Saturday, November 9, 2013


My brother Drew came up for a quick visit from Connecticut and we were blessed with a fine partly sunny and relatively warm November day for our hike. Mt. Waumbek was one of the peaks Drew needed for his 4000-footer list, and it's a good choice for November as there is generally little ice on the moderately-graded Starr King Trail. The parking lot at the end of the rough access road was empty, and we didn't see another hiker all day. With muzzleloader season on, we wore our blaze orange vests.

A short way up we passed one of the landmarks of the Starr King Trail, the foundation of an old springhouse.

About a mile in, the trail crests a ridge amidst a magnificent hardwood forest.

A good display of bracket fungi.

A fine day in the November woods.

At 2900 ft. the trail abruptly enters conifer woods and begins a long traverse along the flank of Mt. Starr King.

Benchmark on summit ledge of Mt. Starr King (3907 ft.). The mountain was named for the Rev. Thomas Starr King, whose 1859 book, The White Hills: Their Legends, Landscape and Poetry, inspired thousands of visitors to head for the Whites.

This fireplace from an old shelter still stands in the clearing just below the summit of Starr King. I once spent a night in this shelter with some friends back in 1979.

The overgrown viewpoint here was cleared out by unknown parties a year or so ago, and there is once again a good vista.

Looking out to Mt. Deception, the Willey Range, Mt. Carrigain and Mt. Hancock.

Heading east along the ridge from Mt. Starr King through the beautiful fir forest typical of the Pliny and Pilot Ranges. On the way back we had a good look at a male Spruce Grouse near here.

Drew at the wooded summit of Mt. Waumbek (4006 ft.).

Here is the start of the 20.6 mi. Kilkenny Ridge Trail, perhaps this tramper's favorite footpath in the Whites for its miles of gorgeous woods, its several interesting viewpoints, its two serene ponds, and its unsurpassed sense of remoteness.

A short distance east of the summit is the currently wide-open Waumbek viewpoint. I counted 27 White Mountain 4000-footers visible from here.

 A great spread of the Presidentials.

Mts. Madison and Adams, with King Ravine and the Knife-Edge of Durand Ridge prominently seen.

We made the short journey along the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the east knob of Mt. Waumbek. Beyond the outlook, the usage of this trail drops off dramatically.

The interesting view from the east knob looking north to the Kilkenny region is getting more and more restricted by trees. There's still a nice peek at Mt. Cabot, with its great talus slope, and The Horn.

By poking around you can find a window view to South Terrace and its slide, with Unknown Pond Ridge and Square Mountain beyond.

Heading back from the east knob.

RMC trail sign at summit of Waumbek.

Late afternoon light on the Presidentials from the Starr King viewpoint. It was a fine day to experience the quiet beauty of the Pliny Range.

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