Perhaps the title of this report is attention-getting, but it might be inaccurate! As much as I enjoy hiking, I'm far from being an expert woodsman. While hiking on 27-March to Mt. Mist and Webster Slide Mountain, I spotted markings which I interpret as claw marks from a bear who perhaps used the tree as a scratching post. However, I'm fully prepared for a reader of this Blog to tell me that those marks resulted from some other source, such as moose or deer antlers.
I also saw a small patch of what I think is known as Partridgeberry. If that happens to be correct, then I suppose this is a holdover from last season's "crop". Perhaps this small patch just recently lost its snow cover, and that is why it has as yet to be discovered by the local residents of the forest who would enjoy snacking on them!
Okay, with that bit of trivia out of the way, let's move right along with the rest of my report! I've been to Webster Slide Mountain, Mt. Mist, and Wachipauka Pond via the route that comes up from the south near Glencliff, NH. One might think that I've hiked darn near every trail in White Mountain region. But nope, there are still many trails that I have yet to hike! In fact, a portion of this particular trek involved a segment of trail that was new for me.
The largest portion of this 6.6 mile (round-trip) hike was on the Appalachian Trail (AT). However, the 0.7 mile trek to Webster Slide Mountain is done via a spur path off the AT corridor. Shown below is a map which highlights the route that I followed. (Click on the map to enlarge it.)
While driving to the trailhead, I pulled over to the public shoreline of Lake Tarleton to take a few snapshots. One of my destinations (Webster Slide Mountain) is seen in the next photo. Also noteworthy in this photo is the snow-capped Mt. Moosilauke on the distant horizon.
It was windy and cold along the shoreline of Lake Tarleton. You might have noticed the whitecaps in the photo above. These chilly conditions resulted in some interesting ice formations where the water met the shoreline (next photo).
Following the short stopover at Lake Tarleton, I drove the remaining short distance to the trailhead and began my hike along the AT.
It won't be long before this hiking corridor has springtime wildflowers in bloom. Green shoots were beginning to emerge. However, the only things that I saw that exhibited any color were the red Partridgeberry that I talked about earlier, plus the golden tassel of what I think is Bristly Clubmoss. Both of these are shown in the next photo. (Again, please feel free to post a comment and correct me if my identification of these plants is incorrect!)
Within about 45 minutes of leaving the trailhead, I arrived at the wooded summit of Mt. Mist. Other than the surrounding forest and the sign shown in the next photo, there's nothing really to see. This mountain was named for the mist that occasionally sweeps upward from nearby Lake Tarleton toward the summit of this mountain.
As you descend the north side of Mt. Mist, there are things to see! There is a well-trodden side trail which leads to an overlook of Wachipauka Pond (Abenaki Indian name for "mountain pond"). This viewpoint used to have a rather unique sign which unfortunately is no longer there. No one seems to know what happened to it. Here is a photo of this sign taken a few years ago when it was still in place.
If you venture just a bit beyond the pathway that leads to this overlook, you can get a perspective that includes both the pond and Mt. Moosilauke, as seen in the snapshot below.
There is also another outlook on the north side of Mt. Mist, however it involves a short bushwhack. There are some unique views available from there. However, on this particular day there was just enough ice near the edge of the precipice to make me uncomfortable with working my way to the prime viewing spot. The photo below was the best I could get. Webster Slide Mountain is seen at the left of the snapshot.
The ascent to Webster Slide Mountain is moderately steep in spots, but the summit can be reached in about 30 minutes, or less. There are viewpoints from two different ledges atop this mountain. The main viewpoint provides a vista looking down at Wachipauka Pond and the surrounding area (next photo).
The other viewpoint is known as the "Southwest View". One of the vistas from here is shown below. Mt. Cube is in the distance and on the right is Lake Armington, along with a portion of Lake Tarleton.
Earlier I mentioned a unique trailside sign that has disappeared. There is another sign that is still present which marks a spot with a rather unique name, i.e. Hairy Root Spring. This sign is seen in the next photo. As I understand it, this name was bestowed in the 1970s by a member of the Dartmouth Outing Club because the spring emerges from the ground beneath the hairy roots of an old maple tree! (You will need to click on the photo to read the wording on the sign.)
To sum it up, this hike along a segment of the Appalachian Trail had a little bit of everything, including some fine vistas, plus animal scratch marks on a tree, as well as a visit to Hairy Root Spring! :)