Mt. Tecumseh (August 6, 2011)

6.5 miles, 5 hours
Mt. Tecumseh gets no respect. It's the lowest of the 4,000 footers of New Hampshire, tied with Mt. Isolation at 4,003', but at least Isolation has a very long approach hike and 360o views. Tecumseh has neither. Someone once sorted the 4,000 footers by calories expended to climb them and diagnosed Tecumseh as "least caloric". But Alex had only two 4,000 footers left to go and Tecumseh was one of them, so off we went. His friend Danny Milch and father Jim joined us. To make it more interesting we made the longer north side climb and descended by the Waterville Ski Area, spotting a car in that parking lot. The climb started at 1,820' in an open maple-birch forest (left). Above 2,500' the maples gave up, and above 3,000' the forest closed in and the trail became rootier and rockier (right).
At 3,700' we got to Tecumseh's West Peak, which offered a limited view of Mt. Moosilauke (left), and from there we followed the ridge to the main peak. It was a nice ridge walk, with lots of little ups and downs, and after a final steep stretch we were at the top. This was Alex's 47th 4'000 footer - just one to go! As for me I still have three - but since one of them is Owl's Head and I have little interest in it I won't be completing them anytime soon.
Tecumseh actually has better views than I imagined - it helps to have low expectations. We had excellent views to the east, although the weather was kind of hazy (left). The Waterville Valley spread before us. Major features close by were the Tripyramids and the Osceolas, but we could also see the Presidentials Range off in the distance and even the distinctive Stairs Mountain. From the top of Tecumseh We took the Sosman Trail to get to the top of the Waterville Ski Area. The Sosman Trail offered a number of limited views including a look back at Tecumseh (right).
In this manner we got to the top of the Ski Area and proceeded down the ski trails. Although this is no wilderness experience, it makes for continuous views (left and right). It also feels unusual to be walking in a thick meadow with lots of flowers - an experience I associate with the Alps or the West, not the White Mountains. There were tons of blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries to pick as we went down. I used to take the kids frequently to Waterville when they were little, and it was fun to see the lifts and trails again. Overall, I enjoyed this visit to Mt. Tecumseh much more than I thought I would - it was a fine hike, and Alex and I had enough energy afterward for an hour of tennis.

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