A leisurely snowshoe ramble on a sunny, cold, and breezy day. Wonderful river, pond and mountain views today.
For my late morning start, I opted to park at the well-plowed Hancock Campground and do a road walk after looking at the rutted entrance to the Lincoln Woods parking area.
This is what I wanted to avoid!
Good snow load on the trailhead kiosk.
Taken on its own merits, rather than as a slog at either end of a long pekabgging trek, Lincoln Woods Trail is quite enjoyable on a fine winter day.
The East Branch was mostly frozen over after the recent cold snap.
A drifted in snowshoe track headed up the Osseo Trail.
The Camp 8 clearing is a snowfield in winter.
Slide-streaked West Bond far off to the north.
Upstream to Bondcliff and its south spur.
Downstream to Mt. Osceola and its sharp Middle and West Peaks. The snowy top of the Dogleg Slide is prominent. In fact, this riverside vantage is where I first spotted that slide right after it fell during a rainstorm in late fall 1995.
The only hiker I would encounter all day had broken trail ahead of me through the new snow on the Black Pond Trail.
A short side excursion to the edge of the Ice Pond showed how strenuous off-trail travel is with the current soft, deep snowpack.
Mt. Flume across the meadow at the Ice Pond, which was created in the early 1900s to provide ice for J.E. Henry's logging camps.
As I passed by a trailside wooded swamp beyond the Ice Pond, out of the corner of my eye I saw a bird land on a dead snag. At first I thought "Blue Jay," but when I got a better look I said to myself, "That's no Blue Jay, but what is it." The bird conveniently stayed put as I fumbled for my binoculars in my big winter pack. When I zoomed in, I saw that it was a Northern Shrike, a rare winter visitor from the North, and a first for me. I watched it for a good ten minutes, and heard it give a variety of musical and almost whimsical calls.
Along the narrow, meandering Black Pond Trail.
FPA around the pond.
The "Owl's Head Spire" from the pond outlet.
The wild SE cliffs of Owl's Head.
The classic view across the pond from the end of the Black Pond Trail.
Bondcliff and its south spur.
Strange distorted tracks on the pond. Snowshoe hare?
The breaking was heavy across the pond, with a layer of slush beneath the snow.
Mt. Flume and its great NE ridge.
Gnarled and knuckled Whaleback ridges.
Leaving the pond for a short but slow bushwhack across to Franconia Falls.
Snowpack in the woods.
Plateau above the pond.
I descended a steep slope to the Fisherman's Path along Franconia Brook.
Looking north into the Pemi Wilderness along the cold and desolate Franconia Brook.
Heavy sidehill breaking along the Fisherman's Path.
I was happy to reach a broken track and the new sign marking the end of Franconia Falls Trail.
There's a deep green pool down there in summer.
Big rocks and snow sculptures.
Looking downstream from the broad ledges at the top of Franconia Falls.
North Hancock and the Cedar Brook Slide, which fell in 1927 and was renewed by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
A cold, cold pool at the Falls.