Here I will share my travels throughout the majestic White Mountains of NH and also delve into some of the area's rich history and forgotten places. I do this in hopes of getting others excited about exploring these wonderful places.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Cannon Cliff - 6/23/09

The talus (broken rock) slope below the massive Cannon Cliff is another spot I’ve been wanting to visit. These cliffs are the most striking sight in Franconia Notch. The day was sunny, but forecast to turn to rain so I figured I’d take the short trip and at least go to the bottom of the slope, not necessarily up to the cliffs.

Cannon Cliff

I found the path the rock climbers use to access the cliff, and followed that up through the forest. Before too long I started to emerge above the trees. The rain wasn’t far off, as the heavy cloud cover announced, but I made my way up a bit further. Once up the slope a bit further I caught sight of one of the turnbuckles, formerly used to secure the Old Man of the Mountain to the cliff face, laying among the rocks. A neat artifact about 10 feet in length.

Turnbuckle from the Old Man

The cliff looks rather impressive from up here and while I wanted to press on, the rain began and I felt it much safer to turn around then than to risk it on the slippery rocks later. I beat a hasty retreat to the car, with the intent to return on a nicer day.

View South through the Notch from talus slope

Mts. Crawford and Resolution, with a side of Stairs - 6/17/09

The Mt. Crawford-Stairs Mountain area of the Davis Path was another one of the many places frequented in Our Mountain Trips that I wanted to visit. In the books, they usually continued up the trail on multi-day trips up to Mt. Washington, but I wanted to explore around this particular section.

Near the beginning of the Davis Path

It was another great day to be on the trails, the skies were blue and the temperature was perfect. The bugs thought so too, but two out of three ain’t bad. I set off on the Davis Path on the steady uphill climb to the summit of Mt.Crawford. This section is where the majority of the day’s elevation gain was to be made. It was fairly steep for a while, but not as Stairmaster-like as say the Liberty Spring Trail. The views attained from the ledges atop this peak are definitely a fantastic reward for all the effort.

View from Mt. Crawford of (L-R) Washington, Stairs, and Resolution

As usually happens with a great view, I was instantly re-energized, then set off back down the ledges, returning to the Davis Path. The nearly flat portion of this trail between the Mt. Crawford spur and the junction with Mt. Parker Trail is perhaps one of the nicest walks in the woods I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. It seemed to fly by while I was taking in the scenery and listening to the songs of all the birds.

View of Crawford Notch from Mt. Crawford

At the junction, I took the Mt. Parker Trail up toward Mt. Resolution. The views from various points on Resolution are among many hiker's favorites, so I wanted made sure to check them all out. After stopping and taking in the view from the ledges near the main summit, I continued on the trail toward the side path to the South peak. This path was, as described in the guidebooks, very overgrown. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have located it if I hadn’t been keeping a vigilant eye off to the right side of the trail. What looked like an odd place for a waterbar drainage turned out to be the trail. I pushed off through the trees and followed this “drainage” out to the ledges. The views were incredible and it made for a great spot to relax.

View of Mt. Crawford from South peak of Mt. Resolution

After returning to the Mt. Parker Trail, I set off back up Resolution this time bound for the trailless Northeastern summit. The bushwhack out to this less-frequented spot isn’t long, but it is pretty thick in spots. The great perspective of Mt. Washington seemed to soothe the scratches though. The thick cloud of black flies out here were starving, so I took my pictures quickly and pushed off, back through the crowded conifers.

Mt. Washington and Southern Presidentials seen from Northeast summit

Once back on the trail, I headed back down toward the Davis Path, this time headed toward Stairs Mountain. Not long after I was through Stair Col (the dip between Stairs Mt. and Mt. Resolution) and climbing up to the ledges that are the top “step”.

View from Stairs Mountain

The view up here were also great, looking back over the way I had come. I soaked it in for a while and ruminated on what the people in Our Mountain Trips might have been thinking when up here, back in 1912. After a while I got ready and set off for the car, feeling like I had made a day of it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nancy and Norcross Ponds - 6/10/09

It was another rainy day, but I still wanted to take advantage of at least one of my days off, and neither was supposed to be nice. I had already decided to get in another waterfall hike, but which one to do? After some deliberation I chose Nancy Cascades along Nancy Brook in Crawford Notch. I had seen some great photos of this waterfall and was excited to visit it. I was also in the mood for a longer hike, so I thought I might climb further past the falls and visit Nancy and Norcross Pond.

The hike to this waterfall itself is a little longer than the trip out to Arethusa Falls, but it isn’t overly strenuous, though the section from here to the top of cascades, 800 feet higher is a breathstealer. While it’s not as tall as Arethusa, Nancy Cascades is now my favorite waterfall. It’s similar in shape to Arethusa, but it’s snugly tucked in a little nook with a deep, beautiful pool at the base. A gorgeous sight, even (maybe especially?) on a gloomy day. Not to mention that this spot is one of the ones described in Haunted Hikes of New Hampshire.

Nancy Cascades

I continued up past the top of the falls, a short but stiff climb, but once over the high point it levels off. The walk from here to the ponds is a nice and mellow without much elevation gain. It was too cloudy to see much of the ponds, but it was a lovely stroll nonetheless. I continued to the outlet on the far side of Norcross Pond, which under better conditions is supposed to afford a great view of the Pemi Wilderness. Today it was viewless, but a good spot for lunch. Here I turned around and began the trek out, planning to return on a nice day.

Nancy Pond

Norcross Pond