I wasn't worried about the late start but did hike at a fairly fast pace and was at the beaver ponds in short order.
A few of us did a hike to Zeacliff near the end of Sept. last year and the Zealand Notch area seemed to be in peak foliage then. And on my first hike to Whitewall which was Columbus weekend 2 years ago I noticed it was past peak. It was the same on this day. It seems foliage season comes and goes fast hear. There was some color but I'd say there was already 50% leaf drop here. But what color there was beautiful.
It took about an hour to get to the A-Z Trail where I'b be starting my the whack from.
I hiked that for about 100 yards or so then headed in, in good woods.
The bushwhack to Whitewall from the A-Z Tr. is about 1.5 miles through some pretty great woods. But the first half mile goes through some pretty killer Hobble bush. Tall and thick. You might think that's good but for me it's just annoying. The branches of hobble bush grow together sometimes making it real tough to push through. I always seem to manage to get my legs tangled in it a few times resulting in a nose dive. :(
I did find however, on the return trip, staying even higher on the ridge will avoid a lot of that. Anyway it does open up even more into some real nice birch glades.
Somewhere in the area of 3200' it starts to get a little thicker with much more spruce.
Then closer to the summit it levels out a bit with a lot of bog areas that were tricky to get past without sinking knee deep. I did manage to stay mud free and dry this time.
The true summit is just above this last open field. (mud Bog) 8)
And with the final 100 yards of mud dodging I was there. This is the high point of Whitewall.
There limited views north from a small open ledge near the summit. Field & Willey.
Stairs, Resolution, & Crawford. North Kearsarge just peaking through the col.
And surprisingly, Jefferson.
Now it was time for the next bushwhack and that's the one from the summit to Whitewalls famous ledges. From here, I had to aim for Zealand over there.
It looks thick but there's actually a lot of ledge and herd paths in that direction.
It took about 15 minute to make my way over to my first glimpse of the open ledge.
And now it was play time. My first visit to Whitewall was only my 3rd bushwhack and by far the longest. And even through it was easy I was nervous about staying too long. So this time I was going to explore these ledges much more extensively. First the top ledge.
Then down to the second tier.
And finally a third level with a cool cairn on it.
This was THE spot for lunch and relaxation. :D
Whitewall Brook below was shimmering in the mid-afternoon sun.
Well, I'd been on the ledges for about an hour and around 3:00pm now so I started the journey out. I did want to check out the slide on Whitewall so I headed for that. But when I got there it seemed it would be too time consuming and dangerous to climb down to the top to get some views so this was as close as I got.
From here it was a short climb through some fairly thick stuff then a quick hike down the ridge. Stopping once again to take a couple photos at the ponds.
Shadows are getting real long.
A quick stop at the Zealand River.
Sun's very low now.
The End. :-)