Monday, November 27, 2017


Carol and I took a morning walk up the Lincoln Woods Trail to have a look at where much of the flow of the East Branch was diverted into Pine Island Brook during the Halloween storm, making the Pine Island Trail impassable.

This is where the Pine Island Trail formerly crossed a dry channel, now an impassable torrent with much of the flow of the East Branch running through it. (Photo taken 11/7/17)

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After we made a short bushwhack from the Lincoln Woods Trail, I dropped down the bank onto this vast rock field along the East Branch.

The new channel of the river breaks off to the left on the left side of the picture, just to the right of the low snowy bank.

A zoom on the new channel, splitting to the left of a small rocky point.

Logjams, probably a combination of Tropical Storm Irene and the Halloween storm.

 View of three Hitchcock summits across the rock field.

Looking downstream to Black Mountain.

Late November on the Lincoln Woods Trail.

Friday, November 24, 2017


Carol and I enjoyed a quiet 3 1/2 mile Thanksgiving walk at this beautiful location on Squam Lake.

There is a new start for the trails leaving Pinehurst Road at the base of West Rattlesnake. There is now a short trail segment rather than a road walk.

A very cool geocache location at the junction of the Col Trail and Pasture Trail.


Mellow walking on the Five Finger Point Trail, maintained by the Squam Lakes Association.

Some recent sidecut work by SLA where the trail descends a sidehill towards the peninsula.

The trail meanders for 1.3 miles around the multi-point peninsula.

A waterside ledge.

West and East Rattlesnake.

Welcome sign at on of the points.

Great ledges out here.

Nice spot to linger.

A small beach at the head of a cove.

A peaceful spot, warm in the sun, out of the wind.

More ledges, with Mt. Webster in the Squam Range seen in the distance.

We sawed up one blowdown and tossed a number of limbs off the trail.

A view along the north side of the peninsula.

Mt. Israel (R) and Dinsmore Mountain (L).

Many large white pines in this area.

The woods on the mainland are laced with stone walls -- pure New England.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017


Bare ground rambling in the leafless hardwoods is, to my mind, the best of November. On a sunny, 40ish day I found bare ground hardwoods on the lower south slopes of Mt. Chocorua, along with fine views from big granite ledges.

The historic Hammond farmhouse is situated near the start of the Hammond Trail, probably the oldest trail up Mt. Chocorua, dating back to 1859. This privately-owned field also serves as an access to the wonderful trails in the Chocorua Conservation Lands, more than 800 acres managed by the Chocorua Lake Conservancy and open to the public for hiking and other recreational uses.

Trail sign in the Nature Conservancy's Frank Bolles Preserve, one of several parcels that make up the Chocorua Conservation Lands. It is named for the naturalist Frank Bolles, who owned a house at Chocorua Lake wrote the regional nature classic At the North of Bearcamp Water, published in 1893.

The Old Mail Road, which once served as a route between Tamworth and Conway.

Geocache log at a location called "Blacky's Flats" on the Chocorua Conservation Lands trail map, available at

An old logging road leads north into the WMNF and the Mount Chocorua Scenic Area.

A little bit of Chocorua trail history deep in the forest.

I headed north up a hardwood ridge on an unofficial modern version of a long-abandoned trail.

 Lots of beech, but I didn't see many bear trees.

Red oak forest farther up the rather steep ridge.

A beautiful col with glacial erratics and tall oaks.

The ledges loom ahead.

A sketchy chimney that is occasionally ascended by Chocorua explorers. I took a circuitous route around the chimney - it looked too steep with slippery oak leaves underfoot.

After a steep climb I emerged on a SW facing ledge looking out towards the Ossipee Range and Red Hill.

Mt. Israel (L) and Sandwich Dome (R), beyond another low spur ridge of Chocorua.

Sandwich Dome anchors the far western end of the Sandwich Range, as Mt. Chocorua does on the eastern end.

Around the corner is a favorite big ledge that looks south over Chocorua Lake.

From here you also see Silver Lake (behind on the L) and Ossipee Lake (in back on the R).

One of the last days of 2017 where this will be comfortable.

Another ledge looks east to Bald Mountain, over which the Hammond Trail passes.

Rugged terrain!

My route to and from the ledges squeezed along the base of this rock face.

Afternoon low-angle light in the hardwoods.

A pretty stream drains a small valley on the south side of the ledges.

On the way back I looped around on several trails in the Chocorua Conservation Lands. This giant boulder stands guard by the junction of Old Mail Road and Bickford Heights Trail.

A split boulder at the base of Bickford Heights.

Approaching the summit of Bickford Heights (1080 ft.).

A peek at the peak of Chocorua.

Mt. Israel and Young Mountain from Bickford Heights.

Fallen trail sign.

Another boulder on the east side of Bickford Heights.

 Last trail link of the day.

Heron Pond (aka Lonely Lake) with dusk coming on. This pond was featured in Frank Bolles's 1893 classic At the North of Bearcamp Water.

Mt. Chocorua, the Hammond Trail ridge, and Bald Mountain.

Gnarled old trees march down to the water's edge.