Thursday, July 20, 2017


I chose a hot, sunny day to re-visit one of the lesser-known peaks in the Whites with good views. Table Mountain has several open ledges with wide vistas south and southwest, and I rarely encounter other hikers there.

The Attitash Trail is well-maintained up to Table Mountain, and is wild, little-used and at times hard to follow the rest of the way over to and across Big Attitash Mountain. Recent heavy rains created deep ruts at the entrance to the trailhead parking area on Bear Notch Road - use caution!


At 0.6 mile there is a nice cascade on Louisville Brook. A steep bank limits access to the pool at the bottom, but a short easy path leads down to ledges at the top.

The first view ledge on the ascent of Table, looking towards Mt. Chocorua and Mt. Paugus.

A nasty section of ledge and slippery gravel between the first and second view ledges.

The second view ledge reveals more of the Sandwich Range.

Looking back at Bear Mountain.

Mt. Passaconaway and the Sleepers. It was from here in the spring of 2012 that I first spotted the big slide on West Sleeper unleashed by Tropical Storm Irene, visible as a tan stripe on the far right. I went in to visit the slide a couple of months later.

The biggest view ledge is just below the high point of the trail.

It's always fun to meet store customers on the trail!

Nice angle on Passaconaway-Sleepers-Tripyramids.

A ledge reached by a short side path has a restricted view of Mt. Carrigain and other peaks to the north.

On the way back I decided to bushwhack to the flat-topped knob between Table and Bear Mountains, seen here in front of Bear. I had spotted a potential view ledge on this knob from First Sister last winter.

From the Table-Bear col the whacking was through hardwoods for the first half, then thicker with spruce and some blowdown the rest of the way.

The ledge wasn't as open as I had hoped, but it was a nice secluded spot with a good view of Mt. Chocorua and its sprawling spur ridges.

Falls Pond and the Rocky Gorge parking area could be seen down in the Swift River valley.

A profile of Passaconaway.

On the way back I chanced upon what looked like a remnant of the old WMNF Bear Mountain Trail, which crossed this hump as it traversed Bear and Table Mountains. This section was abandoned around 1960.

From the col down, the Attitash Trail is very pleasant woods walking.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

 SHORT HIKES: 7/9-7/14/17

This week's schedule allowed for only a series of short, but rewarding hikes.

Morning on Bald Mountain, looking across at Cannon Mountain. This may be the shortest hike to a good view anywhere in the Whites.

 The distinctive silhouette of Mt. Garfield from Bald Mountain.

Morning view of Echo Lake and Franconia Notch from Artist's Bluff.

Excellent rock work by the Trailwrights on the Artist's Bluff Trail.

On a warm and muggy late afternoon Carol and I took a geocaching hike to 1500-ft. Mt. Livermore in the Squam Range. We accessed the Squam Range ridgecrest via the unmaintained western section of Old Mountain Road, which begins at a parking area at the end of a side road off Perch Pond Rd. This section of Old Mountain Road is terribly eroded and not very pleasant walking. By contrast, the ridgecrest Crawford-Ridgepole Trail, shown below on the approach to Mt. Livermore through a fine oak forest, is a delightful footpath.

Carol takes in a hazy Squam Lake view from the summit of Mt. Livermore.

On another hot mid-afternoon, I followed an unofficial trail to Bridesmaid Falls (aka Noble Falls), near the Mittersill Resort. Although the flow was just a trickle this day, it was a very nice cooling spot to lounge for an hour and listen to the song of the water.

I made a steep bushwhack down the brook to see the terraced ledges of Plimpton Falls, "re-discovered" in recent years by local waterfall sleuths.

Open, Catskill-like hardwood glades on the slope of Mittersill Peak.

On a gloomy morning I did a close-to-home bushwhack to these nice cascades along Horner Brook, on the west slope of Loon Mountain. These were just off the original trail to the South Peak of Loon Mountain, which was then known as Loon Pond Mountain. (Traces of the trail are still visible.) The cascades were described by Frank O. Carpenter in his 1898 "Guide Book to the Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley." They had been more or less forgotten for many years, but like Plimpton Falls have recently been put "back on the map."

The photo below shows the view up from the crystalline pool at the bottom.

Hanging out streamside, listening to a Swainson's Thrush and a Winter Wren.

A closer look at the main drop.

The step-like upper cascades.

The Loon Pond Mountain Cascades feature some beautifully sculpted rock formations. A great local spot!

Thursday, July 6, 2017


This loop on Sandwich Dome using Drakes Brook Trail and Sandwich Mountain Trail combines an attractive brook valley with several fine viewpoints up on the ridge. Lots of reward for a 6.5 mile loop with 2150 ft. of elevation gain.

A short bushwhack leads to a spot where you can spot an old timber with spikes, left over from a splash dam on Drakes Brook, used by Parker-Young Company for river drives in the 1920s.

Another short bushwhack leads to this cascade on Drakes Brook.

Drakes Brook, high up in the valley.

Summer skies from the NE view ledge on Jennings Peak.

The hazy Presidentials far to the north, with Mt. Carrigain on the L.

The immense mass of double-summited Sandwich Dome.

The high peaks of the Sandwich Range.

The Tripyramids, with the South Slides displayed.

The broad Smarts Brook valley from the SW view ledge on Jennings. Black Mountain (Algonquin Trail) is on the left.

Looking west down the trailless Acteon Ridge. Distant peaks visible included Monadnock, Dorset Peak and Killington Peak.

Sachem Peak, the cliff-faced culminating point of Acteon Ridge.

From another ledge, looking north to the Osceolas and Mad River Notch beyond Waterville Valley.

 I went a very short distance towards Sandwich Dome to savor this ferny section of the Sandwich Mountain Trail.

Looking back to Jennings Peak from ledges just off the Sandwich Mountain Trail as it heads towards Noon Peak.

From the same ledges, a view over the Drakes Brook valley to the northern Flat Mountain.

Sandwich Dome looms above the Drakes Brook valley headwall.

Moss and lichen on the Sandwich Mountain Trail.

Another outlook peering down into Drakes Brook valley, with the southern Flat Mountain poking over the col between Sandwich Dome and the northern Flat Mountain.

A down-look from the main Noon Peak view ledge. That's a serious dropoff!

Late afternoon vista from the Noon Peak ledge.

A small pothole on the view ledge.

From Noon Peak the Sandwich Mountain Trail drops 1600 ft. in 1.6 miles, with a few steep pitches.

A layer of granite peeling off a large boulder beside the trail.