Four Short Hikes in Pinkham Notch

September 19, 2015.

How does one follow up an epic trip up Huntington Ravine? Spend the night up in the woods and fill in some holes the next day. I know not exciting but I had some stragglers and a couple of short trails to do in the same area. First on the list are two small pieces of trail I need to fill in. The 0.3 mile section of Great Gulf Trail from the parking lot to Great Gulf Link and a 0.8 mile section of the Osgood Trail between the Great Gulf Trail and Osgood Cutoff.

Leaving from The Great Gulf Parking Lot then a left turn to head across the suspension bridge over the Peabody River.

 

A short jaunt up the Great Gulf Trail to the junction with Great Gulf Link.

 

Back on familiar ground as Mike and I passed through this area last year on our way to Madison Gulf. A short diversion down to the river to check it out.

 

It only takes forty minutes to reach the beginning of Osgood Trail and the section I need up to the tent sites. It is a short trip up through some gentle woods to the big boulder that marks the entrance to the tent site.

 

 

A quick trip through the tent site and then a return to the parking lot to head over to the next trail.


Just down Route 16 and a new trail, Thompson Falls Trail, located at the Wildcat Ski Area parking lot. A quick snack and water break and off I go.

The trail starts behind the lodge to the left and coincides with a nature trail for a bit. The trail is an easy walk on mostly level terrain until just below the falls.

 

Crossing a very tannin looking brook and then across a maintenance road before heading back into the woods. Reaching the base of the falls and it looks like a clamshell.

 

The trail across to the other side of the falls is a guess as there are no distinguished paths or markings. Heading up the left side of the trail and it is a series of falls and cascades.

 

I reach the top of the falls, thankfully marked with a sign, and wonder where the views are that are mentioned in the guide. Walking out onto the slab and I find the spot where Lions Head and Mt Washington are visible through the gap in the trees made by the brook.

 

Heading down and there is another slab which includes views this time into Huntington Ravine where I was yesterday.

 

Back down to the lot and off to the next destination continuing down Route 16.


I needed to start on Lost Pond Trail which is across the street from Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. It's just a little before noon and the lot is full and the overflow lot just behind on the right is also full. The third lot on the left has a few spots left so I pull into there and walk the extra 0.4 mile back up to the trailhead. Sure glad I did Huntington yesterday when things were a lot quieter around here. I am off to do Square Ledge Trail and the book says it starts right after the bridge crossing of the Ellis River.

Across the bog bridges is the bridge over the very tame Ellis River. Just on the other side an unsigned trail leads off to the left.

 

It starts out very distinct and then begins to peter out and I question whether I am on the right trail or if this is a bootleg trail. It approaches the water and I wonder if this the spot where Peaches and Cream were holed up that rainy day back in August of last year before I picked them up. Convinced I am on the wrong trail I turn around and return to Lost Pond Trail and a few yards up the trail is the signed trail for Square Ledge. The book says twenty yards past the bridge, again read the book first.

 

The trail climbs up to a spot where there is a spur trail off to the left. It leads out to Lady's Lookout where there are views out across Pinkham Notch.

 

Back to the trail and it passes under one of the most unique features I have seen. It is a huge slab that has broken away and slowly slid off overhanging the trail. Must have taken eons for this event to happen.

 

The trail turns and climbs up where there is a large split broken boulder sitting off the trail. It is hard to get a decent shot of it with the surrounding growth. I move around looking for a good angle when I spy something behind it in the distance.

 

Heading up the crumbled rock path and the voices I heard down below become evident.

 

I reach a spot where I can watch "the show" for a few minutes and seeing rock climbers two days in row solidifies my feelings that I'll stick to hiking and leave rock climbing as a spectator sport.

 

Continuing up the trail and at the top it heads over to the left and surprisingly I am standing on top of Square Ledge. I wanted to shout down, jokingly, to the two climbers that there is a trail that leads out to the top of this thing.

 

On top of this fantastic rock outcropping is a great view across the notch of where I was yesterday.

Looking directly into Huntington Ravine from this spot and I am so glad I chose yesterday to climb when the winds were calm and the clouds nonexistent.

Hanging out for a few minutes then it is time to head back down and move on to my final spot for the day.


Again just down the road and I pull into the Glen Ellis Falls lot. I am here to get the 0.4 mile missing piece of Glen Boulder Trail. When I originally did Glen Boulder Trail I came up via the Direttissima Trail and left this short section hanging knowing I had a big day ahead of me.

I head up past the toilets where the trail turns into the woods. Just beyond where the trail turns to the left there is a pipe exposed coming down from the hill, with a distinct path, right in front of me. Up on top of the hill I can see something and me being the curious type I have to go and check it out.

 

Reaching the top and there is a large above ground tank and I have no idea what it's original purpose was for or if it is still being used.

 

Rather than heading back down I notice a spur trail leading off behind the tank and figure it will hook back up with the trail and if not I'll find it eventually. It winds it's way through the woods and comes out onto an old skidder road and then does hit the trail. There are some mild sections through here and then it reaches the base of a cliff and the climbing begins skirting the base of the cliff.

 

 

The climbing does not last long as the trail makes an almost hairpin turn for the final push up to the Direttissima Trail.

 

Mission accomplished and a hasty retreat to call it a day. These legs are beat as the thighs are burning. Been a while since I have hiked two days in a row but I don't regret my decision of how I spent this weekend in Pinkham Notch.


Final numbers: 8.7 miles, 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Redline Miles: 2.6, Total to Date: 914.7