Friday, July 23, 2010

Welcome to the North Woods

We went for a wonderful hike today.  It is so different from what we have been doing recently in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  As Gene says, “Welcome to the North Woods.”

The trail, Amphibrach, started about at a very large parking lot on US 2 about 10 miles west of our campground.  Our first look at the trail was a little intimidating, but that passed quickly and we had a very pleasant hike to Cold Brook Falls and then on to Spur Brook Falls for lunch.  We were able to use a short section of Cliffway Trail to connect with Randolph Path for our return trip.

The blazes are high on the trees

The Amphibrach Trail gets its name from the blaze which marked the trail when it was constructed about 1883.  The blaze actually consisted of 3 blazes, short, long, and short, arranged vertically.  Today it is blazed in the standard 2 X 6 inch blaze in the color yellow.

In less than a mile we came to Cold Brook Falls.  We approached the falls by way of Sylvan Way, however, there is a short spur trail off Amphibrach which approaches the falls from the west side.  We stopped to make a few pictures then proceeded on our way.  We crossed Cold Brook on a very fine foot bridge and started our ascent.  As trails in the White Mountains go, this one was a very moderate climb.  There were short sections that were steep, but generally we could maintain our usual 2-mile per hour.

Bridge over Cold Brook

Well, we could manage 2-miles per hour if I didn’t have to stop so often to take a picture.  Then there was a short side trip over to Cold Ledges and a number of pictures to be made there.

Our lunch spot on Spur Brook

Our destination was Spur Brook Falls for our lunch break. To get to the falls, we needed to turn right onto Cliffway Trail and follow it for about two-tenths of a mile.  We did that and came to Spur Brook, but we didn’t see what we would have called a “falls”.  I went on down the trail for several yards, but the trail seemed to veer off to the left and the brook to the right.  We finally determined we were at the falls, just above it rather than below.  The spot was beautiful, so we found a semi-dry rock to sit on for lunch.

To return to the truck, we backtracked on Cliffway Trail to Amphibrach and continued on Cliffway to Randolph Way.  This short section of Cliffway between the two trails was much less used, but still clear enough to follow.  It was wet, however, and several places were almost boggy.  Reminded me of hiking in the Adirondacks.  I stepped in one spot and sank up to my ankle.  Thank goodness for gore-tex and hightop boots.

As the junction of Randolph Way, we were totally surprised to find a beautiful cascade of Cold Brook and another footbridge on which to cross it.  This would have been a very nice place for lunch, also.  We had a steady downhill hike all the way to the truck.  Again, this trail was moderately graded without too many rocks and roots.

This turned out to be a great hike.  The weather was just about perfect with temperatures in Gorham in the mid 70s.  Even though we did climb too high, we could definitely tell the difference in temperature as we came down.  We had a slight breeze.  There were very few people on the trails.  We had a wonderful day.  Welcome to the North Woods.

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