Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Dixville Mountain - West Peak, Baldhead Mountain - South Peak , NH
Trails: Kelsey Notch Road, snowmobile trail, bushwhack
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Friday, March 11, 2022
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: I parked in a large plowed out area just before the gate on Kelsey Notch Rd. The gate was open, but I didn’t want to chance it and continue. My car already struggled a bit on ice/slush and soft dirt/mud to get to this point. Also, I met a man who drove past me beyond the gate to visit his friend at his camp beyond the gate. I asked him about access and he confirmed that you should never drive beyond the gate. Very nice man and I enjoyed our conversation :) Man, I love the north country! Also, note that Gaia class Kelsey Notch Rd Blakely Rd.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Ice - Blue, Ice - Breakable Crust, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Snow - Wet/Sticky 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Snowshoes 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: None 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: No obstructions on the snowmobile trail that I recall.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Sure. But these are snowmobile trails when there’s actually enough snow to snowmobile ???? 
Bugs: None 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
Comments: Day 131, Peaks 117&118. 4th hike and 4th&5th peaks of the day after Mudget Mtn, Lovering Mtn, and Dixville Mtn - Northwest Peak. A great 2 days attempting to catch up on this list, but now I’ll be away for more than a week with no hiking :( C’est la vie…

I walked Kelsey Notch Rd (shown as Blakely Rd on Gaia)to just before the camp that the man I met described. Here, I bore right onto a snowmobile trail (packed snow) so as not to get too close to the camp. Gaia shows me as off trail here. I followed this snowmobile trail until the “trail line” (black-dashed) on Gaia met up with a gray line that normally means a logging road, snowmobile trail, etc. I followed this dashed line above the drainage to the north to just above 2200ft. The road was a mix of snow and dirt. I took my snowshoes on and off a couple of times. On my way down I just wore them the whole way…my crampons need replaced anyway, lol. At 2200ft, I began my bushwhack. As I’ll describe below, this was not pleasant. If doing this again I’d probably start my whack from 2100-2150ft, whack up to the peak and it’s western subpeak, then ascend the western ridge to the highpoint.

But, instead, I walked up through thick young growth (actually, a lot of birch…looked kinda funky white trees above white snow - cool, but weird!) to about 2500ft to the base of the steeps. I got cliffed out here and looked for a more reasonable (and hopefully less thick) way up. I walked east a few hundred feet maybe, then headed NE up the steep grade, and in thick woods eventually curving N, then NW to the peak as the woods opened and the grades moderated. The thickness, grade, and lack of snow made this unpleasant. There were some bare spots and places where snowshoes certainly weren’t needed. A south-facing slope indeed! I liked NW peak a lot more, haha. That said, I made my way back down the same way.

Once back on the snowmobile trail, I continued following it to where Gaia shows it ending back on the black dashed line (Kelsey Notch Rd??). Note that 1) I didn’t see any other road here, and 2) the snowmobile trail continued. So Gaia definitely would appear to be wrong here. Anyway, I began by bushwhack to Baldhead South from here on a S/SW bearing. I made my way up through hobblebush or young growth at first (all the same to me in winter, haha). I then went through a rather interesting and mostly open spruce forest. I wondered how different it would look without snow. I slabbed up to the eastern ridge of the peak, trying to avoid the very steep grades on its NE side. I was mostly successful. The ridge didn’t feel like much of a ridge and was quite steep at times and felt rather narrow. Snow mobiles had been up through here so I used there tracks as breaking through the crust was tiring. Decent woods though. At 3000ft I began heading NE and hit thicker woods. I found the summit, signed in, but for my return trip tried to avoid the thicker woods by heading more south. This mostly worked. I then followed my tracks down and to the road and back to my car. Much more snow on Baldhead than on Dixville West presumably due to the way they face. I was surprised that I didn’t run into the CT. This peak gets the award thus far for having the oldest sign in date I’ve seen in the register!

The hike was about 7mi with about 1800ft of gain taking me 4.25hrs to complete. 234 more days and 247 more peaks to go…  
Name: Liam Cooney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2022-03-12 
Link: https:// 
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