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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2/6/12 Beech Mountain

Cloudy start but cleared and temps rose to the upper 30's . Ice still a problem on the trails so decided on Long Pond ( Great Pond) area because there are several alternative trails. We parked at the pumping station lot by Long Pond- no swim for Kelley today.

Some ( such as West Ridge Trail) we knew would be risky - we chose the Valley Trail as it is relatively flat with not a lot of rocks and pretty good footing and this turned out to be a pretty good choice.

The South Ridge Trail also looked pretty good so we headed up the mountain that way.

As you near the summit the abandoned fire tower comes into view.

View from the summit

Our big mistake was taking the Beech Mtn. Trail down toward the (closed) parking lot. This trail was basically a frozen stream with a slick slippery surface and we spent most of our time off the trail trying to avoid the ice.

Once down we decided to check out the Beech Cliffs Loop which didn't look too treacherous. But we came to a spot Kelley could not negotiate and would not let me help ( I had helped her only once earlier) and went off searching for a way around. She did not find it and we bushwhacked to the other side of the loop but soon ran into ice and gave that up.

Views of Echo Lake and Beach from Beech Cliffs

We got back on the Valley Trail to take us back and this end was icier than the south end had been but nothing like the Beech Mtn. trail had been.

We found a sunny spot to have our lunch and continued back to the car. A good hike in spite of the hairy descent from Beech. 3 1/2 hours


  1. Looks like a great hike. As always, beautiful photos.

  2. Lucky you – and our trails almost crossed: me and Bird-Dog tried Norumbega that same day, thinking that Beech would be too steep & icy! We wound up turning around and bushwhacking back out after a half an hour, as the trail was just too treacherous. Based on a few other recent attempts to visit some bridges, it seems like the carriage roads are far worse than any of the trails, as far being coated with ice.

    I’m trying to figure out what makes certain areas more susceptible to overflow with the freeze & thaw cycle as far as what sides of the mountains are exposed, and to how much sun. Looks like even exposed areas that one would think might dry off are actually the spots that wind up with nasty runoff, which in turn freezes.

  3. Hi Linda

    Thanks for your comments

  4. Hi Jamie

    Sorry we missed you guys. We didn't do the Beech W. Ridge because we thought it would be too treacherous and were surprised how good the S. Ridge was- but then we risked our lives coming down the other side. This has been the worst winter for ice that I can remember and, like you, I have tried to figure out a pattern. I haven't done to well. Safest bet so far has been fairly flat trails. Today we did Little River in Belfast and most was good but the southernmost part was very icy as it was last winter when we hiked it. I think it has something to do with how and where the surrounding water drains. Meantime be careful out there.

  5. Thanks penbayman - it's a beautiful park

  6. Great views! The open areas in the ice on the lake are of interesting shapes. Thanks for sharing you hike.

  7. Thanks Casey. I appreciate the comments.


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