ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF SANDWICH DOME: 12/16/15
The unusually warm December has allowed for an extended season of bare ground, late fall bushwhacking. On one of the few recent non-gloomy days I headed for a favorite area in the wild, trailless area on the south side of Sandwich Dome. Though a trek up Bennett Street Trail to Sandwich Dome's summit beckoned, I couldn't resist a bushwhack loop that included a variety of woods, some logging history, a bunch of cascades, a large beaver pond and a familiar, unique ledge viewpoint.
On the drive in to the western trailhead for the Flat Mountain Pond Trail, I stopped for a photo of Sandwich Dome from a field along Bennett Street.
Mine was the only car at this remote trailhead, and I saw no other hikers during the day.
This is Wonalancet Out Door Club country. The WODC has been an outstanding steward of the Sandwich Range since 1892.
Climbing up the Flat Mountain Pond Trail in late morning sun. Along here I spotted a flock of a dozen wild turkeys foraging through the woods.
A beautiful morning!
I turned left onto the Guinea Pond Trail.
Easy walking on the Guinea Pond Trail, following the grade of the old Beebe River logging railroad (1917-1942).
The clearing at Camp 7 of the Beebe River logging railroad.
Sled runners and other logging camp "stuff."
Some rusting peavey heads.
There always seem to be at least a couple of old buckets around any logging camp site.
A rusting barrel deep in the woods.
A peaceful section of the Cold River.
The first of several cascades I admired along this scenic backcountry stream.
Rugged rock-and-waterfall scenery.
Here the stream is constricted through a narrow flume-like formation.
A cascade dropping into the flume.
Still more cascades father upstream.
Small but attractive.
Another nice one.
And one more.
I followed the east fork of Cold River up to a plateau. Here I left it to bushwhack across to a large beaver pond complex.
For a short distance I followed an old tote road from the Beebe River logging days.
A first peek at the beaver pond.
I crossed the west fork of Cold River, which drains from the beaver pond.
First mountain view from the shore - rugged Black Mountain, whose crest is traversed by the Algonquin Trail.
Typical woods behind the shore. At times I was able to follow well-beaten moose paths.
A good-looking beaver lodge.
The sprawling mass of Sandwich Dome. I first visited this expansive beaver pond back in 2005, and this vista was just as captivating the second time.
From the shore I headed up through brushy hardwoods (shown here) and then spruce woods to the outlook ledge.
Of many destinations I've bushwhacked to in the Whites, this is among my favorites for its seclusion and its unique view of Sandwich Dome. This was my fifth visit here.
This entire wild southern flank of Sandwich Dome is accessible only to bushwhackers.
The ledge also offers a distant view east to Whiteface, Paugus, Chocorua and other Sandwich Range summits.
Mount Whiteface and the southern Flat Mountain.
Mount Chocorua with the Sisters on the left and its elongated southern ridges on the right.
Black Mountain and the Dome.
A tawny beaver meadow, backed by open hardwoods.
After a chilly hour's sojourn on the ledge, I headed over the summit of this knob, where I found a Forest Service post marking the former boundary of the Sandwich Range Wilderness before it was expanded in 2006.
Late afternoon hardwood whacking.
I spotted yet another cascade on the way down.
And this ledgy sluice, capping a highly rewarding loop through the Sandwich Range Wilderness.