Mt. Cilley and Elbow Pond are the two locations highlighted for this blog posting. And although this adventure was done in early March 2017, it was inspired by an earlier exploration of this area that was done nearly 2-years ago in May 2015.
The May 2015 exploit involved at trek around the entire shoreline of Elbow Pond. This was mostly a bushwhack. However, on the east side of the pond, some faint traces of the abandoned Glover Brook Trail could be followed. And on the west side of the pond, it was possible to follow some remnants of old roadways associated with private camps that were located there up until the 1970s when they were vacated once the land was added to the White Mountain National Forest.
Some segments of the May 2015 trek around the pond were quite wet and boggy which required some careful foot placement to avoid sinking into the mud and muck. As a result, I made a mental note to make a return visit during wintertime conditions when the ground is solidly frozen. Those sought-after conditions existed for this most recent adventure in March 2017.
My reasons for returning to this location were as follows:
1) Try bushwhacking to a small ledge on the south shoulder of Mt. Cilley which was spotted during my trek around the pond in May 2015. If this ledge was accessible, then it could provide a view over a portion of Elbow Pond.
2) During my May 2015 trek, I neglected to get a photo looking up at the ledge on Mt. Cilley from the shore of the pond. And so, I wanted to take care of that piece of unfinished business while the ground around the pond was firmly frozen.
The results of my March 2017 exploration are as follows:
1) Mt. Cilley
My 5-mile (round-trip) bushwhack to Mt. Cilley was successful! The ledge was accessible and it did indeed provide a view over the south end of Elbow Pond. It also provided a view to high peaks off to the east, most notably Mt. Tecumseh and massive Sandwich Mountain.
As a bonus, my route MIGHT have taken me over the summit of Mt. Cilley. However, the highest point was difficult to determine since the mountaintop is so broad and flat. Regardless, I found a moose antler tied to a tree at a location where my GPS showed an elevation of 2,229 ft, which is close to the official 2,227 ft listed for this mountain.
For the time being, it will be assumed that I reached the summit of Mt. Cilley. I was unable to find a summit register, but perhaps it was buried somewhere under the snowpack. Or perhaps there isn't a register since as far as I know, this mountain isn't included on any official peakbagging list. However, it apparently is included on an unofficial list which I think is called the "NH 500 Highest".
2) Revisit to Elbow Pond
Trekking along the firmly frozen shoreline of Elbow Pond during my March 2017 visit was certainly more pleasant than the slog through patches of mud and muck during my visit in May 2015! And to top things off, I was successful in getting a photo which captured a "pond's eye" view of the ledge that I visited on Mt. Cilley.
3) Additional Information:
It should be noted that during wintertime conditions, Elbow Pond Road (FR 156) is closed to vehicular traffic. Therefore, it is necessary to walk this 1-mile segment of roadway when doing any type of winter treks in the vicinity of Elbow Pond. Ample parking for several vehicles is available at the junction of Rt.118 and FR 156.
Before presenting photos taken during my March 2017 trek, perhaps it will be helpful to view a map that shows the location of this adventure.
|Map shows the route taken to Mt. Cilley (blue line), as well as the route taken along the west shore of the Elbow Pond (pink line) to get a "pond's-eye" view of the ledge on Mt. Cilley.|
|Conditions were GREAT for bushwhacking to Mt. Cilley. The snow was firmly consolidated allowing for travel on top of the deep snowpack on a "sidewalk-like" surface.|
|A moose antler marks what MIGHT BE the summit of Mt. Cilley. A high point was difficult to determine since the top of this mountain is so broad and flat.|
|Upon arrival at the ledge on Mt. Cilley, it was a delight to see that there was a relatively flat viewing platform, rather than a precipitous drop-off!|
|The ledge on Mt. Cilley provided a view to the high peaks off to the east, most notably Mt. Tecumseh and massive Sandwich Mountain.|
|As hoped, the ledge on Mt. Cilley also provided a view of a portion of Elbow Pond. Clearly visible was the south end of the pond, with Mt. Cushman dominating the horizon at far right of photo.|
|This composite photo shows the ledge on Mt. Cilley (LEFT panel) as viewed from Elbow Pond. And it shows the view of Elbow Pond from the ledge (RIGHT panel). Red arrow in RIGHT panel indicates approximate spot from which photo of the ledge was taken.|