AL MERRILL LOOP: 7/7/14
Took a Monday morning off to hike a mellow 5+ mile loop on the east side of Mt. Moosilauke, following the Asquam-Ridge Trail and Al Merrill Loop. Saw some iome interesting sights along the way. Thanks to Carol for watching the store for half a day!
A cluster of tall meadow-rue near the start of the trail.
The railing on this bridge over the Baker River on the Ridge Trail was battered by high water in late June, during a storm when 7 inches of rain was recorded at nearby Lost River.
I believe this weedy opening along the Ridge Trail is the site of the Champlain Realty Company's Camp 3, used during a logging operation around 1920.
This was the only artifact I found with a few minutes of poking around the site.
Severe erosion on the Ridge Trail from the late June cloudburst.
The Baker River, flowing out of Jobildunc Ravine.
Nice pool in the river.
Old boards at the site of Parker Young Company's Camp 3 along the Ridge Trail. Under the direction of P-Y boss Sherman Adams, this was the base for a big logging cut in Jobildunc Ravine in the 1940s.
An old bottle that was lying half-buried in the woods.
Some kind of medicine bottle?
This bed frame is visible from the trail, if you look carefully.
A glimpse of Moosilauke's East Peak from near the Ridge Trail/Al Merrill Loop junction.
Very pleasant walking on the Al Merrill Loop.
Weaving through the ferns.
Into the fir forest, approaching the trail's high point at 3500 ft., near the crest of the Blue Ridge between Mt. Braley and Mt. Kirkham.
Sign marking the outlook just past the high point on the trail.
A vigorous growth of young fir is blotting out the views from this cleared outlook. Standing on a rock, you can still see the South Peak, East Peak and main summit of Mt. Moosilauke.
From here you can also see the 1927 slides in Gorge Brook Ravine. The old Gorge Brook Slide Trail followed the biggest slide.
I made a brief bushwhack foray to the wild crest of the Blue Ridge.
Coming down the Al Merrill Loop, I went slightly off-trail to admire this lush forest glade.
I checked out Dartmouth Outing Club's John Rand Cabin, built in 1983 and available for rent by reservation through the DOC. It was unoccupied today (I checked ahead of time on the DOC wesbite).
The cabin is named after one of the outstanding persons in the annals of the DOC.
Summertime, and the livin' is easy...
The view from the chair.
No hike from this trailhead is complete without a visit to Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.
There's always a friendly welcome inside from the youthful DOC staff.
The view from the front of the lodge.
Major changes - renovation or a complete rebuilding - are in store for the lodge, which was built in 1937-38 from virgin spruce cut off a nearby slope and 75 years later is showing its age. It's still a wonderful place!