Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Mount Pierce: 1/28/19

A cold bluebird day for an old winter favorite.

With the parking for Crawford Connector not plowed, current access is via the original route of the Crawford Path up from Rt. 302.

Great snowshoeing conditions today, with the 3" snowfall from the previous day provding a soft layer atop the old hardpacked track.

Ample snow depth, even down low.

A fellow snowshoer heads up the Crawford Path. A busy day for a Monday - met 17 other hikers, 11 on snowshoes (yay) and 6 wearing spikes.

A champion posthole, deeper than the length of my ski pole. Ouch!

Gorgeous day.

A cold, deep midwinter blanket in the woods.

It always seems to take a long time to reach this junction.

Hello there!

Guess I can spare a couple pieces of bread...

Ain't winter grand.

Tunnel effect.

First views.

Stellar day.

Big drifts, which can make the trail difficult to follow. The most-used route to the summit on this day went directly up through the scrub. The Webster Cliff Trail route was quite icy.

North Twin, Hale and western horizons.

Mts. Isolation and Davis across the Dry River valley. Kearsarge North pokes up in the distance.

 Deep drifted snow at the summit lifts you for some winter-only views. With a temp not far above zero, the little summit enclave had plenty of sun and provided shelter from the biting breeze. I managed to spend an hour at the summit in the early afternoon, when the winds had abated somewhat.

 Twin Range.

  Classic Presy view from Pierce.

Another angle.


Northern vista to Waumbek, Cabot etc. All told, you can see 30 NH 4000-footers from Pierce in winter.

 Camel's Hump (at left edge of photo) and Mt. Mansfield (left of center) were clearly visible today.

Inviting open fir woods beside the Crawford Path.

View from the Snowbank: Willard, Field and Avalon.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Georgiana Falls & Harvard Falls: 1/25/19

On Wednesday, late in the day, Carol and I broke trail on the Georgiana Falls Path through beautiful powder up to Lower Georgiana Falls, to claim a recently placed geocache. (Thanks, barefootgal!) We made the find by headlamp and descended in the dark. Today I returned to that trail, going for another cache up at Harvard (Upper Georgiana) Falls, to find an entirely different scene, with the brook totally blown out and the cascades roaring from Thursday's day-long rainstorm.

The rain had gullied a section of trail along an old logging road.

Still plenty of snow off-trail, as the temps stayed in the 30s during the rainstorm.

Snow bridges -- gone!

Along the final approach to the Lower Falls, our snowshoe track was history.

On Wednesday evening we had snowshoed through deep powder up these broad ledges, with the brook completely muffled.

Today I had to forge a new route in the woods through deep, soft, heavy snow, and then had to scrape my snowshoes across wide ledges.

Blown-out brook.

Lower Georgiana Falls, head-on.

Another angle.

Breaking trail up through the hemlocks. The upper part of the trail was steep, crusty and sidehilly.

First look at Harvard Falls, through a snow flurry. I've never seen it look like this.

Close-up from another perch along the trail.

Found the cache! 

Sun lighting up Harvard Falls.

Descending the steeps.

Big splash.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Black Pond & Franconia Falls: 1/22/19

A leisurely snowshoe ramble on a sunny, cold, and breezy day. Wonderful river, pond and mountain views today.

For my late morning start, I opted to park at the well-plowed Hancock Campground and do a road walk after looking at the rutted entrance to the Lincoln Woods parking area.

This is what I wanted to avoid!

Good snow load on the trailhead kiosk.

Taken on its own merits, rather than as a slog at either end of a long pekabgging trek, Lincoln Woods Trail is quite enjoyable on a fine winter day.

The East Branch was mostly frozen over after the recent cold snap.

A drifted in snowshoe track headed up the Osseo Trail.

The Camp 8 clearing is a snowfield in winter.

River sculptures.

Slide-streaked West Bond far off to the north.

Upstream to Bondcliff and its south spur.

Downstream to Mt. Osceola and its sharp Middle and West Peaks. The snowy top of the Dogleg Slide is prominent. In fact, this riverside vantage is where I first spotted that slide right after it fell during a rainstorm in late fall 1995.

The only hiker I would encounter all day had broken trail ahead of me through the new snow on the Black Pond Trail.

A short side excursion to the edge of the Ice Pond showed how strenuous off-trail travel is with the current soft, deep snowpack.

Mt. Flume across the meadow at the Ice Pond, which was created in the early 1900s to provide ice for J.E. Henry's logging camps.

As I passed by a trailside wooded swamp beyond the Ice Pond, out of the corner of my eye I saw a bird land on a dead snag. At first I thought "Blue Jay," but when I got a better look I said to myself, "That's no Blue Jay, but what is it." The bird conveniently stayed put as I fumbled for my binoculars in my big winter pack. When I zoomed in, I saw that it was a Northern Shrike, a rare winter visitor from the North, and a first for me. I watched it for a good ten minutes, and heard it give a variety of musical and almost whimsical calls.

Along the narrow, meandering Black Pond Trail.

FPA around the pond.

The "Owl's Head Spire" from the pond outlet.

The wild SE cliffs of Owl's Head.

The classic view across the pond from the end of the Black Pond Trail.

Bondcliff and its south spur.

Strange distorted tracks on the pond. Snowshoe hare?

The breaking was heavy across the pond, with a layer of slush beneath the snow.

Mt. Flume and its great NE ridge.

Gnarled and knuckled Whaleback ridges.

Leaving the pond for a short but slow bushwhack across to Franconia Falls.

Snowpack in the woods.

Plateau above the pond.

I descended a steep slope to the Fisherman's Path along Franconia Brook.

Looking north into the Pemi Wilderness along the cold and desolate Franconia Brook.

Heavy sidehill breaking along the Fisherman's Path.

I was happy to reach a broken track and the new sign marking the end of Franconia Falls Trail.

There's a deep green pool down there in summer.

Big rocks and snow sculptures.

Layer cake.

Looking downstream from the broad ledges at the top of Franconia Falls.

North Hancock and the Cedar Brook Slide, which fell in 1927 and was renewed by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

A cold, cold pool at the Falls.