Saturday, March 24, 2012


After Carol got out of work on this gorgeous Friday, we decided to head up to Franconia Notch for a series of short late afternoon walks. First stop: the bridge by the Gallen Memorial at the end of a spur road off Exit 34C, with its fine view up the Lafayette Brook valley to Mt. Lafayette. This valley is protected as the Lafayette Brook Scenic Area.

The rounded North Peak is prominent on the L.

There's a long view west from the bridge; it was clear enough to see the Jay Peaks on the horizon.

Scarface Mountain rises above the bike path.

From the bike path we followed a nice trail that led about 0.2 mile up the north side of Lafayette Brook through sunny hardwoods.

The path ends beside the brook, at a point that was once used as a water supply. Historian Dave Govatski notes that it was used to supply a highway road camp. Incidentally, Dave just wrote an excellent article on the Scenic Areas of the WMNF.

Some old piping can be seen at one point along the stream. More piping is visible at a fine waterfall a half-mile upstream, accessible only by a rough bushwhack.

There are some old yellow birches in the lower Lafayette Brook valley.

Next we took a short walk at the south end of Echo Lake - already iced-out on March 22! We enjoyed a beautiful watery view to Artist's Bluff and Bald Mountain, scenery reminiscent of Acadia National Park.

View across to Eagle Cliff and part of Mt. Lafayette.

Then we got off at Exit 34B and walked down to the Old Man viewing area to see the "profilers" that were put in place last year.

If you stand at the right spot, there he is!

The famous Daniel Webster quote about the Old Man.

Profile Lake was still covered in rotten ice.

Next we drove down to Lafayette Place and headed north for 0.3 mile on the Pemi Trail.

A side path led to a gorgeous beaver-meadow vista of the Cannon Cliffs.

Eagle Cliff stared back at us from the north.

Mt. Lincoln and Little Haystack, seen from a bridge over the Pemigewasset River on the bike path.

Our last walk was the 0.3 mile loop around the Roaring River Memorial Nature Trail on the south side of the Flume Visitor Center parking lot.

A gazebo provides a nice view of Mts. Flume and Liberty.

Evening sun in the hardwoods. In two hours we'd managed to take in a lot of scenery in the Notch!


  1. Wonderful afternoon, Steve!! Lots of great views without too much hiking!


  2. Thanks, Mohamed! The total walking distance was about 2.2 miles, I figure.


  3. Steve, isn't it just beyond awesome to live in such close proximity to areas such as those shown and described in your report?! I often string together a series of short hikes similar to those done by you and Carol. And, sometimes before you know it, a series of small "hike-ettes" has added up to quite a moderate-size hike!

    That's interesting about the piping there on Lafayette Brook. I'm certain that David Govatski's explanation is the true and accurate one. I'd been told that the piping had something to do with supplying a water tank used to fill the boiler of steam-powered locomotives that once traveled on a rail corridor that was located nearby.


  4. John,

    You're absolutely right about stringing together some "hike-ettes" - we really enjoyed it. We gained a renewed appreciation for the great variety of scenery in the Notch.

    Interesting theory about the water being used for a steam-powered locomotive. Wonder if there are any printed references anywhere?


  5. Regarding John's comment about the piping... I have seen an old photo of the railroad crossing near that same bridge. In the photo, there is a small building about where the trail heads into the woods. Not sure if the piping and the railroad building are related, but it made me wonder. Interesting that there is a decaying bog-footbridge partway up that trail, as it looks like it was intended for vehicles rather than foot traffic. There certainly is a large amount of old piping far up the ravine!

  6. Interesting! After we went in there, I reread your report about your whack up Lafayette Brook to the ridge, going up along all those cascades and up the slide. That was an amazing journey, Chris!