I'm sure I lost most readers with the working title... but have faith, there are things to be seen below. The adventure for today is going to get broken up into three parts, because technically, it was three separate hikes! It was mostly supposed to go down as part of a Meetup hike I organized, through Northeast Peakbaggers. More on that in a minute.
Hike #1: Beede Falls, and redlining on Bearcamp River Trail
Trails: Bearcamp River Trail, unnamed spur trail to Lower Falls
Mileage/time: 1.2 miles, 159 feet of gain, book time of 41 minutes, actual time of ~30 minutes
Wednesdays are the bane of my existence. I usually try to stay up all day, so I get myself back onto a day schedule for my days off. That's great and all, but when you wake up at 4:30, have to be somewhere at 8, and you grossly misjudge time, you end up almost an hour early.
Lucky for me, there was some redlining to do, that would be short, sweet, and get me back to the lot before others would arrive. Unfortunately, my group had dwindled from when I went to bed the previous night, and when all was said and done, it ended up as a Bill and Mike Meetup hike. But on to the Bearcamp River Trail. I knew there was a waterfall on it, but didn't realize there was another small set of falls on a side trail, and a neat geological formation, along the way. I followed the trail past the campsites, and soon was enveloped in the damp, dark forest, the smells of spring all around. A most wonderful time to be in the woods.
Hike #2: Mt. Israel
Trail: Wentworth Trail
Mileage/time: 4.2 miles, 1879 feet of gain, book time of 3:03, actual time of 2:10
Now it was on to the main event, so to speak. Mike arrived, and we were on the trail shortly after 8:30. The lower part of the Wentworth Trail was gorgeous, with the bare ground in the understory, and fresh green leaves in the canopy.
We climbed quickly, not really stopping often. If I ever had doubts about Mike being slow in any respect, I ate my words. He set the pace fast and kept it there. We saw a newt and a toad along the trail, and they decided to pose for us. Before long, we climbed into a cloud.
Over wet, slippery rocks we rolled, and we had no rain, just the saturated air around us. We reached the junction with the Mead Trail, and continued up, soon popping out on the summit of Israel... surprise! No views. With the lack of views, we lingered long enough for a snack, and then set off back down the trail. The rocks were starting to dry out a bit, and as we descended, the cloud ceiling lifted. We saw two other hikers heading up, and when we reached the lot at Mead Base, there were half a dozen other vehicles, including some Forest Service trucks. Mike climbed into my car for what would prove to be a mighty bumpy ride down the Sandwich Notch Road, to our next destination!
Hike #3: Welch-Dickey
Trail: Welch-Dickey Loop Trail
Mileage/time: 4.4 miles, 1905 feet of gain, book time of 3:09, actual time of 1:55
One bumpy ride later, we arrived at the Welch-Dickey Trailhead, and didn't dally. The cloud deck had lifted significantly, and there were even patches of blue poking through. Up we climbed, taking the loop counter-clockwise, and shortly arrived at a mild section of ledges, and our first views of the day.
Next up, was a fairly steep, ledgy climb up to the summit of Welch. The ledges were completely dry thanks to the sun that was poking through now and then, and the temperature was perfect for fast hiking.
Cresting the summit of Welch, we were treated to 360 degree views, encompassing the backside of Tecumseh, the veiled Tripyramids, a close up on Sandwich Dome, and long views east and south.
Here, we took a break. I went down to a pointy glacial erratic, on a ledge below the summit, and perched on it for a bit, taking pictures. Returning to the summit, I had a snack, and we shortly moved on towards Welch. There is a pretty neat cairn in the col, then the trail works its way up to Dickey. Views abound from the various ledges on the flanks of Dickey, out to the west towards Moosilauke, and the length of the Kinsman Ridge.
From the viewless, true summit of Dickey, we descended over dry, grippy slabs. It was a nice afternoon, but we were moving, and rather uninterested in stopping. Once over the final ledge, we descended through the woods and back to the trailhead. A super quick hike to be sure!
We had already discussed the post-hike festivities, and they involved a quick stop at the Mad River Tavern to get a big glass of Switchback Ale. The stuff is almost too delicious! Then another bumpy 10 miles on Sandwich Notch Road, and on to the Yankee Smokehouse. A rather short day, or so it seemed, but more redlining and 52 With A View peaks off the list!