Tuesday, October 23, 2018

West Ledges, West Royce: 10/22/18

A bushwhack loop in the beautiful Wild River valley, visiting three viewspots on western spur ridges of West Royce Mountain. Acres and acres of fine hardwood forest and wide views over the valley to the Carter Range.

View across the Wild River to Mount Moriah, from a spot along the Wild River Road.  

Checked out the river crossing on the Shelburne Trail, which was drastically rearranged by last year's Halloween storm.  There's now a major dropoff at the site, and a deep pool below, where previously the crossing was shallow and rocky.           

A path has been flagged leading 0.1 mile north to a relocated crossing, at a spot where the river is rocky and shallower. As marked, the crossing leads diagonally back across the river towards the trail on the far side.     

Sunny morning on the Basin Trail.      

Long line of bog bridges.

A wonderful place, though my bushwhack loop was just outside the Wilderness. Still, the  western slopes of West Royce are retained in a primarily natural state as a roadless area.      

Big trees on the bank of Blue Brook.   

Hardwood whacking was the order of the day as I headed up a tributary drainage of Blue Brook.     

Bouldery terrain marked the beginning of a very steep climb up to a ridge with view ledges.        

Atop the somehwat scrubby ridge.  

 Arrived at the major view ledge in time for lunch.     

 I stayed a while to enjoy the expansive vista westward across the Wild River Wilderness to the Carter Range.      

 Rainbow Ridge, Carter Dome and Mt. Hight.       

Looking up the Moriah Brook valley to Middle & North Carter and Imp Mountain.

Close by to the south are Mt. Meader and "Blue Brook Mountain," with North Baldface peeking over in back.     

Adding Mt. Moriah to the Wild River view.    

Heading up the ridge, one of the biggest spruce blowdowns I've seen.        

From another ledge, North Baldface seen beyond the Blue Brook valley. South Baldface peeks over on the left. 

I headed north across another drainage to the next ridge, ascending through fine mature hardwoods.              

I worked my way up, around and down to the top of a cliff spotted through the trees.    

Looking back to the ridge from whence I came.  

Another nice view of the valley and the Carters.

Descending through a maple gateway.  

A yellow birch titan.

Looking back up at the cliff.

Nice outcropping of quartz.   

October hardwood whacking is the best.          

After returning to the trails, I headed upstream a little way on the Wild River Trail to have a look at the current state of the Moriah Brook Trail crossing of the Wild River, where the USFS removed a bridge in 2016.  The crossing, reached by a short trail relocation, is decidedly sketchy, as one must drop over a steep, unstable bank before wading across the river.

Impressive bank erosion seen across from the former bridge site.    

Before heading back, I revisited a section of railroad track left over from the Wild River Railroad, a logging line that operated in the valley from 1891-1904.  A photo of this track was featured on the cover of Nature and Renewal, by Dean B. Bennett, a fascinating book on the human and natural history of the Wild River Valley.    


  1. Beautiful angles on the Carters-hope to explore that wild area someday!

    1. It's a wonderful area, sort of a smaller version of the Pemi Wilderness with fewer visitors.

  2. Just read this quote by Lord Byron: "There is pleasure in the pathless woods." But I don't need to tell you that!