Moosilauke trailwork

A day of clearing blowdowns and water bars.

I had the opportunity to spend this weekend at Moosilauke Ravine Lodge, for a celebration of the 100th anniversary of a subset of the Dartmouth Outing Club known as Cabin & Trail. Although the celebratory aspect of the weekend was muted – by virtue of being postponed two years due to the pandemic – the real purpose of the gathering was in full swing. A couple dozen hardy alums gathered on Saturday morning for a day of trailwork, sweeping the trails of Mount Moosilauke to remove the winter’s debris of blown-down trees and sediment-filled waterbars (stones and logs used for diverting water from the trails). Although Friday night’s weather involved heavy rain, Saturday morning woke clear with only light clouds.

Saturday morning view from Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.

My group was assigned to hike up the Ridge Trail to the junction with the Beaver Brook Trail, where an illegal campsite had emerged over recent years – we needed to erase that campsite by filling it with debris that would discourage anyone from camping. Here’s the happy crew, after cluttering the campsite behind us.

The crew who erased a campsite at intersection of Beaver Brook and Ridge Trail: Lelia, Kevin, Jeff, Bernie; photo by David Kotz.

We then returned via the same route, chopping trees that had fallen across the trail, sawing off branches that overhung the trail, and shoveling out sediment-filled waterbars.

Jeff Greilsheimer ’94 chops blowdowns on Ridge Trail – with Mount Blue at rear.

We finished the day, dirty and tired, but satisfied by a good day’s work.

The Ridge trail crew: Bernie, Jeff, Kevin, David, Lelia.

Sunday broke even clearer, and sunnier, but sadly I had to depart. I’ll be back soon!

See the photo gallery – including some photos from one of the weekend’s organizers.

Moosilauke

Although today began cloudy, conditions slowly cleared throughout the day. Lelia and Andy and I headed for Moosilauke, climbing Gorge Brook, and then heading down Carriage Road and Snapper.

Andy and David on summit of Mount Moosilauke.

Unfortunately, there were many, many other people out hiking today – a holiday here in the US – because it has rained for the past five days and this was the first (somewhat) nice day for a week. Still, a fine day for a hike! Read on and check the Photo gallery.

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Al Merrill Loop

A quiet, snowy day for a snowshoe.

As I rounded the corner on the broad turn east of Orfordville I could see that the summit of Mount Moosilauke was in the clouds, consistent with the mountain forecast. The NH summit forecast was for clouds, plummeting temperature, and hurricane-force winds, so I’d chosen instead to snowshoe the Al Merrill ski loop on the east side of Mount Moosilauke. It turned out to be an excellent choice – with plenty of untracked powder and not another soul in sight. Read on and be sure to check out the gallery for full-size images and more.

Ridge trail, upper bridge over the Baker River.
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Freshman Trip

A picnic Freshman Trip at the Lodge.

Dartmouth has a tradition of “Freshman Trips” (now “DOC Trips”) going back almost a hundred years. Before the new first-year students begin life on campus, they spend three days in the New Hampshire wilderness backpacking, biking, canoeing, etc., in small groups. On the last night they converge on Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for a grand evening of dining, dancing, and stories. It is a truly special program, and every year more than 90% of incoming students participate, along with hundreds of upper-class leaders and staff. Totally student run, totally amazing way to begin the Dartmouth experience.

This year, of course, is different. My son Andy is entering Dartmouth as a freshman – but this year, there are no traditional Freshman Trips. So Andy and I walked up to Moosilauke Ravine Lodge for a picnic dinner at sunset. Mara ’22 was the Loj Croo 😉. It was a beautiful evening.

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