Friday, October 16, 2020

Shelburne Trails: 10/15/20

Spent a fine October day revisiting several trails in the fine network maintained on the lower southern peaks of the Mahoosuc Range by the Shelburne Trails Club (STC).

Starting from North Road in Shelburne, I followed an access road to the start of the White Trail opposite this nicely situated cabin.

One of the attractive STC signs shows the way.

A beautiful day to be in the woods.

The White Trail ascends to a little peak with the nifty name of Crow's Nest. There's a nice red pine stand on its NW summit.

A recently opened loop extension leads to the SE summit, passing this framed Mahoosuc Range vista.

A nice meander through oak forest on the SE summit (1287 ft.).

A mossy ledge passed during a 0.8 mile bushwhack from the White Trail to the Blue Trail.

A leafy corridor on the Blue Trail before it makes a steep climb to (the other) Mt. Cabot.

Near the summit of Mt. Cabot, a view of the Bear Mountain range in the eastern Mahoosucs.

A short loop leads out to the great south outlook on Mt. Cabot (1512 ft.).

From the broad, sunny ledge, a vista of Shelburne Moriah, Middle Moriah and the cloud-wreathed Presidentials.

Closer look at the Moriahs across the valley.

A connecting path descends to the Scudder Trail, which leads up the south ridge of Mt. Ingalls.

A short distance up from the Cabot-Ingalls col is a clifftop opening a sweeping view over the valley.

Looking SE to Speckled Mountain and the Royces in the distance.

The Scudder Trail makes a meandering climb up the ridge, with several steep pitches and, farther along, some ledgy terrain as seen here.

A framed view of Reflection Pond on the Androscoggin River with the Presidentials beyond.

Some recent logging on private timberland near the summit of Mt. Ingalls.

The trail crosses an extensive ledgy area just before the summit.

Summit sign.

A short extension of the Scudder Trail, recently named John's Way in honor of a local resident, leads to Ray's Pond, named for another local notable.

Ray's Pond, small and secluded.

Back at the ledges, a view west to Bald Cap Peak.

The profiles of East and West Royce.

The Presidentials emerge from the clouds.

Descending along the lower Scudder Trail.

The Yellow and Red Trails coincide here.

Last trail of the day, a short up-and-over leading to the lower end of the White Trail.

Wiggins Rock from below. A spur path leads to the top and a limited view. The trails of Shelburne are well-covered by the excellent trail map published by the Shelburne Trails Club, with trail descriptions on the back.


Friday, October 9, 2020

Middle Sister: 10/8/20

On a crisp and very windy fall day I took the long and quiet route - via the lower Carter Ledge Trail and then the Middle Sister Trail - to the bare summits of Third Sister and Middle Sister, two of the Three Sisters peaks on the north ridge of Mt. Chocorua. The wind was nippy but the views were excellent, with good foliage displays in the surrounding valleys. The trails were in excellent shape, thanks to adopters and the Saco Ranger District trail crew.

This hike starts in the WMNF White Ledge Campground with a mile of generally easy climbing on the Carter Ledge Trail.

The Middle Sister Trail branches off to the right.

The lower 1.8 miles section of the trail was relocated in the 1980s and provides a pleasant walk at mostly easy grades, with good footing, through mixed woods...

...and hardwoods.

The trail crosses Hobbs Brook at a ledgy spot. In this dry season, the flow has been pretty sparse.

Interesting boulders guard the trail as it climbs to the col between Blue Mountain and Third Sister.


The upper part of this climb is rough and rocky.

Roof rock.

Nice open woods in the broad col.


Beautiful bright fall scene.




The lower part of the 900-foot climb to Third Sister continues in hardwoods.


Spruces rule the rest of the way up.


On a gentle shoulder, a huge outlook ledge appears on the right.

Nice panorama to the north.

Third Sister looms above.


Sandwich Range to the west.


Zoom on Tripyramid with foliage on its flank.

After a steep and rough section, a little scramble lifts you to the upper junction with Carter Ledge Trail.


A couple more scrambles lead up to ledges on Third Sister with views back to to northeastern spurs of Chocorua with the Moat Range beyond. The spruce-wooded shoulder crossed by the trail is seen below.


Some nice colors popping in the Steam Mill Brook valley.


Another scramble ledge.


The unmistakable horn of Chocorua.


At the 3340-ft. summit of Middle Sister, with the foundation of the old fire lookout on the left. Built in 1927, it was originally slated to be located on the summit of Chocorua. But that potential intrusion on the skyline didn't sit too well with hikers, summer folks and others, and opposition led by the Chocorua Mountain Club, AMC, and Society for the Protection of NH Forests led the Forest Service to select this alternate location. The station was designed by Boston architect C. Howard Walker, who had designed several summer homes around nearby Chocorua Lake.There is a USFS radio repeater next to the foundation.


I bundled up and enjoyed the sparkling views.

The classic Chocorua/Sisters vista west along the Sandwich Range.

Still some color down in the Champney Brook valley.

Vast horizons beyond the south ridge of Chocorua. Looking SE, it was clear enough to make out the buildings of Portland along the Maine coast.


Carter Ledge overlooking the Chocorua River valley.


Looking down on Blue Mountain, the nearer summit seen here, plotting a short bushwhack on the way back for a possible view.


From the Sisters-Blue col, I headed up off-trail through open hardwoods.

After pushing through some scratchy spruce, I found one ledge with a peek at the wooded backside of Carter Ledge.

And another with a unique vista up to Third Sister and Chocorua.

After tagging the wooded 2540-ft. summit of Blue, I passed this colorful glade on the bushwhack back down to Middle Sister Trail.