Sunday, July 31, 2016


A loop on a beautiful early morning via the Hi-Cannon Trail, Dodge Cutoff, Around-Lonesome-Lake Trail, and Lonesome Lake Trail.

I ascended via the Hi-Cannon Trail, whose many little switchbacks make it fun compared to the long straight grades on Lonesome Lake Trail.

South & North Kinsman from the east shore of Lonesome Lake.

A closer look.

A suite of signs.

This small clearing marks the site of the original Lonesome Lake Hut on the east shore, built as a fishing lodge by author William C. Prime in 1876. In 1929 it was acquired by the state of NH and leased to AMC. In 1963 the old buildings were torn down and the present hut was constructed on the SW side of the lake.

Walkway through the open bogs.

Looking across to the ridges of the Cannon Balls.

Mount Liberty.

Looking back at Coppermine Col.

Bog Goldenrod (I think).

Backlit view of Franconia Ridge from a sitting rock.
The sitting rock.

View from the dock area near Lonesome Lake Hut.

Footbridge at the lake outlet.

The outlet, flowing towards Cascade Brook.

The Appalachian Trail heads off here.

Northeast Cannon Ball, Coppermine Col and the south hump of Cannon from another sitting rock.

The ledgy face of North Kinsman. It was pretty quiet at the lake up to this point, then I passed dozens of upbound hikers while descending the Lonesome Lake Trail.


On a hot muggy day my niece Rebecca (up visiting from Georgia) and I made the short but pretty steep climb to Squam Lake views from Doublehead Mountain in the Squam Range. After that we took a short walk to Beede Falls on the Bearcamp River Trail.

There's a new parking area at the end of Thompson Road in Sandwich - which cuts out 0.9 mile of road walking each way to reach the Doublehead Trail.

The first part of the trail has been relocated by the Squam Lakes Asociation, and passes this view towards the Rattlesnakes from the top of a sloping field.

A ledge near the top of Doublehead offers an expansive view over Squam Lake.

Looking down the Squam Range to Mt. Webster and Mt. Morgan.

Here we met a woman whose son had gone to a school in Pennsylvania where Rebecca used to teach. Small world!

The trails on the Squam Range are maintained in excellent fashion by the Squam Lakes Association.

SLA trail signs at the junction on the ridge.

The Crawford-Ridgepole Trail runs through spruce forest up on the ridge.

A partial view north to Welch and Dickey from the east summit of Doublehead. Hazy South Kinsman can be seen in the distance.

In the col between the Doublehead summits. We found a geocache on each of the two peaks.

We stopped again at the view ledge on the way down. The climb to Doublehead is quite steep in its upper section. No problem for Rebecca, who has recently completed a Tough Mudder and a half-marathon.

After descending from Doublehead we drove over to the trailhead at the historic Mead Base at the foot of Mount Israel.

Nice easy walking on the Bearcamp River Trail.

Cow Cave, where legend holds that a settler's cow spent a winter sheltered from the weather.

Expansive ledges at Lower Beede Falls on the Bearcamp River. This is a popular swimming spot in the Sandwich Town Park. Not much water to dip in at the moment!

Beede Falls, just a trickle during this midsummer dry spell.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


One of the blessings of living in the mountains is the chance to get out for short rewarding hikes before or after work. In the past week I've enjoyed three rambles in the cool of the morning, within a short drive of home.


I bushwhacked off Falling Waters Trail a little ways up Walker Brook, which drains the western slopes of Mts. Lafayette and Lincoln, then worked my way downstream past a series of nice cascades.

The highest cascade I went to.

Broad sheets of granite, very slippery.

A two-step cascade.

A series of shelves.

A granite boulevard through the forest.

A fine cascade, should be impressive in high water.

Rolling and tumbling.


The waterfalls along the Falling Waters Trail along Dry Brook were touted in late 1800s guidebooks, but they were called Walker's Falls because what is now called Dry Brook was then known as Walker Brook. At some point the Walker name was transferred to the next brook to the north, which has its own set of cascades. In those earlier days access to the waterfalls was via logging road and rough bushwhack. Today's Falling Waters Trail was laid out in 1958 by noted trail-builder Clyde Smith, and was completed with volunteer labor.

Stairs Falls, which was once called Lower Walker's Falls. In his 1898 Guide Book to the Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley, Frank O. Carpenter described it as "a series of step-like cascades over sheets of granite." In Part 2 of Charles H. Hitchcock's Geology of New Hampshire (1877), this is presumably what was called "Walker's Staircase."

Swiftwater Falls, described by Carpenter as "a fall fifty feet high over blocks of granite."

Cloudland Falls was looking good after the previous night's heavy thunderstorms.

Carpenter called this the "splendid upper falls where the water makes a clear leap of sixty feet." Charles H. Hitchcock called it "Apron Falls."

It was going to be a busy day on Franconia Ridge. Coming down from Cloudland Falls I passed at least 150 upbound hikers, maybe more.


This small, shallow secluded pond resides on a high shelf in the southern shadow of Scar Ridge. One of my favorite ponds in the Whites, it has a wild aura and is far less visited than its easterly neighbor, East Pond. The 2-mile hike to the pond on the East Pond Trail and Little East Pond Trail is pleasant with mostly very good footing.

The scene was a bit on the dark side when I arrived at the south shore around 9:00 am. The water level was down, making it easy to get out to the edge for a view of the Scar Ridge peaks.

This gnarled old red maple guards the shore just to the west of the outlook spot.

There were several clusters of what I believe is Pale St. John's Wort in bloom along the shore.

The sun burned through and brightened the pond and ridge. The main (west) summit of Scar Ridge is on the left, Middle Scar Ridge on the right. Middle Scar and its southern cliffy ledges look temptingly close from here, but reports indicate that blowdown and dense conifer scrub guarantee a miserable ascent. Mike Dickerman and I used this route back in 1987 and it was difficult then. It sounds like it's even worse now.

I spent a quiet 50 minutes at the pond, taking in the serenity and listening to some of the last birdsong of the summer (White-throated Sparrow, Magnolia Warbler, Winter Wren, Red-eyed Vireo, Dark-eyed Junco). To my surprise, a Belted Kingfisher landed on a snag along the north shore. I assumed this very shallow pond was essentially fishless, but the Kingfisher dove with a splash and came up with a morsel.

Pleasant walking on the grade of the Woodstock & Thornton Gore logging railroad, which operated from 1909 to 1914. It's a wonderful mellow hike whether you do the 4-mile round trip to Little East Pond, or the full five mile loop that also includes East Pond.