It was so warm in the night that I got up to pee just as an excuse to get out of my sleeping bag and stand in the woods for ten minutes. A mist blew in during the morning that made things feel cooler just because they were damp, and the trees were even dripping a bit. By the time we got started though, walking along kept me plenty warm.
We took the Kelsey Notch Trail down the mountain. There were some levels spots and some very steep spots. At one point, Owen stopped to check out a hornet nest on the ground next to the trail. Luckily I’d already passed by it and I booked it out of there once he mentioned it, only to hear him very casually mention that he’d just gotten stung. I kept going until we were farther away then stopped to give him some benadryl since he’d recently had a reaction to his honey bees.
We turned onto Kelsey Notch Road and stopped at a large, dusty bridge to grab water from the creek underneath it since we were all mostly dry. Then we turned up a wind turbine service road which climbed towards Dixville Peak. Just before the summit, we turned off onto the Dixville Bypass Trail then the Wilderness Link, climbing to the top of the Balsalms Wilderness Ski Resort on Mount Gloriette.
We said goodbye to Jenn and Owen there since we had big miles to make and they wanted to enjoy their short hike back to their car. Chuckles and Jon and I followed some ski runs downhill, connecting with the Table Rock Link which took us to a short spur to Table Rock. Table Rock is a really cool cliff ledge that’s 700′ above Route 26 below. We started seeing some other hikers here since it’s not far from the road and is a really neat feature to hike to.
I went out on the cliff for a bit then went back to the trail junction to eat lunch. Jenn and Owen caught up right as we were finishing lunch so we all went back out to the cliff one last time before saying our goodbyes again and heading down the Three Brother Trail.
The Three Brothers Trail was a very steep downhill for the most part and we started crunching through some dried leaves on the ground as we neared the bottom. Fall is here! It turned into the Cascades Trail and we passed the Upper and Lower Huntington Falls along with some tourists who had made it up from the parking lot.
We made it down to a picnic area in Dixville Notch State Park, all took turns using the privy, then left our trash bags on Jenn and Owen’s car so they could take it out for us (which they had already agreed to do).
There were some neat historical markers there, including one near a small cemetery for some Whittemores. I found this interesting since my maternal grandmother was a Wetmore, which came from Whitmore. Maybe more relatives? I’ll have to research later.
We crossed over Route 26 then followed a short trail along the road to the next wayside at the Dixville Flume. We’d been lingering too much already so we ignored the picnic area and kept going. Just as steeply as we’d come down the other side of the notch, we now headed up the Sanguinary Ridge Trail, catching a few more views along the way.
It was steep and sweaty and I was happy to reach the less steep Sanguinary Summit Trail. The summit of Mount Sanguinary at 3086′ was just a clearing without any particular views. From there we took an old road bed down the mountain until the Sanguinary Summit Trail picked back up into the woods to our right. We reached the Panorama Shelter quickly, filling up at the water source just before it which tasted so coppery I could barely drink it. The Panorama Shelter was so nice that we took a longer break than planned there to enjoy it.
When we got going again, we crossed over the Mud Pond Ridge summit at 3011′ then started gradually downhill on various skimobile trails. There were great surroundings and it was the golden hour so it was lovely walking.
Passing a gate took us back onto a hiking trail, the Sugar Hill Trail. We briefly descended to a creek, where we all dumped our gross tasting water and picked up some fresh. Unfortunately, after that, the trail disappeared into a logged area with piles of slash all over. It had been re-blazed but sometimes those blazes were hard to find. We traded off being leaders as one person would go in a wrong direction then another person would find the next blaze, continually climbing over debris and going straight cross-country since there was no trail between blazes.
We eventually made it back onto actual hiking trail in the woods as the sun started setting. From there, we hopped on the Tumble Dick Mountain Trail up to a height of land, then onto a wide, grassy ski trail. It was nice to have the last part of the day on clear, easy trail because my legs and feet were definitely getting tired along with the rest of me.
We made it into Coleman State Park just before dark after 16.5 miles for the day. There was no ranger on duty so we picked out the lean-to to camp in for the night, a very large shelter near Little Diamond Pond. The bathhouse looked great but unfortunately the showers and laundry both required quarters and they did not have a change machine. Jon had one quarter so he got a three-minute shower while Chuckles and I took sink baths and did sink laundry in the women’s room. There was plenty of soap and paper towels though so I actually felt really great afterward. Since there appeared to be only one other camper there and it was a man, we left our things hanging up inside to dry overnight.
We could hear the loons calling on the pond while we ate dinner and as we turned into bed.