Last weekend Lindsay had to work on Saturday, so we only had Sunday together. After lounging around all morning, we needed to get outside for at least a short walk. But first we needed some sustenance, so we drove into Berlin and got veggie burgers and onion rings at the Northland Restaurant. After lunch we planned on hiking up Mount Jasper, a small ledgy mountain that overlooks the city. We found Madison Avenue and followed it to the end where we parked in the lot for the High School. Winter has been very gentle on Northern New England this year and we weren’t sure what kind of conditions we would find at this little mountain, so we brought our snowshoes and our stabilicers. Figuring that snowshoes would be overkill, we put our stabilicers on in case there was any ice.
Some of you have been asking about these stabilicers. Be fore-warned, stabilicers are not what they used to be. The ones currently available have a non-vibram sole and lose screws readily. We bought ours when they first came on the market and they have vibram soles. Most people are opting for a product called micro-spikes now.
The trail to Mount Jasper is only 3/4 of a mile to the summit and begins on the right about 50 feet up the snowmobile trail. This area has an interesting history. Indians and early settlers came to Mount Jasper for the rhyolite, a mineral used to make tools (read more here). The State of NH recognizes Jasper as an important archeological site. The area was also used as a local ski hill for a short time.
We followed the blue blazed trail, but there are also several other side trails, plus another snowmobile trail nearby. The woods are mostly hardwood, but with a nice mix of many types of trees. It would be a great place for the High School to have an outdoor classroom to learn tree ID. No doubt the kids use the area, although we didn’t find any evidence of trash or graffiti (maybe a different story without the snow?). The blue blazes seemed to disappear near the summit, but the trail was obvious.
At the summit there was a great view of the city below. We explored around the upper ledges and enjoyed the views of Goose Eye and the Kilkenny Range. We were glad we wore our stabilicers on the summit since the wind and sun had turned the snow to ice on the top of the steep cliffs. We hiked down the other side of Jasper a little bit searching for a cave we had heard about, but the treacherous conditions prevented us from exploring more.
After a few more pictures we headed back down the trail.