In some places like the Northern Presidential the number of trail options is very good. But the lowly Hancock massif http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Hancock_(New_Hampshire) has one trail in and out and it is a muddy root strewn mess most of the time. so when my buddy Robie (grinning like a kid on christmas morning) suggested that we hike Arrow Slide to go up North Hancock it seemed like a great option.
The trail to get there is the same as a normal hike park at the Kanc and then take Hancock Notch Trail to Cedar Brook Trail and then Hancock Loop Trail.
When you get to the bottom of the little ravine which normally you go back up to get to north bear to the left to find the bottom of the slide and then climb up.
This route is boulder riddled but was easy to climb, but you have to watch kicking rocks loose on your hiking partners. As you climb the slide widens.
I'm not a geologist but the best way to explain it is underneath there is a hard igneous rock covered by a thin layer of granite and top soil. Over time the water, ice and snow has broken apart the top layer and sent it tumbling to the forest floor below.
The length of this slide according to Robie is 1800 feet and it gives great views of the Kancamagnus Highway, the Osceolas and more. Note the top of the picture is the top of the slide!
We stayed to the left of the slide and then following a crack in the hard older rock cross to the right about halfway up. A lot of the time you are more free climbing or just hanging on to anything that will not give way.
As you get to the top of the right top slide you follow a herd path (loosely defined) and bearing right slightly and push your way through about 200 feet of trees that have grown only about 5 feet high but are almost impenetrable. It took all of my energy to push, worm and pry my way through. Then it opened up and we hit the trail about 30 feet below the summit.
I would recommend this as a cool alternative to hiking North Hancock but not for anyone who does not like hikes, moving surfaces or hanging on to trees as they climb. I want to come back in the winter and ski this.
Thanks to Robie Gould for the picture and for a cool new way of seeing the Hancocks. Vermont's Barre Army Navy Store is a full-service online shop offering camping, hiking, outdoor, military, and surplus gear and supplies.