Wednesday, November 19, 2014

TUNNEL BROOK: 11/18/14

On an unseasonably cold November day I trekked into Tunnel Brook Notch from the north and saw some interesting sights along the way.

I parked at the gate where the road has been closed since washouts from Tropical Storm Irene and started a bit before noon. Major repair work has been going on here, so I had to bushwhack the first 0.8 mile to get around the construction zone, crossing Tunnel Brook twice. From there I enjoyed pleasant walking along the undamaged section of Tunnel Brook Road. The only bird I saw all day was a Snow Bunting foraging ahead of me along the road.

Not far before reaching the Benton Trail I spotted an old mossy foundation down in the woods.

Nearby were these old gear wheels - perhaps the remains of an old mill?

A rusting old culvert of some sort.

A bit farther along through the woods I came upon this rusted old car, which looks to be of Eliot Ness (late 1920s/early 1930s) vintage. Supposedly the last car to make it through Tunnel Brook Notch on the old road, before it was obliterated by landslides in 1927, was a Ford Model T. Could this be that car?

Open door view.

Interior view.

From the back. Still a bit of blue paint visible.

This rig was just behind the car; wonder what it was used for?

Looks like a gas tank.

On the other side of Tunnel Brook Road, off an overgrown loop road at the top of a hill, is the cellar hole from the old Parker House, a small hotel that operated from 1904 to about 1930.

In its heyday the Parker House had an open view up to the ridges of Mt. Moosilauke.

After another mile I reached the Tunnel Brook Trail. A half-mile or so up the trail was this nice gravel bar on Tunnel Brook.

Just upstream was a new beaver dam.

Rubbly outwash from Moosilauke's Benton (Tunnel) Ravine, swept down by Tropical Storm Irene. The brookbed is now dry here.

I took a short path out to a favorite beaver meadow with the ridges of Mt. Clough rising to the west.

I crossed the brook to the west side of the meadow where there is a peek into Benton Ravine.

It looked wintry on the high ridge.

More Moosilauke ridgeline to the south.

The mellow Tunnel Brook Trail.

The first Tunnel Brook crossing on the trail. Surprisingly, icy rocks were not a problem on the crossings.

A dusting of snow in the fine hardwoods approaching the second crossing.

When I arrived at the first beaver pond in Tunnel Brook Notch at 2:45, it was cold (about 20 or lower), windy and wonderfully desolate.

The old beaver dam at the first pond.

The big slides on Mt. Clough.

Looking north from the second beaver pond. The unique pond-and-slide scenery of Tunnel Brook Notch is some of the best in the Whites, and draws me back again and again.

From the third/fourth pond, another angle on the Clough slides. It was too late to go to Mud Pond at the south end of the notch, a half-mile away.

On the way back I pushed through dense spruce up an old slide track above the first pond on the Moosilauke side. This tiny stream runs down through the slide track.

I made my way to this open gravel patch, one of two remaining on this slide.

Clough slides from the Moosilauke slide.

In this view from a Clough slide, the outline of the old Moosilauke slide can be seen as the triangle and strip of dark spruces above the first two beaver ponds. The gravel patch I visited can be seen near the center of the photo.

A nice cairn along the Tunnel Brook Trail. I came out in the dark, and was able to walk the road the whole way as construction work was done for the day.

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