May 1, 2016.
A return to finish a trail I was hoping to do five weeks ago, Red Ridge Trail. In order to get some more trails I'd like to bushwhack between North Moat and Big Attitash to get a piece of Attitash Trail for the return. On paper it looks doable but one never knows once you try a bushwhack. An early arrival at the trailhead and just after 7:00 I am on the trail leaving from the Diana's Baths parking lot heading up the Moat Mt Trail.
Last time I hiked this trail was coming down on a traverse with Andy and Kevin back in August of 2013. The Baths were so crowded we really didn't have time to enjoy or poke around. Just below them to my left across a small brook I spied some sheets of galvanized roofing like material. There also is a depression where it looks like a small footing for a building. Scattered around were more pieces of metal.
At the base of the falls it is quite different than before as I have the whole area to myself. Out of a concrete footing is a metal gear poking up into the air. I missed this completely last time as we were in a hurry at that point to get out of the woods and for me to get away from the people. Peering into the manmade hole it looks like they used the water to turn the shaft and then the gear turned something else. Turns out there has been some type of sawmill operation here from the 1860's and to sometime in the 1930's when this water fed system was built and then abandoned not long after.
Just above are the falls and what a difference when not a soul is around except for me. As much as I would like to stay to enjoy the scenery and do a little more exploring I have other agenda for the day and must move along.
The trail makes a wide swing away from Lucy Brook and then returns to the brook above the falls. A bit further up is my new trail for today, Red Ridge Trail. An easy rock hop across Lucy Brook and the trail is a wet mess down here. I feel like I am walking up a brook bed as I dance my way over the rocks up the trail.
Thankfully it does not last long and soon returns to a normal trail covered in the past years leaves. Across a forest road which is not on any map but my gut feeling is it is a continuation of FR 379. Something to follow up on later with the "To Do" list.
A short distance up the trail and I am at the junction with the Red Ridge Link where I was just over a month ago. Beyond is more new territory as I make my way through a small mucky area then a nice spruce area. Crossing FR 379 and then the easy part is over as the trail starts the climb up Red Ridge. Off to the left is Moat Brook and next to the trail are a couple of spots where the brook no longer flows diverted by some event.
Pass a tumbling cascade and then the trail drops down the banking to cross Moat Brook.
On the other side the trail now climbs steeply breaking out onto a ledge for the first tease of the oncoming views.
Following a gravelly slide the trail offers the first view to North Moat. The trail turns to the left still following the slide and a look back at the perilous edge where there is no stopping if one slips.
The first signs of snow and ice can be seen here and I hope that isn't the norm going forward. Up over a small chimney section and then the trail opens out onto the first expansive ledge. Across the way are Green Hills with Mt Cranmore being the most noticeable. Mt Washington is visible for the first time and still coated in snow.
Beyond this spot the trail alternates between woods and ledges with the views getting better with the elevation. Ahead I can see the rest of my traverse up Red Ridge. At a small stream that leads down from the ledges I see the most despicable thing I have come across while hiking. It is one thing to do your personal thing close to the trail but really disgusting to do it in a stream. It's one hell of an asshole move as one can do. I only hope that trail karma pays that person back in abundance.
Continuing on and it is more of the same as I get higher and this is soon becoming a favorite trail. Walking along ledges even though it is up is something I really enjoy. I get another angle at Stone Mt located on Burnt Meadow Mts and the mystery antenna I spotted from White Horse Ledge is in a different spot. Playing around with Google Earth I figure out that it is the antenna for Channel 8, WMTW, located on Bald Mt in Baldwin, Maine.
As for the views they are panoramic so here is one.
Some more scrambling and ledge climbing then a duck back into the woods before reaching the junction with Moat Mt Trail.
At the junction are the two large outcroppings where Andy, Kevin and I stopped on our Moat traverse to have lunch back in 2013. Climbing up the taller one on the right and I can see where I am heading, North Moat.
Heading on Moat Mt Trail now and as the trail dips down into a col there is the first significant signs of leftover ice and snow protected from the sun. Luckily it doesn't cause any issues and soon disappears as the trail starts climbing again. At the first ledge along this section a nice look over to Chocorua.
On a better day this view would be fantastic as I look down into the valley where the Kancamagus Highway can be seen snaking through. Some more scrambling this time steeper as I make my way up to the southern bump of North Moat.
One last scramble and then I am on top of North Moat and making pretty good time as it is before 11:30. Across the way is Big Attitash where I want to whack over to and intercept the Attitash Trail. Like I said at the beginning it looks doable on paper. So before launching off on my adventure I sit down to refuel and have some water enjoying the summit and views all to myself. Then as I am scanning the skies I can see the front that wasn't supposed to come in until much later in the day heading towards me from the west.
First the lowering cloud deck slowly swallowing the mountains then I feel the first drops of spitting rain. Crap! There goes my plans for getting some more new trails. I pack up and slowly pick my way down the steep sections as the bare rocks become wet quickly with the increasing rain drops. To make matters worse as I reach the treeline the ice and snow I had feared might be up here is up here. This side facing more north has the lingering downhill skating rink and combine with water makes for a treacherous descent. Some tree holding and slow pain staking steps making sure the feet don't slip out from under me.
Eventually I get down away from the ice and now it is the bare wet ledges for a good chunk of the way down. I remember these ledges from the first time and they seemed never ending then but even more so now with the rain. I take my time making them seem even longer and getting through the worse of it and then...BAM! Right on my butt on a flat section that the feet gave out on. Argh! Get me off this thing please.
Reaching the treeline and no more ledges just a steep trip down to the brook valley where Lucy Brook is and the junction with Attitash Trail. From here on out it is an easy run pushing myself before the heavy rain hits. The water crossings are uneventful and dry rock hopping as I reach the junction from this morning with Red Ridge Trail then past the deserted Diana's Baths. Back at the parking lot and I am surprised I had the whole day to myself. Not many people can make that claim on this popular section of the White Mts. I didn't get to accomplish a piece I wanted to do but I did beat the worse of the rain and had a great day heading up a new favorite, Red Ridge.
Final numbers: 10.2 miles, 6 hours and 50 minutes.
Redline Miles: 3.6, Total to Date: 1091.0