SANDWICH NOTCH EXPLORATION: 4/13/16
After a great initial ramble in the trailless Campton Range last week with Mark Klim, I wanted to return for some more exploration. The recent snow was all melted, and on a gorgeous, crisp spring day I enjoyed a marvelous bushwhack loop that took in three fine viewpoints plus many other interesting sights along the way.
I set out early in the morning on Chickenboro Road (off Sandwich Notch Road), so that I could be back to Lincoln in time for an evening meeting.
An unofficial mountain bike trail helped me get partway towards the start of the bushwhack up onto the long NE ridge of Mount Weetamoo.
I headed up a drainage to a col in the ridge, passing this boulder sculpture.
A natural gateway leading to the ridgecrest.
From the top of wooded cliffs, a peek at Mount Weetamoo.
Farther along I found some more open clifftops.
A better vista of Mount Weetamoo.
I could see a more open crag below, and made my way down to it.
This perch offered an excellent open view of Mount Weetamoo across the upper bowl of Chickenboro Brook, the inner sanctum of the little Campton Range.
Stinson and Carr Mountains out beyond the mouth of the valley.
A fine spot!
The next section of the ridge was cloaked in hardwoods.
Black cherry trees, which are common on hardwood ridges in the Catskills but not as much in the Whites.
An elder in mossy repose.
Lots of beeches.
A ridgetop boulder.
A giant oak at the edge of a rocky/ferny opening.
Beneath the towering oak was this diminutive twisted beech.
The Pileateds have worked this tree over pretty thoroughly.
More openings along the ridgecrest.
Reminiscent of ridges in the Catskills.
The next hump on the ridge looms ahead.
The woods go dark for a while.
A ridgetop sphagnum bog at 2300 ft.
From a ledgy spot, a glimpse of the east peak of Mount Weetamoo.
The eastern portal of Sandwich Notch, between Dinsmore Mountain and the Squam Range.
Not much left of this antler.
I dropped steeply off the ridge into a little hanging valley with a meandering brook.
I continued across through deep, wild spruce forest in search of some potential view ledges.
I had to circle around to get up onto these rugged outcrops.
A seldom-visited spot for sure, though someone once left their mark here.
The ledge from below.
This ledge opens a vista spanning the many spur ridges of Sandwich Dome. The summit itself is hidden behind Black Mountain.
Sachem Peak, Jennings Peak and the lower Black Mountain.
The cliffs and ledges of the upper Black Mountain, which is ascended, roughly, by the Algonquin and Black Mountain Pond Trails.
Another nice view to the east.
Lower Hall Pond and Mount Israel.
I headed for higher ledges through more stands of spruce.
From the brink of a cliff, there was an even better view of the Sandwich ridges.
The view north through Sandwich Notch was a stunning surprise.
Upper Hall Pond nestles on the floor of the notch, with Mount Tecumseh and the Osceolas beyond.
To the east, Middle and Lower Hall Ponds.
Secluded Middle Hall Pond was still mostly frozen.
Sandwich Mountain presiding over Upper and Middle Hall Ponds.
A finger of hardwood forest in the hanging valley.
A scene along the brook, which drains into the Hall Ponds.
An open glade that would be filled with ferns in summer.
Approaching a col in the ridge.
Nice woods at the col.
Descending from the col into the Chickenboro Brook valley, I encountered a number of ice flows on a shady slope of conifers.
A steep descent, slow and careful going down through here.
Yay for hardwoods in sight below!
Hardwoods, acres and acres of them, always a delight in early spring.
An old yellow birch.
A chaga tree.
I followed a branch of Chickenboro Brook down to the floor of the valley.
Farther down, the brook tumbled through a scenic little gorge.
Part two of the gorge.
The branch emptied into the main stream at an old beaver meadow.
I wondered who placed these wooden bars, and why.
The frogs were croaking in this pool - spring has arrived in the valleys!