Thursday, April 16, 2009

Eagle Ledge is the last southern outpost of the Moat Range, a 250-ft. cliff facing SE that is well-known to rock climbers. Several pages are devoted to it in Ed Webster's climbing guide. After abandoning a trek on the Carter Ledge Trail due to mushy snow and standing water, I drove up Passaconaway (formerly Dugway) Road 3/4 mile west of the new South Moat trailhead. The whack to the top of Eagle Ledge was 98% bare ground from the start through dry oak, pine and hemlock woods. I circled around the W side through some steep, rocky terrain and emerged on ledges with a stellar view of Mt. Chocorua and the Third Sister.

Just above here I peered across at the impressive main cliff. I watched a pair of circling ravens who apparently have a nest under an overhang. This was especially interesting as I am currently reading naturalist Bernd Heinrich's "Ravens in Winter" with "Mind of the Raven" on deck. They have an amazing variety of calls. From the top of the main cliff the views stretched east to the Green Hills and Pleasant Mountain.

At the top of the shoulder was a big, gently sloping granite slab where someone had built a rock windbreak, complete with flat slabs for backrests. This spot proved irresistible for a long nap in the spring sun.

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