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Thread: Up-Close Photos of "The Watcher"

  1. #1
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    Default Up-Close Photos of "The Watcher"

    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.

    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

    Looking at The Watcher from the South

    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.

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

    1HappyHiker
    Last edited by 1HappyHiker; 09-12-2009 at 12:13 PM. Reason: Punctuation

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    I really like the last one.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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    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

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    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.
    Bob

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    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by mtruman View Post
    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.
    Last edited by 1HappyHiker; 09-12-2009 at 03:57 PM.

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    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

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    Thank you so much for those beautiful pictures. I love NH legends and history.

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    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:


    And the sign that tells the sad story


    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

    Keep close to Nature's heart...
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtruman View Post
    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?
    Last edited by 1HappyHiker; 09-13-2009 at 03:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1HappyHiker View 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?
    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...
    Mark

    Keep close to Nature's heart...
    and break clear away, once in awhile,
    and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods.
    Wash your spirit clean. - John Muir


    Hiking photos: http://picasaweb.google.com/mtruman42
    Hiking Blog: http://theramblingsblog.blogspot.com/
    Seek the 2011 Peak page: Mark Truman's Pledge Page

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