On a sunny, cold, blustery afternoon and evening I combined spring trail work on the lower two-thirds of Passaconaway Cutoff with some off-trail wandering on the way back.
Where I spent most of the day.
A new, taller post has been installed for the signs at the Oliverian Brook Trail/Passaconaway Cutoff junction.
It's been a windy spring.
This overhead leaner would fall onto the trail sooner or later. It was a little tricky and required several cuts.
A beautiful day in the hardwoods, though the wind was roaring overhead.
This one looked fairly fresh.
Just two cuts needed.
Drainage cleaning is the most important task for the trail adopter.
One more blowdown.
The Silky saw is up to the task.
Cascade on the West Branch of Oliverian Brook.
Passaconaway Cutoff was originally opened by the Passaconaway Mountain Club (based at the Swift River Inn in the Albany Intervale) around 1920, after the conclusion of intensive logging in the area by the Conway Lumber Company. Following lumber roads up the valley of the West Branch of Oliverian Brook, it originally stayed close to the brook, crossing it three times low down, then ascending along its south side to meet the Square Ledge Trail at the site of an abandoned logging camp on the north slope of Nanamocomuck Peak. The trail was abandoned after the Hurricane of 1938 caused flooding in the valley and unleashed a large slide on the east slope of Mt. Passaconaway, wreaking havoc on the trail. The trail was reopened in 1965, more or less following the route of the destroyed older trail, with reroutes around washouts. In 1981 the upper half was relocated higher up the slope and away from the brook, meeting the Square Ledge Trail farther to the east. The section running close to the brook was abandoned.
After completing the work for the day, leaving the upper third of the trail with its myriad drainages for another day, I dropped down the slope for some exploring. Having worked on this trail since 2006, I was curious to see if I could locate the former route down near the brook. I also wanted to visit the confluence where the brook draining from Passaconaway's 1938 East Slide and an older adjacent slide meets the main stem of the West Branch of Oliverian Brook.
The abandoned logging road route of the trail was pretty obvious when I got down to it.
Corduroy on the old road.
The West Branch of Oliverian Brook at the confluence with the brook from the Passaconaway slides.
The brook coming down from the slides. Still looks "slidey."
Looking downstream from the confluence.
My guess is that this bank was gouged out by the 1938 East Slide.
I followed the old route of the Cutoff a little farther up the valley before heading back.
On the return trip I undertook a longer bushwhack to visit a remote logging camp of the Conway Lumber Company's Swift River Railroad (1906-1916), which I had only been to in winter.
One of four brook crossings made en route to the camp.
The last stream I crossed was the water source for the camp.
There are many artifacts scattered around the area. As always, note that these are protected by Federal law and it is illegal and disrespectful to remove them.
The top of this stove was visible in winter, but the other items were hidden under the snow.
Part of a lumberman's boot is still here, more than a century after it was last worn.
This broken bottle reads "134 Canal St. Boston." That was the address of H.W. Huguley Co., a well-known liquor dealer of the era, with a largely mail-order business. I found this interesting blog post about the company: http://pre-prowhiskeymen.blogspot.com/2014/08/h-w-huguley-and-his-old-fashioned.html.
Carriage wheel rims, presumably.
A variety of items.
I've never seen this contraption at a camp before. Any ideas?
I wondered if this piping was part of a water supply system.
Wild spruce forest.
On the way back to the trail I visited a familiar beaver bog.
Evening view of Square Ledge and Nanamocomuck Peak.
The dominant Mt. Passaconaway.
On the drive home along the Kanc, a full moon rose over Mt. Chocorua. Wish ace photographer Chris Whiton had been here.