Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Exploring Little Attitash. Round 2! 8/16/14

Saturday I decided to make a return visit to Little Attitash in Bartlett, NH. My first visit was in September of 2012. I bushwhacked over from Big Attitash after bagging it for my NH200 quest. I'd spotted Little Attitash from North Moat and noticed quite a bit of ledge that should provide decent views.

I'd hoped to hit the ledges on the left. All I got at that time was the small ledge in the middle. I didn't realize until I'd looked at my tracks, that I'd missed the bigger ledges. So I planned a redo someday. Saturday was the day.

This time I had other things I wanted to check out other than just the ledges on Little Attitash. Because one of my set of Garmin maps has a ton of old trails in the Whites on them, I wanted to see if I could find an old trail that ran from West Side Rd., over Humphreys Ledge, and ran the ridge over Little Attitash, ending west of Big Attitash on the Attitash Trail. The Humphreys Ledge Trail. You can see it and an other trail in that area, Cow Brook, on my map below. I'm not sure when either of these 2 trails were abandoned.

I first thought I'd try and start from the beginning on West Side Rd. but there were private property issues there. I decided to just head out on the Moat Mountain Trail and bushwhack up to the ridge, skipping the first 2ish miles of the Humphreys Ledge trail. I did want to check out Humphreys Ledge but I had enough miles to do. I'll check that out some other time. There's a great report on Humphreys Ledge here: 1HappyHiker

On my way up I made my usual stop at Chocorua Lake. I just can't seem to drive by.

The only way to see Dianna's Bath is real early. No one the trail and no one at the baths. :)

After playing around with the water shots I headed out on the Moat Mtn. Tr. to a point about .2 of a mile past the junction with the Red Ridge Trail and started the whack in open pine.

I soon found myself at an old clear cut.

Which was thick with wild blackberry bushes. I made the mistake of going through it instead of around. I got pretty scratched up. It would have been worth it if they were ripe. :(

Once through that I hit a short section of what looked like an old logging road.

Then a very steep climb in beautiful open woods.

It started to level out a bit and I could see a sign about 100' away. I couldn't imagine what I'd come across here. Once I had got close enough to read it I was amazed. What were the odds of stumbling onto this?

A close up of the map.

As soon as I got home home I tried researching The Pine Hill Mineral Site. I found I a list of all the mines in NH (NH Mines) , but nothing mentioning this. All I came up with was a copy of the USFS ORDER  posted.

As temping as it was to take a good look around to see if I could find some quartz, which is what I assume was mined/collected there, I figured I best obey the law and move along.

It got a bit steep, and thick, for a bit but I came to the first ledges I hoped to find.

And I was lucky enough to find an easy way up.

I had a pretty good view of the Moats and into North Conway.

Climbing higher was in good woods with more ledge but with no views.

Once on the ridge connecting Humphreys Ledge and Little Attitash, and where I should have been on the old trail, the woods were great but no positive evidence of a trail. It did look like a possible corridor though.

And more view-less ledge. But it did have sign of a cairn toppled over.

More good woods that looked like it could have been the trail and more ledge. This time, with views. :D

The view was a small one north but nice.

After this I had some steep up that was pretty thick with young spruce.

Again hitting a ledge wall, that I needed to get around.

Now like I said, the Humphrys Ledge trail was on my GPS maps and I was doing my best to try and follow it. I also was not planning to hit the top of the Attitash Ski Area. My thinking was it would lesson the importance of any views I found on Little Attitash because I knew they were great from the ski area. That and I thought it would be mobbed because the last time I spent the day at Attitash in the summer, the lift was open to the tower. That being said, I'm see a lot of light through the trees.

So that didn't work. 8)

And this next picture might explain why I came out on the ski trail. And why the Humphreys Ledge Trail may have gone away.

Well, since I'm here and the lift isn't running, I may as well climb the tower and enjoy the solitude and views.

I'm actually glad I ended up there. The view was great and having it all to myself was even better. Spent a good 30-45 minutes. Now it was time to see if I could continue to follow the trail. Now I doubt these red blazes are from the days the Humphreys Ledge Trail was in use but it probably is where is was located.

I was hitting much more ledge which had cairns.

And more views which would all be pretty much in the same direction.

In between these sections of ledge was pretty thick. Short lived, but thick.

More ledge and a view of North Moat and  Big Attitash.


And finally the high point on Little Attitash.

After this it was time to find the ledges I'd missed the first time. Spotted this on the way. Possibly a paragon falcon.

And finally the ledges I had to return to find. Insert rolling eyes here.  

Heading a little more west, westerly views.

I guess I'd have to put these ledges in the "A bit of a disappointment category". Definitely glad I hit the ski area now. Heading back east now I hit yet more ledge with a view towards N. Conway. 

Now to choose a decent route. I hadn't planned anything except that I knew I wasn't going back the way I came up. I figured the quickest way down to the Attitash Trail would be best. I looked at the map and saw a brook in a fairly deep ravine or gorge. A north branch of Lucy Brook perhaps or just a feeder stream. I thought it had potential.  The map below shows it's location.

Unfortunately, as you can see on the above map, the descent down into that ravine is very steep. Coupled with that, there was a few 20 foot drop-offs I had to get around not to mention thick woods. Not the best of descent routes. When I did get down to the brook, it was pretty disappointing. Barely a trickle.

But as I descended it starting getting better.
 And better.

Not so much the cascades, but the gorge itself. It was gorgeous The pictures just don't do it justice. It was too deep to climb in and out of the gorge. So since the flow was not that heavy I was able to slowly move my way down stream. A did have to go up at one point to avoid getting my feet wet.

But quickly went back down.

I did have to give it up as the further down I got the more heavier the flow got. It was getting too difficult to navigate. I needed to head up to good footing. The next couple pictures show how deep this ravine/gorge was.

Once back up on the ridge, the going was much easier. 

I'd come out the Attitash Trail about a tenth of a mile from the junction with Moat Mtn. Tr. Eeek! 2.4 miles to go after all that?  8)

I love this spot on the Moat Mtn. Tr. along Lucy Brook.

An early sign of fall in a small pool.

And one last shot of Lucy Brook before the masses at Dianna's Bath.

This hike didn't have the "Wow" factor I'd hoped for but still well worth the effort.  :-)