OLD BRIDLE PATH: 2/19/13
A morning snowshoe hike to the spectacular outlooks over Walker Ravine two miles up the Old Bridle Path. This is one of the most rewarding half-day hikes in the western Whites. It was a gorgeous sunny morning, and surprisingly there were only three cars in the parking lot when I arrived at 9:00 am.
Near the start, the OBP has been relocated to the R to bypass a section washed out by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. Though the trail was pretty well-packed, it was a bit choppy, especially in drifted areas, and I wore my small MSR snowshoes for stability and traction.
Nice open woods as the trail climbs up the ridge above the state park/WMNF boundary.
From the first of three outlooks at 1.9-2.0 miles, peering up Agony Ridge to Mt. Lafayette.
The classic Old Bridle Path view of Mts. Lafayette and Lincoln.
Mt. Lafayette rising above the northern ravine of Walker Brook.
Looking at Little Haystack Mtn. above Mt. Lincoln's long western ridge, unofficially named "Carpenter's Ridge." In 1897, AMC trailman Frank Carpenter opened a trail to Mt. Lincoln up this ridge, ending with a scramble up an impressive rocky arete below the summit. In his Guidebook to the Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley, he said it was accessible to "climbers with strong muscles and cool heads." The trail was soon obliterated by logging.
A zoom on ice-locked Shining Rock Cliff.
The great amphitheater at the head of Dry Brook.
Mt. Moosilauke seen above the SE spur of South Kinsman.
Long view south down I-93 and the Pemigewasset valley.
A down-look into the northern Walker Brook ravine.
View across to the Kinsmans, showing the great extent of South Kinsman's trailless SE ridge.
I spent about an hour at the upper of the three outlooks, and in that time no other hikers came by.
Snowshoeing a bit through the hardwoods on the way down.
Cool sign at the trailhead, with text in English and French. Franconia Ridge is immensely popular with hikers from Quebec.
There were only three cars in the parking lot besides mine when I got down at 12:30 pm, and I encountered only four other hikers in three-plus hours. Amazing on such a fine morning.