Wednesday, November 28, 2012


With a half-day off, a close-to-home bushwhack I had done several times before beckoned: the eastern slide on Big Coolidge Mountain in Lincoln. The lower part of this slide is gravelly/stony and pretty whacker-friendly and has some unusual views; the upper part consists of very steep, smooth slabs, pretty hairy terrain, especially this time of year. I've never ventured to the upper part. The partial view of the slide seen below was taken from a development road at Loon Mountain resort.

The approach to the slide is via the old Osseo Trail, officially abandoned in 1983 due to condo construction, but still sporadically maintained by local residents up to Whaleback Mountain.

In its lower part the old trail parallels Clear Brook.

After hiking up the old Osseo a ways, I struck off into the woods to climb to the slide. The lower part of the whack was mostly open hardwoods. Partway along I passed this neat boulder in the woods.

After pushing through some fairly dense growth, I emerged by these big rocks at the base of the slide.

Looking up the slide from the bottom.

The main lower part of the slide is quite open and easy to climb.

There are some interesting views, such as this close-up of looming Whaleback Mountain.

"East Whaleback" (also once locally called "Elephant Mountain") and Potash Knob, two spurs of Whaleback. Mt. Hitchcock and socked-in Mt. Hancock peer over the col.

Scar Ridge, seen across the valley.

The Osceolas.

The neatest view looks up the East Branch and Hancock Branch valleys all the way to Kancamagus Pass, in the top center of the photo, with Mt. Huntington on the L and Mt. Kancamagus and the Osceolas on the R.

A zoom on the distant view. From here Kancamagus Pass is just a saddle in a range of mountains. It makes you appreciate the magnitude of constructing that road.

There are several small sitting rocks on the slide, making a boot shot possible.

After an hour or so it was time to head down and get the store open. The usual route I take to the slide uses a couple of little "hogbacks" with nice woods.

A pleasant hardwood draw on the lower part of the whack.

Heading out on the old Osseo Trail, with Loon ski trails in the distance.



  1. Very nice Steve. I think I mentioned in a conversation with you once that I was trying for that slide and hit the open slab a bit higher. That slide looks great, and bit safer than what I found.

    I'll definitely have to head back there someday to check this one out.


    1. Thanks, Joe. I went back and looked at your report - that slab up above the gravel slide is STEEP! The slide is a nice backyard bushwhack for us Lincoln folks.


  2. What a nice trek! That bushwhack has been on my mind to do for quite awhile. Your report has definitely provided inspiration to get out there and do it!

    I particularly like the view you show which looks up the East Branch and Hancock Branch valleys all the way to Kancamagus Pass. And one of the other photos that I particularly liked was your last one which shows the old Osseo Trail, with Loon ski trails in the distance. It gives the illusion that the pathway leads directly to the slopes on Loon!
    Thank you for posting this! Lots of good info + terrific photos!


    1. Thanks, John. It's a fun whack. I'd go back again for sure.


  3. Steve, would this be a good first bushwhack for someone who's never done one?

    Also, looks like you've changed to your winter hiking boots?

    1. Hi Steve,

      It's not an especially difficult bushwhack. It involves about 800 feet of elevation gain from the old trail. The woods are pretty open for the most part, though there are some thicker conifer woods nearing the bottom of the slide. Safety goggles are a good idea there. The brook that drains the slide serves as a navigational "handrail." I've always ascended on its north side.

      I wore the winter boots that day in case there was a bit more snow up there, plus I wanted to hang out for a while without getting cold feet.