Sunday, April 21, 2013

Exploring Cockermouth Forest

There are so many mountains and trails in New England that we've planned to explore someday and haven't yet gotten to.  This hike hadn't been among that list, but I really glad we found it.  We have to thank a combination of John Compton, who did this hike last week and wrote a great blog post on it (HERE), and Clay for reading the blog post (which I hadn't gotten to yet) and suggesting that we repeat John's visit.  This hike includes Mt Crosby and Bald Knob, which are both really nice little peaks, as well as beautiful wooded trails through an old homestead (the Remick Place), over some ledges, along beautiful cascading streams and to a secluded pond.  Lots of great stuff!

It was a beautiful day on Sunday - the perfect spring day to be in the mountains in New Hampshire - with just a trace of lingering snow, only slightly muddy trails and too chilly to be swarmed with bugs.  We arrived at the trailhead and found the small parking area full (there was still plenty of room to park along the road) and just one map left in the container at the new kiosk.  It's nice that they supply the maps since some of the trails have apparently just been recently built or restored and some of the navigation would have been a bit confusing without it.  There's an online version of the map at the Forest Society site HERE

We started out up Romley-Remick Rd and then cut over Old North Groton Rd to do the counterclockwise loop over Bald Knob and Mt Crosby.

New sign and trail maps

Starting up Romley-Remick Rd

The mile road walk and next mile up the Bald Knob Trail went quickly and we soon came out on the ledges of Bald Knob.  The views from here are beautiful, but are unfortunately dominated by a closeup of the wind farm that we saw from Mt Cube the day before.  When I read John's blog post I appreciated the reference to Don Quixote and the sight of the "hulking giants" that needed to be slain.  I have mixed feelings about these wind farms.  While they are a great source of clean energy they are also an intrusion on this beautiful landscape.  Much better than power lines though...

Sandra and Nat on the ledges of Bald Knob

Getting the close up view of the wind farm from Bald Knob ledges

A long line of "hulking giants"

Stark contrast

Clay enjoying the beautiful day

There are great views up here!

From Bald Knob it's only another few tenths walk through the small col and up to Mt Crosby.  The views from there are even better, but once again dominated by the wind turbines.  From here you get the full view of the ridge that had its top blasted off to create the level ground needed to install the wind farm.  Kinda' sad.

As we came out of the trees at the summit we found a couple of familiar faces already there - Steve Bjerklie and Polly.  They had come up from the opposite direction and the rest of the family arrived moments later.  It was great meeting you all out there!  You just never know who you're going to run into in the mountains.  We chatted for a while and then headed down to explore the rest of the area.

Mt Crosby ahead

Snow in the col

Quite a few Mowglis trail signs up here

Skating rink

Views from the Crosby ledges

Final approach to Crosby

Closer view of the "giants" and the blasted ridge from Crosby

After the steep descent down the Beeline Trail it's a nice walk over the Pasture Loop to the old Remick Place.  This is the area where things get a bit confusing in navigation.  Almost all the trails out here are well signed and blazed, but there are few junctions that require a bit of exploration to find the right connections.

Heading over the High Pasture Loop

Nearing the old Remick Place

Remick Place foundation - and lots of junk

We had decided that we should try to visit all of the "attractions" on the property, including the Ledges Loop and Little Pond - and we were glad we did.  Our first destination was up and over the loop which is a nice bit of scrambling and some short sections of open ledges with nice views to the surrounding area.

Glad we followed this sign!
On the Ledges Loop

Little Pond from Ledges Loop

Walking the spine

We got back to the loop junction and headed out the 0.3 spur to Little Pond.  This may have been one of the most worthwhile quarter miles that we've walked!  The trail follows a brook with a series of beautiful cascades that empties out of Little Pond - the gem of this walk.  This is such a beautiful spot and I'm sure that we'll return!  It would be particularly nice in the fall, with the foliage in the bog surrounding the pond lit up in autumn color.

At the outlet of Little Pond

Bogs around Little Pond

End of the line

Sandra had to check out the boat

This must be gorgeous in the fall!

Looking up to Lookout Ledges from Little Pond

Snow lining the far shore

We spent a long while soaking up the sun on the ledges around the pond.  We would have all been happy to just spend the whole afternoon here, but sadly Nat and I had to drive home to Rhode Island soon.  This had been a perfect way to end a great weekend.  Thanks again to John for providing the inspiration for this hike, to Clay for taking action on that inspiration and to Clay and Sandra for another great day out and an overall great weekend!

Many beautiful cascades

Heading out

Following the brook on the Woodhouse Trail

One of the trail maps provided at the new kiosk

The interactive map and GPS track are here:


  1. Steve Bjerklie4/26/2013 9:01 AM

    Great to see you out there! That was a highlight of a beautiful day.

  2. Same here Steve! With so many trails and so many mountains out there I never cease to be amazed by what a small world it really is.

  3. Mark, thank you for the nice things you had to say regarding my Blog report about Cockermouth. But I must hasten to say that your report is splendid in so many ways. Not only are your photos first-rate, but you provide additional detail and perspectives beyond that which was contained in my report. And of course, you visited Little Pond, which was a piece that was missing from my report.

    It can sometime be challenging to write a Blog report on the heels of one written by someone else who just recently visited the same location. However, you met the challenge, and then some!


  4. Thanks for the kind words John. It was fun "following in your footsteps", both on the trail and on the blog. You'll definitely need to return at some point to visit Little Pond - such a beautiful spot.

    All the best -