ALONG LOON X-C SKI TRAILS: 11/30/11
Took a morning walk along the Serendipity and Black Mountain Trails on the eastern end of the Loon X-C ski trail system. These are mostly used for mountain biking and horseback riding in summer, and a trail fee is required in winter. They are on WMNF land but parking is somewhat problematical in the adjacent private development, so this is primarily a walk for "locals." One option is to bike about 1.3 mi. from the Loon ski area parking lots.
The Serendipity trail follows along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset, and then the Hancock Branch. This view looks across the East Branch to Potash Knob and East Whaleback.
A massive bench of stone.
Nice walking on an old logging road.
Heavy rain overnight had the river raging, and two kayakers went bobbing by.
Vista downstream to Potash Knob.
Looking upstream to the confluence of the East Branch and the Hancock Branch.
The Hancock Branch was running strong.
Irene damage along the Hancock Branch. Easy to see how the Kanc Highway got washed out farther upstream.
A logjam from Irene. Yikes!
X-C trail sign.
Old logging bridge abutment. The map in Bill Gove's J.E. Henry's Logging Railroads (currently out of print, but due out in a new edition in spring 2012) shows a short spur line leading across the Hancock Branch at about this location, leading to Camp 13. Hard to tell from the map how high up the slope the camp might be, but there are surely a few logging camp aficionados who know.
Looking upstream on the Hancock Branch.
I made a return loop on Black Mountain Road, pleasant walking on an old logging road. According to Gove's book, the slopes of Black Mountain were logged by J.E. Henry in the 1890s, and again by the Franconia Paper Co. from 1953-55, when a Black Mountain Camp was built. Gove says there is evidence that this area may have even been logged in pre-Henry days by river driver Nicholas Norcross of Lowell, MA.
There are a couple of branching logging roads that provide steeper and more challenging routes for X-C skiers.
The "other" Hancock Loop Trail.
A gentle downhill amble back to the start of the loop, 2.36 mi. total according to my GPS.
Fine late fall walking, between the snows.