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Bushwhacking Peak Above the Nubble

Philip at the Peak Above the Nubble Canister
Philip at the Peak Above the Nubble Canister

Peak Above the Nubble is a very odd name but it describes the topography of this 3813′ mountain rather well. The 3813′ Peak towers over a curious looking sub-peak called the Nubble. That’s its local name at least. On maps, The Nubble is called Haystack Mountain, one of many mountains named Haystack in New Hampshire.

Peak Above the Nubble, seen from Middle Sugarloaf Mountain
Peak Above the Nubble, seen from Middle Sugarloaf Mountain

Peak Above the Nubble is on several White Mountain Peakbagging lists including the New England Hundred Highest and the New Hampshire Hundred Highest. It has great views of Mt Hale and North Twin Mountains from its summit, from an uncommon angle, which makes it a great peak to hike if you like views from the top.

Peak Above the Nubble
Peak Above the Nubble

I bushwhacked Peak Above the Nubble with the same crew I hiked Vose Spur with two weeks ago. I’d been warned about how hard it is by some friends, but it turned out to be much easier than I expected. We took a much easier route than they did, skipping the Nubble and climbing directly to the Peak. Word is that the bushwhack from the Nubble to the Peak is hell on wheels.

We started our hike on Haystack Road, just outside of the tiny town of Twin Mountain, NH. I’d been car camping along this same road, so I didn’t have to travel very far to meet my friends before the hike. It’s free to camp there and a good way to save money if you don’t mind roughing it for a few days. My friends were staying at the AMC’s Highland Center that weekend and it sounds like I got the better deal ($70/night for a bunk bed in a shared room vs $0). That place is a rip off.

Car Camping on Haystack Rd
Car Camping on Haystack Rd

We started this hike at the second logging road pull off along Haystack Road, the first one that is blocked by a two or three big boulders. There’s space for two or maybe three cars in front of it.

Walking up the first logging road from Haystack Rd.
Walking up the first logging road from Haystack Rd.

From there we walked up the road about a quarter-mile until we could see a faint logging road veering uphill and to the right. It was covered with snow and we walked right by it initially, before turning around to find it. It’s overgrown with hobble bush and thorns, but there’s a faint track which runs through it and uphill. It runs for another 1/2 mile or so and ends at a clearcut, now full of saplings, that we crossed to get into open woods on the other side.

Walking through the Clearcut
Walking through the Clearcut

This clearcut would have been a lot more annoying earlier in the season, but since it was late autumn we could see our way through it. It’s also been manicured by someone with loppers and you can see where saplings have been cut to create a herd path. I wish people wouldn’t do that and I can’t understand why they do.

Pam leads through open forest
Pam leads through open forest

There were open woods on the other side of the clearcut and this is where the real bushwhacking began. There was a definite gradient, but it wasn’t outlandishly steep and the blow downs were easy to walk around. Still the area has been heavily logged and as we climbed the amount of slash wood, mainly birch on the ground, increased significantly. It looks like a bomb went off in these woods.

Icicles on Peak Above the Nubble
Icicles on Peak Above the Nubble

Our goal was to attain the false summit below the peak and then follow the ridge to the actual summit. As we got higher, we started seeing faint signs of herd paths but the woods aren’t thick enough that you need to follow these.

When we arrived at the false summit (we had a GPS altimeter with us), it was too dense with spruce to hike over, so we dropped down a bit and walked around it, coming up on the other side of the col below the real summit. There we found a clearly maintained path through the woods, although we had to crawl over and around some blowdowns at the end to get to the canister.

Trey and North Twin Mountain
Trey and North Twin Mountain

There’s a viewpoint just past the canister overlooking the Little River Valley between Mount Hale and North Twin Mountain where you can see the open birch glades on the west side of Hale and a huge slide running down the north side of North Twin. Matt says this is named the Check Mark slide because it looks like a big check mark. It was the first time I’d seen either of these peaks from this angle.

We hung out a bit until we got cold and then hoofed it back down, following our trail back down through the snow. Elapsed time of this bushwhack was 4:30 for roughly 3 miles with 2000 feet of elevation gain. Then off to the Woodstock Inn for burgers and brews.

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2 comments

  1. The route from the Nubble is actually great if you take the slide up. The whack from the col between the Nubble and the slide is all open woods as are the woods from the top of the slide to the summit. I highly recommend that route if you ever feel like returning. I’d also recommend visiting the Nubble itself sometime: more unique views and a great isolated spot to relax!

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