Wednesday, May 15, 2013

For a number of years, Rick Neville (L) and Dave Stinson (R), both members of the 4000-Footer Club and residents in the seacoast area of New Hampshire, have helped me maintain the Passaconaway Cutoff, the adopted trail of the AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee. We had perfect weather for this spring maintenance trip - sunny with cool temperatures topping out in the high 50s, a breeze, and virtually no bugs. On the way in we did a little work on the first 1.9 miles of the Oliverian Brook Trail. Rick and a friend adopted the full 4.4 mile length of that mellow and attractive trail last year.

 Fresh spring greens were popping on a hardwood section of Passaconaway Cutoff. 

After completing work (cleaning drainages and removing blowdown) on the lower half of the Cutoff, we took a break at the "lunch rocks" on the West Branch of Oliverian Brook.

Near the top of the trail, a ledge offers a restricted northward vista to Hedgehog Mountain and the Nancy Range. The views were very clear today.

After completing the drainage cleaning on the upper half of the Cutoff, Rick and I extended our hike for 0.4 mile along the Square Ledge Trail to see the view from the slide on the flank of Nanamocomuck Peak (an eastern spur of Mt. Passaconaway). Along the way the trail passes the site of a century-old logging camp of the Conway Lumber Company, where someone had put this sled runner out on display.

Rick makes his way up the Square Ledge Trail.

The slide comes right down to the trail, and a careful scramble of one minute or less rewards with an excellent view north. Rick grabbed the camera for a quick shot of me.

Rick gives the "thumbs-up" to a great day in the mountains. Last year Rick completed his Northeast 111 list with a peakbagging binge in the Adirondacks.

The slide offers a neat view of ledgy Hedgehog Mountain, with Mt. Washington seen in the distance between Mt. Tremont and Bartlett Haystack.

A zoom on Mt. Washington and the snow-streaked headwall of Oakes Gulf.

Looking up to the SE shoulder of Mt. Passaconaway.

Looking up the old slide.

Peering down the slide to Rick sitting on the first shelf above the trail.

While we were lounging on the slide after completing the waterbars, Dave, a USFS-certified crosscut sawyer, was hard at work removing a large yellow birch blowdown from the lower part of the trail, using "Gram," his restored one-man crosscut saw with a Great American tooth pattern.

From the slide, Rick and I returned to the Cutoff. Rick headed down to help Dave remove a number of blowdowns on the lower Oliverian Brook Trail, while I spent a couple of hours brushing my way down the hobblebush-lined upper section of the Cutoff. Our team got a lot done today!

Late in the afternoon I negotiated the rather shaky crossing of the West Branch of Oliverian Brook, with this view upstream.

A beautiful mixed-woods stand on the Cutoff, below the brook crossing.

A nice cluster of Painted Trilliums along the Oliverian Brook Trail. By 6:15 we were all out of the woods. Thanks for all your help, Dave and Rick!


  1. As much as I enjoy views, ponds and woods, I've found there's nothing more consistently satisfying than doing trail maintenance, especially given the USFS cutbacks. Now when you can mix it up with views, all the better. :)

    1. I agree, Mike - trail maintenance is very satisfying. It is nice to get a view at the top/end as a little reward!


  2. Thank you Steve for this report.

  3. Hi Steve,
    I would like to do Tri-pyramids, passaconaway and Whiteface this summer in one day. Do you advise a loop, an out and back, or a traverse with a longish car spot? Greatly enjoy your blog.
    Paul Ferguson

    1. Thanks, Paul! Probably the best bet to do those is to go up Pine Bend Brook Trail, across the Tripyramids and Sleepers, then on to Whiteface and Pasaconaway and down via Walden/Square Ledge/Passaconaway Cutoff/Oliverian Brook. It's a long day! There's about 3.2 miles between the two trailhead, so a car (or bike) spot would be good. Note that the Kate Sleeper Trail between East Sleeper and Downes Brook Trail was obliterated by Hurricane Sandy - hundreds of blowdowns. The WODC will be up there soon I'm sure, but it will take some time to clear it.


  4. Here is blast from the Albany Intervale past:,2565844&dq=albany+intervale&hl=en