Field Pussytoes Antenmaria neglecta and Common Strawberry Fragaria virginiana
"Carry springtime in your heart;
Give time some fairy wings;
And let your days be fragrant
With tiny blossomings."
Dorothy Evelyn Begg (My grandmother) an excerpt from her poem "Reassurance" found in her book "Ghostflowers"
Baldface Knob 2900' ?, South Baldface 3570' and North Baldface 3610'
Baldface Circle Trail, Slippery Brook Trail, Baldface Knob Trail
10.4 + Miles 3550' Elevation gain
Kevin, Judy and Emma
A spring visit to Evans Notch is just not something that I can describe with words. My photos hardly do it justice. It's something that one needs to add to their list of life experiences to fully appreciate. We have spent some time here since discovering it many years ago. We love to camp at Hastings and Wild River and The Basin, but most special have been our backpack trips to this area and especially to the Baldfaces.
Pink Lady's Slipper Cypripedium acaule
We went in hope of a repeat of an excellent overnight at the South Baldface Shelter tentsites we had last fall. This time we climbed a little higher by way of the Slippery Brook Trail and camped in the woods near Baldface Knob. The perfect spot was marked by a young buck's fallen antler, thus "Antler Camp".
Besides the usual soul cleansing I had come here for I was intent on recording the sunset/sunrise and the additional hope of finding the Rhodora in bloom. It was indeed and I was able to get a few satisfactory shots. The wind played quite a roll in this as it blew a gale as we reached the summit of Baldface Knob, but later died down before sunset and became very calm as we had supper on the area we have come to call "The Plateau" on the great northeastern shoulder of South Baldface. If you have made this hike you know where I mean.
On "The Plateau"
The forecast had predicted "near record overnight lows" and it was off by a few degrees in our favor, but we still spent a cold and windy night in the woods. After sunset the wind picked up again and blew pretty hard the rest of the night, but again just before dawn it died down enough that we were able to sit and make tea on "The Plateau" as the sun crested the horizon. As it did the wind again began to pick up a little and this made photographing the Rhodora in sunrise light pretty frustrating. I was amazed that the wind the night before had not frozen and blown away all trace of what appears to be this fragile, delicate thing, but which withstands the ravages of upslope, icy breezes at this time of year. They even seem to thrive in this environment. What doesn't kill you just makes you stronger.
Rhodora Rhododendron canadense
After a light breakfast we returned to camp and gathered some things for our trip up and over South Baldface and along the beautiful trail between peaks to the summit of North Baldface.
On "The Plateau" at Sunrise
We decided to leave breaking down camp until after this hike. We took our time doing this, stopping on each summit to explore and take in the views. The woods were still full of Trillium at this elevation. Lady's Slippers were still waking up. We had our lunch in the sun on North Baldface and marvelled at the views of Washington, the Wildcats, the Carters, the Moriahs, the latter ringing in the beautiful Wild River Valley.
On the return trip the view to the southwest gives a blueish-green spine of mountains from Mount Shaw to Franconia Ridge. Incredible!
Like every dream you've got to wake up. Reality sets in when you get back to the camp and pack everything up and hoist it onto your back. Even though you've eaten all the food and drank every drop of water you've slogged in, the pack does not feel one ounce lighter. My legs are tired. I didn't sleep much, but my soul is rested. Worth every second of discomfort.