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29 September 2018

Hiking Adventures to Imp Face Cliff and Surroundings


There is a spectacular cliff named Imp Face that situated on a west spur of North Carter Mountain near Gorham, NH.  As described in AMC’s White Mountain Guide, the profile on Imp Face cliff is “named for its imagined resemblance to the grotesquely misshapen face of a part-human wood sprite.”

There is a distant view of this profile from the current-day Barnes Field at the WMNF’s Dolly Copp campground.  However, in the mid 1800s this plot of land was farmed by Dolly and Hayes Copp who would have experienced this same view of the profile from their farmstead.  And so, it is speculated that the name “Imp Face” was likely bestowed by the Copp family.

Many years have passed since my last hike to Imp Face.  So, in late September 2018, I decided to make a return visit to the Imp.  It was an overcast day, and therefore it was less than ideal for re-experiencing the grand vistas that the Imp provides.  But . . . I opted to go anyway. :-)

This adventure actually consists of two separate hikes that were done just a few days apart.  Both hikes had an on-trail and an off-trail component.  The objective for the two off-trail (bushwhack) segments was to experience different perspectives on the Imp Face profile.

HIKE #1:  This was an out and back hike.  For the on-trail portion, the round-trip was about 4.4 miles with an elevation gain of about 1,850 feet.  The bushwhack segment was about 0.2 mile round-trip with a return elevation gain of about 200 feet.  It involved leaving the trail about a tenth of a mile west of the top of the Imp Face cliff, and then bushwhacking southward to a small ledge located about 200 feet below the traditional on-trail viewpoint.

HIKE #2A few days after the hike described above, I had an “imp”ulse to get another perspective of the Imp by bushwhacking to a ledge that I had spotted while sitting atop the Imp Face cliff on my earlier Hike #1.  Getting to the ledge involved on-trail hiking to the far eastern portion of the Imp Trail, and then bushwhacking to the south wall of the upper end of the Imp Brook Ravine.  The bushwhack itself was very short, only about 0.4 mile (round-trip).  However, accomplishing this little bushwhack required an on-trail hike of about 5.5 miles (round-trip).


1) Photos Taken During HIKE #1:

Impressive stand of hemlocks at beginning of the hike along the north branch of the Imp Trail.
Pretty little cascade just before the trail crosses Imp Brook.

The picturesque ladder located along the upper portion of the Imp Trail

A ‘gang’ of fungi standing defiantly along the Imp Trail corridor.
Most of the leaves were still clinging to their branches and had yet to change into their “autumn wardrobe” but there were a few colorful exceptions!  :-)

This “in-your-face” view of the RIGHT SIDE of the Imp Face profile was obtained by leaving the trail about a tenth of a mile from the top of the Imp Face Cliff, and then bushwhacking southward to a small ledge located about 200 feet below the traditional on-trail viewpoint.
Yet another photo that includes the RIGHT-SIDE of the Imp Face profile.  Like the previous photo, it was taken from a small ledge located about 200 feet below the traditional on-trail viewpoint.
Following the bushwhack, I continued onward to the top of the Imp Face cliff where this photo was taken from the traditional on-trail viewpoint.  On a clear day, this viewpoint provides a sweeping view of mountains in the northern portion of the Presidential Range.

2) Photos Taken During HIKE #2:

Highly-zoomed photo of the LEFT SIDE of the Imp’s face, as viewed from a ledge high up on the Imp Brook Basin near the far eastern portion of the Imp Trail.
This photo shows the wider view from this same ledge located high up on the Imp Brook Basin.  At far LEFT, Mts. Washington, Clay, Jefferson have their heads in the clouds; at CENTER, Mts. Adams and Madison are clearly visible; at far RIGHT is the Imp Face cliff); also at far RIGHT (in the distance) are peaks in the Pliny Range (Starr-King, Waumbek, Weeks).
TO SUM IT UP:  There is rarely a dull moment in the mountains.  There is always something new to explore! :-)


One Day in America said...

I totally agree that there is always something new to explore, and rarely a dull moment, in the mountains! And this post proves it.
From your photos of Imp Face I can see how the rock got its name. I'm glad that you elected to take Hike #1 on an overcast day. The pictures from within the forest and of Imp Face have an eerie quality that goes with the "grotesque misshapen human-like" cliff face!
And I'm glad that you had an "Imp" pulse to go back for Hike #2!
Overall great photos and story!

1HappyHiker said...

Rita, thank you for reading my blog and for posting your comments.
Both of the adventures detailed in this report were thoroughly enjoyable, especially since I take such pleasure in experiencing views that are new to me.
But that being said, you and I would likely agree that there are also many familiar places that are pleasurable to re-visit from time to time.