Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mt Willard and Madison Boulder, Crawford Notch and Madison, NH

Here I am atop the summit of Mt. Willard and well worth the hike. It's a fairly easy hike upwards, not too steep and well traveled, especially on holidays and weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  In fact, this was a Labor Day weekend that we made the climb.  It wasn't the first time that Susan and Rob made the climb, but it was my first.  

The trail is next to the visitor center/railroad depot  and you will have to cross the tracks (which are still in use by the Conway Scenic Railroad in summer) where the trail splits.  There are signs pointing to the Avalon Trail, but follow the signs.  You will cross a brook before the trail takes a moderate path upward.  It soon joins with an old carriage road and will split off from there to the Hitchcock Flume, which takes a steep climb downhill.  It's a mile from there to the summit which is described as the best view anywhere.  It's about a 1.5 miles up to the top one way.  Believe me, it's worth every minute of it.  
A nearby hotel, Crawford House, would run carriages up to the summit of Mt. Willard.  The hotel is no longer there, but a hostel has been built on the site of the Crawford House where hikers can stay overnight.  I will include a link to the history of the Crawford House for all those who are interested.  
A sign at the summit of Mt. Willard

Here I am at the entrance to Madison Boulder, the largest known glacial erratic in New England and is among the largest in the world.  The huge granite boulder is 83 feet in length and 23 feet in height above ground and 37 feet in width and weighs 5,000 tons.  It is believed that this particular boulder was brought by an ice sheet from Mt Willard because it closely resembles the rocks from that area.

This natural area was acquired by the State of New Hampshire in 1946 and was designated a National Landmark in 1970.
Madison Boulder
 update 3/19/11

Rob, Susan and I stopped by the Stony Brook Carriage House Museum this afternoon to see a special exhibit on past World Fairs in the United States at the Art Museum, located in the back of the complex.   Rob and Susan had heard that the Carriage House Museum, which is the first building, had been updated since the last time the two saw it.  While walking around the museum's lower level, Susan discovered a Crawford House coach that traveled to the top of Mt. Willard via the carriage road.  I've decided to include it.


Coach preparing to take Crawford House guests to the top of Mt. Willard 
Here are the usual links:

This is a link to the Long Island Carriage House Museum where we saw the Crawford House coach:

 This is a great site.  Hike New England.  Gives you lots of pics from the top of Mt. Willard, the start of the trial, the carriage road, etc.  Enjoy!

Description of the Mount Willard Trail, including pictures of the carriage road. 

History and pictures of the Crawford House.  This is a very interesting site. I borrowed the crowded Crawford House coach picture from this site. 

Full description of the Madison Boulder Natural Area in Madison, NH

 Wikipedia article on Madison Boulder

Crawford Notch Depot

Wikipedia article on the Conway Scenic Railroad which includes a link to their official website which I am having trouble accessing at the moment.
 A FAQ page for the Crawford Notch Depot which includes some history of the area

1 comment:

  1. It looks like it was well worth the climb to see the view from the top of Mt. Willard. Awesome!! Thanks for sharing, Clyde! :o)