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1HappyHiker
09-12-2009, 12:02 PM
She is not as well known as the "Old Man of the Mountain" whose memory will endure forever. She is often referred to as "The Watcher", but she is also known as "The Old Lady of the Mountain", and as "The Old Woman of the Notch".

The "person" of whom I speak is the natural rock profile on the side of the Eagle Cliff Ridge in the Franconia Notch. The profile appears to be that of a woman's head and face, and she looks as if she is "watching" for strangers approaching the Notch from the east.

Although it's difficult to pick her out without the aid of binoculars, her small silhouette can be seen from the south end of Profile Lake by looking northward. The photo below simply gives you a general idea of where to look. You cannot actually see the profile of "The Watcher" in this particular photo.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/SqsEJFsV-ZI/AAAAAAAAFyM/NrySnkHG6nU/s800/The_Hound_Dog.JPG

If you want an up-close view, you need some high-powered binoculars, or you need to find a way to the top of the Eagle Cliff Ridge! My friend Chris has climbed up the ridge to see The Watcher on several occasions and has gotten some stunning photos. So, armed with some routing information from Chris, I managed to negotiate the very steep and rugged climb to the ridge. And from there, I was able to get my own close-up snapshots of The Watcher which are shown below. They are not nearly as good as the photos taken by Chris, but for anyone who has not seen The Watcher close-up, perhaps they will at least give you a general idea.

Looking at The Watcher from the North

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/SqsENW_LKrI/AAAAAAAAFyc/CuIS7YXPEt4/s800/100_3117.JPG

Looking at The Watcher from the South

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/SqsEK8ZVpfI/AAAAAAAAFyQ/5sOyvArfjDs/s800/100_3088.JPG

I was also able to get a close-up photo of The Eaglet which is another rock formation very near to The Watcher. As I understand it, it's a popular rock climbing destination and apparently, it's the only free standing rock spire on the east coast.

http://lh5.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/SqsEOfEYjsI/AAAAAAAAFyg/5BbcWIykmyc/s800/100_3122.JPG

Also from the ridge, I was able to get many interesting views looking southward down the Franconia Notch.

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/SqsEMEgkefI/AAAAAAAAFyU/u_CKO7yEPws/s800/100_3105.JPG

1HappyHiker

Brad
09-12-2009, 12:13 PM
I really like the last one.

mtruman
09-12-2009, 12:37 PM
You've really been taking us to some amazing places John! Had never heard of the Watcher before. Very cool! The Old Man may be gone but he obviously wasn't alone. Are those spots that you got the pics from really as precipitous as they look? I'd like to get up there but a couple of those places look downright terrifying!

Snow Miser
09-12-2009, 01:18 PM
That's really cool. In your second photo, one can definitely make out from her farhead to her chin. Kind of looks like the profile of an American Indian too.

1HappyHiker
09-12-2009, 03:53 PM
Bob: Thanks for your comments. And yes, I agree that the silhouette also resembles and American Indian.

Brad: Also, thank you for your comment. Glad you liked the last photo.


You've really been taking us to some amazing places John! Had never heard of the Watcher before. Very cool! The Old Man may be gone but he obviously wasn't alone. Are those spots that you got the pics from really as precipitous as they look? I'd like to get up there but a couple of those places look downright terrifying!
Mark, I don't know your "precipitous tolerance level", but it is a steep climb and there are some spots where "precipitous" could be an issue for some folks!

Regarding your comment about the "Old man may be gone but he obviously wasn't alone", there are some legends about this that have been told to me. One of which is that Peregrine Falcons, which routinely soar from one side of the Notch to the other, were used by The Watcher and The Old Man as a means to exchange messages with each other. Even knowing that it's just a legend, nonetheless, it's still quite sad to think about the message that would have been delivered to The Watcher on that fateful day of May 3, 2003 when the Old Man tumbled.

KD Talbot
09-12-2009, 07:50 PM
Great stuff, John! Thanks for taking us along. I happened to be in the notch the day they discovered the Old Man was gone. It really hit hard when I looked up and there was nothing there. I guess like an old married couple oft times the man goes first. Sad.

KDT

KathyC
09-13-2009, 08:33 AM
Thank you so much for those beautiful pictures. I love NH legends and history.

mtruman
09-13-2009, 02:39 PM
We somehow hadn't heard the news about the Old Man falling and were there a couple of months after it happened. When I first looked up I couldn't believe it. The long zoom shot with the camera revealed a very sad sight.

You can tell where he used to be by the cables that were holding him up and are now dangling in space:
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/Sqzy25x_1YI/AAAAAAAAR00/yzEBDgI8J9E/s800/030814-110704.jpg

And the sign that tells the sad story
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/Sqzy3D7MfrI/AAAAAAAAR04/p5MOVU8BKmo/s640/030814-110742.jpg

I also took this one of the Eaglet from the opposite side. I never knew what it was (or that it had a name) until John pointed it out in this post.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_KuEV5mt1_ak/Sqzy3MpXFTI/AAAAAAAAR08/qkG0InCT2pE/s800/030814-110946.jpg

1HappyHiker
09-13-2009, 02:59 PM
I also took this one of the Eaglet from the opposite side. I never knew what it was (or that it had a name) until John pointed it out in this post.
Mark, that's a superb photo of The Eaglet!
Where were you standing when you took that snapshot? Is it fair to assume that this photo is a zoom-shot?

mtruman
09-13-2009, 04:15 PM
Mark, that's a superb photo of The Eaglet!
Where were you standing when you took that snapshot? Is it fair to assume that this photo is a zoom-shot?

Thanks for the compliment. Yes, it's a long zoom shot (as obviously is the Old Man shot). It was taken from somewhere down in the notch near Profile Lake. Not exactly sure the location anymore since it was so long ago...

Anna LeBlanc
09-13-2009, 04:29 PM
Loved the pictures of the eaglet.My husband and I have hiked in that area before and have seen the eaglet from several directions.
I didn't even know about the Watcher.Those are great shots.I'm sure the Old Man is glad she is still there keeping guard over the Notch for him;)

NeoAkela
09-13-2009, 10:00 PM
Great report and photos, John!

I wonder if she is related to the sleeping Indian chief over in the Lafayette valley and the one on Mt Pemi? Quite a abundance of Indian profiles here! :D

Jimmy Legs and Little d
09-14-2009, 09:52 PM
Another interesting report and photos. Had never heard of "The Watcher" until now. I might add though, that in your first photo you can see the outline of a "hound dog" lying down. We were told this by friends who live in the area.

We've seen him many times while driving thru Franconia Notch along I-93.

Has anyone else seen the profile of the hound dog?

Donna:)

1HappyHiker
09-14-2009, 10:32 PM
Another interesting report and photos. Had never heard of "The Watcher" until now. I might add though, that in your first photo you can see the outline of a "hound dog" lying down. We were told this by friends who live in the area.

We've seen him many times while driving thru Franconia Notch along I-93.

Has anyone else seen the profile of the hound dog?
Thanks Donna for your response!

Someone told us about the "Hound Dog" about a year & half ago. Once you can visualize Eagle Cliff Ridge as a Hound Dog, then that is what you see each and every time you look at it. It's so obvious once you're told what to look for. My wife and I found it amazing that it had to be pointed out to us! I mean it's obviously a hound dog!

So, for folks who already know about the hound dog, we simply tell them to look for The Watcher behind the Hound Dog's left ear. For folks who don't yet know about the Hound Dog, we have to first "educate" them about the dog, and then tell them where to look!

ada4001
09-17-2009, 05:16 AM
Wow , great photos of the Watcher , I have made two trips up to her myself
and it looks like I may make another one this fall. It is amazing how
many people don't know about her. I also have a few vintage postcards
of her. She's been called The Old Lady of the Mountains, Old Woman of
the Notch, Lady of the Lake, I perfer the Watcher.
Ron White

1HappyHiker
09-18-2009, 09:50 AM
Just as a follow-up to my posting, I've since received an image of a postcard from the 1930's. It's interesting to note that "The Watcher" is one of the profiles that are featured on this old post card.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/SrOORyhXc5I/AAAAAAAAFzA/SSn945xtDD4/s800/PostCard.JPG

Anna LeBlanc
09-18-2009, 02:04 PM
What a great old postcard.In the postcard photo the Watcher's profile looks more like that of a man than a women to me.Anyone else think so?

Snow Miser
09-18-2009, 04:27 PM
I agree, much like an Indian warrior.

1HappyHiker
09-18-2009, 05:59 PM
Apologies for yet another photo, but I just recalled that in the September 10, 2009 edition of The Littleton Record newspaper there was a short article about The Eaglet (the other unique rock formation that I photographed on my trip to see The Watcher).

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_jMddpAdzX0E/SrQAV5Ag5iI/AAAAAAAAFzc/JWmtfkkVt10/s800/image.jpg

mtruman
09-18-2009, 06:11 PM
Don't apologize! These photos (and the postcard) are great. I particularly liked seeing the climbers on top of the eaglet (reinforcing my feeling that I will never be doing anything like that)!

KathyC
09-18-2009, 07:12 PM
I love them too, I really like the old post card with all 3 faces...

forestgnome
09-18-2009, 08:05 PM
Awesome stuff, John! Thanks much and keep 'em coming!

Snow Miser
09-18-2009, 08:08 PM
Me too! I like seeing as many photos as you can post.

ada4001
09-20-2009, 12:14 PM
Hello
I thought I would send you a photo of the Watcher I
took last fall. I have alot of vintage postcards of this profile
It would be great to see a postcard of the watcher again.
Ron

NeoAkela
09-21-2009, 11:57 PM
It's really something how there are several different old postcard versions of The Watcher (I've found a few on eBay). There was even a photo of one of these postcards on NH Chronicle (Channel 9) a year or so back. Makes you wonder what happened to the popularity of this profile, as it seemed to be a mainstay of Franconia Notch at the time. What caused it's decline into obscurity?

I would have to guess that there used to be a formal trail for guests at the old hotel back in the day. After the hotel burned down, the trail likely became overgrown and forgotten, as did the profile it led to.

ada4001
09-22-2009, 12:06 PM
I have a collection of about eight diffrent postcards of the watcher
some photo's some not I believe the last one availabe was one
called The Old Woman of the Notch taken by Bill Bardsley and printed by Coldurpicture Pubishers Inc. out of Boston Mass. the angle that the photo was taken
showed the profile at a diffrent angle, on one of my trips up
there I tried to copy it. I have been interested in this profile since
I was about eight years old when I purchased the postcard witch I still have today, maybe this will make her more famous . I herd about a old trail
but never used it I started at The Gov. Gallen memoriel and bushwacked
when I came to the Eaglet I knew I was close. I'm planning a trip
weather permitting to The Watcher Tursday any info on a trail would
help thanx.
Ron White
Lancaster N.H.