Friday, November 18, 2016


On a brisk, partly sunny day, I hiked to one of the most beautiful ponds in the Whites from Sandwich Notch Road. The route involved road walking, short segments of the Algonquin and Black Mountain Pond Trails, old logging roads, an unofficial path, and several bushwhack segments.

This is a very interesting road, though somewhat challenging to drive.

One of a few short, steep paved sections along the road, where you hope no vehicles are coming in the other direction. I was on foot by this point, having parked near the start of the side road to Upper Hall Pond.

The cellar hole of the John B. Hall house, dating back to around 1860. About 1919 a man's body was found in the deserted house, apparently a laborer who was traveling through the Notch to seek work with the Beebe River Logging Railroad. He took shelter here during a severe snowstorm and froze to death. (Information from publications of the Sandwich Historical Society.)

It's a good road for walkin'.

The cellar hole of the Ira Dustin place. In the time when the hill community of Sandwich Notch was flourishing in the mid-1800s, Ira Dustin was reportedly the only Republican in the Notch.

The only remaining house in Sandwich Notch, built in 1877 by Alpheus Munsen Hall and later occupied by his son Moses until about 1930.

A field across the road from the house offers a fine view of Black Mountain and part of Sandwich Dome.

A view of the two Black Mountains. A week earlier I was looking down at this field from a ledge on the lower (left) Black Mountain.

A well-built stone wall in the yard.

Into the Sandwich Range Wilderness on the Algonquin Trail.

Algonquin Brook meandering through meadows.

Farther along, the trail crosses the brook.

Another meadow area.

An old woods road leads up through the hardwoods.

A fork in the road.

A cascade on a tributary brook.

Sunny leafless hardwood forest - the best of November.

A hardwood plateau high in this quiet valley.

Hidden away on this plateau is an old beaver meadow.

More hardwoods heading up towards Black Mountain Pond.

An abandoned beaver pond beside the Black Mountain Pond Trail.

A moss-grown beaver dam.

Bushwhacking through scruffy hardwoods on the steep flank of Black Mountain, the high SW shoulder of Sandwich Dome.

This ledge was a little too precarious to go out on.

Black Mountain Pond and Mount Israel from the edge of the ledge.

Continuing across the slope, I reached another ledge with a more comfortable perch...

...and a sweet view.

I decided to do a loop and swing around down to the north side of Black Mountain Pond. I made a flanking maneuver to get around some cliffs, then headed down through steep, open woods.

Farther down the grade moderated and I passed through this fine open glade.

Looking back up the rocky slope.

The sun-washed north shore of Black Mountain Pond.

Blue and crystal-clear water.

"The Beach."

Looking back across the beach to the rugged face of Black Mountain.

Every beach has its driftwood.

View from a rocky mini-island along the east shore.

A backwater through which the outlet brook flows.

A tent pad on a knoll above the pond, maintained by the Squam Lakes Association.

Black Mountain Pond from the south shore. This is very close to the site of the second lean-to that was built at the pond. The original lean-to (early 1950s) was on the north side of the pond. The second shelter was built in the mid-1960s and removed in 1996 due to overuse of the area.

Following an unofficial trail back down through the hardwoods.

Ready for the Entmoot.

Stone wall along the historic Old North Road, which leads through the woods on the NE side of Sandwich Notch Road.

The cellar hole of the Durgin Tavern along Sandwich Notch Road. Benning Durgin was licensed to sell liquor here in 1827. He served it to teamsters and drovers passing through the Notch.

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