Thursday, June 5, 2014


After a late morning meeting, I spent an enjoyable afternoon and evening birding and breaking in a new pair of hiking boots in the Glencliff area, featuring a trek into the wonderfully scenic Tunnel Brook Notch, one of my favorite places in the Whites.

First stop was Hildreth Pond, a manmade water body along Rt. 25 just outside of Warren. From the dam embankment there's a long view out to Webster Slide Mountain.

In the other direction there's a lovely pastoral vista towards Carr Mountain.

The dam was built in 1967 and was later named after a local soldier who was killed in action in Vietnam in 1969.

Next I headed over to the Glencliff Trail for a walk up through the fields, looking for birds, and a visit to the Dartmouth Outing Club's Great Bear Cabin. From the first field the trail passes through, you get a partial view of Blueberry Mountain.

From the second field you look up towards Bald Hill. Not much birding action, since it was early afternoon.

The DOC Great Bear Cabin, located on a side trail off the Glencliff Trail. It is available for rent by advance reservation through DOC. It was rebuilt in 1990 after the previous cabin burned.

The cabin was unoccupied, so I took a short break on the swinging bench on the porch.

The R-named privy has a most unusual two-seater design.

Creative use for a cookpot lid.

After returning to the trailhead, I paid a visit to the old High Street Cemetery, which was listed on the New Hampshire Register of Historic Places in 2012, as noted in this Views from the Top post by John "1HappyHiker" Compton.

One of the older headstones in the cemetery.

It was heartbreaking to see how many people died at a young age in those days.

Wyatt Hill and Webster Slide Mountain from the start of the Long Pond Road.

Cascade on Jeffers Brook along Tunnel Brook Trail. From here up the sound of tumbling Slide Brook was a constant companion along the trail.

There were several nice patches of Foamflower.

A bench beside a reservoir used by the Glencliff Home offers a nice break spot halfway up to Tunnel Brook Notch.

A beautiful, mellow trail with a narrow leafy footway.

A healthy colony of purple violets.

When I arrived at Mud Pond, the southernmost and largest of the chain of beaver ponds in Tunnel Brook Notch, there was a deer - a doe - browsing on the far shore. She stayed there the entire time while I lounged for a half-hour at a pondside spot along the trail.

The shore of Mud Pond offers a great view up to the south ridge and South Peak of Mt. Moosilauke.

The largest of the slides in Slide Ravine. I paid a visit there last October - an impressive swath of broken rock!

Beaver lodge at Mud Pond.

Beavers at work along the trail. It's blocking the way, but you can't really call this one a "blowdown."

Looking south down the string of beaver ponds.

Another beaver impoundment.

After the trail crosses Tunnel Brook to the east side of the notch, there are views of the great slides on Mt. Clough, framed in the spring greens of birches.

Some of the northern ponds are starting to revert to meadows.

A massive yellow birch along the trail.

The water level is down at the northernmost pond. Among other birds here, I found an Alder Flycatcher, a Spotted Sandpiper, and a chorus of Swainson's Thrushes.

The walls of the notch are steep!

Back towards the southern end of the notch, I relaxed at a grassy spot and listened to the primordial pipings of the spring peepers. A Ruffed Grouse was "drumming" in the woods behind me, and a pair of Ospreys cruised by overhead. While heading out past Mud Pond, I spotted a swimming beaver. In the past I've encountered Belted Kingfishers, moose and coyotes near here. There's always something happening in Tunnel Brook Notch.

Before heading home I made a brief side trip on the Town Line Trail (part of the AT) to have a look at Jeffers Brook Shelter.

The DOC has constructed a new outhouse here. They are the masters of privy craftsmanship! It was dark enough to use the flash - time to head for the car.