Friday, October 20, 2017


What a week of warm, golden October days! Ideal weather for doing some trail work and enjoying some late foliage.

One day Mark Klim and I did the fall maintenance on the west half of the UNH Trail on Hedgehog Mountain, one of my adopted trails. This is one of the longer of the three dozen drainages on this section. Thanks to Mark for his hard work!

Halfway up, we took a break in the sun on Allen's Ledge.

View of Albany Intervale from Allen's Ledge.

Mark cuts up a blowdown with his Silky saw.

Near-summit view of Mt. Washington behind Mt. Tremont.

Fall color on the north side of the summit.

Nice late color in the Oliverian Brook valley.

The mighty Passaconaway, its lower slopes awash in orange.


Looking west to Tripyramid.

Hancock and Carrigain.

Carter Dome in the distance through Bear Notch.

Before heading down we made a short bushwhack to an interesting creviced ledge on the east side of the summit.

From here, a view to Bear Mountain and the Moats.

Mark heads down the trail into the views.

A couple days later I did some drainage cleaning on my adopted one-mile section of the Hurricane Trail at the base of Mt. Moosilauke.

Another golden October day.

Autumn at its finest.

One of several long drainages on this section of trail.

Alongside the Baker River.

Footbridge over Gorge Brook.

On the way back I checked out the recently opened new Ravine Lodge. It's a spectacular structure!

Big windows with a mountain view in the dining area.

Map of former ski trails behind the Ravine Lodge.

Dartmouth Outing Club humor.

Mt. Moosilauke rises behind the Lodge.


In case you were wondering...

Later that day I took a short loop hike in the Smarts Brook area. From a spur off an unofficial mountain bike trail I gained this colorful vista of Welch-Dickey and the southern ridges of Mt. Tecumseh.

Jennings Peak and Sachem Peak.

I crossed the exposed dam at the Smarts Brook beaver pond, alongside the Smarts Brook Trail. Not surprisingly, the water level was very low.

An old beaver lodge.

A different perspective on Sachem and Jennings.

The Black Mountain ridge leading up to Sandwich Dome.

Reflected view of the lower Black Mountain.

More foliage reflections.

Ambitious beavers.

Scenic ledgy spot on Smarts Brook.

A visitor takes in the scene at the Smarts Brook cascade.

Monday, October 16, 2017


On a cloudy fall morning, seven of us gathered at the Livermore trailhead in Waterville Valley for the 29th annual White Mountain Cropwalk, a "hike for hunger" that benefits the programs of Church World Service. This year's participants included Thom Davis, Roger Doucette, Dennis Lynch, Mary Ann McGarry, Candace Morrison, Gary Tompkins and this correspondent. Our route followed a 10 1/2-mile loop past a variety of interesting features in the Waterville backcountry. Since its inception in 1989 our walk has raised more than $77,000 for the anti-hunger programs of Church World Service, with more than $19,000 of that provided to local food pantries in the western White Mountains. We owe the success of our walk to the consistent generosity of our sponsors. The CROP Walk theme is “Ending hunger, one step at a time.” To make a donation for our walk, visit


Getting ready to head out from the Livermore trailhead.

Checking out the tall white pines at the end of the Big Pines Path.

Low water on the Mad River.

Along the Livermore Trail.

Ascending a sidecut relocated section of the Kettles Path, fine work performed by the Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association.

Geology professor Thom Davis checks out one of the three deep depressions known as "kettles," reputedly of glacial origin, along the Kettles Path.

 Roger spotted this bear tree along the ascent to The Scaur.

We took a long break at the fine ledgy viewpoint known as The Scaur.


Thom surveys the scene from a lofty perch.

Foliage below The Scaur.

The sun began breaking through, opening up the views. It soon turned into a gorgeous sunny, mild October day.

Group photo taken by Gary Tompkins on The Scaur. Left to right: Roger Doucette, Candace Morrison, Mary Ann McGarry, Steve Smith, Thom Davis, Dennis Lynch, and Gary Tompkins.

Looking towards Thornton Gap.

Next up was Irene's Path, a great new trail opened in 2014 to replace the washed-out Flume Brook Trail.

Along Irene's Path.

Prow-like ledge beside the trail.

Nature's sculpture.

Beech color along the ridge.

Fine rock step work crafted by OBP Trailworks. The construction of this trail in very rugged terrain was quite a feat:

As the trail descends towards Flume Brook, it passes this unique view towards Mad River Notch.

Mt. Osceola and East Osceola, with the prominent Painted Cliff in the center.

The western knob of Mt. Kancamagus, with the K1 Cliff (in back).

A towering fractured rock wall at the Waterville Flume.

Hanging out at the edge of the Flume.

Flume Brook slides down through the chasm.

Looking back from within the Flume.

The geology prof gives a brief lesson.

Ascending the Old Skidder Trail.

Big rock slab above the Old Skidder Trail.

 Maple and mountain ash color.

The wild upper section of Old Skidder Trail. Lots of hobblebush.

On to the Livermore Trail. Having lingered at several locations, we were running late and skipped a planned side trip out to the Flume Brook Camp clearing.

Descending the upper Livermore Trail was pure delight on this golden October day.

Beautiful corridor.

One of the best parts of the hike. North Tripyramid could be glimpsed through the trees.

Taking a break at the Scaur Ridge Trail junction.

Apple tree at the Avalanche Camp clearing, a logging camp used in the 1930s.


The camp clearing.

Interesting split on this boulder.

Roger and Gary looking serious at White Cascade on Slide Brook, next to the Livermore Trail.

Beautiful pool below White Cascade.

One of a half-dozen cascades along the Cascade Path.

Admiring the water-sculpted ledges along Cascade Brook.

Two towering pines frame the ledges at the top of another waterfall.

Veiled waterfall vista.

Bird's eye view of the lowest cascade.

Lowest cascade from below.

Along the quiet Norway Rapids Trail.

Crossing Slide Brook at the Norway Rapids. This crossing is normally difficult, but the current low water level made it fairly easy.

The lower section of the scenic Norway Rapids. From here we took the Livermore Trail back to the trailhead, concluding a fine fall day in the Watervlle backcountry.