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Thread: Circling Square Ledge

  1. #1
    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    Smile Circling Square Ledge

    December 29, 2011. Decided to hike in the Sandwich area and piece together a bunch of trails I hadn’t been on. The more I do this, the more I realize coming into a trail junction I’ve been to before but from a different approach is like meeting a piece of my past. It’s a strange feeling, but, I can just picture the day I was there in the past, and, if there were others, I can picture them still there, the conversations ongoing… I feel like I’m coming full circle.

    So, I completed the Walden Trail from Old Mast Road, hitting Mt Hedgehog (not to be confused with Hedgehog Mtn, just a couple of miles away!) and then reversed to ascend Square Ledge Trail to visit Square Ledge (this time without rain!). I then descended Passaconaway Cutoff and headed south over the Oliverian Brook Trail and the Lawrence Trail back to Old Mast Road. I never saw a soul. I started at Ferncroft. Snow coverage was light (max of 4” or so over occasional black ice). I carried full crampons but was able to negotiate even the steeps with old-school-style 6-pointers.

    The scary part of the day was the initial ascent (below the cliffs) at the south side of Square Ledge. I heard a loud rushing noise and thought I had startled some kind of big creature. When I got about 50’ closer, I found some big chunks of ice that had just broken off the icicles above the trail. Those chunks were BIG and they were on the trail when I got there. I could see where they broke free from above on the rock wall – it was a little unnerving!!! That side was quite warm and the ground was bare; the sun made it feel like spring in there!!!

    Finally, I was a little hesitant about the route because when I was on some of those trails years ago, the trails were difficult to follow. Not so today. I want to thank the trail maintainers!!! I actually was quite afraid I’d lose the trails near the end of the day—that’s the risk with loops. NO worries – lots of awesome logging roads and fun things along the way.

    I hope you enjoy!!!

    At one of the outlooks – Mt Paugus in front of Chocorua – good memories of both!!!


    At another outlook, this one had a lot of blowdowns on the way. I wonder why???? Look at that icy step – one fall, that’s all!!!!


    Above the steeps, I finally saw some moose prints. About 10’ of these were the only moose prints I saw although I followed coyote tracks all day.


    Icy steeps on the way up Mt Hedgehog. I took the bypass on the descent.


    Square Ledge, the target, in view – YAY!!! I was so happy I could see it and it wasn’t raining!!!


    Someone found and then placed this barrel ring on a tree—it’s pretty cool. This is near the water crossing at the Square Ledge junction.


    After Square Ledge, there’s a nice split rock:


    Back on the Oliverian Trail, at the major water crossing heading south there are several HUGE stumps (cut flat across) slightly off-trail. I would guess they are from the logging operations. This one is probably 3’ across. It was probably quite a bit larger before rotting. The top is still flat. No trunk around.

    Along Oliverian Brook Trail are some large expanses of old corduroy road. Pretty cool!


    Coming back to the Old Mast/Lawrence Trail/Walden Trail junction is this splintered blowdown. It looked like a manger scene display structure from a distance:


    On the way out – made it before needing the headlamp!
    Last edited by Becca M; 12-29-2011 at 08:16 PM.
    Yay for winter!!!!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member ksearl's Avatar
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    Hi Becca,

    Sounds like a really cool hike! Glad you weren't under that ice when it came down. I can see how any hiker could find that unnerving!

    Really great photo of Chocorua and the icy step! The barrel ring is fantastic...some traces of the past. The large stumps too. I'm wondering how long ago the area was logged out. I've heard from people in the past that evidence of logging (stumps, etc.) always appear older than they actually are.

    Great TR and pics!

    Are you officially red lining? How many more trails do you have left?

    Karl
    Thanks,
    Karl

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksearl View Post
    Hi Becca,

    Sounds like a really cool hike! Glad you weren't under that ice when it came down. I can see how any hiker could find that unnerving!

    Really great photo of Chocorua and the icy step! The barrel ring is fantastic...some traces of the past. The large stumps too. I'm wondering how long ago the area was logged out. I've heard from people in the past that evidence of logging (stumps, etc.) always appear older than they actually are.

    Great TR and pics!

    Are you officially red lining? How many more trails do you have left?

    Karl
    thanks Karl!!! It was a fun day - any of those trail are definitely fun!!! I don't know when it was logged out - anybody know? My best guess would be the 1920's based on nearby areas and history (pre-depression), but, I could be way off. I am redlining but don't plan to ever finish!!!!
    Yay for winter!!!!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member cooperhill's Avatar
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    Great trip report and pictures. Thanks for sharing your travels to the lesser traveled paths.

    Were the blowdowns on the Square ledge trail? As I recall one section is adopter less which would explain the condition.
    Chris

    USFS Trails Volunteer / Adopter: West Side Trail (Mt. Chocorua), Sawyer River trail; USFS vol axe instructor; Chatham Trails Association (CTA), Trailwrights

    "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend four sharpening my ax" Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooperhill View Post
    Great trip report and pictures. Thanks for sharing your travels to the lesser traveled paths.

    Were the blowdowns on the Square ledge trail? As I recall one section is adopter less which would explain the condition.
    thanks!!! I think most of the blowdowns (and there weren't many) were the section of the Walden trail near the top of Mt Hedgehog. Square Ledge was actually much better than I remember it!!!!
    Yay for winter!!!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member HAMTERO's Avatar
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    Nice TR and pictures. I especially like the stump!
    "I'm on a permanent vacation"

    Don Sheldon

  7. #7
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I like your TR's you seem to always take unique pictures that are very fun to see and you have a way in the mountains that comes out in your reports, very nice.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
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    @hamtero and @sierra - I really appreciate your feedback - it gives me insight on how I can share better with people who understand how special these places really are. THANKS!!!!! And a BIG THANKS for reading!!!!
    Yay for winter!!!!!

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