CRYSTAL MINE TRAIL: 10/18/16
On a glorious October afternoon (at least north of the notches), I checked out a new Randolph Mountain Club trail that leads to an old quartz crystal mine in the Randolph Community Forest, on a western spur of the Crescent Range. The mine was used by General Electric Co. during World War II to provide quartz crystals for radio sets. It's an interesting 4-mile round trip hike with just 650 ft. of elevation gain.
Before heading out, I crossed the highway to a field with a foliage vista of Mt. Bowman, Mt. Jefferson and Mt. Adams.
The trail starts to the right of this building on land now within the Randolph Community Forest. It's 0.8 mile west of the Castle trailhead at Bowman.
A temporary RMC sign shows the way.
After a half-mile of sometimes rocky trail through the woods, the trail turns left onto a RCF forest road.
Nice easy walkin'.
Looks like a major maple tapping operation is in the works.
The trail follows this grassy road for a while.
RMC trail signage.
The upper half-mile leads through an open sugar maple forest, especially gorgeous at this golden time of year.
A gentle old woods road on the upper part of the trail.
It's the best time of year for hardwood rambling.
The first of three shaft holes at the mine site. Notice the rope on the left. Collectors do drop in, but not this kid!
Another shaft hole.
Beautiful quartz chunks are scattered about. Hobby collecting with hand tools is allowed. I took a small sliver home.
This looks like the most accessible mine shaft.
Heading back down the golden road.
In October, this section has to be one of the nicest walks in Randolph.
A very short off-trail diversion rewarded with this vista of Mts. Madison and Adams from the top edge of an old logging cut.
At the trailhead, I returned to the field across Route 2, as the light was now better on the Northern Peaks.
Adams and Jefferson.
A fine look into Cascade Ravine on Mt. Adams.
Afterward I drove over to Bowman for the short walk to Rollo Fall (0.8 mile round trip). The unmarked route follows this grassy woods road at first.
Rollo Fall was just a dribble, but still a pretty spot.
I finished the afternoon with a quick jaunt up the lower Howker Ridge Trail.
I enjoyed scenes like this along Bumpus Brook.
The Devil's Kitchen, a cool name for a cool place. Thank you, RMC, for maintaining such a fantastically varied network of trails!