Saturday, October 28, 2017


During the last full week of October I finished up the fall maintenance on my adopted trails, with a little help from my friends. I also enjoyed a hike and bushwhack to some favorite ledges on the lower spurs of Sandwich Dome's Acteon Ridge.

On a balmy Monday, October 23, Mark Klim and I took a maintenance trip to the Passaconaway Cutoff, the adopted trail of the AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee. This trail is part of the northern route to Mt. Passaconaway from the Kancamagus Highway.

Here Mark makes an undercut on a blowdown near the start of the trail.

Understory color.

 Low water on the west branch of Oliverian Brook.

Walking through beech foliage.

Fine work done this spring by axman Chris Garby. Thanks, Chris!

A small rake is handy for scraping dried leaves from the drainages along the trail. Cleaning drainages twice a year is one of the most important tasks of the trail adopter.

Well-earned rest at the top of Passaconaway Cutoff.

Mt. Passaconaway has taken on its November look.

From a short distance off the trail, a partial view north past Hedgehog Mountain.

 Walking down past one of the cleaned drainages.

Friday, October 27 was a two-part day. In the morning I finished cleaning drainages on my section of the Hurricane Trail with help from my friend Dave Stinson (thanks, Dave!), then enjoyed an afternoon hike/bushwhack to some favorite ledges on lower spurs of Acteon Ridge.

Here Dave, who has helped me maintain various trails for many years, looks over the longest waterbar on this section of the Hurricane Trail, running well after 5" of rain in the previous three days.While we were working, Steve Bailey, the creator of the popular 4000-footer passport and periodic table poster, came by with his dad, Don, headed for a day of adopter trail work on the Hurricane Trail east of Hurricane Mountain. Steve has adopted the entire section of that trail up over the ridge.


Dave takes a break by the roaring Baker River.

This drainage had a strong water flow.

The wetness underfoot made this bridge crossing high over Gorge Brook even more "interesting."

Cloud and snow atop Mt. Moosilauke.

I started my afternoon trek along several trails in the Smarts Brook area, passing a surging cascade on Smarts Brook.

And another.

A vignette of Smarts Brook from an unofficial mountain bike trail.

This trail makes a long meandering ascent to a flat ledgy area on a low southern shoulder of Acteon Ridge.

A spreading red pine.

A peek at the lower Black Mountain from the main ledge area.

Nice place to hang out in the sun for a while. A mountain biker came by while I was here, the only person I saw during this trip.

Golden hardwood bushwhacking.

A lovely time of year in the woods.

A steep slope leading up to a favorite series of ledges on a sloping ridgecrest.

I emerged on the lowest ledge for a framed view of the trailless Campton Range.

Lichens and oaks. When bushwhacking in places like this, I take care to avoid trampling fragile lichens.

Looking up a long ledge ramp.

Approaching the top.

Peering across at the two Black Mountains on the SW ridge of Sandwich Dome.

A picturesque ridgecrest.

View from the top of the ledges.

It was warm enough for a short snooze, with background sounds provided by insect buzzing and the distant roar of Smarts Brook. 

Looking up the ridge.

I chose this hike with the knowledge that there would be some late oak foliage color here.

I continued across a spruce-wooded plateau for a look at this cliff at the base of Bald Knob.

Late in the afternoon I made my way up to the expansive granite ledges atop the southern spur of Bald Knob, with a good view to the SW.

Shadows on Welch and Dickey.

South to the Campton Range.

A water sluice on a brook along the bushwhack back down to the Yellow Jacket Trail.

Friday, October 20, 2017


What a week of warm, golden October days! Ideal weather for doing some trail work and enjoying some late foliage.

One day Mark Klim and I did the fall maintenance on the west half of the UNH Trail on Hedgehog Mountain, one of my adopted trails. This is one of the longer of the three dozen drainages on this section. Thanks to Mark for his hard work!

Halfway up, we took a break in the sun on Allen's Ledge.

View of Albany Intervale from Allen's Ledge.

Mark cuts up a blowdown with his Silky saw.

Near-summit view of Mt. Washington behind Mt. Tremont.

Fall color on the north side of the summit.

Nice late color in the Oliverian Brook valley.

The mighty Passaconaway, its lower slopes awash in orange.


Looking west to Tripyramid.

Hancock and Carrigain.

Carter Dome in the distance through Bear Notch.

Before heading down we made a short bushwhack to an interesting creviced ledge on the east side of the summit.

From here, a view to Bear Mountain and the Moats.

Mark heads down the trail into the views.

A couple days later I did some drainage cleaning on my adopted one-mile section of the Hurricane Trail at the base of Mt. Moosilauke.

Another golden October day.

Autumn at its finest.

One of several long drainages on this section of trail.

Alongside the Baker River.

Footbridge over Gorge Brook.

On the way back I checked out the recently opened new Ravine Lodge. It's a spectacular structure!

Big windows with a mountain view in the dining area.

Map of former ski trails behind the Ravine Lodge.

Dartmouth Outing Club humor.

Mt. Moosilauke rises behind the Lodge.


In case you were wondering...

Later that day I took a short loop hike in the Smarts Brook area. From a spur off an unofficial mountain bike trail I gained this colorful vista of Welch-Dickey and the southern ridges of Mt. Tecumseh.

Jennings Peak and Sachem Peak.

I crossed the exposed dam at the Smarts Brook beaver pond, alongside the Smarts Brook Trail. Not surprisingly, the water level was very low.

An old beaver lodge.

A different perspective on Sachem and Jennings.

The Black Mountain ridge leading up to Sandwich Dome.

Reflected view of the lower Black Mountain.

More foliage reflections.

Ambitious beavers.

Scenic ledgy spot on Smarts Brook.

A visitor takes in the scene at the Smarts Brook cascade.