Lambert Ridge

A grey day but a nice outing.

For a few months I’ve been thinking of returning to Lambert Ridge, a ledgy section of the Appalachian Trail up Smarts Mountain, not far from here. The first section is steep, leading up to a series of granite ledges with broad views that belie the relatively low elevation at this point on the trail. The climb to these ledges is a worthwhile dayhike, and brings back memories. Read on!

A ledge outcrop near the trail up Lambert Ridge, Smarts Mountain, New Hampshire.
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Holts Ledge

Sunset traverse of a local favorite.

Another local hike, a repeat of a fall-colors hike I did at the end of October. Today it was chilly, as a cold front blew in and the winds whipped through the leafless trees on the slopes of Holts Ledge as I climbed the Appalachian Trail toward its ledgy summit. There was a dusting of fresh snow on the leaf litter, which crunched slightly under my feet, following the footsteps of a few others who ventured up this trail since last night’s snow flurries.

I always smile when I pass the marker at the roadside, spiked into a small tree by some DOC students a decade or more ago, and slowly becoming one with the tree.

DOC trailsign at the A.T. trailhead to Holts Ledge.

At the top of the ridge – for this is really a ledgy ridge, not a hill with a summit – there were fine views north to Smarts Mountain and southwest to Goose Pond, as the sun nudged close to the horizon around 4pm.

View from Holts Ledge toward Smarts Mountain, with the main ledges in shadow at left..

Some older snow clung to the trail along the ridge, maybe an inch or two surviving the recent warm temperatures. Below you can see some snow in the brush to the right and the rocks below.

View from Holts Ledge toward Mt Cardigan and Goose Pond, with ledges close at right.

I descended via the Dartmouth Skiway “papoose” trail, with barely any snow cover, but as I walked past the base lodge I could see and hear the snow-making apparatus busily coating the trails on the Winslow side of the valley, hoping to be ready for skiers around Christmastime.

Snowmaking at the Skiway

ONE OTHER THING. I’ve been for three walks lately on trails in Hanover or Lyme, and every one of them – every one – has presented me with a disgusting and surprising trailside treat: a modern ‘doggie bag’. Today, it was hanging on a trailside twig; other times it is propped carefully on a tree stump. What is it with dog owners, who think it’s better to leave a plastic-wrapped pile of dogshit in the woods instead of just letting their dog shit in the woods? I mean, what do they think the animals do in the woods? We’re not in a city park here, and there’s not a park staff who might come along and remove this trash. sheesh.

Really folks? It’s far better to just leave the dogshit in the woods, where it will decay with everything else, than to wrap it in plastic that will last for decades.

Timberframe workshop

Dave uses an antique boring machine to drill mortises in one of the king posts.
Using an antique boring machine to drill mortises in one of the king posts.

I spent six beautiful days at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge with a team of wonderful chubbers & friends who were there for the timber-framing workshop hosted by Dave Hooke ’84 and his TimberHomes crew.  In the span of six days we learned how to lay out, cut, and raise timber posts, bents, braces, struts, and all manner of heavy wooden contraptions.  Amazing that Dave et al. actually entrusted us with a variety of sharp tools and valuable timbers!  We were guided by a team of excellent instructors, and managed to put up the main part of the frame (porches to be added later) and lay down the first course of roofing.  It looks like a bunkhouse!  It is located in a new clearing beyond Bicentennial and behind the ’74 Bunkhouse.

Thanks to the Class of ’66 for their generous donation, to the Lodge Crew for the amazing food, and to Dave, Josh, Skip, Shannon, Andrew, and Helen for their outstanding instruction.

Check out the photo gallery and the timelapse video.

Timberframe workshop at Moosilauke - Class of 1966 bunkhouse. (Photo by David Kotz '86.)
Timberframe workshop at Moosilauke – Class of 1966 bunkhouse. (Photo by David Kotz ’86.)

 

Dartmouth College Grant

The Second College Grant is 27,000 acres of wilderness at the very northern tip of New Hampshire.

John and I spent a long weekend in Dartmouth’s Second College Grant, staying at Peaks Cabin, after three glorious days of summer-like weather with late-fall colors.   The afternoon temperatures were nearing 80.  With bright sunshine and blue skies the hills were ablaze with color, a bit past peak but the yellows and oranges were nonetheless brilliant.  I have not been to the Grant, other than mid-winter, in over 15 years; what a treat! Read on…

Dead Diamond River, halfway to Hellgate. Second College Grant.
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Great Bear cabin

Great Bear cabin is one of the DOC cabins on Mount Moosilauke.

We spent two nights of our four-day MLK weekend on the snowy slopes of Moosilauke, visiting Great Bear cabin with our friends.  Great Bear cabin is a log cabin built and maintained by the Dartmouth Outing Club, and it is one of my favorite winter cabins because of its snug design and its close accessibility.  It is located on the southwestern slopes of Mount Moosilauke, my favorite mountain in the world, and this weekend it was surrounded by many feet of fresh powdery snow.  

Great Bear ski weekend.

We had two nights and a nice long day in between.  On that day, it was sunny and reasonably warm, so we set out for a daytrip skiing up some old logging roads. To get there we had a tricky bushwhack through the woods, and to break trail up the logging road.  The sunshine and powdery snow made for a really pleasant ski.  Unfortunately, some of the kids were pretty tired, and Andy was under the weather, so we turned around well short of our goal of reaching Mud Pond.

Andy got sick when he returned to the cabin, but I have to give him huge credit for doing all that skiing despite being dizzy and nauseous throughout! 

We had a fine time in the cabin, stoking the woodstove, playing cards, and doing lots of cooking.  It’s always a lot of fun and very relaxing to spend time at DOC cabins with friends. 

See the photo gallery.


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