Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Monkey Cliffs.....North Woodstock NH 8/14/13

After 3 relatively long hikes on my week up north I was looking for something a little shorter and easier on Wednesday. I'll add, that other than Muise Mountain, all hikes would be bucket-list stuff.

The story behind the Monkey Cliffs started for me two years ago on the way back to Lincoln after hiking Blueberry Mountain in Benton. I pulled over just past the Lost River Caves to take care of some business. ;)  I went into the woods a short ways and was staring at some great looking ledge/cliffs. They instantly were added to the list. So on the way back to the condo I stopped where everyone does if they have a question about the White Mountains, The Mountain Wanderer. I spoke with Steve Smith, asking him what he knew about those cliffs. He knew the spot, had been there, and said they were known as the "Monkey Cliffs". Apparently they are just known as that by the locals. He also said there were some interesting views from there.

So I headed up Rt. 112 to a pullover near the cliffs and headed in. My first goal was to get across The Lost River. I got lucky and came to a good spot to cross right off. That's just a 2' gap at that cascade.

I started out further west than I thought and ended up having to cross a good sized, (unnamed as far as I can see) brook. This was a good mistake. If I'd started where I wanted to, I'd have miss this. Endless Cascades which I'll talk more about later.

I was basically bushwhacking up the SW side when I came to a small open slab with a view of mounts Blue, Jim and Waternomee I believe.

I finally hit some better grades and very open woods heading for the ledges.

The first ledge I came to was somewhere in the middle of this series of ledges. Nice view, but not what I was looking for.

Heading NE, another.

Still heading NE, the ledges got bigger and definite signs of views enhancement.

Finally the one I was looking for. A ledge with a view into Lincoln and up the valley.

Had too. 8)

On the way out I decided to stick close to the ledges to see if there were any I missed. Found this one with a good view of the lower ledges I thought I was going to hit first.

I did manage to get to that lower ledge which had it's own very cool views.

The black flies which hadn't been an issue all week were starting to get thick. I decided it was time to move on and check out those cascades. I started out a bit higher than where I'd crossed earlier and headed down stream. There seemed to be no end.

After a good half hour of playing in the brook I headed out, hitting the Lost River at the same spot I'd crossed. 

Aren't GPS's great?  :)

I made one final stop before heading back to Lincoln. Beaver Pond. I love that spot.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Garfield Ridge and Hawthorne Falls 8/12/13

I've been hiking every day since Sunday as I'm up in Lincoln on my yearly White Mountain Vacation. So I'm doing with a little different format for this blog as I don't have the time to spend doing a lengthy one.

The tale....   A couple years ago I was looking at Google Earth for something, don't remember what it was now. But while there, I spotted the great looking slide on the eastern flank of Flat Top Mtn. which is just north of, and below Garfield. While looking closer on G.E., I spotted one of those photo icons near by and clicked on it. It was a photo of Hawthorne Falls. An absolutely gorgeous fall. I stopped in at The Mountain Wanderer in Lincoln to ask Steve Smith about Hawthorne Falls. I was sort of embarrassed to say I found that while checking out this remote slide I was thinking of going to. Of coarse, he'd been there. As a matter of fact, again just recently. The Mountain Wanderer So now I had 2 destinations in that area. I finally decided that Monday was the time to it. But I added a 3rd spot to the mix. When I did the Garfield Ridge Peaks a couple years ago it was a zero viability day. I was told I missed out on some Great views into the Pemi.Wilderness from some ledges. Being the views whore that I am, a return was a must.

I headed out on the Gale River Trail Monday morning. A nice trail but you start to wonder when it's going to start the real climb. When it does it's none stop, steep rock stairs for about a half mile. Once on the Garfield Ridge Trail, I hiked west to the spot I wanted to start the bushwhack to the ledges. It was fairly short but pretty dense woods. Well worth the effort though.

After my fill of views, I moved on west to a point where I wanted to start my bushwhack down to Hawthorne Falls. One reason I liked this plan is that I find it much easier to bushwhack, downhill. The woods were pretty good and I soon found myself at the upper reaches of Garfield Brook. I followed it, and several great little cascades to Hawthorne Falls. That was great but the prize was something to see.One of the most beautiful remote spots I've ever been to.

Needless to say I spent quite a bit of time there, taking numerous photos. It was also the perfect spot for lunch. I think I was there almost an hour before I had to force myself to leave. I did have one more objective. Flat Top Mtn. Slide. From Hawthorne Falls, to the near the base of the slide, I had no luck with the woods at all. I ran into every kind of nasty stuff a bushwhack has the potential to throw at you. By the time I got there I no longer had the time I needed to do this slide, but more so no ambition. It was however a beautiful spot in itself.

I took a few quick photos here then headed off. On the way down I was lucky enough to find what I believe was the old Galehead Trail. Which made for a quick descent, reconnecting with the Gale River Trail.

No regrets from this day at all and I now know a great route back to Flat Top Mtn. Slide for another day. The funny thing is, that is what this trip was all about. I still came out a winner though. ;-)