WELCH-DICKEY BOWL, 4/11/13
When Carol and I climbed Dickey Mountain a few days earlier, the bare hardwoods in the bowl-like valley between Dickey and Welch Mountain looked very inviting. Now getting into my annual spring ASAP (April Snow Avoidance Program) mode, I thought the bowl would make an interesting half-day exploration, with the goal of reaching some steep open slabs on the headwall of the valley.
At 9:00 am, there were no other cars in the Welch-Dickey parking lot - how often do you see that? Must be midweek in April.
I started up the Welch side of the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail.
The brook that drains the bowl was running pretty well where the trail crosses it near the start. The trail was fairly wet and had a few ice patches on it, and I was glad to leave it partway up the valley.
Not too far into the bushwhack I cut back over to the brook and found this nice ledgy waterslide.
Open hardwoods predominate in this valley, and in the lower part I could see the huge SW cliff of Dickey up through the trees.
Great spring hardwood whackin'.
Farther into the bowl was this thin little mossy waterslide. Sat here for a while and just watched, and listened.
Looking down from near the top of the waterslide.
Near the waterslide was a unique boulder that I suppose could be called "Boot Rock."
In the upper bowl, near the headwater of the brook.
Looking down in the upper bowl.
Many interesting boulders in this area. Took a nice break here.
From the boulder I traversed into open conifer forest, then picked my way carefully up through rough terrain to some steep slabs on the headwall, which is the south face of Dickey Mountain. From the edge of this slab I could look across to the summit of Welch Mountain.
These ledges were steep with treacherous, lichen-slicked footing. I did not venture out onto them, but instead followed a narrow strip of scrubby forest in between two slabs.
Higher up, a view out to the Campton Range.
I continued up to near the top of this slab.
There was another, equally steep slab on the left.
From the edge of the left (western) slab I had a good view down to the great SW cliff of Dickey, with Stinson Mountain beyond.
This was my little lunch spot between the slabs, at 2400 ft. I considered continuing up another 200 ft. to the trail, but there could have been unforeseen difficulties ahead in this terrain, and I had dropped a pocket notebook somewhere in the quarter-mile below and wanted to retrieve it if I could find it. I did find it, down near the boulder where I had taken a break.
On the way back down the valley, I contoured across on the west slope, hoping to get up under the SW cliff of Dickey. But the terrain was too gnarly with boulders with the limited time I had, and I headed back down to the floor of the valley.
In the rocky area was this old beech tree.
Yet another interesting boulder in this bowl. I hope to come back and explore some more another time.