Sunday, July 26, 2015

MORNING RAMBLES, 7/23 & 7/24/15

On two mornings last week I enjoyed interesting morning hikes before opening the store.


A mellow 4-mile round trip off Tripoli Road leads to this small, shallow and secluded pond. For 0.8 mile the Little East Pond Trail follows the old grade of the Woodstock & Thornton Gore logging railroad. Good walking through hardwood and birch.

Little East Pond is tucked in under the wild, shaggy slopes of Scar Ridge. It doesn't look far up to the ridge from here, but it is a tough, scrappy bushwhack.

Ledges adorning the peak of Middle Scar Ridge.  I've been to the summit of Middle Scar twice, but not to these ledges. We were traversing the whole ridge both times and didn't have time for what looked like a steep and thick side trip. On a winter trip the snow was deep enough so we got the view down to the pond from the summit area. There's a good view ledge looking SE on the third knob heading towards East Scar. 

A short bushwhack led to a nice spot to relax and take in the scene at the pond.

A wonderfully gnarled old red maple.

The sun came out and brightened the view at one of my favorite White Mountain ponds.


The next morning I enjoyed a leisurely bushwhack partway up Stark Falls Brook in Kinsman Notch. The falls for which the brook was named is a lovely spot, not far from the road.

This brook is a long-running "cascade event," one coming soon after another. Neighboring Beaver Brook is steep and spectacular. Stark Falls Brook is mellow and mossy. They are equally beautiful.

An old mossy log in the streamside forest.

More cascades....

Much of the way I clambered up the rocky bed of the brook.

The "X" cascade.

With limited time, I turned around at this fine cascade and pool. Click here for an account of an exploration farther up the brook last summer.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


With showers forecasted to move in mid to late afternoon, I opted for a leisurely shorter hike on the west slopes of North Kinsman, visiting two notable features - Kinsman Flume and Bald Peak - plus a couple of off-trail cascades.

This old sugarhouse is a familiar landmark 0.6 mile in on the Mount Kinsman Trail.

  Near the first brook crossing is the former site of Kinsman Cabin, built in 1937 to serve backcountry skiers and removed in the 1980s. From here the Kinsman Ski Trail ascended to Kinsman Ridge between the Middle and South Cannon Balls.

Some rock work can still be seen at the site.

I always stop to admire this massive old yellow birch beside the trail, a "warrior tree."

 The Mount Kinsman Trail is well-cared for by adopter Bruce Richards.

This lovely cascade spot along the trail was called "Mossy Falls Brook" in early AMC guidebooks.

Fine rock step work at the crossing of Flume Brook, placed during a multi-day project in September 2013 by the Trailwrights volunteer maintenance group. More rock steps are in the works, possibly later this summer.

A small sign marks the side path down to the Kinsman Flume.

The side trail provides a couple of glimpses down into the flume from the brink. Caution advised!

This was originally called Howland's Flume, after its discoverer, and was a popular natural attraction in the late 1800s. This stereoview by the Littleton (NH) View in the digital collection of the New York Public Library. Kris Pastoriza of Easton clued me in on the stereoview. She wrote much about the history of the Easton valley as part of the nomination for the Ham Branch watershed into the New Hampshire Rivers Management and Protection Program. An interesting article about the flume was published in 1880 in the White Mountain Echo, a popular tourist newspaper.

I reached the bottom of Kinsman Flume via a short but steep and thick bushwhack.

Looking down Flume Brook from the bottom of the flume.

The flume seen from the top, standing in the bed of Flume Brook.

New trail signs at the Bald Peak spur junction.

Passing through a stand of dead trees on the Bald Peak spur trail.

Ledgy walking.

North Kinsman looms above the expansive ledges of Bald Peak (2470 ft.), one of the best lower elevation destinations in the Whites.

Looking towards the Cannon Balls.

The south view to Mount Moosilauke, Mount Clough and the Benton Range.

The classic profile of Moosilauke seen from the north. Hazy sun and a pleasant breeze encouraged a long stay on the ledges.

On the way down I bushwhacked to some cascades along a brook above the Mount Kinsman Trail.

More cascades.

And another.

A nice place to relax for a few minutes.

A shallow pothole.

One of the biggest galls I've ever seen.

On a whim, I followed an unmarked mountain bike trail for part of the descent. This made many switchbacks and meanderings through open hemlock woods before crossing the lower Mount Kinsman Trail. I got out just before late day showers arrived, and dodged raindrops to grab a few geocaches along Rt. 116.

Monday, July 20, 2015


On a crystal clear, sunny day with low humidity, I enjoyed an "oddball" traverse of Cannon Mountain. Starting late morning, I went up the Hi-Cannon Trail route to the summit and 100-mile views, then down the Kinsman Ridge Trail to Coppermine Col. From there I bushwhacked down the Coppermine Brook valley to the Coppermine Trail, and exited to Rt. 116 after a visit to Bridal Veil Falls.

The trails weren't all that busy despite the gorgeous weather, and I saw a total of only about 10 hikers along the ascent to Cannon. The lower mile of Hi-Cannon Trail keeps your attention with its many small switchbacks. On some of these erosion has taken its toll.

One of the more pleasant stretches of this part of Hi-Cannon.

This upturned yellow birch is an interesting landmark just above the Dodge Cutoff junction.

A rough and rocky traverse high on the side of Franconia Notch.

First vista across the Notch.

The Cliff House is a cool overhang up above the trail on the right. You have to scramble up a bit to see it.

This ladder is the feature for which Hi-Cannon Trail is best known.

The ladder from above, also showing the ledge traverse at the top with  2 X 4's bolted on for extra foothold security.

The view of Franconia Ridge from the top of the ladder.

The first of the three outlooks in the section where Hi-Cannon Trail slabs across the face of Cannon's south ridge.

The lower end of Franconia Notch and Mount Liberty.

A great look at Franconia Ridge.

Lonesome Lake and the Kinsmans from the third and best outlook.

Close-up of the Kinsmans.

A great bird's eye view of Lonesome Lake.

The upper part of Hi-Cannon Trail follows a ledgy swath in places.

The weathered sign at the junction with Kinsman Ridge Trail.

On the Rim Trail approaching the summit I ran into Lizz Mague and her husband Dave. They were playing tourist with a Tramway ride after hiking Owl's Head the day before. The view from the tower were phenomenal, including Cannon's unique perspective on the Cannon Balls and Kinsmans.

Mount Moosilauke and its spurs, Mounts Jim, Waternomee and Braley, pop out behind South Kinsman.

Peering down at Coppermine Col, between Cannon and the Cannon Balls, where I would launch my bushwhack down into the Coppermine Brook valley.

The summit tower has a great look down into the Coppermine Brook valley. Out to the west it was clear enough to glimpse Macomb Mountain in the Adirondacks, 100 miles away.

Looking down Cannon's south ridge.

The long south view through Franconia Notch.

The classic view of Franconia Ridge beyond Cannon's East Peak.

After a thorough scanning of the views, I left the tower mid-afternoon and headed south on the Kinsman Ridge Trail. I enjoyed this vista over the  Coppermine Brook valley from a trailside outlook  below the Hi-Cannon junction.

A unique perspective on Mitttersill Peak, the NW spur of Cannon.

Then I headed down the notoriously steep, rocky and rough descent into Coppermine Col. Yikes!

I came down this once in winter and vowed never to repeat that. With crusty/icy conditions, I almost slid off this tricky sidehill.

Rather daunting looking back up.

This huge trailside rock marks the bottom of the steep descent.

The trail through Coppermine Col.

My bushwhacking buddy John "1HappyHiker" Compton did the Coppermine Brook valley whack in the reverse direction in 2009 and his report provided inspiration for today's trip. I found open fir woods on the upper part of the descent into the valley from Coppermine Col.

At 3000 ft. I came upon a headwater of Coppermine Brook.

A glimpse of Mittersill Peak looming high above now.

The woods were thicker as I followed the growing brook downward.

A small cascade high in the valley.

And another.

These woods seemed open on a late winter, deep-snow ramble into the middle part of the valley several years ago. In summer some areas were fairly thick with small conifers and, farther down, with hobblebush.

There were also some nice open ferny glades.

A particularly picturesque forest scene.

Some rougher whacking brought me down to the top of a ledgy cascade section on Coppermine Brook that I had previously visited on late fall and deep winter explorations.

The uppermost cascades in this lovely area.

Mountain avens was blooming on the ledges.

The cascades drop into a fine pothole.

The cascade at the bottom of the ledges.

A streamside scene beside the cascade. From here I bushwhacked up to the old Coppermine Ski Trail (built in the 1930s by the CCC) and followed it down to the Coppermine Trail near the bridge over Coppermine Brook.

I made the 0.2 mile side trip up the trail to the base of Bridal Veil Falls, always a gorgeous scene to behold.

I scrambled partway up for a closer look at the main falls, then headed back down the trail, stopping to snag a geocache Carol had placed here last year.

A Hermit Thrush was serenading as I descended through this beautiful stretch of mature hardwood forest.

I paid a quick visit to the "Bette Davis Cascade" and the adjacent plaque placed in the 1960s by the famous actress, then found Carol's other geocache along the trail before hustling out the final mile at dusk. Thanks to Carol for covering the store today, placing the two geocaches to find on the Coppermine Trail, and for picking me up at the trailhead!