On 18-April, I was uncertain if I'd have enough time to do a hike of any consequence. Once it became clear that a few hours would be available, then a last minute decision needed to be made as to where to go!
Fresh in my mind was the short trek up Sleeper Brook that I'd done with Ben just a few days prior. Suddenly the light bulbs lit up! I'd never been to the enormous cliff at the western end of Crawford Dome. If you happened to read my Blog report of that recent adventure, then you'll know what I'm referring to (click HERE to read that report).
The giant cliff seemed like perfect destination since it would be in keeping with my goal of trying to do something new on each of my treks. Also, this would provide a nice follow-up to the Sleeper Brook exploration. So, I quickly threw some things into my backpack and drove about 30 minutes down Rt. 302 to the Davis Path trailhead.
There is a spur off the Davis Path that leads to Mt. Crawford. And, the Davis Path itself traverses the eastern slope of Crawford Dome. However, there is no trail to the actual summit of Crawford Dome, nor to the cliff at its western end.
Other than a short 0.3 mile bushwhack to the cliff at the end of Crawford Dome, the Davis Path was used for the majority of my hike. My route is shown in yellow on the Google Earth image seen below (click on image to enlarge it). Also, circled in red on the image below is the approximate spot where Ben and I ended our exploration on 15-April.
I decided to first do the bushwhack to the cliff on Crawford Dome. Then, on the return leg of my journey, I would take the spur path to the top of Mt. Crawford. Since I'd been to Mt. Crawford on many occasions, this game plan would allow me to bypass Mt. Crawford if I was running short of time.
Shortly before leaving the Davis Path for my bushwhack, I encountered patches of snow along the trail (photo below).
I was hoping that snow would not become an issue once I left the trail and headed off into the woods. As it turned out, this was not an issue. However, shortly after I started my bushwhack I had a jolt of another sort! A large Spruce Grouse made a thunderous take-off nearly right in my face. It perched in a tree not far away. I was unsure if it was poised for an attack, or posing for a photo. Ever so gingerly, I took a snapshot, then quickly continued on my way.
En route to the big cliff, I passed over the top of Crawford Dome where there is nice close-up view of Stairs Mountain, as well as peaks of the Southern Presidential Range on the horizon behind it (next photo).
After crossing over the top of Crawford Dome, it took another 10-15 minutes to reach the cliff at its western end. From here, I could look directly across at the summit of Mt. Crawford. The next two photos provide both a wide view, as well as a zoomed view of Mt. Crawford's summit area.
Mt. Crawford summit and surroundings:
Zoomed view of Mt. Crawford summit:
By far, the most interesting view to me was the vista looking northwesterly toward the Crawford Notch area. Not only was this a pleasant scene, but it also provided the opportunity to gaze down on the area where Ben and I had visited only days before.
The next photo shows the northwesterly view, plus I've placed an "X" at the approximate spot where Ben and I spotted the cliff on Crawford Dome just before we began the return leg of our journey.
The cliff at the western end of Crawford Dome is a very enjoyable spot to hang out. I even took a few minutes to put my camera on time-delay and take a snapshot of myself cautiously crouched at the edge of ledge as I looked down at the many ravines of the Sleeper Brook drainage.
Okay, after taking time for the self-portrait, it was time to move on. Since there was time available, my next destination would be the short side trip to the top of Mt. Crawford. Once I arrived there, the first thing I did was to take snapshots of the cliff upon which I'd stood only a short time ago.
The next two photos provide both a wide view, as well as a zoomed view of the cliff at the end of Crawford Dome.
Wide view of cliff and surrounding area:
Zoomed view of cliff:
Regarding other views from the top of Mt. Crawford, they are much the same as those seen from Crawford Dome and its big cliff. And so, I won't bore you with a series of snapshots that are more or less the same vistas as shown previously in this report. Instead, I'll just show one photo (see below) of a particularly colorful pathway on the summit itself.
Also, as many readers already know, aside from the views from the top of Mt. Crawford, there are many open ledges on the upper portion of the Davis Path that provide scenic vistas such as shown in the next photo.
To sum it up, this was a fun day of visiting with the "Crawford family". Not only was it exciting to include a visit to a new place for me, but it was also a great experience to view Mt. Crawford from Crawford Dome, and then look back at the Dome from Mt. Crawford. And, even more rewarding was being atop the cliff that Ben and I had spotted only days before, and being able to view the area where we had stood gazing upward at this prominent feature on the landscape.
A few readers have commented about the many opportunities for off-trail explorations in the vicinity of Mt. Crawford. Below are links to reports of two of my adventures in this region. These links are not provided to “toot my own horn”, but rather as a possible source of information and inspiration to those who enjoy this type of exploration.