This is a bigger than usual tranche of photos. Mea culpa, right? Sometimes, the photos take themselves, and sometimes, the subject matter defines the size of the haul. That the first part of the hike doesn’t appear in the White Mountain Guide did make me want to include more images, and I hope it helps if you do decide to try going up via the
X-C ski trail. (Or if you just decide to make a picnic trip of the orchard and maybe the glades. That’s a totally viable option in my book, too.)
I freely admit to being utterly enchanted by this trip, and so the photos are much more than usual — so too, the trip report was longer (by far!) than usual. Short form, do this hike. Thank me later.
Starting out, the trail is pretty much a truck road, and it pitches upward more than you’d expect: this isn’t a lazy stroll down Lincoln Woods trail. But the foliage is nice.
The Johnson Farm orchard. No signs of bear food. Nor human food. Drat.
These caught my eye. The green, the yellow, the red. Nice.
Heading up the trail, it had the feel of a White Mountains railway bed.
Black Diamond… look out! It’s a notice to skiers, obviously, but for the hiker, the terrain does get more rough. You’re not on that truck road anymore.
And indeed, the trail gets kinda rough after that sign.
Little yella fella with racing stripes.
Looking down the trail… yep, it’s not a simple trail.
Birch glade. The trail goes to the right. With the sun, warm weather, and openness, this area had a great vibe.
Again, the trail goes to the right of middle.
First part where the trail looks like a plain old path through the woods.
Then the trail goes to moss. Nice to walk on, except when it’s wet… which is just about every step. And this goes for awhile: expect 20-30 minutes of hiking across the moss.
Strangest blaze I’ve ever seen. But I’ll take it. It’s been there a few years, as evidenced by the fact that the tree has grown around its mounting bracket a fair bit. At this point, you’re about ten minutes from the ski area.
Wildcat D lift area. This is the ski patrol hut.
Adams and Madison. Washington was wearing a thick hat… no view. So I content myself with other views. No biggie.
Doublehead and Kearsarge North.
A little dark eyed junco at the ski area.
Summit selfie. Yep. You have to duck under the platform to find this one.
Looking back up Wildcat D. It’s not a smooth descent. …But there is some bog bridge here and there. It’s the AT after all. Carter Notch. And its tarn, with the Ramparts beyond. Looking over the Carters. The photos got frustrating because the light wasn’t playing nice. But there it is. Looking back at the trail down Wildcat A. That trail is still steep, regardless of what I remembered from last time. Small little cascade. The area got dumped on with a lot of rain recently, and it was stuff like this that was a constant reminder. Looking back up Wildcat.
The hut is most definitively closed. It was hard to look at, because I got a huge sense of “we’re giving up due to COVID.” All summer long, the huts were different for sure, but there was more of a sense of “we’ll get through this.”
Some stone steps heading back down. Find them behind the dormitories. Nice craftsmanship: they were wonderfully regular in their spacing. Bravo!
Hard photo to take: the exposure was weird. But these are the ramparts.
Some bog bridge on Wildcat River trail. Heading back out, the trail was pretty well maintained. I have no numbers to support it, but I’d guess being on the back side, it doesn’t get much use. (And to that end, it’s not like the trailhead parking area was huge.) Nice to see it gets good maintenance. (I was really beginning to run out of daylight at this point, so forgive the potato quality.)
First of several significant water crossings. It’s not very evident how swollen the brook was, but you could tell it’s plumped up from the recent rains. There wasn’t a great selection of stepping stones on any of the crossings, so at one point along the way, my feet got a little wet. And probably at least once again after that, despite all my best efforts.