LIVERMORE PASS RAMBLE: 5/23/16
With a 1:00 pm start on a sunny Monday the Livermore Pass area beckoned as you can reach a wild and remote area in just two miles from the Kancamagus Highway end of the Livermore Trail. Livermore Pass is a broad gap between Tripyramid's Scaur Peak and Mount Kancamagus. On this trek I could combine a trail section I wanted to check the condition of for the AMC White Mountain Guide with some backcountry bushwhacking.
From its trailhead high on the Kanc, the Livermore Trail follows a grassy logging road at first.
About a third of a mile in it crosses a wildlife opening with a glimpse of the Livermore Pass area ahead.
At 1.7 miles the trail approaches the climb into the pass, overlooked by some gnarled old hardwoods.
The start of the steep climb, which doesn't last too long.
Here the Livermore Trail clings to a narrow, steep, gravelly sidehill along the edge of a gorge. This is a tricky section in winter.
Looking down into the gorge.
The last bit of climbing is in a dry rocky brookbed.
Up in the pass the trail skirts a small high-country meadow.
A sign marks the 2900-ft. high point of the trail.
The trail through the pass feels like it's a million miles from nowhere.
I wanted to visit the northern of two beaver ponds on the high plateau south of the pass. These are accessible in winter via the Kancamagus Brook Ski Trail and offer views of the Tripyramids. The ski trail is way too swampy for summer hiking, so I bushwhacked across from the pass through dry and surprisingly open woods. I made frequent compass and GPS checks in this flat, confusing terrain.
Why the ski trail is not good for hiking.
More of the same in the other direction.
The ponds can be seen resting on their high plateau from North Tripyramid (with deep snowpack) and from the North Slide.
These days they are more swamps than ponds.
Love takes many forms.....
From a couple of visits on snowshoes years ago I knew there were good views of the Tripyramids to be found here. I worked my way around through the dry woods behind the shore and came to the edge for the view. From this angle you can see why Scaur Peak (on the left) was once called the "Fourth Pyramid."
A closer look at the "Tris."
Scaur Peak, a gentle soul among summits.
I was in the neighborhood, so I continued on a gentle whack up to 2980-ft. Flume Peak. I remembered birch glades from a snowshoe visit many years ago and was not disappointed.
A great old yellow birch near the summit.
Wonderful open woods.
The summit area features beautiful meadowy glades.
A bed of dried ferns beckoned for a snooze.
Evening light on the husk of a fallen giant.
Back down through the glades.
I stopped by for another look at the beaver pond.
Dropping down out of the pass.