Tuesday, May 22, 2018

BLACK MOUNTAIN (SANDWICH): 5/21/18


I had a gorgeous sunny spring day for a bushwhack from Sandwich Notch Road to the 2732-foot Black Mountain on Sandwich Dome, with a descent mostly via the Algonquin Trail. It was an interesting trip with wetlands, view ledges, and some fine woods. The black flies were swarming and biting in the hardwoods.

I parked a couple miles up the rough-and-tumble Sandwich Notch Road and enjoyed a pleasant walk along the quiet road for another mile.



I began the bushwhack by descending to a beaver meadow, where there was an old, long-abandoned beaver dam.



Traversing along the west side of the meadow.


The spring greens were vivid!


A crag just beyond the meadow.


Looking back.


Red Trilliums were still in bloom.


A steep little cascade on the brook that drops down to the meadow.



Hardwood whacking.


A lovely and unusual stand of mostly white ash up the valley a ways.



Ledges and cliffs bordered the stand on the east.


Up among the rocks were patches of either Dutchman's Breeches or Squirrel Corn, both are spring flowers that favor enriched sites. The white ash was a clue that these might be here. Flower expert Rick Barrie ID'd the main plants here as Dutchman's Breeches, and the small plant on the left as Squirrel Corn.



It's difficult to tell which species these were, as the leaves are very much alike, but Rick notes that there are subtle differences in the foliage. There was only one fading Dutchman's Breeches flower left.


A gorgeous glade!


It continues off to the southeast with more maples.


An abandoned beaver pond farther up the valley.


The old dam.


Looks like this lodge hasn't been occupied for a while.


Another nice hardwood glade, on the west side of the pond.


I took a lunch break on this sunny rock at the inlet.


Nice open woods behind the inlet.


The inlet brook slips over a mossy slab.


Higher in the valley was another inviting hardwood glade.


A ridgetop ledge-meadow.


View of Mount Weetamoo from another meadow.


A black cherry tree along the ridge.


The highest hardwood glade on Black Mountain, at 2400 ft.



A steep bushwhack through spruce led to this big south-facing ledge outcrop.


A fine view of the Campton Range: Mount Weetamoo and its wide-spreading spur ridges.


More easterly to the Squam Range, Dinsmore Mountain and Mount Israel.


A great ledge - first time visiting this spot.


Typical spruce bushwhacking en route to the summit of Black.


An ancient red spruce.



A cairn and WMNF bearing tree mark the top.



A moose bagged the peak, though it's not on any regular list.



Out to a SE-facing view ledge, with the upper Black Mountain looming nearby.


From this perch you overlook a broad expanse of wild country rolling out to Israel/Dinsmore, Sandwich Notch, and the Squam Range.



Looking more to the south.



A neat glade on the north side of the col between the two Black Mountains, just below the Algonquin Trail.



A glimpse of Sachem Peak.


Nice spruce section on the Algonquin Trail.



The historic Old North Road, which served the pre-Civil War hill farms in Sandwich Notch, provided a shortcut back to the Sandwich Notch Road and the road walk back to my parking spot.



Friday, May 18, 2018

UPPER HALL POND RAMBLE: 5/16/18


Another gorgeous spring day, ideal for a leisurely tour around beautiful Upper Hall Pond in Sandwich Notch, followed by a bushwhack to view ledges on the steep flank of East Weetamoo.




I parked 2 miles up Sandwich Notch Road and walked the steep pitch beyond (to my surprise, the gnarly paved section has been replaced with smoother gravel), then down the side road to the boat launch at Upper Hall Pond. A couple of guys were fly-fishing in float tubes.


View from former site of a private camp along the east shore, now part of the WMNF.


A beach on the SE shore.


Looking north up the pond.

Beavers have made some progress on this large white ash.


More beaver work.


Beaver lodge.


It was easy to cross at the outlet.


Weathered.


Nice spot for a lunch break.



Watery view to the two Black Mountains of Sandwich Dome.



I could have stayed here all afternoon.


Heading for some view ledges, I bushwhacked up a little hardwood valley behind the pond.



An unusual formation on this yellow birch.


The valley is drained by a pretty little stream.


Indian Poke.



A magnificent old yellow birch.


 
Boulders have tumbled down from a rugged slope.


Red Trillium.



I followed a hardwood swath to its end.



To access the ledges I had to thread the needle up through some very steep spruce-clad terrain.



Looking back.



I popped out on a ledgy nubble with a view to Mt. Israel and Dinsmore Mountain with Lower Hall Pond below.


Nice view of the ridges of Sandwich Dome.
 

Sachem Peak and Jennings Peak.


Farther up the ridge I visited a small clifftop vantage I discovered two years ago, with a fine view over Upper Hall Pond, Sandwich Notch, and distant peaks.



Mt. Tecumseh, the Osceolas, Bald Knob and Middle Acteon Peak behind the pond.



Sprawling Sandwich Dome beyond Middle Hall Pond. Lots of remote country out there.



Middle and Lower Hall Ponds.


Wild spruce forest cloaks the slopes of East Weetamoo, part of the Campton Range.


A lingering patch of snow behind the shore of Upper Hall Pond.


Not very seaworthy.



Late afternoon light on a meadow south of the pond.


Turkey tracks.


Hobblebush season is here.


Looking back at East Weetamoo.