Saturday, July 15, 2017

 SHORT HIKES: 7/9-7/14/17

This week's schedule allowed for only a series of short, but rewarding hikes.

Morning on Bald Mountain, looking across at Cannon Mountain. This may be the shortest hike to a good view anywhere in the Whites.

 The distinctive silhouette of Mt. Garfield from Bald Mountain.

Morning view of Echo Lake and Franconia Notch from Artist's Bluff.

Excellent rock work by the Trailwrights on the Artist's Bluff Trail.

On a warm and muggy late afternoon Carol and I took a geocaching hike to 1500-ft. Mt. Livermore in the Squam Range. We accessed the Squam Range ridgecrest via the unmaintained western section of Old Mountain Road, which begins at a parking area at the end of a side road off Perch Pond Rd. This section of Old Mountain Road is terribly eroded and not very pleasant walking. By contrast, the ridgecrest Crawford-Ridgepole Trail, shown below on the approach to Mt. Livermore through a fine oak forest, is a delightful footpath.

Carol takes in a hazy Squam Lake view from the summit of Mt. Livermore.

On another hot mid-afternoon, I followed an unofficial trail to Bridesmaid Falls (aka Noble Falls), near the Mittersill Resort. Although the flow was just a trickle this day, it was a very nice cooling spot to lounge for an hour and listen to the song of the water.

I made a steep bushwhack down the brook to see the terraced ledges of Plimpton Falls, "re-discovered" in recent years by local waterfall sleuths.

Open, Catskill-like hardwood glades on the slope of Mittersill Peak.

On a gloomy morning I did a close-to-home bushwhack to these nice cascades along Horner Brook, on the west slope of Loon Mountain. These were just off the original trail to the South Peak of Loon Mountain, which was then known as Loon Pond Mountain. (Traces of the trail are still visible.) The cascades were described by Frank O. Carpenter in his 1898 "Guide Book to the Franconia Notch and the Pemigewasset Valley." They had been more or less forgotten for many years, but like Plimpton Falls have recently been put "back on the map."

The photo below shows the view up from the crystalline pool at the bottom.

Hanging out streamside, listening to a Swainson's Thrush and a Winter Wren.

A closer look at the main drop.

The step-like upper cascades.

The Loon Pond Mountain Cascades feature some beautifully sculpted rock formations. A great local spot!

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