Wednesday, February 25, 2015


On a cold but calm day with sun veiled by high clouds, Carol and I enjoyed a leisurely afternoon snowshoe up Ravine Lodge Road to the base of Mount Moosilauke. It was a fun ramble with interesting scenery and history.

There was a well-packed snowshoe/ski track on the Ravine Lodge Road.

Welcome to "Dartmouth's Mountain"!

This spot also marks the town line between Warren and Benton.

A powerline view of two southern spurs of Moosilauke. I did an interesting bushwhack between them late last fall.

Mount Waternomee, far up at the head of the valley.

This couple skied to the summit and back via Gorge Brook Trail, Snapper Trail and Carriage Road. These were the only folks we saw during our hike.

The view of the upper Gorge Brook valley from the Al Merrill kiosk.

A good snow load on the kiosk.

This swath is the route of the old ski tow on Sayre Peak that operated here from 1949-1953, when Ravine Lodge was a backwoods ski center. It was about 1,500-2,000 feet long with a 700-foot vertical rise.

We went a half-mile up the Al Merrill Loop, named for a longtime Dartmouth ski coach. The logging road continuing ahead here is now the Ridge Trail. It was originally built in 1943 by the Parker-Young Company for hurricane salvage logging in Jobildunk Ravine.

There was a nice snowshoe track on Al Merrill Loop.

Mount Jim glimpsed through the trees.

This way to John Rand Cabin.

John Rand Cabin was built by the Dartmouth Outing Club in 1983 and named after a longtime manager of the club. It is available for rent by reservation only.

There's a great view of the slides in Gorge Brook Ravine from the porch of the cabin. (We took off our snowshoes to avoid dinging up the wood.) The zig-zag swath of hardwoods may be part of the route of the legendary Hell's Highway ski trail built by the DOC in 1933.

The high temp for the day.

A cute and snow-shedding privy design.

A cheery example of interior privy artwork.

We returned down the Al Merrill Loop and then dropped down Gorge Brook Trail to the bridge over the Baker River, which was fully smothered in snow.

New trail signs replacing a set stolen by vandals last winter.

No takers for the swimming hole today.

The famed Ravine Lodge, built in 1938 from virgin spruce logs cut nearby.

The Lodge faces an uncertain future, as after more than 75 years its structure has deteriorated.

View up to the ridge from the corner of the Lodge.

The South Ridge leading up to the South Peak of Moosilauke. This could make an interesting bushwhack someday.

The South and East Peaks enclosing the upper Gorge Brook Ravine. The little white patch in the middle is one of the Pleiades Cascades.

Late afternoon light on our way out on Ravine Lodge Road, wrapping up a nice five-mile snowshoe meander.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


I took this bitterly cold but sunny morning off for an invigorating snowshoe trek to near the top of the Beaver Brook cascades. Not surprisingly, I had this trail to myself today.

The numbers tell of a chilly start in Kinsman Notch.

Snow-caked "Jakey's Crag" rises above the trailhead.

A wind-sculpted snowshoe track near the start.

The classic DOC sign, lit up in the morning sun.

Tree shadows in open woods.

A skier caught some air off this ledge at the first cascade.

At the steep tricky pitch at 2300 ft., I followed a route we used last week, crossing the brook and climbing up along the edge of a cascade.

Old ski tracks on a higher cascade.

A scene along the trail, looking at the Dilly Cliffs.

The buried bed of Beaver Brook.

Looking up at the tallest cascade. This had been skied, too!

A side view of Jakey's Crag.

The snowshoe track took a winding course up the steep ledge with a long arc of wooden pin steps at 2850 ft.

At the top of this pitch the open brookbed offers fine views. There was unthinkable wind chill up on Franconia Ridge. When I got home at 12:30 the Observatory reported -22 F temperature with 68 mph wind atop Mt. Washington.

The south half of Franconia Ridge, veiled by wind fog.

Getting out on the brook expands the view to include the Hancocks and the top of Mt. Carrigain.

More cascades upstream, but this was far enough for today.

I couldn't resist taking a frosty selfie.

Mt. Lincoln emerging behind Mt. Wolf.

Descending the pin step ledge.

This was one of the hardest spots on snowshoes going up. The track was too slick and steep, so I made a new route up through deep powder on the right.

A major dropoff here, but comfortable on the snowshoe track.

Beaver Brook woods.

Nice sun back down in the hardwoods.

My earlier tracks already blown in by the wind.

Looking up at the Beaver Brook ravine from the parking lot. The spot on the brook with the fine view can be seen as a small white swath. A great trail for a morning snowshoe adventure!