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"
Sandra and Nat on the initial Cube ledges
Beautiful ledge walking
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
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...
The GPS track is here: http://www.gpsies.com/map.do?fileId=arodtgzpyjeeuwvm
The start point and end point are actually the same. The GPS just took a while to sync when we started.