Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Today's hike was the final installment of a November Smarts Brook Bushwhack Series. It was a glorious late November day, the bright sun allowing for a 1 1/2 hour stay on a great ledge perch along Sandwich Dome's Acteon Ridge. I used the same approach from the Smarts Brook Trail that I navigated on a snowshoe trek to Sachem Peak last winter. The target ledge for this hike is partway along the ridge between Sachem Peak and the lower "Acteon Peak" to the west.

The morning sun was shining brightly on the beaver pond beside the Smarts Brook Trail.

I heard a beaver slap its tail when I was here last week, and they have certainly been busy of late.

This might be a bit ambitious...

I began the bushwhack with a crossing of Smarts Brook near the Sandwich Range Wilderness boundary.
Ice and snow-coated rocks necessitated a cautious crossing.

Sun, snow, hardwoods and blue sky.

A shaggy boulder with a passenger on top.

The same rocks seen from the other side.

A patch of bare ground, thanks to its sun exposure.

A mossy ledge face.

November icicles.

There are acres and acres of open spruce forest on the south slope of Acteon Ridge.
The only obstacles are the many small old blowdowns lying on the ground, like pick-up sticks.

This might have been a tote road in days of old.

Lunchtime arrival at the ledge perch. The two Black Mountains rise across the Smarts Brook valley.

A good dropoff in front.

The massive shoulder of Black Mountain.

This remnant patch of an old slide is a possible future bushwhack destination. Probably in summer, as it is shady and icy this time of year.

This ledge is a commanding perch with a wide view south and west.

Looking towards the Campton Range and Sandwich Notch.

West along the ridge to Acteon Peak, with Carr Mountain on the horizon.

A glimpse of the snow-caked summit of Sandwich Dome.

Not bad for late November...

Parting shot, 1:45 pm.

Another ledge just behind the perch offered a more westerly vista over the trees.

A ghostly Moosilauke hovers behind Welch and Dickey.

Descending through the hardwoods with the lower Black Mountain glimpsed through the trees.

Down through a mini-drainage. Bushwhacking really puts you in touch with the terrain.

Back across Smarts Brook.

Trailside view.

Fast-dipping sun along the Smarts Brook Trail.

Late afternoon at the beaver pond.

Last sun on the lower Black Mountain.

A cozy beaver home, awaiting a chilly late November night.

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