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 Big Pines, Kettles and the Scaur - 10-20-13 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
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 Big Pines, Kettles and the Scaur - 10-20-13
For the first half of this week we were managed to sneak off to Lincoln for a little r & r and while I didn't get in any big hikes I did get the family out on 2 - 4 mile one every day in between swimming, hot tubs (is there a better way to relax after a hike??) and searching for trains to check out. I'll put up a few short trip reports on each one just in case anyone is ever looking for some kid friendly hikes or even a couple really nice shorter hikes in general. Here's part one of my mini-series! :D

After pouring over the maps and guide book Sunday looking for small hikes close to Lincoln we headed down to Waterville Valley. I was looking for a summit hike for day one since the weather was relatively nice. Unfortunately those are tough to come by with the entire family in the Whites when it's too cold in the morning this time of year to get an early start. I settled on what sounded like an interesting route to the Scaur, checking out the big pines and kettles along the way.

The Scaur, lurking in the shadows beyond the pines on Livermore Road

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One big boulder at the start of the Boulder Trail

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Starting at the Livermore trailhead, which was open for business with no signage about any closures at all (although Greely Ponds Tr was taped off and signed closed) we strolled up the road and took the spur path to the big pines. They were not quite as big or nearly as plentiful as the ones in the Big Pines Natural Area in Tamworth, but they were definitely big and a nice sight to see for a tree lover like myself. Clumped together in a nice little glen and reaching for the sky they were worth the 0.2 mile side trip.

My oldest with the big three to give them some scale

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Tall, straight and reaching for the sky

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A bit farther up the road the Kettles Path branches off and climbs gradually up an embankment. The trail here is very gentle and appeared fairly new, although it has been around for a while I think. It was pretty much free of the typical rocks and roots you find on most trails in the mountains and appeared to be cut into the top soil of the ridge. Once it topped out the 4 large glacial kettles were on either side leaving you on a ridge top for a bit before climbing up through some past peak hardwoods to the trail junction with the Scaur Trail, which is a more direct route up from the closed Greely Ponds trail which is blocked by a brush barricade. The kettles were interesting, although pictures just make them look like any other drop off.

Kettles Path. The only option at the moment. But it's a nice one.

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Gentle, earthy trail climbing gradually up the side of the hill

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Foliage season is coming to an end, but this is my wifes favorite time of year to hike. She loves all the leaves under foot.

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From there the only steep rough section of trail on the entire hike climbed around the final 0.2 miles up the rocky and rooty backside of the Scaur through a rocky cleft to the summit cliffs, which dropped straight down a few hundred feet, providing nice 180 degree view of the western Sandwich Range from Middle Tripyramid all the way to Tecumseh. The skies were clouding up as we summited and foliage was almost gone but it was still a nice little spot and a pretty good bang for your buck and well worth the trip, which was about 4 miles with 600 feet of elevation or so including the spur trail to the pines.

The lemon squeeze at the very top of the Scaur trail…

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…which ends at some cliff tops with a nice view of the western Sandwich Range

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Foliage is just about gone for the year I’d say

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After enjoying the views we headed down. Until the Greely Ponds trail re-opens you have no choice but to retrace your steps, but the route provided an easy stroll out on an enjoyable fall afternoon. For anyone looking for a hike like this in the area I’d highly recommend this one for a relaxed paced hike with some very interesting natural features along the way. Lighting was kind of crummy and the pics came out lousy so I'll skip the rest. This seems like enough for this hike anyhow.


Last edited by Granite Guy on Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:55 am
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Tue Jul 07, 2009 3:23 pm
Posts: 2264
Location: Lakes Region, NH
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Goodrich Rock may have been another good one up the road a piece there. My husband dragged me on that on a "date" when we met. You have to climb a ladder to the top of a rock. Maybe that would have been too dangerous for kids in tow, but if your ever looking for an adventure, that may be it!

Nice pic of the pines! WV is a cool area! lots of small gems there!


Fri Oct 25, 2013 10:41 am
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:40 pm
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Thanks for posting the nice photos! Prema and I went here about a month ago and I did not get a chance to post my report. We went to Goodrich first and the ladder scared me s-less for the descent! The ladder is actually on the Terrifying 25 list! The views are great from Goodrich as well. We wondered if Waterville Valley has fireworks for the 4th and these places were a possibility for a good view. Glad you all enjoyed the trees as well! I loved those trees!


Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:59 pm
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
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Goodrich rock looks interesting. I looked it up after HL suggested it and found Trish Alex and Sages page on it but think it might be a bit much for the girls yet and my wife hates ladders, towers and bridges. Certainly something I'd like to do though. Maybe when they're older we can coax their mom through it! :D At the moment for anyone interested in that the Greely Ponds trail is completely taped off and signed closed right at the Livermore Trail junction while they work on it so I don't think you can legally get to it.


Fri Oct 25, 2013 8:44 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:04 pm
Posts: 181
Location: Maine
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Thanks for that report, putting it on my list for my family who doesn't like to hike anything too big.


Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:39 pm
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