Saturday, January 24, 2015


On another bluebird day I returned to one of my favorite snowshoe bushwhacks, along the ridge north of Lafayette Brook at the edge of the 990-acre Lafayette Brook Scenic Area. I aimed to visit three viewpoints and enjoy some snowshoeing through mostly open woods, including some gorgeous birch glades. The locations of the three viewpoints are shown in the photo below, taken in the morning from the scenic high bridge by the Gallen Memorial off Exit 34C of I-93.

The snow cover was very thin at the start (elevation 1900 ft.) - an inch of powder atop an inch of crust, but the crust made it OK for snowshoeing.

It was a beautiful morning in the woods!

The snow depth increased with elevation and there were some excellent conditions with firm snow.

From a lovely glade around 2800 ft. I went up to the sprucey, ledgy ridgecrest and whacked back along it in search of my first viewpoint objective.

This was a miserable stretch through dense spruces with some near-impenetrable tangles of unyielding branches.

But the sunny ledge was worth the trouble, offering a fine view up to Mt. Lafayette and its massive western shoulder.

From this angle the North Peak looks higher than the main summit.

Nice perspective on Cannon Mountain.

This was a great spot for a lunch break.

I found a much easier route back down to the woods behind  the crest. Heading back up behind the crest, I caught a glimpse of Scarface and Big Bickford Mountains.

A thousand feet up from the start, the snow depth had increased to nearly two feet, and the breaking was more work.


...and more birches - the legacy of a 1903 forest fire.

I made a futile probe for another ledge down on the side of the ridge - too steep and gnarly - but did see this interesting rock formation.

Arriving at "Sleeping Chief Ledge," so named by my friend Chris "NeoAkela" Whiton for its profile viewed from the bridge below. This is a commanding perch at 3170 ft. Eagle Pass is seen in the background.

Cannon, with snow guns blasting, is seen beyond the middle of the Lafayette Brook valley and the wooded backside of Eagle Cliff.

Looking down the Lafayette Brook valley and out to distant peaks in Vermont.

A zoom on small cliffs in the lower part of the valley. I planned to visit this area on the way down.

Artist's Bluff and Bald Mountain.

The bridge by the Gallen Memorial and I-93 behind.

Looking down from the ledge at the spiry conifers.

Playing peek-a-boo with Mt. Lafayette.

Fun 'shoeing back down through the birches.

Cold winter beauty.

I had to make a quick struggle through some dense scrub to catch the last sun on Lafayette from a spot on the brink of the lower ravine.

The wild valley twists upward, holding promise of more adventures to come.


  1. Great report Steve. What a beautiful day for that one. Been on my list for a while. Funny thing. At first, I thought your last report on Walker Ravine was this bushwhack.

    Thanks for sharing,

    1. Thanks, Joe. I was fortunate to enjoy two gorgeous days this week. Guess it was the week for Lafayette area whacking.


  2. Photos captured the light beautifully. Great shots!


  3. Thanks, Jason - I almost missed that last light on Lafayette by dallying too long up above.