Thursday, July 28, 2011

A few bird shots

I haven't posted much on birds recently, so rather than changing the name of the blog, figured I should post a few bird photos. This female Belted Kingfisher showed nicely this morning in the Ware River Watershed area. On a distant snag.

Surveying the water below.
A stretch...
another pose..
Also, nearby was an Acadian Flycatcher, found recently by Bart Kamp and company.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another "non-birding" NH Death March 7/19

The destination of this hike was Mount Isolation, just south of Mt. Washington and the chosen route would begin at Pinkham Notch, on the Tuckerman Ravine Trail (0.3 Miles), then the Boott Spur Trail (2.9) to the Davis Path (3.3 southbound) to Mt. Isolation returning via the Davis Path (2.7) to the Glen Boulder Trail (2.8) and finishing on the Direttissima Trail (1.0) back to Pinkham. With nice weather, I would have the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time above tree line.

Looking toward Mt. Washington and into Huntington Ravine from the Boott Spur Trail.
I heard only 1 Boreal Chickadee all day and it was early on at about 2700', warblers heard where Blackburnian, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Green, B-T Blue, Magnolia and once reaching ~2800' Blackpoll Warblers. Winter Wrens, Swainson's Thrushes, Golden-crowned Kinglets, White-throated Sparrows and Juncos were also common at times. I'd hear call notes from 5 Bicknell's Thrushes over the course of the day, 1 on the Boott Spur Trail, 2 on Davis Path (near Isolation) and 2 on the Glen Boulder Trail.
A peek across into the Wildcat/Carter Range.

Wildcat/Carter Range from a higher vantage point.

You should be able figure this one out.
While it was warm on the trail, once breaking tree line, a nice 15-20 MPH breeze helped cool things off and with clear skies the time above tree line couldn't have been better. Looking across the Gulf of Slides to the Glen Boulder.
Having never hiked the Washington area from the east side, the views of Tuckerman Ravine were a first for me. There even appeared to be a little bit of snow remaining. Tuckerman Ravine and Mt. Washington, a little snow still in the ravine (white spot to the left), the white spot high on the far wall (right) is large piece of Quartz.
A framed shot of the Washington summit from the Boott Spur Trail.
The Boot Spur Trail connects with the Davis Path at about 5500', Mt. Isolation (4003' elevation) is 3.3 miles to the south ... the good news its all down hill, except for having to "roller-coaster" over North Isolation at ~4300' and then to Isolation at 4003' .

Mt. Washington, Tuckerman Ravine and the upper north wall of Huntington Ravine (to back right), from the Boott Spur.
as above but a winder angle.
Davis Path trail and carins sound bound to Mt. Isolation .
I'd started early and got to the Isolation summit before 11AM and had the place to myself until I left at 11:30. From reading previous hiking reports I expected (hoped) a Gray Jay would show up looking for hand outs, but that was not the case. The views from this remote summit are spectacular, and I was thankful it was such a nice day.
Looking north Mt. Monroe, the bump on the right, Mt. Washington blanketed by the cloud, Boott Spur to the right.
For the return trip I would have to re-climb North Isolation and then continue on the Davis Path and climb back to about 5200' and pickup the Glen Boulder Trail. Only having previously seen the Glen Boulder from rte 16, this gave an opportunity for a close up of this massive rock balancing precariously on mountain side.

Another Washington shot.

Looking south on the return trip from the Davis Path.
The Glen Bounder Trail/Davis Path Junction, looking to Slide Peak.

Another fine view of the Wildcat/Carter Range, rte 16 snakes below..

Looking into Gulf of Slides, perhaps an avalanche knocked these trees over on valley floor.
It seemed to be taking a long to reach the boulder, but I was asured by a pair of hikers it hadn't rolled off the "hill". Glen Boulder can be seen from Rte 16, below note the person (in White) sitting to the right of it.

A closer view, the hiking sticks are for "scale" and were not holding the rock in place.
One more distant shot.
I very very happy to reach the Direttissima Trail, which marked a little more than a mile to go. I'd been out of water for the previous 1.5 miles and had a sore knee. The trail looks level on the map, and for the most part it is, but even the smaller ups and downs had become a chore. The parking lot was a welcome sight and after "tanking up" on some water I was looking forward to large chocolate milk shake.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mt. Jefferson (Castle trail) 6/27

On June 27 th Karin and I hiked the Castle Trail to the summit of Mt. Jefferson, this encompassed a 10 mile round trip with 4,200 feet of elevation gain, some tedious rock scrambles, a damp/slick trail below tree line, warm calm weather above tree line which included a swarm of hornets on the summit and great views.

A rough sketch of our route, annotated (red line) via google earth clicking on the picture will provide a more detailed look.

The first 1.3 miles were easy going on a smooth trail, with the exception of crossing the Israel River, which went smoothly for us as the water was not too high.

Further into the hike trail became rough, and with recent rainy weather there were many slippery roots and moss covered rocks to contend with. Which always presents a greater issue on the decent...

Steeper climbing after passing the intersection with the Link Trail.

Just over 3 miles in we encountered our first scramble, to the sides we had a few hand and foot holds and made the accent without incident.

Once clearing the above scramble we reached a nice vista.

Not having hiked this trail before, I thought we'd "topped" the first "castle" but that was not the case... as Robert Plant once sang "scrambled on".

The first Castle from just above the first scramble, and the rim of Castle Ravine to the left.

The view south west toward the Pemi Wilderness, I heard a Bicknell's Thrush call from this area. The scenery was even more impressive once atop the castles, with views toward the Pemi Wilderness and Mt. Waumbek and the Pilot Range.

Karin making good progress above tree line, The Castles, large rock outcrops are below along the ridge stand some 20 feet high. The trail tavels right over them in a few spots, making for a dramtic hike.
A close up of a "castle".

The view back down the "Castellated Ridge" as its known, with the Pilot Range including Mt. Waumbek and Star King on the horizon.

Alpine Azalea above tree line.

Still a long rocky trek to the summit at 5712'

The weather was warm and calm near the summit, allowing a swarm of hornets to move about freely! We touched the summit marker and moved away quickly for a snack before becoming the snack. View north to Mt. Adams as another hiker works his way through the rock pile.

Mt. Washington, the Great Gulf , Mt. Clay (front and center), Mt Monroe (right Horizon), the Lake of the Clouds AMC hut is between Washington and Monroe.

Working our way back.

Approaching the ridge.

Looking deep into the Castle Ravine a new slide could be seen, from an apparent avalanche a few Winters ago.

Yet another photo of the ridge, Bowman Mountain is the flat topped hill well below and the Pilot Range on the Horizon.

We found this Moose Jaw at 4200 feet elevation.

The view from the trail head in Bowman, it was very special to end the hike being able to

see our "ridge walk" route. A few deer passed close by.

Tired feet, enjoying some "Grape Soda", Crosby, Stills and Nash and view up the Castllated Ridge to Mt. Jefferson.

We'd seen the above truck in Tamworth on the trip north, and snapped this shot on the way back, this struck us as being obscenely funny.........even more hilarious was finding this while "gassing up" on rte 1 in Saugus, Ma.







We found this "guy", about 10' tall in Saugus, Ma. , would appear to be worth perhaps 500 bucks?