Hurricane Irene screwing up everything in sight. Brian couldn't get out on Saturday, so Joe, Greg and I decided on Peak above the Nubble. This NEHH peak has an illegal path going up the NE spine, but the NEHH application clearly states if you use this path, don't bother submitting the application. The NEHH has bushwhacks in it, the idea being you learn off trail navigation. This trail spoils that idea, yet most people seem to insist on taking it. Screw that, I had a better idea. For a couple years I've spied the slide going up the north side, and desperately wanted to utilize that. It brings you under a tenth of a mile to the summit. Recently, a friend of mine did just that and confirmed it was a good route. Not that I needed to know that, but at least it probably wouldn't kill me.
From one of the forest road's end, I noted an old logging road going fairly directly towards the slide, and we set out but couldn't find it. So we continued on the more established road beyond the gate getting some views from logging cuts along the way.
I knew there was a herd path to the Nubble itself, and as we kept going I was wondering it we missed it, but then suddenly a very obvious herd path appeared going to the right. Must be it.
Now granted, this isn't a legal path either, but this is a long established path to a local landmark, not a purposeful way to avoid bushwhacking to a listed summit. I was amused there was brushing in of side paths, usually used to keep you on legal trails. We came to where the path went up to the Nubble and decided to do it now while our ambition was high. A cool steep climb and we were there with 360 views from both bumps.
We also got a view of our destination, with the slide not visible, but it runs up the ravine on the right.
Heading back down the herd path continued south a bit and then completely petered out in short order, as expected. We did run into these lovely open woods.
We were, however, slowly heading up the ridge on the right side of the slide. While I had seen this was hardwoods for a good long way, who knows what it turned into high up, and also it would lead to a bump a quarter mile west of the summit. I may have been a little brusque (and by “may”, I really mean “was”) in trying to get us back on track, as we were now beyond the bottom of the slide, and I badly wanted to experience this. The woods got a bit scrappy, but soon enough, we saw dirt and rocks ahead. And then we were there, about a third of the way up.
Now for the fun bit. We learned quickly that the wet rock was indeed very slick, and picked our way up, either relying on dirt and small rocks for traction, or dry slab.
It was a jumbled mixture of boulders, slab, water, and ledges, and I was loving it. It was a big puzzle to be solved, and the views kept opening behind us. There was a fork high up, and as we approached it we could see much steepness ahead. Hmmm.
The right fork, which would bring us a little nearer to the summit, was wet, steep slab. Oh well, at least the left one was dirt and rock. So we went left, and on a particularly sandy section, I dislodged a one foot boulder, among others, which bounded right at Greg's left shin. I was screaming like crazy while Greg stood there, and indeed, time slowed down. About a second before it nailed him, he moved and off it went past him. What I didn't realize was Joe was terrified it was going to bounce off another rock right at his head, but that thankfully did not happen. Deep breaths. OK, let's be a little more careful here. Here's where I nearly maimed my friends...
At the end of the slide, we went into the woods, Greg avoiding crossing over so he went up between the forks, Joe and I to the left. We hit moderate scrappy stuff for maybe 50 feet
which opened up further. We trodded up to the summit, and were treated to the views, particularly of the slide on N. Twin.
As you can see, however, dark clouds were moving in, which did not bode well for descending by the slide. I scoffed at the herd path coming in from the ridge, very clearly maintained, and we boogied out of there. Sort of. Greg lost his camera, so the search was on for that, but he did manage to find it, and down the slide we went. This time with tons of space between us to allow time to get out of the way of falling debris. We came to where we emerged, and made our way precariously down the large ledge that was in our way. At the point, Greg said screw it and went into the woods, paralleling us. But I was determined to descend the whole slide, and came to another tall ledge. Going left just put me on a very high wall above the brook and things weren't looking good. In and out of the woods, I finally found a way down to the now flat section, only to find it closed in, and very wet and slick. So that was that. End of the slide.
We met Greg, and then went more straight-lined back to the Nubble in awesomely open woods. Enjoyment abound, except for one section where we heard some very weird animal sounds. I was ahead and just after that heard some strange scratching sounds, too. Spooky! Let's get the hell out of here. We were back at the car just after noon, just what I had wanted, a short day, and I gotta say, this was an awesome route. Another one to be repeated just for fun.