Saturday, May 18, 2024

Passaconaway Cutoff Trail Work: 5/17/24

I was privileged and very pleased to be joined by Fawn Langerman for the spring maintenance trip on the Passaconaway Cutoff, the adopted trail of the AMC Four Thousand Footer Committee, which I have been working on since 2006. When I switched off the west half of the UNH Trail on Hedgehog Mountain a couple of years ago to adopt the Kettles Path in Waterville Valley, Fawn stepped in and took over the trail on what has long been one of her favorite mountains. She not only took over the 2-mile west half segment, she signed up for the entire length of the 4.8 mile UNH Trail loop. She has been doing an outstanding job in maintaining and improving that trail. When Fawn offered to help with the Cutoff, I gladly accepted.

Into the Wilderness we go.

Start of the Cutoff, 1.9 miles up the Oliverian Brook Trail.

Painted Trilliums are out.

Fawn at work on the first significant blowdown we encountered.


Ready to clean some drainages!

My favorite section of the Cutoff.

We checked out an off-trail cascade on the west branch of Oliverian Brook.

Fawn put a lot of time and effort into digging channels to help drain a muddy stretch.

One of the 55 drainages we cleared.

Fawn strategized, dropped and cut this leaner.

Finishing with an undercut.


A team effort for this one.


We reached the top of the Cutoff mid-afternoon and, after a break, we headed up the Square Ledge Trail to the Nanamocomuck Slide for some views. Along the way we visited a logging camp site used by the Conway Lumber Company's Swift River Railroad in the early 1900s.

A short scramble up the right edge of the slide lifted us to a shelf atop the first steep ledge slab.

Mt. Washington was in the clouds but we still had a good view out to Hedgehog Mountain, Mt. Tremont, Bartlett Haystack, Wildcat and Carter Dome.

Looking up the slide, which fell during the great Hurricane of '38. It is very steep and the pebbly "rottenstone" presents treacherous footing.

Fawn enjoys the view, especially the fine angle on Hedgehog, her adopted mountain.

 On the way down we made another sweep through the logging camp, where Fawn spotted a bucket. This made her day! A reminder that such historic artifacts are protected by law and removing them is prohibited.


We also did some brushing on our way up, mostly of the ever-persistent hobblebush. As we descended along the Cutoff, it was nice to look back up at a clear corridor.

Thank you, Fawn - your work and company were greatly appreciated!


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