Saturday, April 20, 2013

Some Kodak Moments on Mt Cube

We spent a wonderful couple of days last weekend hanging out with our friends Clay and Sandra and exploring some new mountains in central NH.  First up for Saturday was Mt Cube.  This is one of the 52WAV hikes that I've been looking forward to for quite a while.  The weather forecast for Saturday had been iffy, and it was raining as we drove up through Mass.  By the time we hit the NH border the rain had stopped and in Bristol the sun was starting to peek through.  We had been prepared to hike in the drizzle if needed, but this was much nicer.

We got a pretty late start and weren't on the trail till near noon.  This wasn't going to be a long day and we had no place else to be though, so it really didn't matter.  We started out the hike with the 3+ mile road walk from the parking area on Baker Rd.  This is a nice walk that follows Jacob's Brook for much of the way.  There were some pretty muddy, wet sections - but hey, this is spring in NH...

Start of the muddy road walk

Avoiding the stream in the middle of the road

Nat and Sandra doing some rock hopping

With the road walk out of the way, we arrived at the trailhead for the Kodak Trail.  I had to do some research to find out the reason for the name and found it in a trip report from Steve Smith.  The Dartmouth Outing Club (who maintains these trails and others in the area) named it this because it climbs to the Eastman Ledges and, as Steve put it, provides numerous "Kodak moments".  It is indeed a scenic route.

After a few miles of road walk we're finally at the trail

Clay leading the way up the Kodak trail

Approaching Eastman Ledges

Smarts Mountain from Eastman Ledges

Zoom of Smarts

There is a nice long ledge walk along the Eastman Ledges with views to Smarts Mountain (on our list for the future) and much of the surrounding area.  After traversing the ledges we headed down into the col that leads to Mt Cube.

Looking down the ledges

Winter hasn't quite left yet

Heading down from the ledges toward Mt Cube

There hadn't been much snow to this point, but we found a little here.  What we found next was the result of the snow being gone.  There is one stream crossing on the Kodak trail at the bottom of the col that is presumably a simple rock hop in the summer.  Not so much today.  We couldn't see any of the normal stepping stones above the surface and the water was flowing fast at the regular crossing.  We walked a few hundred feet in each direction from the crossing and didn't really find a better option.  We wound up taking off our boots and wading it.  Nat, Sandra and Clay went at the crossing and I chose a spot about 20 yards upstream that seemed a bit easier.  The water was cold, but not awful and we made it across without a problem.  Onward...

This was where we had to cross.  No rock hopping today

On the way up to Cube summit we took the short (0.2mi) detour to the Hexacuba shelter.  It made a great place for a food break and it would have been a shame to miss seeing this unique structure (not to mention the adjoining Penta Privy).

Arriving at the Hexacuba shelter

Nat exploring Hexacuba

What better to go with Hexacuba...

A fine five sided privy

There's one more water crossing over a stream in a bit of a gorge after the shelter.  There's a bridge - if that's what you want to call a couple of split logs spanning the gap.  Tread cautiously...

The rest of the way up from there is more beautiful ledge walking.  I just love these spots!!

Half way across the "bridge"

Approaching Cube

Starting up

Sandra and Nat on the initial Cube ledges

Beautiful ledge walking

The clouds had move back in by the time we got to the summit, but the views were still beautiful.  We hung out for a while before reluctantly heading back down.

Smarts from Cube ledges

Lots more snow up here

Almost at the top

Wind farm from Cube summit

Mt Cardigan in the distance

Taking a break on the summit

Valley views

Looking up the AT to Cube summit

The first half of the way down was an icy monorail.  We held out for a while and tried to bare boot it, but finally gave in an put on our Microspikes which made the rest of the going easy.  We were back at the car at around 5pm - good time considering our considerable fooling around.  A great day on a mountain that we'll certainly be back to in the future.

The bridges home...

Icy monorail

The GPS track is here:
The start point and end point are actually the same.  The GPS just took a while to sync when we started.


  1. Steve Bjerklie4/26/2013 6:28 AM

    Cube is a wonderful hike, and Clay and Sandra are the perfect hosts for the walk. There are fewer Kodak moments on the other side, coming up from Highway 25A, but that's a nice route to the top too. Looks like you made it over to the north summit?

    1. Agreed on all counts! We'll have to try the other route our next time up Cube - we'll definitely be going back. We didn't actually go to the north summit. Nat and I just wandered 50 yards or so up the AT while Sandra and Clay were lounging on the summit. :) We were getting to the limit of our schedule to get back in time for dinner due to our fiddling around with the water crossing and side trip to the shelter. Will get over there next time for sure.

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