Yesterday (04-December) was a day when I wanted to hike, but with an overcast sky and intermittent drizzle, it was difficult to generate enthusiasm for venturing forth. Nonetheless, by late morning I decided to drive over to the Appalachia trailhead and just do a short, low-elevation loop of some sort. However, on the way over there, I had a change of heart. It would be much more fun to do something new, rather than the "same old, same old".
I have a friend who is a resident of Shelburne, NH, and I recalled him telling me of lovely walks he had taken along Leadmine Brook, and that he had even encountered some cascades on his treks. That thought sparked another memory that I had about a pathway diverting off the Centennial Trail which I'd spotted a few years ago. Hmmm! That might also be fun to investigate!
And so, now that I was armed with two ideas for brand new adventures, the needle on my enthusiasm gauge shot over to "high". This was despite the fact that my windshield wipers were on "intermittent wipe", and the sky was dreary and grey.
Weather conditions had improved somewhat by the time I reached the turnoff onto Leadmine Road in Shelburne. At least my windshield wipers were no longer needed! I parked at a spot along the road where my friend had said it would be okay to do so. Then, I began my trek, which was initially along Leadmine Road itself, but then eventually I made my way to the brook and followed along its bank for some distance.
Leadmine Brook is indeed picturesque. The next photo shows a portion of the brook.
Leadmine Brook in Shelburne, NH
Eventually, I came to a cascade. I suspect this is only one of a series of cascades on this brook. However, I wasn't equipped to wander further upstream in search of other cascades. And besides, I didn't want to eat all the "candy" in the jar on this outing. Instead, I wanted to save something in the "jar" to savor on another adventure!
Shown below is the cascade that I just mentioned. As you can see, it’s a mixed bag of frozen and flowing water.
Cascade along Leadmine Brook in Shelburne, NH
After taking a few minutes to admire the cascade and take some photos, I turned around and headed back to my car. I was eager to embark on the second half of my improvised adventure. From Leadmine Road, I drove about a mile to Hogan Road where I parked at the trailhead for the Centennial Trail.
Just a few hundred feet from the trailhead, the Centennial Trail makes a hard left turn. It is at that point where an unofficial pathway continues straight ahead. This pathway is quite well worn and prominent at first. Eventually, it becomes less apparent, but is still followable. Perhaps the pathway is so well-worn at the beginning because some hikers miss the Centennial Trail's hard left turn and continue straight ahead until it's realized that they are not on the official trail.
Regardless, my suspicion about this pathway was that it would eventually lead to an overlook from a nearby ledge. Although the pathway became fainter and fainter, and meandered in one direction and then another, I stuck with it. Sure enough, in less than 30 minutes, it eventually took me to a ledge. That was nice, except the overcast weather conditions prevented me from seeing any distant views toward the Presidential and Carter-Moriah Range. The next two photos are representative of the "view" that I had.
View from unnamed ledge looking southwesterly toward cloud-obscured Presidential Range
View of Reflection Pond from unnamed ledge
And so, after hanging out for awhile on the unnamed ledge, I headed back down to my car. But rather than returning via the meandering pathway, I took a more direct route by simply bushwhacking through the open hardwoods.
On the way home, I made a stop along Route 2 at the pull-off area for Reflection Pond. From here I was able to see a small sliver of Giant Falls off in the distance (next photo).
Small sliver of Giant Falls as seen from Route 2 pull-off area at Reflection Pond
Despite the overcast, there were some muted reflections in Reflection Pond as sunset approached.
Muted reflections in Reflection Pond, as sunset approached
As we all know, weather can sometimes change quickly in the mountains. By the time I reached the Randolph area along Route 2, there was some patchy blue sky! Unbelievable! Once again, I pulled off the road and took some snapshots, one of which is shown below.
Patches of blue sky over the Presidential Range, as viewed from Route 2 in Randolph
And, just as I was approaching my home, I spotted a grove of white birch that was set "ablaze" by the reddish-colored clouds at "twilight's last gleaming". So, once again, I pulled to the side of the road to take a snapshot! It was a pleasant ending to a day that began with unpleasant weather.
White birch set "ablaze" by the reddish colored clouds at sunset
For anyone who might be interested in the location of the two places I visited on this trek, they are marked on the map shown below. (Click on map to enlarge it.)
Map showing location of the two spots visited on this trek
To sum it up, this type of adventure would certainly not be everyone's "cup of tea". However, for me this improvised trek was far more thrilling and fun than doing a traditional hike to familiar places.