Saturday, September 8, 2018


I was looking for big views on a fine cool late summer day, and found plenty on a loop over Mount Flume, up the Osseo Trail from Lincoln Woods and down the former route of the Osseo Trail over Whaleback Mountain.

A beautiful morning along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset.

Only a handful of people along the Lincoln Woods Trail.

A longer but relatively mellow and quiet route to Mount Flume. The trek is 11.2 miles round trip with 3150 ft. of elevation gain.

Important message about logging camp artifacts.

Artifacts from Camp 8 of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad.

A remnant piece of rail near the Osseo Trail, perhaps from the short-lived gravity railroad line that operated in the Osseo Brook valley in the early 1900s.

For two miles the Osseo Trail follows old logging roads up the valley at easy to moderate grades.

The current Osseo Trail was opened in 1983 after the lower part of the original route was disrupted by condominium construction. The newer trail is well-built, with many switchbacks and numerous rock steps and, higher up, wooden staircases.

Even so, it is showing wear after 35 years, both from increased use and the ravages of heavy rainstorms.

When I descended this trail shortly after it opened in 1983, the footbed was soft and spongy. Not any more! Still, this trail offers generally good footing, unusual for a trail up a 4000-footer.

These staircases lead up through impossibly steep and rugged terrain to a wonderful viewpoint known as the "Down-Look."

A new AMC sign marks the spot.

A great view here over the Pemigewasset Wilderness.

Nice profile on Owl's Head Mountain.

Looking up at Mount Flume, still 800 feet above.

The great slides in the two lobes of Redrock Ravine.

The Bonds and slides in Hellgate Ravine.

Long vista up the East Branch valley to the Nancy Range.

Just above the Down-Look is a viewpoint on the other side of the trail. A very short path has been opened to this in the last few years, and several small trees have been cut, not sure by whom.

The view here is spectacular, looking down the length of the Osseo Brook valley to many mountains beyond.

An impressive slab on the opposite side of the valley.

Above the staircases the trail runs across a very flat, shrubby shoulder.

Grades are easy until the final stiff climb up Flume's summit cone.

Emerging on the first crags, looking across at Mt. Liberty.

Just below the summit the trail crosses the top of a steep slide gully. An interesting spot in winter.

The final short scramble to the summit crest.

The ragged line of crags makes Flume one of the most interesting summits in the Whites.

Looking back from the north end, at the actual summit.

The majestic Franconia Ridge.

Up the remote Lincoln Brook valley to Mt. Garfield.

The Franconias and Garfield united.

The Bonds.

 Beautiful sky today.

The south end of the summit crags provides a sweeping view in that direction.

Peering down the Flume slides.

Side view of the summit cliffs.

For the return trip, I followed the old route of the Osseo Trail south down the broad, flat ridge extending towards Whaleback Mountain. Originally opened in 1905 by the North Woodstock Improvement Association with help from AMC, it was officially abandoned in the early 1980s due to condo construction at its base. In recent years it has been lightly maintained by condo residents and others. Still, it is overgrown in places and blocked by several blowdowns.

A short bushwhack off the old trail revealed an unusual angle on Mt. Flume and several Pemi peaks beyond. In the foreground is a big rock slab on the flank of the ridge followed by the current Osseo Trail.

Scar Ridge and its slides from a restricted viewpoint at the summit of Whaleback Mountain.

On the west side of Whaleback a short bushwhack led to a dramatic look down into the Clear Brook valley under shadowed Big Coolidge Mountain.

Cliffs on the headwall of the Clear Brook basin.

 Zooming in on Main Street in Lincoln. With binoculars I caught a glimpse of my store.

Descending off Whaleback the old Osseo Trail is very steep and narrow, and is rather tricky going down.

A nice evening view towards the Osceolas and Tripyramids.

Another fine vista along the way.

Across a rock slab to Scar Ridge and Loon Mountain. Whaleback is a rugged mountain with several rock faces and slides.

Another short whack for a final look into the Pemi.

"Shelter Rock" is a landmark along the long, relentless descent off Whaleback. I hadn't been along this old route in about 20 years, and the sometimes unpleasant (gravelly) steepness surprised me!


  1. This was awesome!I forgot how beautiful this was. Loved the returnn trip to. Another unknown, now known, to me trail. Keep on truckin'

  2. Thanks, JimmyO - check out the new Osseo Trail - it's a great route.