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07 May 2018

My April 2018 Adventures in Northern New Hampshire


My April 2018 adventures here in northern New Hampshire were somewhat fewer than past Aprils.  This was due mainly to taking 2-weeks in the middle of the month to visit relatives in southern States such as NC, KY and DE.  It’s always a great experience to see everyone, but as the expression goes, ‘there’s no place like home’. :-)

April brought some early signs of Spring . . . even here in northern New Hampshire!  It would be so nice if I could embrace the Spring season, but I truly don’t.  Yes, the wildflowers are wonderful, and the waterfalls are wondrous during the Spring.  But for me, this isn’t enough to offset my intense dislike of the biting insects and the pollen that this season brings.  So there, I’ve said it, and will freely admit to being a curmudgeon when it comes to Spring.  Ah well, only six months ‘til lovely autumn! :-)

But enough grousing about Springtime!  Shown below are a few snapshots taken during my outdoor adventures in April of 2018.  As mentioned earlier, 2-weeks of this month were spent traveling, and so there aren’t many photos to share this time around.

1) Bushwhack to a ledge on Bickford Mountain:

Just a short distance north of Franconia Notch, and nearly due east of the Skookumchuck trailhead, are three little mountains: Bickford (2,368 ft), Scarface (2,802 ft) and Big Bickford (3,261 ft).

My first hike of April 2018 was to a little ledge on Bickford Mountain, the smallest of the three mountains named above.

I chose this particular destination since I could bushwhack to it via its south-facing slope which is often snow-free by early April.  Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem hiking in snow.  Snowshoe hiking is wonderful and is one of my favorite things.  But in early Spring, I try to avoid mixed conditions where part of the hike is on snow, and part is on bare ground.  My preference is for it to be one way or the other!
Snow-free conditions on south-facing slope leading to a ledge on Bickford Mountain
From the little ledge on Bickford Mountain is a big view that is dominated by the Cannon Mountain ski slopes, and Interstate-93.

2) Bushwhack to a nameless ledge on a nameless ridge:

Also in early April, I did another bushwhack hike.  And once again, I chose a route that was nearly snow-free by traversing a predominately south-facing slope.  This destination is located within Crawford Notch.  It’s a short distance nearly due north of Frankenstein Cliff, and just a short distance west of the Dry River Trail.
The nameless ledge provides this picturesque view looking southward with Mt. Crawford at LEFT, Frankenstein Cliffs at RIGHT, and then a variety of notable peaks in the distance such as Mt. Hope, Bartlett Haystack, Mt. Paugus, Mt. Tremont, and a small slice of Mt. Passaconaway.

3) Short hike on a segment of Kedron Flume Trail

A couple of days prior to leaving for my April trip to the southern U.S., I did a short hike along a segment of the Kedron Flume Trail.  This was done mainly to check out snow-conditions on a slope that wasn’t south-facing.  I quickly discovered that the trail corridor had considerable ice and some snow.  Since I had purposely not packed snowshoes or Microspikes, I terminated my hike at the point where the trail crosses the railroad tracks that run high above the floor of Crawford Notch.

However, just a short distance from where I terminated my hike, there is a nice view of Mt. Webster.  In the photo shown below, Mt. Webster has sort of a monolith-like appearance.  However, this mountain is definitely NOT a monolith.  Unseen from this particular vantage point are the many huge mountains that surround Mt. Webster.
Mt. Webster as viewed from a vantage point just a bit north of where Kedron Flume Trail crosses the railroad tracks.

4) Hike in Crawford Notch along a new trail named West Side Trail:

Upon returning from my trip to States in the southern U.S., I hiked the 1.2 mile section of a new trail in Crawford Notch that has been named the West Side Trail.  This new trail was cut and blazed in 2016.  It runs between the Kedron Flume Trail and the point where the Appalachian Trail crosses U.S. 302 at Willey House Station Road.  There are plans to extend this trail further southward.

The complete trail description for this segment of the West Side Trail is contained on pages 188-189 of the 30th edition of AMC’s White Mountain Guide (WMG).   I can vouch for the statement included in the WMG which indicates that this trail has “several turns and numerous ups and downs”!
This signage is located along the Kedron Flume Trail where the West Side Trail branches off.  There is similar signage for this trail near the junction of U.S. 302 and Willey House Station Road.
Since there really isn’t much to see along the West Side Trail corridor, I decided to do some short bushwhacks at a couple of the brook crossings along this trail.  During those off-trail forays, I came across a couple of nice cascades as shown in the composite photo below.
At LEFT is a cascade along an unnamed brook. At RIGHT is a cascade along Kedron Brook as it flows beneath a railroad viaduct that spans the brook.

5) Short bushwhack along South Branch Gale River:

By the end of April, snowmelt was in full force and as a result the brooks and rivers had a strong flow of water.  And so on the last day April, I took a short walk along the portion of the Gale River Loop Road that begins a short distance west of the junction of Trudeau Road and U.S. 3.  From this road I launched a very short bushwhack (only a couple hundred feet) to view the water-flow along the South Branch Gale River.
South Branch Gale River as it quickly prances its way through a narrow chute


And so, April 2018 is over and time marches forward to the next calendar month.  As the saying goes “May showers bring May flowers”.  So perhaps my next blog posting will include a few photos of colorful wildflowers that I come across during my May adventures.


One Day in America said...

Well John, I have to agree with you about the spring season! The unpredictable weather, the pollen, the biting insects and—here in southeastern Utah—the gale force winds, all combine to make spring my least favorite season. That being said, it's nice to see the flowers blooming and the trees leafing out right now.

It looks like you had several nice outings in April. I really like the view of Mt. Webster. It reminds me of many stand-alone mountains in the west. (Even though it isn't a monolith!)
Also, the photo of South Branch Gale River is awesome! The lighting is just right and you captured the flowing water perfectly.

Thanks for this April Adventure summary!

1HappyHiker said...

Rita, it’s reassuring to know that I’m not alone with my feelings about the Springtime season. I didn’t realize that you have an extra-added Springtime “attraction” of gale-force winds in southeastern Utah. Wow!

Glad you liked the photo of South Branch Gale River. It’s one of my favorite ‘close-to-home’ spots. It’s a picturesque spot all-year round.


Matt M said...

Nice report John, I like the unusual view of Mt Webster. I agree that biting insects are not a fun hiking experience. I been fortunate that they haven't been to bad on my hikes lately but that because it's been windy enough to keep them away.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Matt . . . thanks as always for reading and commenting on my blog. My apologies for the delayed reply, but for whatever reason, I’m no longer receiving e-mail notification when a comment is posted to my blog! I’m trying to determine what is causing the problem.