Nancy's Cascade, Cherry Mountain (May 23 and 24, 2020) - 5 hours each

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Alex.    Alex.

Alex and I took advantage of a May 9 snowstorm to hike up Bretton Woods for a final day of snowboarding. We have now put away our snowboards for the season, but we have our passes for next season and will be ready to go in November.

Nancy Brook Trail.  Ruins of Lucy's mill

On Saturday of Memorial Day week-end Janice and I went up the Nancy Brook Trail with the intention of going to Norcross Pond. I had previously been there a few times, the last one to bushwhack up Mt. Nancy. The birches were leafing out in the valley and the water was very high. We had to remove our boots for two stream crossings, first for a nameless stream near the trailhead and then for the second crossing of Nancy Brook, where we had to venture upstream to find a safe place to cross. Shortly after the second crossing we passed by the ruins of Lucy's mill (right).

Cascade.  Cascade

By the time we got to 2,000 feet we began to get snow on the trail, and by the time we got to Nancy's Cascade at 2,400 feet it was solid snow. I was amazed that there was still so much snow that low - the valley of Nancy Brook must not get much sun. There was so much rushing water in the stream at the base of the cascade (left) that we had to give up going further - there was no safe place to cross. So we bushwhacked up from the trail to get a close view of the cascade (right) before turning around.

Nancy Brook crossing.    Nancy Brook crossing.

Coming back we again had the difficult stream crossings, but at least this time we knew what to expect. Total hiking time 5 hours, including lots of delays for the stream crossings and a nap in the sun at the second Nancy Brook crossing.

Lime-green forest of birches just leafing out.    Wildflowers.

The following day I went up Cherry Mountain, spotting my bike at the Mt. Martha trailhead and starting from the Owl's Head trailhead. The bottom of Owl's Head Trail is always muddy but this time it was much worse than usual. When it wasn't muddy it was a beautiful climb through the lime-green forest of birches just leafing out (left). There were lots of wildflowers (right and below left).

Wildflowers.    The Presidentials.

The summit of Owl's Head has a great view of the Presidentials (right).

Blowdowns from the past winter.    Blowdowns from the past winter.

I then took Martha's Mile connecting Owl's Head to Mt. Martha. I was now over 3,000 feet but there were only patches of snow. There were lots of blowdowns from the past winter (left and right), enabling some views of the Presidentials.

The Presidentials.    Bretton Woods ski area and the Franconia Ridge.

Mt. Martha is 3,500 feet and there was snow here and there but nowhere like Nancy Brook. From the top there is again a good view of the Presidentials (left) but most interesting is the view to the south off a side path (right) taking in a unique panorama stretching from the Bretton Woods ski area to the Franconia Ridge. From there I hiked down to get my bike. Total hiking time 4.5 hours.

See also: 2020 Hikes