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Saturday, June 7th 2014

3:30 PM

Hewes and Honey Hills NH 6/7/14

     These are two small but very scenic mountains in Swanzey NH.  The weather was warm and mostly sunny.  I started the hike at 11:37 AM at Hewes Hill on a blue blazed trail.  On a couple of trees they had two blazes angled but they angled them wrong.  If they want you to go left they should put the top blaze to the left, but instead the person who did the blazing always put the bottom of two blazes in the direction you need to go.  This puzzled me a bit when the blazes seemed to want me to go downhill to houses instead of uphill to the summit. 

     The first attraction on this hike was a large balanced boulder called Tippin Rock.  You are supposed to be able to push it and make it move.  But at first when I got here I didn't know where to push and it didn't move.  The trail goes through a pretty forest with lots of hemlocks and oaks.  I arrived at the summit lookout at 12:14 PM and had lunch.  There are other lookouts further along the cliff but the first one is the prettiest.  You can see a large wooded valley surrounded by several scenic forested mountains.

     While I was enjoying the view a large flock of turkey vultures started flying around and I took photos of some of them.  At 12:36 I left the lookout to go to the actual viewless summit, which I reached at 12:42 PM.  Coming down from the summit I met another hiker, a pretty young lady named Denise who leads hikes for the Harris Educational Center in NH.  She had been checking out some of the impressive cliffs down below.  There was at least one rock climber here scaling the cliff.  Denise and I took the trail back out and she told me some interesting stories of various hiking trips.  When we got to the Tippin Rock she showed me how to make it move, which I did.  On the way out we saw a pink ladyslipper.  I was back at my car at 1:33 PM, and I set off to try to find the trailhead for Honey Hill.

     The Honey Hill trailhead is really obscure and the only way I could find it was to go to the Swanzey town hall and then drive 1.6 miles south and look for a small entry to a field where there are trees all along the road except this one small break.  I started at 1:54 PM> By this time it had warmed up to 86 degrees according to my car's thermometer, but it is cooler in the shady forest.  Here too there are a lot of hemlocks.  On the way in a ruffed grouse was close by the trail and flew off.  There is a short wet muddy stretch but most of the trail is in good shape.  I took the blue trail uphill and arrived on the summit at 2:47 pm.  Here there was a great view of Mt Monadnock.  I sat on the bench there and had some cookies. 

     Around the summit were many bunches of flowering pale corydalis and I took photos of some of them.  By this time it was getting cloudier and there was a faint breeze at times which was very pleasant.  On the way downhill I took the yellow trail which is less direct and goes along a cliff with no views.  I saw a toad in the trail and a lot of flowers called Quaker ladies.  I was back out at 3:11 PM. 

     These were both very pleasant short hikes.  The views on Hewes Hill were outstanding and therefore that one is my favorite of the two.  When I was back at my car the temperature had cooled off to 82 degrees.   

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