Friday, June 24, 2011


While admiring the views from the ledge on Mt. Paugus last week, I turned my binoculars on The Overhang - the minor peak (2615 ft.) just to the west along the crest of the Sandwich Range. Though the cliffs on its south face appeared inaccessible, a closer look at the topmost crag (upper R in photo below) revealed an open wooded shelf behind its edge that might allow at least partial views.

I had wanted to check the southern sections of the Oliverian Brook Trail and Square Ledge Trail for the guidebook, and a bushwhack traverse across the top of The Overhang fit perfectly into that plan.

On a fine sunny morning I set out on the Oliverian Brook Trail off the Kanc. I was startled to see a logging truck coming up the road at the trailhead, perhaps hauling out some trees cut during the winter as part of the Kanc 7 project.

In the second half-mile, the trail follows the bed of a spur line of the early 1900's Swift River logging railroad.

This Wilderness boundary is well-marked.

The west branch of Oliverian Brook emerges from the depths of the forest. This and the other crossings were pretty easy today with low water.

A beautiful hardwood area after the brook crossing.

The gravelly shore of Oliverian Brook.

This is an old route of the Oliverian Brook Trail farther up the valley, now completely overgrown. It was very swampy and the trail was relocated onto higher, drier ground to the east, perhaps 20 years ago.

Fine woods along the relocated section.

A peaceful spot on Oliverian Brook, deep in the valley.

There were many clusters of lady slippers out here.

An old log staircase by a crossing of the brook high in the valley.

Hardwoods on the upper floor of the valley. The broad Oliverian basin is a wonderfully secluded and quiet area.

An old sugar maple.

This small wet meadow is just east of the trail and can be seen through the trees.

Paugus Pass (2200 ft.), the low point on the ridgeline between Mt. Paugus and the Wonalancet Hedgehog, a spur of Mt. Passaconaway.

I went about 0.4 mi. east on the Lawrence Trail and struck off into the woods for my whack across the top of The Overhang. I encountered a variety of woods on this ramble - some thick and some thin.

On a western shoulder I earned my first vista towards Mt. Paugus, with the crest of The Overhang looming close by on the L.

Looking back, a framed view of Mt. Passaconaway.

Some of the more open woods I found as I made my way up to the main knob of The Overhang.

I found a couple of openings along the west end of the main crest. This view looks over Whitin Ridge to Red Hill in the distance.

Looking SW to Mt. Wonalancet (R) and Mt. Israel (L).

A filtered view of Wonalancet Hedgehog (center) and Nanamocomuck Peak (R).

In this area I was above the inaccessible south-facing cliffs. I knew I would have to travel NE to find that topmost crag. There were a few obstacles in the way.

After a slow traverse above the cliff dropoff, I found the wooded shelf behind the upper crag. The binoculars hadn't lied - the woods were open here! There was no one wide open spot to get a full view, but there were some unique vistas to be enjoyed (despite the hyperactive swarms of black flies).

I liked this view down the wide Whitin Brook valley, a wild nook of the Sandwich Range, with the Ossipees on the horizon.
Close by to the east, the ledgy mass of Paugus was an impressive sight.

This vantage offered a great look at the SW cliffs and gravel slides of Paugus.

I whacked to these ledges back in '95 - quite the spot.

Looking down over the crag at the treetops below. An overhang, indeed. No shelves to snooze on here.

Up behind the crag was this cool gully. There are many rock faces hidden amidst the leafy fastness of The Overhang.

The eastward whack back to the trail was quite scrappy, taking a half hour for a quarter mile or so. Coming back across the Lawrence Trail beneath The Overhang, I paused to admire this slab of stone.

I continued across to the junction known as "Four-Way," where Lawrence meets the Old Mast Road, Walden Trail and Square Ledge Trail.

I headed north on the Square Ledge Trail, which traverses along the upper west side of the Oliverian valley.

Just beyond the junction with the Square Ledge Branch Trail (my route back down to the floor of the valley), I took a look at Square Ledge Brook.

Nearby was an old logging camp site. A quick search revealed a couple of items, including this metal strapping (from barrels?)...

...and this piece of ironware.

The Square Ledge Branch Trail offered excellent footing along an old tote road.

Wild spruces back on the floor of the valley. A great area to explore if you enjoy long meanders through remote forest.

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