Saturday, September 29, 2018


There's no better place to be on a day of 100-mile visibility. Did the quiet longer loop up the Asquam-Ridge Trail and Beaver Brook Trail and down the Carriage Road and Snapper Trail.

Following the lower Ridge Trail up the Baker River valley.

A recent relocation around a washed-out section.

A relic probably from the Parker-Young logging days in the 1940s.

Hitch 'em up! This marks the upper end of Traps Turnpike.

Relic at the site of a Parker-Young logging camp.

A Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC) footbridge over the Baker River.

The river was surging out of Jobildunc Ravine after 2 inches of rain the night before.

Nice birch stand along the Ridge Trail.

Typical easy gradient along much of the Ridge Trail, though the footing has become rockier in recent years, probably more from torrential rainstorms than heavy use.

The Asquam-Ridge Trail is a quiet, mellow route meandering up through lovely high mountain forests, such as these open firs along the slope of Mt. Waternomee.

A mossy section ascending Mount Jim.

Along the wooded summit crest of Mount Jim. The high point is a few yards to the right of the trail on a herd path.

View ahead to Mount Blue from a fir wave along the trail.

Onto the Beaver Brook Trail and the AT.

Trailside view down into Jobildunc Ravine and out to the south. Up to this point I had not encountered another hiker, and would not see anyone until up on the flank of Mount Blue.

Beaver pond on floor of Jobildunc Ravine.

Blue skies over Mount Blue.

Necessary signage.

A perfect, nearly windless day for savoring several hours above treeline.

DOC Trail crew and volunteers have effectively filled in a parallel path through the alpine vegetation that had been trampled by careless hikers.

Endless views today, here looking west past Long Pond and ledgy Black Mountain. The Green Mountains were visible end-to-end - from Stratton and Mount Snow to the Jay Peaks. Though the Adirondacks were partly clouded in, I did get peeks at Haystack, Marcy, Algonquin and Lyon.

Good to know! AT hikers do sometimes end up on the wrong trail when descending Moosilauke.

Looking north. Kinsmans on the right.

Tundra and sky.

Sprawling ranges of the Whites. The view takes in 34 of the NH 4000-footers.

Franconia, Twin-Bond and Presidential Ranges.

Summit benchmark.

From the summit outcrop, looking out over the "East Peak" and Gorge Brook Trail.

Summit signs.

Hikers heading north.

The town of Lincoln tucked into the East Branch valley. Mt. Carrigain, the Hancocks, Kearsarge North and Mt. Huntington beyond.

Finely crafted cairns mark the trails above treeline.

Looking back up the Carriage Road.

South Peak ahead. The views from the main summit were so fine I didn't leave enough time for the side trip to South Peak.

Good rock step work by the DOC trail crew.

View SE over Gorge Brook Ravine from a spot along the Carriage Road.

Looking back at the summit.

Orange is the favored DOC color.

Rocky footing on the old Carriage Road.

Whenever descending this way, I pay a visit to the collapsed remnants of the Wadchu Shelter, built in 1935 by DOC members at the top of the famous Hell's Highway ski trail. It was leveled by the 1938 hurricane and never rebuilt. History of trails and shelters on Moosilauke:

A bit of early color along Gorge Brook.

Black-Eyed Susans at the DOC Ravine Lodge.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


A customer told me of some new blowdowns on my adopted section of the UNH Trail (thank you, Bob!), and Monday turned out to be a fine sunny fall day for blowdown patrol, scuffing out some drainages and hanging out in the sun on Hedgehog's summit and the East Ledges.

A big broken stepover.

 Was able to get it off the trail.

Allen's Ledge.

A three-tree hemlock mess leaning over the trail.

After I dropped the biggest of the three, the trail was completely blocked for a short time.

All clear.

Hedgehog summit.

View west to Sleepers and Tripyramids.

Mt. Passaconaway and its eastern spurs.

I continued around the loop to the East Ledges, where Mt. Chocorua is prominent to the east.

Passaconaway peek-a-boo.

Looking down over the East Ledges, where some early AMC rock climbing took place in the late 1920s

Side view of the East Ledges.

The broad Oliverian Brook valley, which makes up much of the eastern part of the Sandwich Range Wilderness.


Passaconaway's shadow.


The first trail up Hedgehog Mountain on the N side of Mt. Passaconaway was presumably opened in the late 1800s for the use of guests of Shackford’s (or Passaconaway House), the small inn located near the Swift River in the Albany Intervale. However, Moses Sweetser’s late 1800s guidebook does not mention Hedgehog, nor is a trail shown on the 1902 National Publishing Co. Topographic Map of the White Mountains (which did show a trail on neighboring Potash Mountain). A reference to climbing Hedgehog in 1904 is found in Our Mountain Trips, Part I: 1899-1908, edited by Ben English, Jr. and Jane English. The editors’ grandfather, Walter H. James, and companions climbed Hedgehog while camping in the Albany Intervale. They had some difficulty in following the trail that was in use at that time, and ended up ascending over ledges, along a slide and through small spruces. On the descent they were able to follow a logging road back to the trail.
  Hedgehog first appeared in the AMC Guide in the 1916 edition, which noted that the old trail had been destroyed by the extensive lumbering activities of the Swift River Railroad. The 1917 edition suggested that the trail would be rebuilt that year, and the 1918 Supplement indicated that it had been opened up to Allen’s Ledge. In the meantime a bushwhack route was described. In his 1916 book, Passaconaway in the White Mountains, Charles Edward Beals, Jr. noted that lumbermen had stripped much of the mountain’s forest cover, and that the summit was seldom visited. Apparently a trail was still available to Allen’s Ledge on the NE shoulder, and Beals highly recommended a visit to this vantage point. The 1920 edition of the AMC Guide reported that the trail up Hedgehog had been restored, ascending via Allen’s Ledge. This seemed to largely follow the route of the western section of today’s UNH Trail. On the descent, trampers were cautioned to follow blazes carefully and avoid logging roads leading into the Downes Brook valley. Presumably this trail restoration was directed by Rev. Arthur P. Hunt, who purchased the Passaconaway House property when the inn burned in 1916. Hunt built a new hostelry named the Swift River Inn and later formed the Passaconaway Mountain Club (PMC) to build and maintain trails in the Albany Intervale. The Hedgehog trail was named the Una Trail, after Hunt’s wife, Una, author of the childhood autobiography, The Inner Life of a Child.  By 1925 the PMC had cut a new section of trail creating a loop over the summit. The new eastern branch ascended to the col between the eastern spur known as “Little Hedgehog” and the main summit. From the col a spur trail led over to the East Ledges, while the main trail ascended to the summit. By 1928 the spur trail to the East Ledges had become a loop. A Swift River Inn brochure listed the following distances: main summit via Una Path, 1.8 mi.; summit via Cliffs, 2.6 mi.; and 4.4 mi. for the loop. The PMC ceased to exist in the 1930s, and the Swift River Inn was sold to the University of New Hampshire for use as a forestry camp. By 1940 the Hedgehog trails had been taken over by the USFS. However, by 1945 these trails, like many others across the Whites, were abandoned by the WMNF in the wake of World War II. Hedgehog remained trailless through the 1950s, and not until 1962 were the trails reopened up to Allen’s Ledge and beyond to the main summit, and also to the East Ledges. The connecting link between the East Ledges and the summit had not been cleared since the 1938 hurricane, and remained closed until around 1970, when the WMNF reopened it and named the entire loop the UNH Trail, after the forestry camp. In the early 1990s a new trailhead parking lot was built for the UNH, Mount Potash and Downes Brook Trails, and a small network of X-C ski trails – including the West Loop, North Loop and East Loop - was created at the northern base of Hedgehog. In 2012 the lower section of the eastern loop of UNH Trail was closed due to erosion, and a new connecting section of trail was built from the west loop to the east loop, higher up the slope above a recent clearcut.