Tuesday, August 7, 2018


Hot and oppressively humid, truly the dog days of summer. Got out for a half day hike to Noon Peak and ledges farther along the Sandwich Mountain Trail.

After dropping down to cross Drakes Brook, the Sandwich Mountain Trail begins a mostly relentless climb to Noon Peak. It is an old trail, having been opened in 1879 by volunteers from the AMC, including Waterville guidebook author, mapmaker and trail-builder Arthur L. Goodrich.Well up on the climb it passes these glacial erratics in an area of open spruce forest.

The Sandwich Mountain Trail climbs 1550 ft. in 1.6 miles to the Noon Peak outlook, and one section is somewhat like the climb to East Osceola from Greeley Ponds Trail.

Hazy vista through Mad River Notch from the main Noon Peak outlook.

Major dropoff into the Drakes Brook valley.

From the second Noon Peak vantage point, South Flat Mountain peeks over the wild col between North Flat Mountain and Sandwich Dome.

The section of trail threading the ridge south from Noon Peak is a wonderful walk. Whenever I hike here, I think of the classic quote from Waterville trail-builder and historian Nathaniel Goodrich: "Beyond Noon Peak it passes through an area of curious elfin beauty.......

"....Gray ledge and grayer reindeer lichen, green moss and low green spruces, long vistas into mystery, utter quiet, a feeling of remoteness, of simplicity, pervade this spot......"

"...Go slowly here."

Approaching Jennings Peak, the trail briefly breaks out onto open sunny ledges.

Fine perches are accessed by following the ledges down to the left.

Cliffs drop off into the upper Drakes Brook valley.

View to the high peaks of the Sandwich Range, from Tripyramid across to Whiteface, behind the northern Flat Mountain.

Overlooking the secluded upper valley..

The double-domed summit of Sandwich looms close by. The original route of the Drakes Brook Trail (opened in 1922) ascended the slope under the summit and emerged near the top after crossing the headwaters of Drakes Brook. The current route of the trail comes up to the ridge much farther to the north, near Jennings Peak.

On the way back, better light on the vista from the main Noon Peak outlook ledge.

Zoom on Tripyramid, with a good angle on the South Slides.

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