Mini Hike Day – June 24, 2014

Sabbaday Falls
Sabbaday Falls

On our last trip to the White Mountains in May, we stopped by the Mountain Wanderer Book Store and picked up Steve’s book Ponds and Lakes of the White Mountains, which inspired today’s mini hikes.  We were looking for a few mini hikes to loosen up our legs after yesterday’s trek to Zeacliff.  Added bonus, a few red lines completed and views with water.

We came over Bear Notch Road and turned east on the Kancamagus Highway.  Our first stop was the Rocky Gorge Scenic Area, the Lovequist Loop.



We went on the paved walkway to the bridge. Before the bridge we had to play on the rocks.


We learned that no swimming is allowed.


The bridge offered nice views of the gorge.



After the bridge, we followed the Lovequist Loop.  We first stopped at the Falls Pond and watched two men fish.

Falls Pond
Falls Pond

The trail was pleasant, a bit rooty, a few small ups and downs, with soft footing underneath.





This was a simple one mile loop that offered a great warm down hike in a lovely forest.

We backtracked on the Kanc. and headed off to Russell-Colbath House for a Rail and River Trail loop hike of .6 miles.  We stopped to read the informational signs, where I loudly proclaimed “Thomas you are an ass” about one of the inhabitants of this house.  Enlarge the photo and see why I made that proclamation.


After that we started on the trail.



This was a very level trail with great informative signs along the way.




We learned a lot from the signs about the logging industry.






We stopped to admire the Swift River, but it was being contrary and nothing Swift was about it.

Swift River
Swift River

We had the added bonus of spying a hawk.



After we completed the short loop we walked around the historic site.  Sadly it was closed and the gardens were unkept.



Our next stop was unplanned, but it was the best stop yet, Sabbaday Falls.  This is part of the Sabbady Brook Trail system, but we just went .3 miles to the falls.  If you are looking at falls to view, this one is stunning, even with the manmade staircases.


The path was wide paralleling Sabbaday Brook and a bit uphill, but worth the effort.




First we came to a little pool,created by the falls, right before the stairs.



After this viewing spot we climbed the stairs.


The views along the stairs were stunning, though trying to get that winning shot was difficult with the railing.







After admiring the falls for a while, we headed out, totally in awe on what a great little spot this was.

Our next stop was Lily Pond, a roadside pond off of the Kanc.



And there were even water lilies starting to bloom.



The views from the pond were simply lovely and a great way to end our mini hike day.



Our mini hiking adventure was fun and certainly a great time for families looking for small hikes.





Zeacliff – June 23, 2014

Pano from Zeacliff
Pano from Zeacliff

We have a bonus day in the Whites, where to go, what to see? We’ve been itching to see the views from Zeacliff (and itch we will on top of Zeacliff)for a while now.  Today seemed like a prime day for this hike.

We parked at Zealand and hit the trail, knowing the first 2.8 miles would  be an easy jaunt in the woods.


The path was level with a few small inclines and some parts were downright flat.





The views opened up for a bit at the old beaver area.




Beaver Lodge
Beaver Lodge

The U.S. Forest Service has installed some new bridges to go over the beaver damage.




We were .5 mile from the hut and hit another section with views.





As we neared the .2 mile marker, we could hear Zealand Falls and we caught a glimpse of it.

Zealand Falls


Right before the hut the trail becomes steep.

right before the hut
right before the hut

We walked up the steps and emerged at the hut. We arrived at the hut an hour and 20 minutes after we started.

steps before hut
steps before hut


View across from hut
View across from hut
Zealand Hut
Zealand Hut

After seeing the hut and drooling over the chocolate ginger cake ($1 a slice), we went over to see the falls, before heading onto Zeacliff.




View from the falls
View from the falls
Pano of the falls
Pano of the falls

After we cooled off at the falls, we continued our trek to Zeacliff.  This was an uphill excursion.





We finally arrive after an hour and 10 minutes to this sign, bear left to the view.

I get giddy when I see the AT symbol
I get giddy when I see the AT symbol

When the view opened up, I teared up.  The panoramic vista was awe-inspiring.  For me,  this view was right up there with the Grand Canyon and the lookout on the first 2 miles of the Kalalau Trail.








Mount Washington shined bright in all her glory.

Close up of Mt. Washington
Close up of Mt. Washington

We spent about 30 minutes up here, dodging mosquitoes, black flies, taking pictures and trying to eat a sandwich.  The views were so spectacular that we wished we hadn’t been attacked by the swarms of bugs, so we could have spent more time soaking in the views.



We headed down, rock hopping streams, stopping to cool off at a stream or two and leaping rock to rock along the way.

Cooling off
Cooling off

After the hut, we stopped at the official view to the falls and snapped a few pictures, while battling the bugs.




After finishing the last steep section, it was smooth sailing back to the car.

Last steep section to go and look I'm smiling.
Last steep section to go and look I’m smiling.
nice that most of the 2.8 miles back to the car is level.
nice that most of the 2.8 miles back to the car is level.

This was a perfect hike for a bluebird day.  We did 7.8 miles in 5 hours 30 minutes, including hanging out time at the hut, falls and Zeacliff.  I would easily repeat this hike again.


Slide Brook Trail Take 2 – April 18, 2014



We attempted this hike last June (see report), but the swarms of mosquitos turned us back shortly after we hit the Presidential Rail trail.  We thought a nice April hike would be free of those nasty bugs and the snow-capped mountains would be beautiful.  We were correct on both accounts, no bugs and the mountains were majestic.

Anytime I get on the Cohos Trail, I get giddy. Why? I honestly don’t know, maybe it is because it is a lesser known trail, maybe because it is a bit untamed and maybe because …

The trail starts off simply through a meadow.



After the meadow we entered a forested area for a short distance.


After leaving this area we visited the abandoned playground of the beaver.  We carefully stepped across his damn, admiring the views along the way.






Leaving the playground, we entered the woods again.  This time there freshly laid bridges to walk on (thank you).



After this we entered another meadow, right below the Presidential Rail Trail.


After we exited the meadow we turned left on the Rail Trail and made our way to the Marsh, a very beautiful area.

Rail Trail
Thanks for the bench!!





zoomed into Mt. Washington


We turned around at the bench and re traced our steps back to the car.  Unfortunately I don’t have a distance or time log on this hike.  If you are looking for a jaunt with beautiful views, I highly recommend this one, just don’t go in mosquito prime time.



Gadwah Notch Trail June 21, 2014

Cathrdal Meadow


One of our favorite places in the North Woods is the Nash Stream Forest.  One of our favorite trails systems meanders here, the Cohos Trail.  We love the long unpaved road to get to the trail heads. We love the solitude of the forest. We love beauty of the Cohos Trail.  In order to celebration the summer solstice we returned to the land we love, the Nash Stream Forest.  Today we would venture out on the Gadwah Notch Trail for a few miles.

The trail begins at the end, the end of Nash Stream Road.


Follow the yellow signs of the Cohos Trail
Follow the yellow signs of the Cohos Trail

Our feet followed an old woods lane, while we listened to trickle of  Pike Brook.





Along the way we spotted evidence of moose, bear and other  woodland creatures.

Moose tracks
Moose tracks


Well hello there mr. caterpillar
Well hello there mr. caterpillar


After 22 minutes of walking we arrived at Cathedral Meadow.  What a delightful place that just appeared.

Coming up to the meadow
Coming up to the meadow


Views from the meadow




Flower in the meadow


We walked another 1/2 mile, admiring the woods and flowers along the way, until we reached the next smaller meadow and the trail turning to the right.


Moran Meadow to the left, trail to the right
Moran Meadow to the left, trail to the right

The flowers were almost ready to burst in the meadow.  One yellow flower did stand out though.

This reminded me of yellow fireworks
This reminded me of yellow fireworks

Turning away from the meadow we went up the lane, with some mud hopping adventures.


We followed the trail for another 1/2 mile.

Follow the yellow brick road, no the yellow marked rocks


We entered Muise Bowl, a natural amphitheater.

Muise Bowl
Muise Bowl


flower in the bowl
flower in the bowl

We walked a little further passed the Bowl, and turned around at 2.5 miles, not making it to Bulldozer Flat.  We hit an area that was very wet, boggy and just didn’t have the desire to slog through mud or high grass today.  We hoped the moose would have blazed a clear cut path, but I think they even turned around in the seeps.

Seep turnaround for us
Seep turnaround for us


The return was full of great views and we enjoyed the moments of just being in a such a tranquil place, free of manmade noise that clutters our ears.

heading back
heading back


Columbine Flower
Columbine Flower




We spent a great 2 and 1/2 hours exploring the Gadwah Notch area.  We tramped 5 miles in total.  We will return to do this again and go further next time.  The Nash Stream Forest and the Cohos Trail are a very special area, free of crowds, full of beauty.


Sawyer Pond – June 20, 2014


I may or may not have broken my little toe last week, so that means a no peak hike.  I could finally putting on hiking shoes two days ago and downs are painful, so we had to opt for an easier hike.  Hmmm, like most mornings in the Whites for us that means trying to decide where to hike and dragging out at least six books, have two computers going on blogs and maps spread around us.  We narrowed it down to Greely or Sawyer.  For some reason, that really was no reason we decided on Sawyer Pond.  Off we headed…

We traveled 4 and 1/2 miles on Sawyer River Road, arrived at parking and hiked to our first backcountry lovely.  This was an easy 1.5 mile hike.



In the first .3 miles you cross two bridges.






Along the way you walked side by side with the Sawyer River.






The trail was easy and delightful, with a few muddy spots, put that made the rock hopping all the more fun.



Along the way Lady Slippers posed, waiting to be captured by the hiking paparazzi.






Around 1.4 miles we reached Sawyer Pond. We went right first across a waterway to check out the views from that side first.





The views to the right were pretty.  However the trail didn’t go far, so we headed back towards the shelter.



Back over the water crossing we went and started to take in the stunning views of Mt. Tremont and Owl’s Cliff.




The shelter had a couple hanging out, fishing for the day.




We spent a little more time wandering around the pond, soaking in the beauty of the view and being the food of choice for the mosquitoes.





This was a gem of short hike.  Easy on my toe, great warm up for a longer hike tomorrow and most  of  all beauty all around us.  It was short, 3 miles, time was under 2 hours and the trail was not technical.  If you are looking for an easy hike, full of beauty, I would highly recommend a hike out to Sawyer Pond.


Boulder Loop



We came to the mountains this weekend prepared for fall hiking, not winter hiking.  We expected to see snow on Mt. Washington, but not the other peaks.  As we drove around the area it looked like someone had sprayed canned snow on the a lot of the mountaintops.  We knew we weren’t prepared to hike the higher elevations this time, so we decided on a smaller hike, lower in elevation, but with a view.  The winner Boulder Loop in Albany, N.H.

This hike started from Covered Bridge Campground parking lot.  We started following the yellow blazes across the road from the parking lot.


Immediately the large boulders appeared.



After .2 mile mark, we swung left and headed on the loop portion of the trail.


Again large boulders greeted us.



Beech tree leaves lined the trail most of the route.



The trail was fairly easy.  Nothing strenuous or technical.


At the first lookout, the views were lovely. This was before the official viewing area. We were able to look down at Swift River.






From here the trail wound around to the lookout spot.




As we walked along we had some rain, sleet and some flurries.  It added to the fun of the hike.


We then came upon the official sign that pointed the way to the view spot.  These ledges provided views of Mount Chocorua, Passaconaway, Middle Sister and the Tripyramids.











We returned to the loop and spotted some fungi still hanging on.



The beech tress added a touch of vibrancy to the hike.



Towards the end of the loop, more boulders dominated the trail.



This was a great quick hike that is family friendly. We even watched a young couple hiking down the trail holding hands, so it is not a technical hike at all.

The Details: 3 mile loop hike, 2 hours, elevation gain 950 feet, with amazing views out.

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