Friday, February 27, 2015


Carol and I enjoyed excellent snowshoeing conditions for a five-mile jaunt on the wonderful trail network maintained by the Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association. We used the Cascade Path, Norway Rapids Trail, Elephant Rock Trail, Greeley Ledges Trail and Snows Mountain Trail.

We started from the Snows Mountain parking area. The Cascade Path starts out by climbing steeply alongside a paved road leading up to several houses.

At this time of year it's easier to just walk up the road to where the trail enters the woods on an old ski trail.

Signage where the trail crosses an X-C ski trail. Conditions were great, with a few inches of powder atop a firm older track.

The Tripyramids seen through the trees along the lower flank of Snows Mountain.

After a major effort, we went away empty-handed in a search for a geocache that is not "winter-friendly."

One of the old WVAIA signs, not many of these are left anymore.

We crossed the well-frozen brook at the base of the first cascade, where the view is obstructed by a large fallen tree.

The path along the east side of the cascades gave us several good views of frozen, snow-muffled cascades.

Looking back down Cascade Brook, with a bit of Mount Osceola seen in the distance.

This was our late-lunch spot, near another cascade.

Peering down from the top of a cascade.

Yet another buried cascade, with an open pool.

Anybody home?

The Cascade Path is a great snowshoeing trail. It was the first time we'd done it in winter.

After crossing the bridge at the top of the cascades, we came down the west side path, which offers some different perspectives.

Next we wandered across the gently rising Norway Rapids Trail, which had been broken only by a single snowshoer. This one required a little more work.

At the Norway Rapids, looking up Avalanche Brook.

Downstream at the Norway Rapids.

Our winding track on the Norway Rapids Trail.

We headed back on Cascade Path, then up the Elephant Rock Trail. The rock for which the trail was named was just a steep-sided snow sculpture.

Carol breaking trail up Elephant Rock Trail. The top part was almost totally drifted in.

Mount Tecumseh from the top of the old Snows Mountain Ski Area.

A nice perspective on the Osceolas and the upper basin of Osceola Brook.

The Greeley Ledges Trail led us through a rocky spruce area, then down to a beautiful hardwood plateau, seen here from above.

Looking back up the Greeley Ledges Trail. From here we descended the Snows Mountain Trail back to the base of the old ski area, wrapping up a delightful ramble.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


On a cold but calm day with sun veiled by high clouds, Carol and I enjoyed a leisurely afternoon snowshoe up Ravine Lodge Road to the base of Mount Moosilauke. It was a fun ramble with interesting scenery and history.

There was a well-packed snowshoe/ski track on the Ravine Lodge Road.

Welcome to "Dartmouth's Mountain"!

This spot also marks the town line between Warren and Benton.

A powerline view of two southern spurs of Moosilauke. I did an interesting bushwhack between them late last fall.

Mount Waternomee, far up at the head of the valley.

This couple skied to the summit and back via Gorge Brook Trail, Snapper Trail and Carriage Road. These were the only folks we saw during our hike.

The view of the upper Gorge Brook valley from the Al Merrill kiosk.

A good snow load on the kiosk.

This swath is the route of the old ski tow on Sayre Peak that operated here from 1949-1953, when Ravine Lodge was a backwoods ski center. It was about 1,500-2,000 feet long with a 700-foot vertical rise.

We went a half-mile up the Al Merrill Loop, named for a longtime Dartmouth ski coach. The logging road continuing ahead here is now the Ridge Trail. It was originally built in 1943 by the Parker-Young Company for hurricane salvage logging in Jobildunk Ravine.

There was a nice snowshoe track on Al Merrill Loop.

Mount Jim glimpsed through the trees.

This way to John Rand Cabin.

John Rand Cabin was built by the Dartmouth Outing Club in 1983 and named after a longtime manager of the club. It is available for rent by reservation only.

There's a great view of the slides in Gorge Brook Ravine from the porch of the cabin. (We took off our snowshoes to avoid dinging up the wood.) The zig-zag swath of hardwoods may be part of the route of the legendary Hell's Highway ski trail built by the DOC in 1933.

The high temp for the day.

A cute and snow-shedding privy design.

A cheery example of interior privy artwork.

We returned down the Al Merrill Loop and then dropped down Gorge Brook Trail to the bridge over the Baker River, which was fully smothered in snow.

New trail signs replacing a set stolen by vandals last winter.

No takers for the swimming hole today.

The famed Ravine Lodge, built in 1938 from virgin spruce logs cut nearby.

The Lodge faces an uncertain future, as after more than 75 years its structure has deteriorated.

View up to the ridge from the corner of the Lodge.

The South Ridge leading up to the South Peak of Moosilauke. This could make an interesting bushwhack someday.

The South and East Peaks enclosing the upper Gorge Brook Ravine. The little white patch in the middle is one of the Pleiades Cascades.

Late afternoon light on our way out on Ravine Lodge Road, wrapping up a nice five-mile snowshoe meander.