Friday, November 17, 2017


Mark Klim and I spent a leisurely partly sunny day wandering some low elevation trails in the Sandwich area.

On our first ramble we started at Mead Base at the foot of Mt. Israel and walked the short segment of the Bearcamp River Trail across to Sandwich Notch Road. We took a side trail down to the base of Lower Falls on the Bearcamp River.

The highlight of this section of trail is Beede Falls in the Sandwich Town Park.

Next we headed NW on Sandwich Notch Road.

We went a half-mile up the road and grabbed a geocache at the Crawford-Ridgepole trailhead. Our original plan was to continue another mile or so up the road and bushwhack to some ledges on a spur of the Squam Range. But the walking was tedious on the road, with slippery tire tracks, and the recent snowfall made the woods and slopes uninviting for bushwhacking any distance. So we decided to head back to Mead Base and then drive over to Wonalancet for another hike.

On the way back we took out a half-dozen blowdowns on the Bearcamp River Trail.

View of Mt. Israel from the road into Mead Base. 

We drove to the Ferncroft trailhead in Wonalancet and walked a 4 1/4 mile loop that included little Mt. Katherine. This would get Mark 2 miles of new redlining trails. We started up the Blueberry Ledge Trail for 0.9 mile. Along the way we passed this young forest on what we believe was once the Quimby Hill Ski Slope. According to the books "Lost Ski Areas of the White Mountains," by Jeremy Davis, and "Skiing in the East" (Federal Writer's Project, 1939), this 600 ft. X 75 ft. slope was operated from the late 1930s into the1950s by the Tamworth Outing Club and featured a rope tow and rustic shelter. It was suitable for novices and intermediates and required 15" of snow for safe skiing.

Pileated Woodpecker excavations beside the Blueberry Ledge Trail.

We turned left on the McCrillis Path, and then left again on the Tilton Spring Path. All of these trails are admirably maintained by the Wonalancet Out Door Club, and blowdowns from the Halloween storm had already been cleared.

Bushwhacker's nightmare beside Tilton Spring Path.

A wonderful, little-used woods walk.

Tilton Spring, at the junction with Pasture Path.

The Pasture Path climbs gently to the broad, flat summit of Mt. Katherine (1380 ft.). A century ago this summit was wide-open and offered a panoramic view of the Sandwich Range. It was originally known simply as "The Ledge." It was soon renamed for Wonalancet innkeeper Katherine Sleeper Walden. Today there is only one framed vista, but it's a nice one, looking across the Wonalancet fields to Mt. Chocorua.

Someone had built the first snowman of the season.

View of Mt. Whiteface from the Pasture Path.

The classic Ferncroft trailhead view in late afternoon, featuring Mt. Whiteface and Mt. Wonalancet.

Before heading home I took a short stroll on the always-delightful Brook Path along the Wonalancet River.

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