Monday, April 9, 2012


When we don't go away for a holiday, Carol and I traditionally do an afternoon hike, which often ends up being one of our favorite short-trip destinations, The Scaur in Waterville Valley. This was a big day for Carol, for it was the first time she tested her knee out on some steep terrain since her surgery a little more than a year ago. The hike to The Scaur via Livermore Trail, Kettles Path and Scaur Trail has only 650 ft. of elevation gain, but it comes in some short, steep bursts.

The weather was uninviting as we set off - gloomy gray skies, 39 degrees, windy with flurries. It's been a chilly spring ever since the weird late March heat wave. To our surprise, there was still quite a bit of old ice in places on the Livermore Trail.

The Kettles Path and upper Scaur Trail were almost totally free of snow and ice. Here is one of the three Kettles found along the Kettles Path. These bowl-shaped hollows were formed when chunks of glacial ice were stranded as the glacier receded. Sediments built up around the ice chunks, and when they eventually melted these hollows were formed.

The Kettles Path is a delightful meander through a mix of conifer and hardwood forest, with a couple of short, steep pitches. Carol, who was ahead of me, heard some coyotes yipping in the distance.

Bear damage?

Heading up towards The Scaur.

Carol's knee performed admirably, and she had a smooth climb up the final steep pitch on the north side of The Scaur. Here she pauses while scrambling up the ledgy slot at the top of the pitch.

Atop The Scaur, and feelin' good!

Taking in the view south towards Sandwich Dome. As is often the case, the ledges here were protected from the wind, and we were able to have a comfortable sit-down lunch break.

View SE towards Middle & South Tripyramid and the Lost Pass area.

Looking down at some beautiful Catskill-like hardwoods at the base of the ledges.

Eerie light on Sandwich Dome.

Descending was another test for Carol's knee, and she passed with flying colors.

Ledge wall on the west side of The Scaur.

Near the Kettles-Scaur junction, this old yellow birch has a firm grip on a chunk of stone. As we descended from here, we heard the deep hooting of a barred owl off to the east. Despite the cold and rather dreary weather, it turned out to be a fine early spring hike, and a milestone in Carol's knee recovery. Congratulations!!


  1. Congratulations to Carol!


  2. Thanks, Mohamed - she was pretty happy about it. Me, too!


  3. Great news re: the knee! I hiked this trail last Fall and caught some sun at the ledge to enjoy with lunch. I don't recall seeing the tree in your last photo--pity!

  4. Thanks, Steve - it's a great place to sit in the sun!


  5. It's so good to read that Carol's recovery is complete! You and your #1 favorite hiking partner are now free to roam and do "mountain wandering" to your heart's content!

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks, John - we just got back from a few days in Acadia and Carol did very well on several trails with some ledge scrambles. She is psyched for the hiking season!