Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Overnight on Doublehead

My blog post for these early winter days is one in which I will let readers see why I so enjoy the "View from the Original Cheap Seats".

Recently I stayed overnight with friends in a Civilian Conservation Corps cabin built in the mid-1930's on the summit of North Doublehead Mountain.

It wasn't the first, nor will it be the last time, I have hiked there for a relaxing weekend overnight getaway.
Doublehead Mountain is a relatively small mountain (North Doublehead 3050 ft., South Doublehead 2938 ft.) off the beaten path of the more famous Appalachian Trail and the Mt. Washington/Presidential Range to the North.
View of Presidential Range

It is located in Jackson, NH, 3 miles north of North Conway on Rt. 16.  The name Doublehead refers to the two distinct, trail connected peaks of the mountain which are separated by a very steep incline and a level saddle area.  There are two trails to the North summit, the Ski Trail and the Old Trail. These two trails are connected to a third trail from the south, the New Trail, which starts at the base of the mountain about 500 yards from the Ski Trail.  

Beginning in the small parking area, the Ski Trail is a 1.8 mile, moderate to difficult hike to the top, while the Old Trail also summits North Doublehead 0.9 miles after diverging right a half mile into the Ski Trail and going up the steeper part of the mountain.  The Old Trail connects in the saddle between the peaks to the New Trail, which ascends from the south side of the mountain (1.3 miles to South summit, 1.7 to North) on a moderate to somewhat difficult trail.  The New Trail summits South Doublehead first, then descends, passing a gorgeous cliff top lookout west over Jackson to Mt. Washington, then connects with the Old Trail and climbs rather steeply to the cabin.
Inspiration for "View from the Cheap Seats"
It is a mainly wooded mountain with three exceptions: the view west from the open cliffs near the summit of South Doublehead, the view west from the Civilian Conservation Corps cabin on North Doublehead, as well as the partial view to the east from what we Cheap Seaters have dubbed "the back porch" near the cabin.  On clear nights one can see the lights of Portland, Maine on the coast.
Tuckerman Ravine (L), Mt. Washington (C), Huntington Ravine (far right)

I hope readers have the chance to do a day hike sometime, perhaps doing a loop up the various trails to maximize the views, or even have an overnight adventure in the cabin.
Sunset over Mt. Washington Range
Be forewarned, there is no water on the trail or at the cabin, with the cabin being heated by whatever dead wood can be gathered and burned in the small wood-stove.  


Written by: Brian Markee

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