Tuesday, August 15, 2017

CHURCH POND: 8/10/17

I enjoyed a hazy, lazy afternoon in the Albany Intervale visiting beautiful Church Pond, one of the easiest hikes in the Whites. Thanks to Carol for watching the store.

The Church Pond Trail starts in Passaconaway Campground and immediately fords the Swift River. The water was low today and it felt good on the feet.

There is a new beaver dam at the crossing of a second channel.

Several years ago the Saco Ranger District trail crew installed a quarter-mile's worth of new bog bridges across an extensive swampy area. This amazing work makes the hike to the pond easy and pleasant.

A view of Green's Cliff across the swamp.

The trail ends at a gravelly hummock known as The Knoll, with a fine stand of red pine. The former eastern loop section of trail has been closed due to chronic wetness.

Gazing down at the pond with the summer breeze sighing through the pines.

There was a feasting on blueberries.

A couple of small openings on the shore provide fine views south to the Sandwich Range.

Sleeper Ridge, the Fool Killer, North Tripyramid and Scaur Peak.

Mt. Passaconaway and Potash Mountain.

I headed to a secluded flat sitting rock on the eastern arm of the pond for an extended break.

Looking towards Mt. Tremont, Owl's Cliff and Birch Hill.

A zoom on Owl's Cliff, displaying its NW and SE cliffs.

Summertime, and the livin' is easy...

I read the chapter on the "Deer Ponds" (the old name for the Church Ponds) in this classic 1916 book about the Albany Intervale.

Another vista from The Knoll.

On the way home I visited a wildlife opening/former log landing at the base of Tripyramid. A field of goldenrod highlighted the view of Potash Mountain.

An impressive view of Tripyramid peaks: the Fool Killer, North Peak and Scaur Peak.

Farther up the Kanc, I stopped to poke up along Ledge Brook. I'd passed the small roadside cascade on this brook hundreds of times, but this was the first time I'd stopped. A tenth of a mile up from the road, I discovered why it's called Ledge Brook.

This would be quite a sight in high water.

A fine display of granite brookbed. I'll be back for further exploration.


  1. I finally just stopped at Ledge Brook as well, it was in the spring and it is beautiful when the water's flowing strong. But the even better cascade is located just downstream from the road where a giant boulder recently dislodged. I'll have to check out Church Pond, can't believe I've never been. Thanks for all your postings, you're amazing!

    1. Matthew,

      Thanks for your comment, and for the tip on the cascade below the bridge. I hope to visit those ledges with a good flow of water sometime. Be sure to visit Church Pond - it's a lovely, peaceful spot.

  2. I have never been to the small pond, have you? I have always assumed it was more of a bog now.

    I always see large groups of people camping on the knoll. I don't think this is allowed, is it?

    Ledge brook is indeed awesome in the spring melt!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Passaconaway. Great name! I have been to little Church Pond in summer and winter. It's not easy to get to, but has an amazing view of Green's Cliff. I'm not sure of the legality of camping on the knoll, but you hate to see it. I'll try to remember to visit Ledge Brook in the spring.

  3. Well, I live "across the street". You'd think I would have been to little pond. Perhaps this weekend!!

    Found a new friend last week:

    1. Hi Matt,

      Wow, where did that white bird come from, to end up on the sitting rock?

      I recently got an old postcard of the Passaconaway House (1905, I think). Have not found any additional info on the Passaconaway Mountain Club other than what's in the AMC guides and the brochure from the Swift River Inn. In the 1960s the maintainer of Passaconaway Cutoff was listed as the Passaconaway Civic Association [??].

  4. I don't know! That bird circled high over the pond for a bit, then flew directly at me and landed on my shoulder. It then stayed with me on the rock for about an hour. It was a little surreal.

    Maybe we should resurrect the PMC?