Saturday, December 14, 2013


On a very cold but sunny and gorgeous day I headed down to Glencliff for a ramble up 2662-ft. Blueberry Mountain in the Benton Range, one of my favorite smaller mountains. The crest of this gentle peak features many open sloping ledges mixed with forests of spruce and red pine. Blueberry's views are not panoramic, but they are pleasing, and among them is perhaps the best vista anywhere of Mt. Moosilauke.

I parked on the shoulder at the junction of High St. and Long Pond Rd. and donned my Stabilicers, which proved ideal for the day's footing of two inches of powder atop dirt surfaces, granite ledges, and hidden ice flows. From my parking spot I had a neat view of Webster Slide Mountain and its great cliff face.

In winter you must walk 0.7 mi. up Long Pond Rd. to the eastern trailhead for the Blueberry Mountain Trail. The first 0.1 mi. of this road walk is part of the Appalachian Trail.

Some fairly extensive logging over the last couple of years has made the lower half-mile of the trail less attractive.

View of Mt. Moosilauke from a clearcut along the trail.

Open sunny hardwoods above the logging cuts.

At 2075 ft. there's an abrupt transition to snow-covered spruces.

A peek back at Moosilauke from the first ledges.

This gentle ledgy, piney ridge has a very peaceful feel to it.

I followed bobcat tracks much of the way up the trail.

The one fairly steep pitch on the climb, with some ice hidden under the snow - careful footwork required.

I took a long break on a south-facing ledge shelf 20 ft. left of the trail, 1.5 mi. up from the road. Though the temp was only around 10 or 12 above, it was quite comfortable in the sun.

Carr Mountain is one of the dominant features of the view.

Part of Wachipauka Pond is seen under Mt. Mist. Webster Slide Mountain, with a snow plume, is to the R, and Smarts Mountain looms beyond.

Mt. Kineo can be seen from the trail itself.

In another 0.1 mi. I spent some time at my favorite spot on Blueberry, a gently sloping ledge with a wonderful view of the western side of Moosilauke.

The Moose was really snow-caked on this December day.

Great view into Slide Ravine, where I had explored back in October.

The summit ledge of Blueberry, reached by a side trail. There was a Dartmouth Outing Club shelter near here from 1930 into the 1940s.

Still following the bobcat, across the broad crest of the ridge.

In 35 years of hiking, I've never seen a bobcat.

Approaching the western view.

From a large ledge opening 0.3 mi. past the summit spur, there's a nice wide view NW into Vermont with many Green Mountain peaks visible on a clear day.

To the north you can see three other ledgy peaks of the Benton Range: Sugarloaf, Black Mountain and The Hogsback.

The quartzite cliffs of The Hogsback.

Sugarloaf, showing some great ledge perches.

Heading back down the mountain with Stinson Mountain visible in the distance.

The moon riding high over Moosilauke late in the afternoon. Blueberry is a great little hike! Click here for more on Blueberry Mountain.


  1. Terrific report about a terrific little mountain!

    The logging did indeed make the lower half mile of the trail less attractive, but the overall impact on the trail corridor itself is not quite as severe as I'd imagined it might be. And on the positive side, it did open up a couple of nice views, albeit short-lived once the forest begins to regenerate.

    Regarding those Bobcat tracks that you were following, one can only speculate what he/she was doing. Perhaps it was just out for a stroll patrolling its territory. Not sure how accurate it is, but just read somewhere recently that their home range can sometimes cover over 70 square miles!


    1. Thanks, John - the highly visible logging is indeed limited to that lower section. Will be interested to see how the western side has fared, maybe next spring.

      That bobcat was definitely on the move! Didn't realize they had such a large home range, but then the mountain lion hit by the car in CT had traveled all the way from South Dakota!