 and used mountaineering boots until he sunk in fairly deep and put on snowshoes - not many of us have that type boot and will want additional traction.) The trail takes you to the summit of Mt. Hedgehog (2532'). The grade is moderate and only the final sections require a little extra effort.
The advantage in taking the loop in a clockwise direction is to view the Presidential Range and Mount Washington as you reach the summit from the south. Hedgehog is strikingly shaped with Allen's Ledge on the north, and the huge East Ledges on Little Hedgehog. The vantage point from Allen's Ledge, located 1.1 miles up the west fork of the trail, affords remarkable views of Mount Passaconaway, Mount Chocorua, the Moats, the Presidential Range, the Carrigain Range, and many other eastern peaks. On a clear day even the observatory on top of Mount Washington is visible.
NEXT HIKE: April 19, Hedgehog Mountain (Albany)
MEETING SPOTS: Exit 14 off of Rt. 93, LL Bean/Hannaford side, Concord at 8:45 a.m.
Mobile station in Wakefield (junction of Rt. 16 and 109) at 9:30 a.m.
McDonald's in West Ossipee (junction Rt. 25E and 16) at 9:45 a.m.
Downes Brook parking area at 10.30 a.m
TRAILHEAD: The Downes Brook parking area is located on the south side (right side) of the Kancamagus Highway 21 miles east of Lincoln NH (or the left side of the highway 13.5 miles west of Conway).
HIKE LEADER: Jack Dorsey
The group (eighteen Dayhikers and three woman's best friends) of us who climbed Hedgehog Albany by way of the UNH trail met at the Downes Brook Trail parking lot at 10:30 a.m. The first group of about ten started up five minutes ahead and the remainder traveled at the own pace behind.
The weather was sunny with the temperature at our 11 a.m. start in the middle 60's and rising. Given significant snow on our mostly north facing route, often postholing conditions were perfect for those who didn't stay on the raised section of consolidated snow (think balance beam competition).
Following the loop in the clockwise direction we made our way to the beautiful East Slabs where we took a lunch break on a ledge with fine views of Mount Chocorua to the east. After the lunch, we navigated the rock ledges above east-facing cliffs that led to a steeper section with a mix of balance beam snow and rock that brought us to the summit that provides fine views to the west.
After regrouping at the summit, we followed the trail north with a fine view of Mount Washington in the distance. Once off the summit ledges we jumped onto the balance beam again for the final two miles to our vehicles.
Many of us who hiked on Saturday found the conditions somewhat challenging but the hike geologically beautiful. Our time on the hike was greater than AMC guide book time because the conditions made for slow traveling. Many mentioned that they'd like to do it again after the snow has melted. On a good day they will find a trail with Welch/Dickey like beauty with much greater solitude.
Members may see more photos in our online photo album.