Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hardwoods and Ledges: 3/27/20

After a couple days of melting took care of last week's snowfall, I returned to a favorite local bushwhacking area for an afternoon of sun, open hardwoods and granite ledges. 

Come early spring, I'd rather be in the hardwoods.

A magnificent oak.

Skies of blue.

Layered ledges.

A solitary giant white pine lords it over a steep rocky slope.

The first in a ramp-like series of ledges.

The Campton Range.

Oak-lined corridor.

The upper ramp.

The two Black Mountains.

Spent an hour and a half here lounging in the sun.

Late afternoon, heading back down.

Mossy rocks glow in the forest.

Overhang. Stay safe!

The Scaur: 3/26/20

Staying local and staying low, on a gorgeous early spring afternoon I snowshoed to a longtime favorite in Waterville Valley, the rocky nubble known as The Scaur.

The Kettles Path is the route that leads from Livermore Trail to The Scaur. Along the way it passes the three glacially-formed bowl-shaped depressions known as The Kettles.

In winter, I often bushwhack from the trail on the SW side of The Scaur up through a fine open hardwood forest. Today I paid visits to a number of large trees on this slope, including this stout yellow birch.

A good-sized beech.

Despite temperatures around 50, the spring snowpack remained firm, making for good off-trail snowshoeing.

There are a number of black cherry trees in the woods on the slope just south of The Scaur. This is an un common tree in the Whites.

It was a good day to appreciate the trees, including these birches.

Looking up at the cliffs of The Scaur.

One of my all-time favorite sugar maples stands tall at the base of The Scaur.

Bright sun, spring snow and blue sky in the hardwoods.

One of the largest black cherry trees in the stand.

A couple of skiers had cruised down through the hardwood glades.

Waterville's Rock of Gibraltar, along Irene's Path.

View of Mt. Tecumseh along Irene's Path.

A short, partly icy scramble led to the open ledges of The Scaur. I've been here many times, but the expansive view over the Waterville backcountry never fails to please.

Sandwich Dome and Jennings Peak.

The remote Lost Pass region sprawls beyond the hardwood forest I had just ascended through.

Middle and South Tripyramid.

East Osceola and the Painted Cliff, seen through a gap in the trees on the west side.

The main summit of Osceola.

A side view of the Rock of Gibraltar.

A familiar warrior white ash, down near the Kettles Path.

Pileated Woodpecker at work.

Towering trailside white pine.

I dropped down into one of the Kettles for an intimate view.

On the way out I made a short side trip to the site of the Swazeytown Dam on Slide Brook, used in the early 1900s for the Waterville log drives down the Mad River. This brushy area was once a pond; North Tripyramid can be glimpsed in the distance.

The view from Swazeytown Dam in 1912. (Photo from WVAIA collection.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Snow-Free: 3/22/20

Found bare ground on a favorite local bushwhack.

Many trails have been icy recently.  New snow has covered much of it, but there will likely be more. Please be careful out there, particularly important as medical and EMS/SAR resources are likely to be overloaded in the coming weeks. Now is not the time for long drives and challenging hikes. As one local SAR person has posted, it's time to "dial it back for a while." Stay local and stay low. Please see this statement from the AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee about hiking and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Got a lot of great snowshoeing in this winter, but now that it's spring this has a lot of appeal

I always seem to pass by this swaying beech.

Another favorite feature.

Anybody home?

Interesting fracturing.

Bear activity?

Beautiful oak ridge.

Southern vista.

Mt. Moosilauke behind multiple cliffs.

Oaks, ledges and deep blue skies.

Black Mountain.

Sandwich Dome.

Sandwich Notch.

Sun-warmed granite.

Time for a snooze.

Fortress rock.

Hardwoods rule.


Oak monarch. Be safe and stay well!