Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Mount Israel Loop: 11/26/19

On a sunny, hazy day with temps in the 40s,  I made a loop over 2630-ft. Mt. Israel: up mostly via bushwhack - climbing to a view ledge on Dinsmore Mountain and traversing Israel's west ridge - and down via the Wentworth Trail. Conditions were springlike, with bare ground down low, several inches of wet snow in the woods on the ridge, and sloppy going on the upper half of the trail.

I parked at Mead Base Conservation Center off Sandwich Notch Road. Managed by the Friends of Mead Base, this site has a long and rich history, dating back to the late 1700s, as detailed in this report:
The farmhouse was built around 1850.

This way for the Wentworth Trail to Mt. Israel. Maintained by the Squam Lakes Association, it was opened in 1937.

Bare ground was a welcome sight in this rather snowy November.

Stone walls crisscross what was once pastureland.

My favorite November pastime is bare ground hardwood whacking. It lasted up til maybe 1500 ft. before snow began to cloak the forest floor.

I followed a steep-sided basin leading up to the col between Dinsmore Mountain and Mt. Israel.

Looking back.

Wet leaves and soggy snow made for slippery going on a steep sidehill.

Following a small brook up to the col.

Consistent snow cover up here at 2000 ft.

This month might be called Novembear.

Open hardwoods in the broad, flat col.

Bruin goes a wanderin'.

Fine hardwood forest on the flank of Dinsmore Mountain.

A towering yellow birch.

Battered giant.

Approaching the north-facing view ledge.

Looking NE to Mt. Whiteface, Mt. Paugus, Mt. Chocorua and nearby Mt. Israel.Having been here once before in spring, I knew the ledge was partly cloaked with puffy lichens, and with a snow cover of several inches you can't see where to tread lightly. So  I kept to the trees at the edge of the ledge.

Whiteface to Chocorua.

Whiteface, with its ledge faces well-displayed.

Paugus and Chocorua. The great gravelly cliffs and slides on the SW flank of Paugus are especially prominent when snow-covered.

Farther west across the Sandwich Range, the Sleepers and Tripyramid.

South Tripyramid with its slides looms behind remote Lost Pass.

Bear foraging sign back down in the col.

It was heading my way up the west ridge of Israel, but I did not encounter it.

Mostly open woods along the ridge.

An interesting bulge of ledge seen along the way.

Deer in the neighborhood.

For 0.2 mile the ridge is nearly level.

Outcrop along the crest, with a black cherry trunk on the right.


These lonesome ridgecrests have trees with character.

Double trouble.

Approaching a ridgetop meadow.

Meadow from above.

Another meadow, reminding me of the Catskills.

Into the spruces for the last part of the bushwhack.

I rejoined the Wentworth Trail about a half-mile below the summit.

The trail crosses the partly open SW summit of Mt. Israel before reaching the true summit.

Preview of the Sandwich Range view.

This ledgy knob is the high point of Mt. Israel.

An expansive ledge patch down in front of the knob is the best viewing area. To the west the views were very hazy.

Sandwich Dome is a massive presence in Israel's vista. The two Black Mountains are seen on the left. There is a large trailless tract on this side of the Dome.

The heart of the Sandwich Range: Tripyramid, Sleepers, Whiteface & Passaconaway. There's no better place to study the Sandwich Range than the summit of Israel.

Flat Mountain (North), North & South Tripyramid and West Sleeper guard the gap of Lost Pass.

Paugus and Chocorua.

Clouds creeping in.

Late afternoon on the SW summit.

Reflective puddle on the trail.

Squam Lake and distant ridges from the south outlook on Wentworth Trail.