A crisp morning for the first of two fall trail maintenance trips to the Passaconaway Cutoff, part of the northern route to Mount Passaconaway from the Kancamagus Highway. It's always a pleasure to head into the Sandwich Range Wilderness.
Start of the Cutoff.
Back in the spring I brushed out a bypass around these two big blowdowns against which my Silky Saw and its owner are overmatched.
This one we could handle.
Still some good color - and many leaves on the trees - on the lower part of the trail. It made sense to work on cleaning the drainages on the upper part of the trail this day and come back for the lower part in another week or two.
The west branch of Oliverian Brook. Looking November-ish here.
Nearly all of the leaves were down on the upper part of the trail, which also has the largest concentration of drainages.
I continued up, removing a few more blowdowns, mostly of the haul or flip off variety.
Since I wasn't planning to finish the trail this day, I scooted up the Square Ledge Trail to the Nanamocomuck Slide for lunch with a view, stopping briefly to check out a Conway Lumber Company logging camp site along the way.
The Square Ledge Trail passes along the base of the steep Nanamocomuck Slide, which was triggered by the September 1938 hurricane. Some of the ledges of this slide are covered with pebble-like "rottenstone," making for treacherous footing.
With a short, careful scramble I accessed a little shelf with a view over Hedgehog Mountain and out to snow-capped Mount Washington.
I spent the afternoon working downhill cleaning drainages. Masses of wet, heavy leaves were the order of the day. I completed 31 drainages, leaving the lower 24 for the next trip.
This leaner looked like it would be coming down soon. Best to take care of it now.
I maneuvered it so that it dropped on the trail.
One saw cut was enough to get it off the trail.
As I was heading back to the car, I was delighted to see that the big double blowdown had been cut while I was up above. Thank you, Cristin Bailey and the Saco Ranger District crew!