I’m not gonna lie, I’m more motivated to hike a trail if I get to see a cool site at the end. Call me high-maintenance, but it helps hold the interest — especially when hiking with my little kids. So when I heard rumors of a local bushwack to a plane crash site on Blood Mountain, you bet I jumped on that tasty tidbit.
Plane crashes across New Hampshire
There are actually a few plane crash sites that are popular for hikers in New Hampshire. The most infamous is the B-18 Bomber that crashed on Mount Waternomee in 1942. Though the Bomber is on my bucket list, I talked my husband into tackling the plane crash site on Blood Mountain in Newbury, NH, because it was supposed to be an easier hike.
And let’s be honest, visiting a crash site, close to Halloween time, on Blood Mountain? It tickled my enjoyment of the slightly macabre and spooky.
How we got there
First off, I’ve found it pays to do some hikes during a certain time of year. In this case, fall was perfect. Why, you ask? Not just because of the beautiful foliage. By mid-October, the underbrush is less dense than the warmer seasons. Also, the bugs aren’t as bad (New Hampshire would be the perfect hikers’ paradise, if not for the mosquitos. And black files. And ticks… oy). Lastly, I’m sure you guessed, winter is off-limits for obvious reasons.
The trick with this hike — and all the plane crash sites across the state — is there is no official trail to the fuselage. Since finding it would mean following varying directions from different hikers and bushwacking through dense forest, I enlisted my husband’s help to do the research. We hit up as many clearly-written online guides as we could (special thanks to the folks at nhmountainhiking.com for the driving directions).
In a nutshell, finding the area on a map wasn’t too hard. And because my goal was to drive up as far as we possibly could (because of the kids), we loaded up in the pickup and headed toward Mount Sunapee. Then from the intersection of Center Rd and Mountain Rd in Goshen, we followed Mountain Rd up as far as we could (it’s a 4WD road — high clearance necessary in spots).
We were able to drive right up to the base of the logging road we would be trekking up (GPS 43.291480, -72.087189). Since there were no signs forbidding it, we parked out of the way and started our hike.
And that’s where things got interesting
We did the short walk up to the log landing, and that’s where my husband and I began scratching our heads. At this point, the directions to find the plane crash site on Blood Mountain were vague at best.
And I have a confession to make: my sense of adventure strongly outweighs my common sense. My skills in map reading and compass use are meager at best. And here I was, looking for something amongst the dense forest, with my husband and kids in tow. Terrible, I know.
Still, I was not discouraged. Since it was so close, we hiked up the summit and planned to comb the woods downwards until we found the plane crash site, which was supposed to be 30’ish yards from the top. Ryan and I took turns breaking off to tackle the underbrush while the other watched the kids be wild and play.
You can see where this is going. After a couple of hours, we had no luck. Our determination waned as fatigue settled in. Finally, Ryan talked me into going back down to the log landing and trying another side of the mountain. In the process, he found some GPS coordinates that seemed to follow our new direction.
The last ditch effort
Well, after wandering around for a little while longer, we decided to give the new coordinates a solid college try. Convinced it would be a quick jaunt, I ditched my pack, left the kids with Ryan on the logging trail, and hit the woods with my cell phone in hand.
Growing up, my dad would take my sisters and me into the woods, walk for a while, then tell us to find our way back home. So walking into the forest alone isn’t intimidating to me — at least, not initially. I half-walked, half-jogged, wanting to find the crash as soon as possible.
When I was a little over halfway there, I realized I probably hadn’t made the wisest choice. It was hunting season after all, and since I had ditched my bright orange backpack, my blue t-shirt really wasn’t sufficient notification of my human presence. Not to mention I had no water, spotty GPS signal, and no other indication of my actual location.
See? Sense of adventure outweighing common sense. It was a little unnerving to realize. And yet, mildly thrilling.
I’ll spare you the many thoughts of my internal monologue, but I will tell you, the majority of my final trek was through moderate terrain. The final scramble up the last 100 yards or so was, to be frank, hard enough that I considered abandoning my search. It involved navigating a steep incline, climing over boulders, roots, fallen trees, and all the debris therein.
I’m so glad I didn’t quit.
Where EXACTLY to find the plane crash site on Blood Mountain
I’ve kept you in suspense long enough: these are the coordinates I used, and they were spot-on. I found the fuselage on the side of the mountain. Don’t let the pictures fool you, it is not a flat area at all.
(On a personal note, please take the time to recognize the history behind the crash. I know I haven’t addressed it in my story, but I certainly felt the site deserves some solemnity).
From the last logging trail I had seen, it had taken me about half an hour to hike/trail run to the site, so I only took a few more minutes to snap a couple of pictures before starting back. Luckily I had enough cell service to text my husband, wherein we decided it was too tough a trek for the kids. Even though Zoom was particularly disappointed, Ryan started back toward the truck and would catch up.
All of that to say, it was a beautiful day and we had a little adventure. Perhaps we’ll go back eventually, perhaps not — but I certainly hope so.
So… you done it yet? Or hiked to something similar? Share in the comments!
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