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.

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