TUNNEL BROOK NOTCH: 2/27/14
The scenic area of beaver ponds and slides in Tunnel Brook Notch - the deep gap between Mt. Moosilauke and Mt. Clough - has long been one of my favorite places in the Whites. But I'd only been there once before in winter - way back in 1992 - and was long overdue for a snow-season visit. I also wanted to show this locale off to my brother Drew. We took a bit of a gamble in that some fairly heavy snow squalls were predicted for the afternoon, and we had no idea whether the Tunnel Brook Trail would be broken out. We lucked out on both counts.
We parked in a plowed pulloff on High Street in Glencliff, next to the historic High Street Cemetery, and walked 0.3 mi. up the snowmobile-packed Long Pond Road. I was mighty happy to see a snowshoe track leading up the Tunnel Brook Trail!
The track was choppy, crusty and partly postholed in places, but it was much easier than breaking trail for more than two miles. The several brook crossings along the trail were well-frozen. This is the the first crossing of Slide Brook.
The second crossing of Slide Brook.
At 1.2 mi. from Long Pond Rd. we passed the poorly-frozen little reservoir pond for the Glencliff Home.
Drew climbing up the Tunnel Brook Trail towards the height-of-land. At the top of the climb the solid track ended, and there was only a single snowshoer's tracks leading towards Mud Pond.
The necklace of snowy slides in Slide Brook Ravine.
The western shoulder of Moosilauke, showing a couple of ledges beckoning for future bushwhack possibilities.
We snowshoed out across the southern half of Mud Pond, enjoying this marvelously desolate view north through the Notch. The pond is the southern headwater of north-flowing Tunnel Brook.
Looking back at the steep slope of Mt. Clough.
The frosty South Peak, with interesting forest patterns on the lower slopes.
A happy snowshoer, despite some chilly wind.
Beyond the middle of Mud Pond the Tunnel Brook Trail was unbroken. It looked like no one had been here all winter.
Heading north along the ponds, some heavy trail-breaking into the face of a biting breeze.
Beavers have been active this winter.
The view south from a beaver pond a quarter-mile north of Mud Pond.
From the east side of that pond (we crossed on the mostly-buried beaver dam), a look SW to the steep slope of Mt. Clough.
Admiring the great slides on the face of Mt. Clough. Most of these fell during a monstrous rainstorm in 1927, obliterating a rough road that ran through the Notch.
A wide slide, still bare 85 years after the storm.
Drew heading back across the beaver dam.
A beaver slide leading down the bank to the ponds.
This yellow birch should soon be felled by "nature's engineers."
On the way out, we enjoyed some sun in the hardwoods up near the height-of-land.
A great snowshoeing trail.
Back down in the valley, a look up the totally buried Slide Brook. Our day's trek into Tunnel Brook Notch was six miles long with about 1000 ft. of elevation gain. Highly recommended!