Friday, January 9, 2015


With temperatures plummeting to -15 overnight, it seemed like a good day to stay low and do some leisurely snowshoe exploring in the southwestern corner of the Pemi Wilderness.

At almost 10:00 am it was still not above zero.

A completely empty parking lot at Lincoln Woods - how often do you see that?

The good old familiar Lincoln Woods Trail, launching point for many adventures. After many years this trail fits comfortably like an old glove.

The East Branch was starting to freeze up.

Osseo Brook, with that peculiar greenish cast of streams in the process of freezing.

From the riverbank past the Osseo Trail junction, a peek at remote, slide-raked West Bond.

Bondcliff and its sharp southern spur peak.

The Lincoln Woods Trail had a pretty solid narrow track until 1/4 mile before Black Pond Trail, where it became choppy and uneven, prompting me to put on my snowshoes. The crusty snow on the Black Pond Trail had been broken only by some ugly boot tracks.

The meadow once known as Ice Pond, which was impounded to make ice for refrigeration in J.E. Henry's logging camps.

The steep nose of the Osseo Trail ridge peering over.

The retaining wall at Ice Pond.

A secondary logging camp site along the Black Pond Trail.

A peaceful stretch of Birch Island Brook behind the logging camp.

Along the Black Pond Trail.

I left the Black Pond Trail halfway up and bushwhacked along Birch Island Brook.

Approaching Birch Island Brook Falls, I had to make a short steep climb out of the ravine.

The recent cold spell had formed layers of cauliflower ice at Birch Island Brook Falls.

The upper part of Birch Island Brook Falls. For a summer view of the unofficially-named falls, check out Chris Whiton's beautiful Panoramio photo on Google Earth.

A side view of the falls.

A vignette above the falls.

Looking down from the top of the falls.

A pretty spot farther up the brook.

Still farther upstream I came upon a series of frozen cascades. I'll have to come back in summer and check them out.

Leaving the brook, I wandered up through some nice woods to the SW of Black Pond.

There was a great sense of deep-winter isolation out here.

I climbed up to and traversed a neat little spruce-clad hogback ridge (about 1950 ft.) west of Black Pond. I found a couple of glimpses of Mt. Flume, but no open views.

Open hardwoods covered the eastern slope of the hogback.

A random boulder in the woods.

Snowshoeing down through open hardwoods with the Hancocks seen through the trees.

There are many small scenes of beauty in the Pemi.

After crossing the untracked Black Pond "bushwhack" route for Owl's Head, I descended to the dead-tree bog just NW of the pond.

Descending to the north shore of Black Pond.

A favorite sitting rock on the north shore.

I enjoyed some late afternoon sun at the NE corner of the pond.

Making tracks.

Looking west across the pond.

In the sun I was able to sit on my pack for a while - a sweet reward at the end of the bushwhack loop.

A nice view of Mt. Flume.

Moving across the well-frozen pond, I could see both Mt. Flume and the sharp south spire of Owl's Head.

From the SE corner, a dramatic vista of the south peak and the SE cliffs of Owl's Head.

Looking north from near the end of the Black Pond Trail.

There's a fine view of Bondcliff from the south end of the pond. Though it's often thought of as just a waypoint on the way to Owl's Head, Black Pond is a worthy destination in its own right, and is one of my favorite ponds in the Whites. It's a mellow 6.8 mile round trip from the Lincoln Woods trailhead.

Parting shot from the trail beside the outlet.


  1. Thanks. Nothing like just heading out and poking around the woods! Just hike black pond this fall. Pretty area.

    1. Thanks, Peter - it was an ideal day for rambling. It is a nice area, easygoing, like comfort food.