White Horse Ledge is such an alluring name. As I understand it, this name was given because of a light-colored area on the face of this ledge which resembles a dashing white horse. There is another nearby ledge called Cathedral Ledge which gets its name from a large cavity on the face of this ledge which is said to resemble a cathedral.
Both of these ledges are seen in the snapshot below which was taken from nearby Echo Lake on a day in February. The wintery conditions seen here were definitely absent from my hike on a warm sunny Wednesday (09-November).
[White Horse Ledge is on the left, and Cathedral Ledge is on the right. Clicking on this, or any photo in this report will slightly enlarge it.]
Perhaps it's obvious to some readers, but neither the horse nor the cathedral is readily apparent to me in the photo shown above. However, the snapshot does at least serve to show the relatively small distance between these two ledges. Combining both of these destinations into a single hike is certainly not an all-day affair. It is a short hike, which is precisely why I opted to do this particular trek. As mentioned previously in a few of my Blog reports, I only have a few hours available for hiking on Wednesdays, and therefore this type of jaunt is perfect for this situation.
As many readers know (and as is shown on the map below) there are several options for hiking to these two ledges. Given my short time frame, I opted to drive up the auto road to the top of Cathedral Ledge and then begin my hike from there. I parked and immediately headed for the trailhead for the Bryce Trail. My plan was to go to Whitehorse Ledge first, and then upon my return, I'd pay a brief visit to Cathedral Ledge just before jumping in my car to head back to my home.
The Bryce Trail makes a relatively steep drop to the col between Cathedral and White Horse. And of course, this meant I'd have a steep ascent on the return leg of my journey! Upon arriving at the col, I picked up the White Horse Ledge Trail. After a short and moderately steep climb, I arrived at White Horse Ledge where I could look back and see some of the rocky outcroppings on Cathedral Ledge (next photo).
From here, I could also peer down over the edge of the ledge and see Echo Lake (next photo).
Another nice vista was seen looking over the top of Cathedral Ledge with Humphrey's Ledge off in the distance, and the U-shaped Carter Notch visible on the horizon (next photo).
It was somewhat surprising that there was still some lingering autumn color, especially since we essentially have no color remaining near my home in Bethlehem which is just a short 40 minute drive to these ledges.
Not only were autumn colors visible in the distant views, but there were also colorful scenes literally right at your feet, such as those shown in the next two snapshots.
From White Horse Ledge I hiked a short distance to a spot near the junction of the Red Ridge Link trail. This side-trip enabled me to get a view of the Moat Mountain Range. However, I was looking directly into the sun which was low in the western sky. The next snapshot was the best I could do under those unfavorable lighting conditions.
Well, as indicated earlier, the return leg of my journey was merely a retracing of the route that I had taken on the outbound leg. Once I arrived back at my starting point on Cathedral Ledge, I hiked the couple hundred yards to the viewpoints. One of my photos taken from here is shown below. It shows the U-shaped Carter-Notch on the horizon over the top of Humphrey's Ledge which is mostly obscured by afternoon shadows. It's a view that is similar to that seen from White Horse Ledge, but it is a slightly different perspective.
After completing my brief visit atop Cathedral Ledge I hopped into the car and drove down the auto road. Since I still had about 15 minutes to spare, I parked at the base of the ledge and did a brief jaunt along one of the rock climbing trails to get a look at this massive hunk of rock from the bottom. The next two snapshots show my "views from the bottom".
To sum it up, this was one of my better Wednesday wanderings. It fit perfectly into my timeframe, and it was an unexpected bonus to experience a bit more autumn color before it disappears completely.