Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Scaur Peak Loop: 5/22/23

It's been fun watching the progress of spring on a series of hikes/bushwhacks on the western slopes of Mount Tripyramid. This trek on the northwestern side of the mountain took me on a bushwhack loop over 3605-foot Scaur Peak with an extension to an old slide patch for some views. There were wildflowers a-plenty to see, with trout lilies still blooming at the higher elevations.

Livermore Trail, a gravel road (rarely used by motor vehicles) for its first few miles, is excellent for spring wildflower viewing. The flowers flourish on the trail's wide margins, and the smooth footing enables you to admire them without having to negotiate rocks and roots. These bluets were blooming along a section of the trail that ascends beside a field about a mile in.

These beech sapling leaves were apparently withered by the hard freeze in the mountains a few nights earlier. The same phenomenon was evident along the Lincoln Woods Trail on recent evening walks.

One of several trailside patches of wood anemone.

Identification of violets I'll leave to the experts. These two species were growing in close proximity.

White Cascade on Slide Brook was flowing strongly. If I keep going out here I may be able to complete a 52-week grid for this feature.

Tiny white violets.

Sessile-leaved bellwort (aka wild oats) was growing in abundance along the trail.

In one spot, a veritable carpet of bellworts,

A pleasant surprise was spotting two small patches of Jack-in-the-pulpit, a plant I've rarely seen in the Whites and never before in Waterville Valley.

A marvelous maple corridor along Livermore Trail above the turn at the northern end of the Mount Tripyramid Trail.

Yellow violets are early bloomers in the spring.

Painted trilliums.

Four miles in, after chatting with a Forest Service researcher who was checking on a remote game camera, I headed off-trail to ascend towards Scaur Peak on an interconnecting network of old logging roads. (That was the only hiker I saw all day.) These sled roads probably date back to the 1930s or 1940s, perhaps even the 1950s. The Scaur Ridge Trail follows one of the lower roads.

A nice higher elevation hardwood stand. The hardwoods extend to well above 3000 ft. on some of the Tripyramid ridges.

These roads are well-built and well-preserved, though beech saplings are taking over. They are well-displayed on lidar hillshade images.

Trout lilies still in bloom!

Tripyramid has a big presence in this neighborhood.

Hobblebush has swarmed this section of the road.

Above 3000 ft. spruces start to take over the road.

A head-on look at the North Slide.

The ephemeral beauty of a trout lily. It blooms, it fruits, and it fades away until another spring.

I left the road and whacked up to the crest of Scaur Peak's SW ridge.

Wandering through a cluster of open fern meadows peppered with old blowdown.

Only very limited views from these openings.

Heading up the ridge through mostly open forest.

There was an ample supply of moose pellets up here, but I didn't spot any antler sheds.

Nice whackin'.

The woods are darker and thicker at the broad summit of Scaur Peak.

This is an essentially viewless peak, though I found one glimpse of Mt. Passaconaway in the distance.

The saddle between Scaur Peak and the Pine Bend Brook Trail is home to a remarkable array of old gnarled yellow birches.

Life is tough at 3400 ft.

Northerly views from an open glade near the Pine Bend Brook Trail/Scaur Ridge Trail junction. Green's Cliff in the foreground with Mt. Tremont to its right. Carters and Wildcats in the distance on the right and Mt. Washington on the left.

Zoom on George.

A few snow patches lingering on this north-facing slope.

A number of fir tops were broken off along the section of Pine Bend Brook Trail that traverses the narrow ridge - perhaps from an ice/heavy wet snow event in April.

From Pine Bend Brook Trail I bushwhacked to an open patch remaining from a slide that fell in 1885 on the headwall of Avalanche Ravine. Nice to look across at Scaur Peak, where I had just been. Mt. Garfield pokes up on the right side of Scaur and the Franconias are to the left.

Mt. Hancock's long ridge and Mt. Carrigain's imposing hulk rise to the north. Mt. Willey pokes up on the right. To the left of Hancock are South Twin and West Bond.


East Osceola, the Kinsmans and Liberty/Flume.

Open boreal forest on the bushwhack.

Fading monorail at 3600 ft. on Pine Bend Brook Trail.

Love the section along that narrow ridge.

The way home.

Guardians of the Scaur Ridge Trail.

Looking down "Scaur Ravine."

Good footing on the old logging road.

Evening sun on North Tripyramid.

Red trilliums.

Maple magic.



  1. Hi Steve,
    Were the yellow violets along Livermore? One of my daughter's favorites and we haven't seen any yet this year. We are going to Evans Notch for the weekend; if we don't see any there, we will take a looong ride home! Enjoy your weekend!

  2. Hi Beckie, The yellow violets were 3.7 miles in on Livermore Trail, in the middle of the trail, just above the junction with the north end of Mt. Tripyramid Trail. Livermore really is good for wildflowers! Hope you're enjoying Evans Notch, a wonderful place!