Fourth Connecticut Lake Trail - Pittsburg, NH

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  1. #1
    Jonni's Avatar
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    Camera Fourth Connecticut Lake Trail - Pittsburg, NH

    Date(s) Hiked: 5/13/2009

    Trails(s) Hiked: Fourth Connecticut Lake Trail

    Total Distance: 1.7 mi, ~500 ft

    Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

    Conditions: Good, snow at 2500'

    Special Required Equipment: None

    Trip Report: In the last few days of the semester at LSC one of my suite mates and I decided we needed to go on some sort of short hike before school was done for the summer. I originally found this hike while surfing Google Earth in the middle of the night and after some further research my interest was peaked enough to make the 2 hour trip from school to the top of NH. The Fourth Connecticut Lake is the source of the Connecticut River (for those of you who didn't know that), and is actually more of a pond than a lake.

    Starting from the parking lot across from the US Customs House cross the beginning of US Route 3 to the trail sign at the edge of "the swath" uphill from the Customs House. The Swath is a 30 foot wide transcontinental cut through the woods that follows the border from Maine to Washington. Because my friend Tim and I have a supreme fascination with borders, this hike was awesome. We began to follow the trail up the swath as it criss-crosses the international boundary and climbs steeply. Our obsession of borders also caused us to pause at every corner of the swath to take pictures of the boundary line benchmarks. The trail was muddy in spots, but every so often there were small wood bridges to traverse some of the worst patches of mud. After about .4 of a mile the trail went into the woods and we immediately found ourselves negotiating a monorail of snow off and on all the way to lake.



    At this point the trail forks into a loop around the lake. Heading right the trail became pretty narrow, but nothing too bad. Remembering what some of trail descriptions said our ultimate goal was the satisfaction of being able to hop over the beginning of the Connecticut River, which at this point is nothing more than a small brook. Probably about .3 of a mile around the lake (the second water crossing) we found what we were looking for. Two rock jumps and that was it! The river is literally 3.5 feet wide here and about 6" deep. Finishing up the loop and heading back to trail head we made good time.

    Overall the hike was about 2 hours round trip with a short stop where the trail enters the woods from the swath and at the crossing of the Connecticut River. Despite not being the most difficult or longest hike in the world, it certainly was cool. If you decide to go on this hike watch for moose as just driving up Route 3 from Pittsburg we saw 2 moose on the way up and 3 on the way down, and they were all different.

    One Note: I was only able to find two descriptions for this hike and one of them mentions that a passport is required to go on this hike as the trail criss-crosses the boundary line. This is NOT true. You only need a passport and to report to either customs office if you are actually going into Canada.

    Pictures:

    One of the benchmarks along the trail. One foot in Canada one foot in the US.


    Some snow around the trail.


    The Fourth Connecticut Lake from near the northern end.


    Connecticut River about 40 feet from it's beginning.


    The view into Canada from the swath. Canada is trees on the left, US is the trees on the right.


    Parking area across the road from the trailhead. Where the two colors of pavement come together on the left is the border, and actually my car is parked in two countries as well.
    Northeast Regional Moderator of Skilifts.org
    http://www.skilifts.org

    Curved Ski Poles n. 1. Expert skier's poles bent at the factory to fit around the body and thus improve control and reduce air resistence. 2. Beginner's poles bent during use to fit around trees, trail signs, snowmaking equipment, lift towers, and other skiers.

    12/13 Ski Season: 32 Days 238,883 vertical feet 301 individual runs

  2. #2
    Very cool TR. I never saw one of those border markers before.

  3. #3
    bigbog's Avatar
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    ...nice

    Nice pics/TR. Always neat to see the headwaters of major river systems. The water upstream is always the purist, except for some bacteria we can't deal with, and the neighborhood usually teeming with wildlife.
    SteveD

  4. #4
    Nice Pictures. I do believe it was raining the day I did that trail about 3 years ago. I do trust you later on went north across the border in your car to the "magnetic hill" in Chartierville, Quebec? Position, your car facing uphill, shift to neutral, brake off. Your car begins to coast UPHILL. Yes, I expereinced it. I got to laughing pretty hard. I Had to do it a few time to be sure. I'll let you figure it out!
    Sent from my TACPOD (Tactical Airborne Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence Pod) using Satellite TADIL J Alternate Gateway Controller (Alternate STGC) via Blackjack

  5. #5
    Jonni's Avatar
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    I originally didn't remember that it was there, so I forgot my passport, as I didn't think that we would be going to Canada officially that day. I want to go up there pretty bad though, as there is both the magnetic hill and the Mont Megantic Astronomical Observatory further north.
    Northeast Regional Moderator of Skilifts.org
    http://www.skilifts.org

    Curved Ski Poles n. 1. Expert skier's poles bent at the factory to fit around the body and thus improve control and reduce air resistence. 2. Beginner's poles bent during use to fit around trees, trail signs, snowmaking equipment, lift towers, and other skiers.

    12/13 Ski Season: 32 Days 238,883 vertical feet 301 individual runs

  6. #6
    I came across a place like Magnetic Hill on a tour of Jeju Island in Korea. They call it Mystery Road, and all the tour buses stop there. Sounds like it's exactly the same phenomenon. You come down a fairly steep slope, which abruptly changes to a nearly-but-not-quite flat slope. Because you're at a high altitude there's confusion about the horizon, so the flat slope looks like it's uphill when it's actually still downhill. On Jeju the horizon is the ocean, which enhances the illusion.

  7. #7
    Cool report Jonni, this is hike my girlfriend want to do too.

    Speaking of magnetic hill, there's a place here in N. Woodstock that does the samething, it appears that you're pointed downhill, but when you place the car in neutral you start rolling backwards!
    Screw My Car, My Body Climbed Mount Washington!

    www.SKiNE.net

  8. #8
    Jonni's Avatar
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    Hmmm, you may need to tell me more about this Woodstock version of the magnetic hill.
    Northeast Regional Moderator of Skilifts.org
    http://www.skilifts.org

    Curved Ski Poles n. 1. Expert skier's poles bent at the factory to fit around the body and thus improve control and reduce air resistence. 2. Beginner's poles bent during use to fit around trees, trail signs, snowmaking equipment, lift towers, and other skiers.

    12/13 Ski Season: 32 Days 238,883 vertical feet 301 individual runs

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jonni View Post
    Hmmm, you may need to tell me more about this Woodstock version of the magnetic hill.
    I will PM you the info
    Screw My Car, My Body Climbed Mount Washington!

    www.SKiNE.net

  10. #10

    Hike on the Fourth CT - March 6, 2009

    I've hiked the trail two times prior to this one - once in July and once in April. Last April there was no problem with snow until I got to the woods. Snow shoes were needed at that point. I had this in mind when I traveled there yesterday. Snow fall has been sporadic in the North Country this year. In fact, when 53 inches of snow fell in Randolph a couple of weeks ago, my backyard in Littleton only got three. Consequently, I wasn't sure what to expect.

    I was the first one on the trail since November 9. There was 1 foot to 5 feet of snow on the trail depending on exposure to the sun. It was pretty difficult to to ascend the steep sections near the beginning of the trail simply because that much snow creates a white wall of drift on the more vertical sections. I went into the woods and paralleled the trail a bit to use tree trunks for leverage. Once I got to the woods, the going was easier. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful hike, but it took longer than I had expected - not that I minded.

    Heather
    Littleton, NH

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