A predicted rain event held off, so I was able to enjoy a bonus half-day hike. I decided to head down to the Welch-Dickey area and bushwhack up to the base of the massive cliff on the SW ridge of Dickey Mountain. I'd been to the top of this ledge many times along the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, but had never admired it from below.
I hiked a short way up the Welch Mountain side of the trail, then crossed the brook that drains the bowl between Welch and Dickey and headed up through the open hardwoods.
For the third hike in a row, I came across bear tracks in the snow.
Bear foraging sign.
The Dickey Cliff area is known to rock climbers, who call this massive rock down in the valley the "Wander Boulder."
The slope leading up towards the Dickey Cliff is strewn with many more boulders.
This seemed a likely spot for an animal den.
Sure enough, it's been occupied by a porcupine, though no one was home when I passed by.
Great hiding spot in there.
Close-up of porcupine poop.
Continuing up the slope through open rocky woods.
Rocks of many shapes.
Approaching the Dickey Cliff.
A stand of gnarled beeches at the base of the cliff.
A long wall of granite.
A variety of routes for climbers.
A beech Ent.
A bear tree against the cliff.
Moss-grown bear claw marks.
Icicles in an unusually cold November.
Climbers dubbed this the "South America Wall."
Turkey tracks spotted while ascending to the hiking trail.
Yet another bear track.
Along the Welch-Dickey Loop Trail, arriving at the lower end of the slabs atop the Dickey Cliff. Sandwich Dome and the two Black Mountains in the distance, with Acteon Ridge below.
Looking up the slab to Dickey and Welch.
Peering down into the bowl.
Looking south along the crest of the slabs.
In the mid 30s with no wind, warm enough to relax for a while.
Large slabs streak the steep face of Dickey.
Weird light on Carr Mountain to the west.
Microspikes (or similar traction) are a necessity for safe travel on the icy Welch-Dickey Loop.