Friday, January 16, 2015


On a beautiful sunny, cold afternoon I went for a snowshoe into Mad River Notch to visit an old favorite, the Greeley Ponds, and to bushwhack to a slide for some views. My original plan had been to go up to the outlooks on Old Bridle Path on Mt. Lafayette to take in some of the 100-mile views, but at 11:00 it was 1 degree above in the parking lot with a gusty wind, so I bailed and headed for more sheltered terrain.

The South Fork of Hancock Branch was well-frozen at the crossing 0.3 mile in from the Kanc Highway on Greeley Ponds Trail.

About a mile in I met Larry aka Old Man and the Saw. Having hiked the Osceolas, he was preparing to cut out a blowdown on the way out.

A fine winter afternoon.

Making tracks across Upper Greeley Pond.

 The classic view of the cliffs on the NE spur of East Osceola from Upper Greeley Pond.

Ledges and slides on the wild mass of East Osceola.

From the SW corner, a view of the K2 Cliff on the west knob of Mt. Kancamagus.

A half-mile down the trail I emerged on Lower Greeley Pond.

This wider, more expansive pond offers a view of the K2 Cliff from a different angle.

I trekked across to the SE corner of the pond.

My next destination was the snowy slide patch in the center of the photo below. It looked close, but it took an hour of steep snowshoeing through mostly scrappy woods to reach this perch.

Heading across to the bushwhack, there was a neat view north through the Notch.

For a brief time at the start of the whack the woods were fairly open.

But most of the way the woods were pretty dense, as shown below. Lots of branches in the face.

It was worth the effort, as this perch about 400 ft. up from the pond is a fine spot, especially in winter when it's easier to get out on what are wet, slippery ledges in summer. It's a snowy swath with some ice beneath. According to A.L. Goodrich's early guidebook to the Waterville Valley, this slide fell in 1897.

The view of the Tripyramids is especially fine from here, with the North Slide well-displayed.

The view down to Lower Greeley Pond with the SW ridge of Mt. Kancamagus behind.

I could see the line of my snowshoe tracks on the pond.

There was a great view of the K1 Cliff. Both this and the K2 Cliff (the "K" stands for Kancamagus) briefly had trails to them, built by Waterville trampers, led by legendary trail-builder Nathaniel Goodrich, in the early 1900s. I once tried to get down to the top of this cliff, but found it too steep and gnarly on snowshoes. I settled for some views from a ledge that projects from the forest below the talus seen here under the cliff.

The photo below is a view from that ledge, showing the 1897 slide I went partway up.

Looking down the slide.

The downward whack took half as long as the struggle up to the perch. I arrived back on Lower Greeley Pond at twilight time.

Looking back at the slide patch (in center of photo) and the Painted Cliff (on the left) before heading out.


  1. ALL the photo's are beautiful, as usual Steve-O, but that one
    neat north view thru the Notch is Fantastic!

  2. Thanks, Kate - it's a neat place, isn't it?