Friday, May 29, 2020

The Heart of Tripyramid

Staying close to water made sense for a 90-degree day. After enjoying cascades along the Livermore Trail, went partway up the Mount Tripyramid Trail towards the South Slide and bushwhacked about a mile along Cold Brook to its fork in a gentle, open meadow-glade high in the western basin: the heart of the mountain.

Violet cluster along Livermore Trail.

Norway Rapids is a great place to be on a hot sunny day.

Looking downstream.

Pothole pool at the upper end of the Rapids.

Wood Anenomes grace the edge of White Cascade.

A pool below the confluence of Slide Brook and Avalanche Brook.

In we go.

Grand entrance.

A favorite rest stop along Slide Brook.

Chaga bounty.

In its lower section Cold Brook slides over numerous small mossy cascades.Though it is a substantial stream, for some reason it is not shown on the 7 1/2' USGS Mount Tripyramid quad. It was shown on the old 15' Mount Chocorua quad.

Time for another rest stop.

Neat meadowy areas along the brook.


Mountain beauty.

Becoming a favorite brook.

Ravine forming.

Above here the ravine briefly became too rough, steep and narrow for following the brook. Time for a steep bypass through the woods.

Above the steep pitch the brook abruptly levels.

Today, lingering patches of snow were most welcome.

Some more upstream travel brought me to "the heart of the mountain." This name was given by late 19th century naturalist Frank Bolles to a chapter in his book, "At the North of Bearcamp Water," describing a journey he made along Stony Brook on the south side of Mt. Chocorua. Here the shoulder of South Tripyramid rises steeply to the SE.

When I first came here in winter years ago, this was a cold and lonely place with the low January sun blocked by this looming spur.

Not much sun reaches this part of the Cold Brook ravine in January.

It was much more inviting under the high spring sun! The wall of Middle Tripyramid rises to the east.

Just beyond, the brook splits. This dry brookbed is the NE fork, originating high in the ravine between North and Middle Tripyramid. I’ve always been intrigued by this quote in the early Waterville guidebook written by Arthur L. Goodrich: “Cold Brook enters on the right bank near the same place. It comes from the South Tripyramid and when not flooded flows for a considerable distance underground.” I was always within sight or earshot of the brook on the way up, and found no place where it went underground. Here, however, it is below ground.

A couple hundred feet up this brookbed there is flowing water again, though not much.

The SE fork continues as a flowing brook up towards the steep cut betwen Middle and South Tripyramid.

I spent a long time here, enclosed by the high ridges of Tripyramid.

The brook meanders gently through the meadow.

Bushwhacking down the slope to the north of the brook brought me through spectacular open sugar maple glades.

No trip to the Catskill hardwoods this spring, but this was pretty close.

This tree must have a story to tell!

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Looking for Greeley's Trail

A rare cloudy day was good for some exploring on the south side of Mt. Osceola. Included in the trek was an attempt to locate evidence of the original trail up Osceola opened by Waterville innkeeper Nathaniel Greeley in the 1850s and used into the 1930s.

Birches were displaying their spring greenery along Waterville Valley X-C trails.

I revisited the boulder train I found a few days earlier on the brook that drains the huge south slide of Osceola, which came down during Hurricane Carol in 1954. These rocks were apparently deposited at the lower end of the slide track. The train extends for some distance, perhaps as much as 0.1 mile.

Cascades on the nameless brook.

The slide carved out a steep bank.

More cascades.

Heading up onto the south ridge - the one Greeley's trail ascended - I crossed this old logging sled road leading up the valley.

At 2450 ft. I passed through this fine open maple glade.

These shattered rocks looked interesting.

Typical whacking.

Pick-up-sticks forest.

Another sled road, high on the ridge in dark woods at 2900 ft.

This unidentified artifact rested along the sled road. Its metal crumbled when touched.

With a little help from Garmin, I found a ledge I had spotted on Google Earth. I hoped there would be a view.

Sometimes potential view ledges pan out, and sometimes they don't.

On the way down the ridge I wandered back and forth, searching for traces of Greeley's trail. There were many potential overgrown trail corridors, such as this one.

And this one, which appeared to have a worn trough.

Another spot with a trough that doesn't look like a natural drainage.

Nice birch glade.

Sturdy sugar maples.

Taking in the beauty of the forest. Back home, my GPS track showed that I had been on or crossed the route of the old trail (as shown on the old 15-minute USGS quad) in several places.