LEDGE ON KINSMAN RIDGE: 12/22/14
Continuing a series of snowshoe bushwhacks in the Kinsman Notch area, where the snow cover has been excellent this month, I set my sights on a ledge on a southern spur of Kinsman Ridge, between Lost River and the Monkey Cliffs. I had a good view of this ledge from the pulloff where I launched a trek to the Zem Zem Glades the previous week. For today's hike I parked at the plowed pulloff for the "Luck of the Irish" ice climbing area and walked about 0.4 mile up the road, passing this good view of the Monkey Cliffs along the way.
From an unplowed pulloff where I would head into the woods, I could see my objective - the snowy patch in the upper right of the photo below. The direct approach from below would be too steep, so I mapped out a longer traversing ascent across the slope.
I descended to cross the partly frozen Lost River.
I used this ledgy spot that I found last summer, which required one long step - rather awkward with snowshoes - to get across the gap.
Before heading up the slope, I checked out these suspended century-old relics from the Gordon Pond logging railroad, which were discovered by photographer and history buff Erin Paul Donovan last summer.
On the bushwhack I came across several old sled roads from that early 1900s logging operation.
This big beech has been a popular bruin hangout.
The bushwhack was through hardwoods all the way, though were plenty of "sons of beeches" to push through.
Every good hardwood whack needs an ent tree.
A nice open stretch.
I leveled out on this neat plateau at about 2080 ft.before the final push up to the 2200-ft. ledge.
Winding up one of the steeper pitches. As the morning went on and the temperature rose, the snow became increasingly soft and wet.
Two hours up from the road I reached the ledge, and with some maneuvering worked my way out to a flat perch looking across at Mt. Waternomee and its eastern spur (called "Nameless Mountain" in the 1880s by early AMC explorer Isabella Stone).
On the steep flank of "Nameless Mountain" are parallel plunging brookbeds. Last summer Erin Donovan and I came out at the edge of the open ledgy patch on the brook to the right, after following a contouring old sled road.
The most striking view from the ledge was its perspective on the steep southwestern wall of Kinsman Notch: Mt. Waternomee, Mt. Jim, Mt. Blue and a northern sub-peak of Blue.
The Beaver Brook Cascades drop precipitously under Mt. Blue.
On the left, the faint outline of the Waternomee Waterslide. On the right, the Zem Zem Glades, where I was snowshoeing a few days earlier.
A zoom on the Lost River complex.
The cloud lifts briefly off Mt. Blue, at 4529 ft. the second highest of the Moosilauke peaks and a member of the Trailwrights list. In 1884 AMCers E.B. Cook and W.M. Sargent made the short bushwhack to Mt. Blue from the old Little's Path, and “by sitting ten feet aloft in a tree-top, an unobstructed circular view was gained.”
Looking down at the flat perch with the best view towards the notch.
I made an up, around and down loop to access the views from the other (west) edge of the ledge, passing another good bear tree en route.
The west edge offered a fine vista down the Lost River valley.
The sprawling ridges of Mt. Tecumseh and Sandwich Dome.
Looking directly down at Rt. 112.
My car looked far away! About a mile and a half, including the road walk.
Following my tracks back down through the soft snow.
Back across the Lost River, followed by the short climb up to Rt. 112, concluding another fun snowshoe bushwhack in Kinsman Notch.