April 11, 2015.
It's supposed to be a so-so day and getting tired of the snow, or the lack of it going anywhere soon, the plan is to stay low and fill in some short trails I need. First up is Georgiana Falls then the Whitehouse Trail which is just up the road.
Georgiana Falls Path is in North Woodstock just off Route 3. I was going to do this trail a long time ago, two years ago, but after doing three different hikes that day there was nothing left in the gas tank to do this one. Was also trying to hold out on this one for a summer day or at least the spring when the water is really flowing...oh wait it is spring! At least the calendar says so it's just that the mountains didn't get the memo. Besides after last weeks episode trying to do South Tripyramid I decided it was time to stay low. At the trailhead by 7:30 and after eating my DD I am off fifteen minutes later. Down low there is just an inch or so of snow and traction is unnecessary. I leave the snowshoes in the car but have the microspikes with me just in case. Underneath the tunnel for I-93 and a right turn where the trail splits from the snowmobile trail that leads up to Bog Pond, the source of Harvard Brook.
The trail starts out relatively flat passing under the southbound lane of I-93 then meanders up through the woods eventually reaching Harvard Brook which it parallels for the rest of the trail. The sound of the brook is peaceful and I am in no hurry this morning enjoying the woods and the brook which is still blanketed in snow with a few open spots. The trail is packed down from traffic which is a welcome relief as the climbing begins.
Along the way there are small cascades and pools beginning to make their appearances from the deep snow.
At the first open spot in the brook the spring meltoff is beginning as the water is rushing by.
Approaching the steep section and I stop to put on the microspikes. More as a precaution while heading up but a definite necessity on the return trip. Just before the lower falls there is a spot where the water is rushing through an opening in the snow covered brook.
Above this spot the trail breaks out of the woods onto the snow buried slabs crossing over to the lower Georgiana Falls. It is complete with pool and surprisingly a female mallard as she is by herself wading in the water.
Crossing the slab back into the woods and the climbing continues. Just ahead and I poke out for a view from the top of the first waterfall. The duck has left the water.
A little bit further up and another pool complete with some blue ice.
The trail climbs up more now leaving the brook which is down below a good thirty feet beneath me.
Thirty minutes after the lower falls and I reach the end of the trail at the upper falls. Unfortunately it is all frozen over still except for one small window.
Being the curious one I continue on as the previous person has followed an unofficial trail heading up some more. I remember coming here many years ago and wanting to see where all this water came from. Kind of like looking for the end of a rainbow. The "trail" peters out and I make my way over to my left towards the top of the upper falls. Through the opening is the southern peak of Loon Mt and Russell Mt. Russell Mt can be reached from Tripoli Road as there is a campground located below it.
A look down the steep frozen snow laden waterfall and a look behind me where the brook has flattened out coming from it's source, Bog Pond further up. Today is not the day to continue this search for the source as the snow is still deep in the woods.
Instead it is time to head down and head over to the Flume Parking Lot to do the Whitehouse Trail. On the return trip I come across two anomalies along the trail. I missed them on the way up as I veered off the trail more hugging the brook. One is a good size tree with a massive root four feet off the ground wrapping around a boulder. The other is a very recent snapped pine tree still clinging to it's stump.
Along the way there looks like some possible views off to my left but after investigating the woods it never opened up like I'd hoped. Back down to the car and off to the next destination. But first a stop to see the Indian. At the parking lot for the Whitehouse Trail a view of Liberty and Flume just over the trees.
The GPS track for Whitehouse Trail and Franconia Notch Recreational Path (FNRP).
So what I thought was the beginning of the Whitehouse Trail turns out is not. As I headed up the FNRP and pass the Mt Pemigewasset Trail I saw an opening off to my left. Don't ask why I decided to head over that way but it ends up in another parking lot off the north bound lane of I-93 that I never knew existed. Turns out this is the official start of the Whitehouse Trail.
To compound matters I notice the sign for the Pemi Trail. A trail I had already marked as done in my redlining quest. Thing is I didn't know it came out all the way here. I thought it began at the junction with the Cascade Brook Trail on the other side of I-93. Further up the Whitehouse Trail, which is a fairly mild up and down trail, where it comes out onto the FNRP there is another Pemi Trail sign pointing the way I just came from.
Now I am really confused. Continuing on the Whitehouse Trail/FNRP and I soon reach the junction with Liberty Spring Trail where the Whitehouse Trail ends. Back across the Pemigewasset River and at the mysterious junction I stay on the FNRP (this is part of the redlining project) where I cross paths with a group of four walkers.
Further down the path and I meet a couple heading up and these would be the only hikers I would see for the day. Just below the junction where the FNRP reaches the spot where I turned off earlier I spy something off in the woods to my right. I contemplate checking it out as the snow is still knee deep through here but curiosity gets the better of me. Not sure if it is an outhouse or a shed but it is locked and just beyond it is a hookup for electrical and what looks like a leach field.
Back to the trail and a short distance down to the parking lot. Three trails complete and a quick check of the guide book and oddly the Whitehouse Trail and the Pemi Trail coincide from the bridge. However the spreadsheet does not include the mileage I just did so all is right in my little world. On to my next destination for the day, Cooley Hill via Jericho Road Trail.
Final numbers: 4.4 miles, 3 hours and 20 minutes.
Redline Miles: 3, Total to Date: 744.4