Friday, March 4, 2011


A short bushwhack on a gorgeous afternoon, up the ridge on the north side of Lafayette Brook to an area with interesting views of Mt. Lafayette up the valley.

I parked at the plowed Gallen Circle parking area (off Exit 34C, I-93), put on my big old 30" Tubbs snowshoes for the deep, unconsolidated snow, and crossed the old highway bridge, which itself has a fine view up the Lafayette Brook valley to the summit. There are also distant views west from here.

Other than an occasional brushy area, the woods on this whack were wonderfully open hardwood and birch. The birches are the legacy of a forest fire in 1903, the biggest burn year ever in the Whites.

The breaking was slow and heavy.

Gnarled old yellow birches.

A wide open glade just behind the scrubby, thickly grown view area.

First viewpoint looking up the Lafayette Brook valley.

A bit farther along, from the most open viewpoint.

Lafayette was caked in white from a snowstorm two days earlier.

Farther up the same ridge is what Chris Whiton (NeoAkela) has dubbed "Sleeping Chief Ledge." It is a worthy bushwhack destination with a nice hangout spot. No time for that today, though.

To the right I could see the wooded back side of Eagle Cliff, giving no indication of its precipitous face on the Franconia Notch side. There is reportedly some old-growth hardwood down on those lower slopes.

Back down on the bridge with late afternoon light on Lafayette. At any time of year, the bridge is a nice spot to bring non-hikers to see a neat mountain vista.

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