Friday, December 20, 2013


I was anxious to sample the nice early season powder in the woods before the forecasted rain messed things up during the coming weekend. I headed down to Waterville to snowshoe to an old favorite, the 2230-ft. rocky nubble known as The Scaur. The hike began, as always, with a shuffle up the wide groomed Livermore Trail. Approaching the Depot Camp clearing, The Scaur can be seen poking up on the L with Flume Peak on the R.

Looking up the Mad River from the bridge on the Livermore Trail.

A bonus on this hike was the chance to snowshoe a nice relocation on Kettles Path completed this year by the Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association and Student Conservation Association NH Corps. Great sidecut work, ideal for 'shoeing. It bypasses two very steep pitches.

Looking down into one of the Kettles, dry bowl-shaped hollows left after chunks of glacial ice melted away.

There was 12-15" of unbroken snow on the trail. It was nice to settle into the plodding pace and slightly swaying gait of the trail-breaking snowshoer. Gives you plenty of time to contemplate the forest.

A respectable snow depth for pre-Christmas.

The steep eroded section of the Scaur Trail from this junction down to the Greeley Ponds Trail has been closed.

The upper .25 mi. of the Scaur Trail is steep! It might be considered good training for snowshoeing the Hancocks or other steep-trailed peaks.

This ledgy slot just below the top is a bit tricky on snowshoes. Took a couple of minutes to claw up though here.

Approaching the open ledges of The Scaur.

One of our favorite spots in the Whites - a great payoff for a 4-mile round trip with only the short section of steep climbing near the top.

A great panorama of Sandwich Dome and its Acteon Ridge.

The view towards the wild and remote Lost Pass region.

A nice place to hang out for a while, even on a grey December day.

From the top of a steep ledge on the west side, there's an unusual view of Mt. Tecumseh and Thornton Gap.

Good view up to the Osceolas here as well.

The main summit of Osceola.

Middle and South Tripyramid, with West Sleeper peering out on the R.

After a good stay on The Scaur, I headed out along the gradual ridge that extends a long way to the E. I'd bushwhacked along this ridge a couple of times before. There was a "Scaur to Flume Trail" on this ridge in 1915, shown on A.L. Goodrich's map of Waterville Valley (shown below; thanks to Joe Jalbert for posting it on his White Mountain Lost Trails website). But this route was soon obliterated by logging and was not reopened.

This approximate route will be reopened next year by the WMNF as the new route to the Waterville Flume, replacing the severely damaged Flume Brook Trail. For a map of the proposed new trail, click here. Early on, the route passes by a ledge with a view of Mt. Tecumseh beyond part of the Scaur cliffs...

...and this interesting small cliff in the woods. 

A snow-capped glacial erratic.

The gently-graded ridge is a mix of open hardwood, as shown here, and darker spruce woods. This will be a fine remote ridge walk when the new trail is opened next fall.

Where the trail drops off the ridge, the description in the WMNF project documents says, it "enters thick softwoods on the north-facing slope and passes an outlook with amazing views north to the Greeley Ponds Scenic Area and Mad River Notch." I didn't find this spot today, but on a bushwhack a few years ago I made my way down to a ledge farther east along the ridge with a neat view of the Osceolas beyond the Flume Brook valley. The view from the new trail should show more of Mad River Notch itself. Can't wait til it opens next fall!


  1. Steve, thanks for including a link to the .pdf document entitled "Greeley Ponds and Flume Brook Trail Repair Project". I had not seen that map. It clears up some questions I had about decommissioned trails and trail relocations in that portion of the Waterville Valley.

    Goes without saying, but will say it anyway . . . terrific report, as always!


    1. Thanks, John - I'm looking forward to the completion of these new trail sections.


  2. Steve, thanks for the report and photos. I took that short hike a couple of months after Hurricane Irene and enjoyed it, but not as much as I would in winter!