Wednesday, December 7, 2016


I stayed low and stayed south for a short but steep bushwhack loop to four sunny view ledges on the south side of Bald Knob (Acteon Ridge), including two fine perches I hadn't visited before. This rugged area is always entertaining.

It was looking a bit like winter on Old Waterville Road.

New snow frames a watery sluice.

Open hemlock bushwhacking.

A pleasant sunny, ledgy area.

A big ledge looming ahead.

Rugged terrain!

I followed the tracks of a good-sized animal up this steep slope. The tracks had little definition in the powdery snow. Maybe a bear?

Looking back down at my own tracks.

A great perch awaited at the top.

This is a big, steep granite slab.

A nice view south.

Looking SW to Stinson and Carr Mountains.

Above the slab I ascended an interesting ridgecrest with oaks and snowy ledges under deep blue sky.

Big old red oaks.

A peek at the Black Mountain ridge.

Approaching the big open ledge at the top of the south spur of Bald Knob.

I sat on my pack here for a while, soaking up the sun, a rarity in December.

The snowy peak of Sandwich Dome.

Welch and Dickey Mountains beyond the steep face of Bald Knob.

From here I could see the day's last objective - a cliff (lower left) on the rugged south slope of Bald Knob. Would there be a feasible way to the top?

The cliff from the mini-valley below.

Side view of the cliff, which is occasionally ascended by rock climbers with a taste for remote crags. The prime route here is called Journey to Lost World  and is rated a difficult 5.10.

A small dike eroded into the granite.

It wasn't easy, but I was able to find a way to the top, where I discovered a surprisingly open viewpoint. Sandwich Dome's two Black Mountains were in full view.

A closer look at the Blacks.

By descending carefully to the edge I added Sandwich Dome's summit (far left) to the view.


Looking across to the south spur of Bald Knob, where I'd been a half-hour earlier.

Steep and slippery on the way back down from the clifftop, where Stabilicers proved handy for extra grip.

Not much to hang onto here!

This crawl-through was the key to the route up to the top of the cliff.

Friday, December 2, 2016


On a generally dreary day in Waterville Valley I found some decent views at The Scaur, traversed the wonderful Irene's Path, and checked out an improved viewing spot at the Flume. The rewarding round trip hike to The Scaur and the Waterville Flume is a bit over 6 miles via the Livermore Trail, Kettles Path and Irene's Path (opened in 2014 to replace the abandoned Flume Brook Trail, which was badly damaged by Tropical Storm Irene).

I started out from the empty Livermore Trail parking area late morning and soon came to the huge boulder in Slide Brook, for which the Boulder Path was named.

A new sign for the historic Kettles Path, which dates back to the 1890s. The whole trail from Livermore Trail to the Flume was called Irene's Path for a while, and the signs said as much, but the Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association (WVAIA) protested and the historic Kettles Path name was restored for the section up to The Scaur. The Scaur Trail name is no more.

Volunteers from the WVAIA constructed this fine sidecut section on the Kettles Path.

This big white pine, at the edge of one of the glacial depressions known as The Kettles, is one of my favorite blaze trees.

A rare spot of sun lights up the woods...

...and the trail.

It looks like a bear may have taken a chunk out of this new sign.

The gateway to The Scaur.

The south-facing viewpoint at The Scaur, a 2230-ft. rock nubble with a wide view over the Waterville Valley region.

The Mt. Tecumseh Ski Area is prominent to the SW.

The new Green Peak expansion area is seen on the left.

Lost Pass, shrouded in mystery.

Clouds boiling over Sandwich Dome.

Hardwoods below.

Middle & South Tripyramid made a brief appearance.

Exiting from The Scaur.

Onto Irene's Path, heading east up the ridge.

It's a wonderful trail, away from the crowds.

Nature's Sculpture: my wife Carol came up with the name - she has a geocache hidden nearby.

A cool trail.

Ridgetop hardwoods at 2500 ft.

One of several switchbacks on the descent down a steep slope into the Flume Brook valley.

The hike had been almost totally on bare ground until coming onto the deep ravine floor. The snow here was sloppy and slippery.

Trail junction near the Flume.

This year WVAIA volunteers cleared out flood debris from Tropical Storm Irene and opened access to a great view into the Flume.

This fractured cliff is much more visible in the wake of Irene.

Peering through the Flume.

Flume Brook was rocking after heavy rain.

On the way back, a misty view of Mad River Notch from Irene's Path.

Rock staircase built by the On the Beaten Path pro trail crew.

A ferny cap.

Irene's Path version of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Mt. Tecumseh seen beyond the cliff of The Scaur.

Bushwhacking down through hardwoods below The Scaur.