Sunday, October 23, 2016


Another grand October day, much of which I spent rambling around trails in the lower southern Mahoosucs in Shelburne. These trails are centered around the historic Philbrook Farm Inn and are well-maintained by the Shelburne Trails Club.

The Philbrook Farm Inn on North Road has been welcoming hikers since the 1860s. It has been operated by five generations of the same family. Day hikers are welcome to park in an area on the southwest side of the Inn, but should check in with the innkeepers (nice folks!) before heading onto the trails.

The view from the front of the inn isn't too shabby.

There are several cottages available for rent in the summer.

A major intersection of trails named for the colors of their blazes. I made a very pleasant loop over Mt. Cabot (elevation 1512 ft., the "other" Mt. Cabot) via the Blue and Red Trails.

Beechwood on the Blue Trail.

A steep pitch leading up towards the summit of Mt. Cabot.

One of the handsome signs placed by the Shelburne Trails Club.

A view NE to remote Bear Mountain in the eastern Mahoosucs, from a ledge near the summit of Mt. Cabot.

A trail sign on an old foundation at the summit of Cabot.

The comfortable main Cabot view ledge has a magnificent cleared view SW across the Androscoggin valley to the higher peaks.

Howe Peak, Shelburne Moriah and Middle Moriah,

The cloud-kissed Presidentials.

Might be the last time for this for a while...

Signs in the col between Mt. Cabot and Mt. Ingalls.

A new spur trail (actually a reopening of an old trail) has been flagged to the shore of little Judson Pond. It will be blazed and officially opened soon. Along the way it goes through one area that was logged this summer. It will soften with time.

Along the shore of small and secluded Judson Pond.

Lots of sitting rocks along the shore - a nice spot to relax in the sun for a while.

Descending from Mt. Cabot through spruce and pine on the Red Trail.

The golden time of year.

There's a short side path to a place with the neat name of "Mary's Aerie."

No real view here anymore, though.

Along the Wiggins Rock Trail, underneath Wiggins Rock.

A sign marks the top.

This vista is all grown in, too.

Next I checked out the Shelburne Trail Club's unique cable car, available for high-water crossings of Mill Brook along the Yellow Trail.

VFTC (View from the Car). Its use requires arm strength and caution.

Near the Maine-New Hampshire border I took a walk on the short, easy trail in Bill Hastings Memorial Forest, dedicated to a longtime Fish & Game Conservation Officer.

A peaceful scene on the Androscoggin River.

Old silver maples along the riverbank.

A serene setting.

The trail loops back through a beautiful open floodplain forest.


Next up was a hike a mile up the Nineteen Mile Brook Trail to see two trail relocations and a major new footbridge installed by the AMC Trail Crew.

Corridor of gold.

The new bridge.

On the way through Pinkham Notch I stopped for a dusk mini-hike to a viewpoint a short way up the Square Ledge Trail. The beaver pond at the start of the Lost Pond Trail was pleasingly placid.

An AMC sign points the way.

The east side of Mount Washington at twilight time.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


On a glorious October afternoon (at least north of the notches), I checked out a new Randolph Mountain Club trail that leads to an old quartz crystal mine in the Randolph Community Forest, on a western spur of the Crescent Range. The mine was used by General Electric Co. during World War II to provide quartz crystals for radio sets. It's an interesting 4-mile round trip hike with just 650 ft. of elevation gain.

Before heading out, I crossed the highway to a field with a foliage vista of Mt. Bowman, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Adams.

The trail starts to the right of this building on land now within the Randolph Community Forest. It's 0.8 mile west of the Castle trailhead at Bowman.

A temporary RMC sign shows the way.

After a half-mile of sometimes rocky trail through the woods, the trail turns left onto a RCF forest road.

Nice easy walkin'.

Looks like a major maple tapping operation is in the works.

The trail follows this grassy road for a while.

RMC trail signage.

The upper half-mile leads through an open sugar maple forest, especially gorgeous at this golden time of year.

A gentle old woods road on the upper part of the trail.

It's the best time of year for hardwood rambling.

The first of three shaft holes at the mine site. Notice the rope on the left. Collectors do drop in, but not this kid!

Another shaft hole.

Beautiful quartz chunks are scattered about. Hobby collecting with hand tools is allowed. I took a small sliver home.

This looks like the most accessible mine shaft.

Heading back down the golden road.

Bear tree.

In October, this section has to be one of the nicest walks in Randolph.

A very short off-trail diversion rewarded with this vista of Mts. Madison and Adams from the top edge of an old logging cut.


At the trailhead, I returned to the field across Route 2, as the light was now better on the Northern Peaks.

Adams and Jefferson.

A fine look into Cascade Ravine on Mt. Adams.

Afterward I drove over to Bowman for the short walk to Rollo Fall (0.8 mile round trip). The unmarked route follows this grassy woods road at first.

Rollo Fall was just a dribble, but still a pretty spot.

I finished the afternoon with a quick jaunt up the lower Howker Ridge Trail.

I enjoyed scenes like this along Bumpus Brook.

The Devil's Kitchen, a cool name for a cool place. Thank you, RMC, for maintaining such a fantastically varied network of trails!