Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Black Mountain (Benton): 9/14/20

Took the afternoon off on a cool, crisp late summer day and climbed the mellow Black Mountain Trail to enjoy the expansive views from the open quartzite ledges of this marvelous 2830-ft. peak, one of the best of the "52 With a View." This hike is 4.4 miles round trip with 1300-ft. elevation gain.

The 0.2 mile extension of Howe Hill Rd. to the official parking area was upgraded by the WMNF for a logging project. It's narrow but passable for any vehicle.

Once past the initial 0.7 mile walk up logging roads, the Black Mountain Trail is a very pleasant woods walk, with one stiff climb followed by a long traverse of the mountainside at easy to moderate grades and an occasional steeper pitch.

The summit was the site of a fire tower from 1911 to 1978.

A short distance to the west are extensive ledges with long views over the Connecticut River valley to the mountains of Vermont.

It was a crystal-clear afternoon. The Green Mountains stood out in sharp relief from Stratton Mountain in the south to Jay Peak in the north. This zoomed shot reveals the Killington Range.

The eastern ledges are accessed in 0.1 mile by following the ledgy spine of the ridgecrest and then a mix of ledges and short paths through patches of scrub.

Here is perhaps the best of all views of Mt. Moosilauke's sprawling mass.

Zoom on the South Peak and the largest slide in Slide Ravine.

There's an excellent view into Tunnel (Benton) Ravine, the partly formed glacial cirque on the NW side of Moosilauke. Four old slide track can be seen on the north (left) wall.

The glacial erratic known as Tipping Rock is one of Black Mountain's notable features. It doesn't tip anymore.

Long view NE to the Kinsmans and Franconia Range.

Mt. Lafayette peers over North Kinsman.

Prominent folds are visible in this quartzite outcrop.

A hint of fall in the Black Mountain woods. Follow this link for more on Black Mountain.

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