On a raw gray day I took two short hikes to interesting destinations on the western edge of the Whites.
This short, steep trail just outside of Woodsville is on land under conservation easement held by the Upper Valley Land Trust.
The trail makes a stiff climb up a well-defined oak-clad ridgelet.
Over the last two years significant improvements have been made in a cooperative effort of UVLT, the JAG (Jobs for America's Graduates) program at Woodsville High School, and AMC Trails. There are now six well-constructed switchbacks on the upper part of the trail, which formerly went straight up the slope.
Approaching the viewpoint on a spur of Gardner Mountain.
The "Lone Oak."
The view overlooks a long chain of mountains sprawling down the east side of the Connecticut River valley.
Piermont, Cube and Smarts.
The Benton Range - Black, Hogsback, Sugarloaf, Jeffers and Blueberry.
This area outside of Woodsville at the mouth of the Ammonoosuc River has the interesting name of No Man's Island.
Heading back down the steep little ridge.
Short hike #2 followed old woods roads and an unofficial but well-defined trail to Lake Constance, a fine backcountry pond that was added to the WMNF in the 1990s.
As it approaches the pond, the path runs along an unusual quartzite hogback forested with red pines and blueberry shrubs.
More red pines.
Looking down at the south end of the pond.
The path descends to this rocky spot behind the shore.
Looking north up Lake Constance.
All the comforts of home.
Looking south down the long, narrow pond.
Peering down at the bog-meadow at the south end of the pond.
On the way back I followed another unofficial path to a 1600-ft. knob with open quartzite ledges offering westerly views. Piermont Mountain is seen on the left.
A steep descent brought me to lower, more open ledges.
Prominent little Peaked Mountain in Piermont, with Killington on the horizon.
Big slabs and more Vermont mountains.