Franconia Ridge Trail (2008) – White Mountains, New Hampshire
Trailside History, White Mountains – The history of the trail system in the New Hampshire White Mountains is amazing; early 19th-century trail builders are true legends of the White Mountains, and they are forever implanted into the history books. Trails built in the 1800s, such as Crawford Path, Davis Path, and Lowe’s Path, are still in use today. And while the building of hiking trails is a great topic, there are also many interesting features along the trails.
Trailside features such as Cow Cave, Gibbs Brook dam, Walton’s Cascade, and the many abandoned cellar holes along the trail system have some intriguing history attached to them, but they are often unnoticed by today’s hikers. So this blog article focuses on a few trailside features.
Memorial Bridge, The Link – Randolph, New Hampshire
Memorial Bridge, Randolph – Built 1923-1924, Memorial Bridge crosses Cold Brook along “The Link” trail in Randolph, New Hampshire. The bridge was dedicated as a memorial to Randolph's early pathmakers (19th-century trail builders) on August 23, 1924. These early pathmakers are responsible for cutting many of the trails in the Northern Presidential Range.
Louis F. Cutter and Eldredge H. Blood designed and built the bridge. Work began on it in the fall of 1923 and was completed in time for the August 1924 dedication. The span of the bridge is about 26 feet, and it's built of concrete, logs, stone, and supported by a copper-clad log that is said to be over 5 feet in circumference. And the entrances were intentionally kept narrow to prevent horses and cattle from using it.
Lincoln Mill Era – Lincoln, New Hampshire
Abandoned Mills, White Mountains – During the 1800s and early 1900s, cut-up mills, grist mills, sawmills, and various other types of mills were found throughout New Hampshire. And because of the abundance of water in the White Mountains, there was no shortage of water-powered mills in the region. This blog article showcases a handful of the abandoned mills in the White Mountains.
Because most of these abandoned mills are within the White Mountain National Forest, keep in mind the removal of historical artifacts from federal lands without a permit is a violation of federal law. And you can’t dig for artifacts at historical sites which means metal detecting anywhere in the National Forest is asking for trouble. Take only pictures and leave these unique places the way you found them.
Black Mountain at Sunrise – Lincoln, New Hampshire
2019 Year in Review, White Mountains – Another year is coming to an end! For the past few years, I have been posting my "ten favorite images of the year" at the end of the year. But I drifted away from this format last year, and I am going to do it again this year. While we all love viewing imagery of the White Mountains, the “my top 10 favorite photos of the year" blog articles have become to repetitive for me. So its time for a change.
This year I found myself thinking about how the White Mountains have changed my life. Like many of you, I am drawn to these mountains, and at this point in my life, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. But I realized that it wasn't just the mountains, photography has been a huge influence in my life. Photography has made me care about conservation, historic preservation, and the environment. The camera has taught me more about life than I think I will ever realize.
Baston’s Mill / Fox’s Mill Site – Eastman Brook, Woodstock
Baston Falls, Woodstock – This forgotten waterfall on Baston Brook in Woodstock, New Hampshire is somewhat of a mystery. Using possibly the only historical reference that mentions this waterfall, it is easy to find, but it's not where we think it is. However, based on property maps of Woodstock, it is probably on private property.
In the 21st-century, the consensus is that Baston Falls is on Eastman Brook. Members of the Baston family were living near Eastman Brook in the 1800s. And because Baston’s Mill (the old Fox’s Mill site) was on the brook, the thought is the falls are also on the brook. This mill site, on Eastman Brook at the junction of Route 175 and Thornton Gore Road, dates back to the early 1800s. It changed hands a number of times; Daniel B. Baston (1866-1958), son of Gardner G. Baston* (1816-1895), was one of the owners, and it appears he took control of the mill in 1905. The ownership dates are a little foggy. It was common for the waterfall created from the mill dam to take on the name of the mill, so it should be easy to find Baston Falls right, not so fast.
Suspension Bridge – Lincoln Woods Trailhead, White Mountains
Lincoln Woods Trail, White Mountains – There isn’t a grand story about how the Lincoln Woods Trail came to be, and the trail isn’t named for any famous person. However, this trail is the direct result of J.E. Henry’s historic East Branch & Lincoln Railroad (1893-1948), and that is what makes it so unique.
The 2.9 mile-long Lincoln Woods Trails utilizes the railroad bed of the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad. It begins along the Kancamagus Highway at the Lincoln Woods trailhead, crosses a picturesque suspension bridge (above), and travels along the west side of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River, and after crossing Franconia Brook, the trail abruptly ends at the Pemigewasset Wilderness boundary.
Trestle No. 16 (2010), East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Pemigewasset Wilderness
Pemigewasset Wilderness, Random History – This designated wilderness is the result of one the greatest conservation laws ever passed; the Wilderness Act, which has protected over 109 million acres across the United States. While the history of New Hampshire's Pemigewasset Wilderness mostly revolves around the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, the railroad is not the only interesting piece of history surrounding this unique region of the White Mountains. This blog article features random tidbits of history about this one of a kind designated wilderness area.
One of the grandest pieces of New Hampshire logging railroad history, trestle No. 16 (above) collapsed in late May or early June 2018. Spanning Black Brook, it stood for over 100 years and became a favorite attraction among outdoor enthusiasts. Logging railroads were built to be temporary and its remarkable that this trestle stood for as long as it did. The last log train rolled over this trestle most likely in the summer or fall of 1946.