Mark Klim and I enjoyed a leisurely bushwhack from Sandwich Notch Road to the lower of the two Black Mountains on Sandwich Dome, with a loop descent via the Algonquin Trail. A fine variety of natural and historic features made for an interesting day.
Our first destination was a beaver meadow below Sandwich Notch Road. When I came here in May the grass was a vivid green.
A high cascade on the brook that flows into the meadow.
A leaf-strewn ledgy section of brookbed.
Whacking up along the brook. In the Catskills following a brook to its source is called "blue-lining."
Reflections by a long-abandoned beaver dam.
This section of the brook is still flooded.
An old beaver lodge, now on dry land.
Just upstream is an old beaver pond.
The pond from above.
Beautiful hardwood glade beside the pond.
An interesting white ash.
A weathered beaver cutting.
Looking back along the brook above the pond.
One of my favorite hardwood glades, near the source of the brook that feeds the beaver pond.
Grassy spot on the ridge above the glade, a southwestern spur of Black Mountain.
View of the Campton Range from another ridgetop meadow.
A natural stone marker.
Heading up the ridge.
At 2400 ft. we reached the upper edge of the hardwoods on Black Mountain.
A steep climb through spruces lifted us to a spacious south-facing ledge I had first visited this spring.
We lounged in the sun enjoying views of the Campton Range....
...and the Squam Range.
Red Hill and the Belknap Range seen through the eastern portal of Sandwich Notch.
This long-abandoned campsite was a slightly creepy discovery in the woods up behind the ledge.
An open stretch of spruce forest on the whack up to Black Mountain. It wasn't all this cushy!
Mountaintop cairn on Black.
Out to a great view perch on the south side of the peak.
Looking across the SW corner of the Sandwich Range Wilderness to Mount Israel and Dinsmore Mountain.
Glimpses of the Hall Ponds to the south.
Peering up at the hulking mass of the higher Black Mountain (ascended by the Algonquin Trail), with the snowy summit of Sandwich Dome just visible on the left.
Mark takes in the views at the day's balmiest spot.
Nice spruce forest on the Algonquin Trail.
Descending through the hardwoods.
We spent a few minutes poking around an old logging camp site on the lower Algonquin Trail.
We followed part of the historic Old North Road on our way back to Sandwich Notch Road. This road was used as an alternate to the main road through the Notch by some of the hill farmers who lived in Sandwich Notch in the early 1800s. A great deal of information on the early history of Sandwich Notch is found in booklets published by the Sandwich Historical Society in 1935 and 1988.
Evidence of this once-thriving hill farm community can be found above the old road, including this stone wall.
Stone piles suggest that this land was once cleared for pastures.
This was apparently a barn foundation, perhaps associated with a farm owned by the Durgin family. The main road through Sandwich Notch was built in 1803, and by 1830 more than 40 families lived in the area. The community in this harsh, rocky environment was short-lived, however, and by 1860, only eight families remained.