trail_closed.jpg

Mount Cabot (4180')


2004 September 19

"You musn't be thru-hikers."
"Why?"
"Because you can read."

What a great weekend. I've been anxious to knock Cabot off our list because I didn't want to end up finishing the 48 on it. It's the furthest north and the longest drive partially because the easiest route has been closed due to a land dispute. Faced with driving all the way to the fish hatchery trail head and back in one day, we decided to just to at Hiker's Paradise in Gorham for a night and shop North Conway the following day.

The rain from the remnants of hurricaine Ivan was so intense we flip-flopped our plans and shopped on Saturday and hiked on Sunday. The North Conway adventure, although primarily on foot, wasn't really part of the hike, so I'll spare you the detail. After dinner at the Red Fox (not recommended) we made our way to Gorham and Hiker's Paradise.

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Hiker's Paradise is a hostel with 3 hiker "cabins" that sleep 8 to 10 people each. This was a first for Elleing and I and we were looking forward to the experience. But, it never really happened. The owner miscounted and opened a another cabin in which we were the only occupants. Not a bad deal really. $15 each including taxes and we still wound up with a private room. We had breakfast there as well and headed off to Cabot.

Route 110 through Berlin isn't very well marked, but we made it to the fish hatchery without any delays. We got there at 8:00am and the gate was already open. It was still a bit of a drive to the trailhead, but we were started by 8:20, well ahead of our usual start times. Our route was the York trail to Bunnell Notch to Kilkenny to Cabot and out. The map I printed off the net was very poor and I didn't realize the Kilkenny ridge trail even existed until we got that far.

I had heard the trail wasn't well marked, but we didn't have any issues. It started out flat, wide, and gradual until we came to a trail marker in the middle of the trail that sent us left into a wooded area. The trail was very muddy in places and a lot of trail maintenance/construction was in progress. After cresting Bunnel notch, I thought we would have to descend a while, but the Kilkenny Ridge trail cut off some of the drop and we started the steep climb up the Mt. Cabot trail. (I noticed the Mt. Cabot trail is clearly marked as closed at the junction of Bunnell Notch and Kilkenny Ridge.)

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Along the Mt. Cabot trail there were some good places to look out past the trees but we were clouded in by this time. We were hardly complaining. It was a little on the cold side, but at least we didn't hike in the heavy rain from the day before. This day on the other hand was actually very nice and we enjoyed the weather and soon reached Cabot cabin.

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A sign near the cabin points the way to the summit. I thought it was a little misleading since no distance was given. Just beyond the cabin is a clearing and a small peak which isn't the summit of Cabot. At first I thought we were done when I remembered the summit is viewless and marked. We hiked the remaining 10 minutes to the real summit where we ate a quick lunch at 11:15 and started down at 11:30.

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The trip down was a bit painful on the knees. I was really regretting the extra clothing I had in my bag and trail seemed even muddier on the way back. It didn't really matter. We had so much time left in the day we were planning the rest of it on the way out. We reached the car at 2:15 and spent the rest of the day buying stuff in North Conway we had eyed the day before.

We picked of the scent of smoked meat and drove in circles until we came to Coyote Rose. It was a fabulous meal of applewood smoked duck and other delicacies like prickly pear cactus, jalapeno cornbread, spiced sorbet and more. It only cost a few dollars more the than Red Fox and the meal left a lot more to remember. I kept my word from the Moriah hike and cut over to 93 for the trip home.


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