FLAT MOUNTAIN FLUME: 5/17/16
On a fine spring day I enjoyed a bushwhack exploration with Mark Klim in search of a flume on the east side of the col between Flat Mountain (north) and Sandwich Dome. It was discovered in 1899 by Nathaniel L. Goodrich and friends while trying to reach Flat Mountain Pond from Waterville. Goodrich, who went on to become a renowned AMC trailman and Waterville historian, mentioned it briefly in two publications. The flume is there, but not easy to get to.
Recent good news from the Wonalancet Out Door Club was posted at the trailhead for the Flat Mountain Pond Trail on Bennett Street.
Onto the Bennett Street Trail.
It passes through a fine hemlock forest.
A mossy trailside spring.
This cascade on Pond Brook might be what was called Fan Fall in the 1901 Wonalancet Out Door Club guide to the Sandwich Range.
Soon we came to the start of the new relocation, completed just three days earlier by WODC volunteers, around the washout on Bennett Street Trail.
Freshly greening hardwoods along the relo.
Good axe work.
After the relo, the trail passes Great Falls.
A closer look. This and Fan Fall have beautiful pools at their bases.
The trail continues along a wide stretch of Pond Brook.
Then it turns left and climbs alongside a tributary. There's lots of nice brook scenery in this area.
Rock steps on a steep pitch approaching Flat Mountain Pond Trail.
The upper junction of Bennett Street and Flat Mountain Pond Trails.
The Flat Mountain Pond Trail follows the grade of the old Beebe River Logging Railroad (1917-1942).
A scenic crossing of Pond Brook.
An open beaver pond/meadow marks the renowned hairpin turn on the old railroad grade.
Two summits of the northern Flat Mountain rise above the meadow.
The SW summit of the northern Flat has some interesting view ledges, but they are guarded by fierce scrub.
The land of the pointed firs.
A high ridge of Sandwich Dome.
An amber pool on the stream we followed up towards the flume.
Not far above we came upon a fine ledgy cascade.
Near here we found some old cairns. In the middle of nowhere, leading nowhere.
The whack up this valley was generally scrappy, but we did find one stretch of good open woods.
A spooky cavern along the dwindling brook.
A can left over from the logging railroad era.
We ascended to a big ledge high in the valley, with the NE ridge of Sandwich Dome looming nearby.
The Ossipees under a puffy cloud sky.
Sandwich is a massive presence.
A peek at the southern Flat Mountain.
Above the ledge the terrain was very rough, necessitating a lot of weaving up, down and around to circumvent obstacles.
After some thrashing around, we caught a glimpse of the opposite wall of the flume.
A slow and careful descent in precipitous terrain brought us to the bottom of the flume.
This is what Nathaniel Goodrich wrote about the flume in his 1952 history of the Waterville Valley:
"At the top of the high col between Sandwich Mountain and Flat Mountain there is a deep narrow flume in the solid rock, suggesting a spill-way for melt water dammed by the glacier against the range. But also, they say, it may be the result of earthquake action. These matters are not for the amateurs."
On the north side is a chaotic jumble of rocks.
We wondered when someone last stood on the floor of the flume.
Big fallen rocks blocked passage up through the ravine.
A pool in the small brook at the bottom.
Climbing out of the flume - which was easier than dropping in.
On the way back down the valley we paid another visit to that nice cascade.
After completing the descent down the valley, we took a much-deserved break by the beaver pond/meadow at the hairpin turn.
Mark admires the scene.
Peaceful view from a tall boulder.
Shallow water and deep muck.
Heading out on the Flat Mountain Pond Trail.
Another leftover from the logging days.
Forest Service notice about the upper Gleason Trail.
Descending the lower Gleason Trail.