Ramblings in Randolph

July 2, 2016.

High winds up on the peaks makes it the perfect time to explore some more of the many intersecting trails on the northern slopes of Adams. I have a general plan on what trails I want to do but will just let the day and conditions dictate the exact plan. It rained, a rarity this summer, last night so hopefully the trails aren't to sloppy nor the few water crossings an issue along the way. Parking is at Appalachia and arriving at the trailhead about 6:30 with people already in the parking lot. A few minutes later and I am off heading into the woods.

A right turn off Valley Way/Airline onto The Link for the first of many junctions today. A quick fifteen minutes up the best part of The Link and on the other side of the Memorial Bridge is the first new trail for the day, Amphibrach. A side bar to check out Cold Brook Fall first and then on to the business of the day. The Amphibrach trail starts out mellow and with Cold Brook off to my left it makes a pleasant early morning walk.


I am surprised as I continue up the trail for it never becomes rough or steep. This is not what I expected since I am heading towards Adams and soon I am at the next junction where Monaway veers off to the right. This is one of a few little trails between The Amphibrach and The Link with the highlight being White Cliff. A few minutes up the trail and Monaway splits off to the left which is where I head first for an out and back. On the return I make the turn onto Ladderback Trail which leads past its namesake, Ladderback Rock.


Reaching White Cliff and unfortunately the views are not awe inspiring today with the low cloud deck. Across the valley are Mts Randolph and Crescent. Below is a nasty dropoff with nothing stopping you until you hit the trees below.


Around the corner is the next trail for the day, Cliffway. The right portion leads down to The Link and that is where I'll head first. It is a pleasant walk down with some new axe work on a recently fallen tree. One beautiful section all covered in moss leaving the temptation to lie down in its cool soft bed.


Further down and I reach the junction with The Link returning to the spot I was at last November. Another turn around to re-reach the junction at White Cliff and as I am rounding a corner I see a dark figure up ahead of me. It happened so quickly but I believe I spooked a moose that was on the trail. Quietly and slowly I make my way up the trail and dang if he didn't disappear quickly and quietly. Completing the rest of Cliffway and the woods are different above White Cliff. Scrappy birches line the trail along here. Reaching Bog Cliff and a look down into King Ravine where I have some future exploring to do.


Past the junction with Monaway and a short steep descent before the trail leads me to Spur Brook Fall. One of the little surprises along the way due to not reading the guidebook beforehand. The trail climbs up to the top of the fall where it crosses just above the plunge. There is some trepidation as I look at the crossing evaluating the consequences of a slip while crossing. The water is rushing and the ledge is mossy coated under the water spelling poor footing. Careful steps, one by one, testing each as I go and make my way across safely and incident free.


A short distance away is the junction with Amphibrach slightly higher up from the spot I left to do this small loop myriad. On the other side is the continuation of Cliffway but first I turn left heading down for the missing piece of Amphibrach. A crossing of Spur Brook again and soon I am back at the junction with Monaway and to my right is a trail I did not see earlier for Coldspur Ledges. The spur path leads down to just above where Spur Brook and Cold Brook merge. Below me is a nice pool and a steep trip down to the waters edge where I decide to stop for a break. Getting out from the dripping trees and there is an overhanging ledge to my right that is nice and dry for a spot to sit to enjoy the water leading down the ledgey brook.


Down below I can see the merge where the two brooks come together and looks like Cold Brook might have a fall hidden around the corner. This spot goes in the mental notes for future exploration as I pack up and head back up the trail. At the Cliffway junction a left turn as I head down to finish this trail. Not far down and there is a large yellow birch standing stoically beside the trail. This section is relatively easy and only takes ten minutes to reach the next junction which is Randolph Path. At the junction is a wooden bridge that spans Cold Brook and a small cascade is upstream.


Another turn around and reaching Amphibrach again I turn one more time left to finish this trail where it ends just fifteen minutes later up at the Pentadoi where there is a five way junction.


So many trails and where to go next? I pull out the map and look at the surrounding area trying to put together a reasonable and efficient way to knock off some more trails. To my right is the continuation of Randolph Path heading down. Next to that is King Ravine Trail which leads down into the ravine. I do not want to go down there today as I am saving that for a much better day. The choice is down the other side of King Ravine Trail that leads down to The Link and then come back up Lowe's Path to Randolph Path back to this spot making a loop. Making the right turn now onto King Ravine Trail and not far down I can hear the rushing of water as I reach Spur Brook once again. Below is a water fall, Canyon Fall, and I make the short off trail venture to check it out. The rest of the trip down the trail is a pleasant walk on some great terrain.


Thirty minutes from leaving The Pentadoi and I am on Lowe's Path repeating the section of trail I did last fall except this time heading up to The Log Cabin. I remember this section of trail being a rough and steep section as I push my way up soon reaching the shelter. Beyond the shelter is the continuation of Lowe's Path and new territory for me as I make the steep climb up to the junction with Randolph Path.


This is as high as I go today with the lousy weather that is above treeline. To my left is Randolph Path which leads me back down to The Pentadoi. A short and not so bad trip down to the next junction with Log Cabin Cutoff which I also did last fall. Staying on Randolph Path and this section of the trail is all new redlining right down to The Brookside. A few minutes down the new section of Randolph Path and a spot where a manmade ladder is slowly being reclaimed by nature.


Just before reaching Spur Brook for the umpteenth time today and the junction of The Spur leads up the ridge off to my right. This looks a good spot for another break as I sit down by the brook and enjoy the water cascading down towards me. A short break to refuel and refill the water bottle and it is time to head on down the trail hopefully beating the rain. A few minutes later and I pass back through The Pentadoi and keep making my way down Randolph Path where I re-reach the bridge over Cold Brook..


From here it is pretty uneventful as I reach the junction, yes another, this time with Short Line which leads up into King Ravine. The two trails coincide as I still head down for a distance where at the next junction they go their separate ways. Pass Airline and then the junction with Valley Way. Across the trail and it doesn't look familiar. Can't remember if I have done that section or not so rather than take the chance, besides I can't stand Valley Way, I head across to get the remaining piece between Valley Way and The Brookside.


Reaching The Brookside and Snyder Brook the rest of the trip is down Valley Way and back to Appalachia. Not a bad day and picked up some good redlining on the lower slopes. Only thing is the most of what is left on this slope are the upper trails. That will pose some issues on to efficiently finish this area of my redlining project.

Final numbers: 12.4 miles, 7 hours and 45 minutes.

Redline Miles: 8.6, Total to Date: 1139.9