Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Mark Klim and I visited a half dozen viewpoints on a bushwhack up the long SW ridge of Mt. Tecumseh to the shoulder called Bald Mountain. We enjoyed lots of interesting sights and 95% bare ground. This was a repeat of a favorite bushwhack of mine. It was fun to introduce it to a fellow off-the-beaten-track enthusiast. Spring bushwhacking at its best.

Our approach led us through an extensive area of old apple orchards, presumably maintained by the WMNF for their wildlife value.

We assumed this was not an official USFS sign on the bridge over Haselton Brook.

Hasleton Brook, which flows for several miles down through the remote valley between the Bald Mountain ridge and the complex of ridges comprising Green, Hogback and Fisher Mountains.

A quadruple hemlock.

This was a large bear!

Early spring is a great time of year in the hardwoods.

A flock of wild turkeys had scuffed the leaves up here.

A massive old maple.

Bearing the scars of many storms.

A large oak along a rocky rib.

The first ledge outcrop along the ridge.

First vista across the valley to the SW spur of Green Mountain (L) and Hogback Mountain (R).

Looking SW to Stinson Mountain.

A beautiful open hardwood col. Mark and I both love the hardwoods in the Catskills, and this reminded us of that fine mountain range.

Mark leads a steep climb out of the col.

The feet of a T-Rex?

Park-like woods.

A rocky slope.

One of several outlooks along the next section of the ridge.

The hardwoods march right up to the base of the cliffs.

Looking down the Haselton Brook valley to Cone Mountain.

The first view up the valley to Mt. Tecumseh.

Gazing across the valley at Hogback and Fisher Mountains.

Icy ledges on the shady side of Fisher Mountain.

The wild western spur of Hogback Mountain. Mark and I bushwhacked up there back in February.

Another outlook along the ridge.

Slabs and hardwoods.

Yup, it's steep down there!

Looking back.

A fresh moose track in snow and moss. We followed these for quite a distance.

There was moose poop all along the ridge, even in the thickest woods.

North to Cannon Mountain and the Franconia Range.

At the upper end of the lower part of the ridge (2420 ft.) are the most open, expansive ledges.

Looking up to the head of the valley. Bald Mountain rises on the left.

Hogback and Fisher are now back down the valley.

Great spot for a lunch break.

An angled view of the wild, ledgy spurs of Green Mountain.

A quartz intrusion in the mostly schist bedrock.

Fine outcrops of the ridge's metamorphic rock.

The col at the base of the steep climb to Bald Mountain.

A little higher up the ridge, another gorgeous hardwood col.

Yet another viewpoint partway up to Bald Mountain.

The most dramatic viewpoint I've found on this ridge is along the 2940-ft. crest of Bald Mountain.

This spot commands a sweeping view over the Haselton Brook valley and far off to the south.

There's also a striking view directly across to the ledgy spurs of Green Mountain and the dark, almost spooky ravines between them. One of these ridges was called "Spring Mountain" in Moses Sweetser's 1876 guidebook to the White Mountains, which described three bushwhack routes up Mt. Tecumseh from this "back" side. In the mid-1800s there was a mineral spring house located somewhere down on the floor of this valley.

Impressive granite ledges stripe this spur. About 20 years ago three of us snowshoed up onto these slabs. An amazing spot.

Wild, ledgy terrain.

Hogback, Dickey and Fisher Mountains.

This is a perch.

A happy bushwhacker.

Looking down from the viewspot.

Mark checks our return route on the map.

After a little probing we found a NW outlook on the breezy and rather icy west side of Bald Mountain, taking in Moosilauke, Kinsman Ridge, Cannon and the Franconias.

In the foreground was a little-known region on the south side of Loon Mountain and Tripoli Road.

Scar Ridge with the Franconias beyond.

On the steep descent off Bald Mountain.

Magnificent open glade in the col below.

Rest stop before the descent into the Haselton Brook valley.

The upper drop into the valley was pretty steep through nearly 100% hardwood forest.

The work of an industrious Pileated Woodpecker.

Shavings at the base of the tree.

A well-used bear tree.

Heading for home through hardwood heaven.

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