South Shoal Pond Peak, often known as Twintop or Mt Quinn isn’t a preferred vacation spot within the Pemigewasset Wilderness. However I had a hankering to go climb it if solely as a result of it gave me an excuse to backpack out to the Thoreau Falls Path, fly fish some rivers on the best way, and camp alongside the North Fork of the Pemigewasset River. Of all of the locations I’ve hiked and backpacked within the White Mountain Nationwide Forest, that is one among my favourite areas.
Having completed my July grid peaks early within the month (climbing all 48 of the White Mountain 4000 footers in every calendar month), I’ve been having fun with slightly “grid-cation” and catching up on a few of my different favourite out of doors hobbies like backpacking, bushwhacking, and Tenkara fly fishing. Whereas I take pleasure in doing every of those individually, I’ve additionally began combining them into multi-sport backpacking journeys, the place get to do all three. I’m loving these!
The Route (out and again – map above)
- Hancock Notch Path
- Cedar Brook Path
- Wilderness Path
- Thoreau Falls Path
South Shoal Pond Peak is a trailless mountain on the New Hampshire 500 highest listing that I’ve been working via for just a few years and hope to complete sometime. The NH500 has fairly just a few bushwhacks on it and it’s a enjoyable technique to preserve my off-trail navigation abilities honed whereas touring to all elements of New Hampshire, together with areas outdoors of the White Mountains.
South Shoal Pond Peak can be situated about 9 miles from the closest highway within the Pemigewasset Wilderness Space, so a backpack was with a view to get there. I’ve a good friend who did this bushwhack in a single day, however mountain climbing 18 miles in a day and bushwhacking a peak, doesn’t actually float my boat. Nevertheless, I knew I’d take pleasure in backpacking out to the height and mountain climbing just a few trails that I haven’t visited for just a few years. Plus, there are three rivers alongside my route that I needed to spend a while fishing together with Cedar Brook, the East Department of the Pemigewasset River, and the North Fork.
The Hanock Notch Path results in two 4000-footers, North and South Hancock, so it’s very closely used. However after 2 miles, it reaches the Cedar Brook Path which nearly nobody makes use of and issues take a flip for the wild. The path climbs for a bit till it reaches the Wilderness Space boundary at top of land.
Peak of land (HOL) is a navigational time period used within the NorthEast to indicate a watershed boundary and when you examine maps within the White Mountain Nationwide Forest, you’ll see that loads of the Wilderness Areas are bounded by these watersheds. The Native People used the identical system to divide up their tribal lands.
When you go HOL, the Cedar Brook Path will get moist with water flowing between the rocks and boulders within the path and boot-sucking mud as you descend step by step towards Cedar Brook. There have been some path reroutes since I used to be right here final and the path now passes very near the brook, which I don’t recall from earlier visits. So I scrambled down a small embankment and crossed Cedar Brook to take a break and do some Tenkara fly fishing.
Whereas Cedar Brook is a smallish stream, it’s clear that it’s sustained heavy injury from previous hurricanes and spring thaws, judging by the quantity of particles, each rock, and wooden, scattered alongside the banks. On my descent down the path, I had spied large rock formations upstream via the bushes that I plan to return and discover additional. I feel this spot will make a superb vacation spot all by itself or as a staging space for a bushwhack up North Hitchcock this September when I’ve one other grid-cation developing. I’ve seen a visit report from Zach Porter (a New Hampshire Triple Crown Finisher) the place he describes a northern strategy to that peak, which I could strive.
I obtained again on the Cedar Brook Path and adopted it previous the placement of a logging camp, though there was little or no particles evident from that period to be seen. On previous journeys via this space, I keep in mind seeing many extra rusting barrel hoops and sled runners, which is what you normally discover on the previous encampments. I adopted the path one other mile or so to the Wilderness Path junction and sat down for a spell to rehydrate. It was a highly regarded day with temperatures within the 90’s.
From there it was a fast stroll to the Thoreau Falls Path junction which leads right down to the East Pemigewasset River and the positioning of a primitive log bridge that was not too long ago eliminated. I hadn’t been there because the elimination and puzzled what they’d finished with the timbers within the previous bridge. This being a Wilderness Space, wheeled autos are prohibited, so there’s no technique to take away the particles until you carry them out on foot.
What I noticed stunned me a bit. There have been massive sections of bushes standing subsequent to the previous concrete bridge abutment. These, I surmised, should be the stays of the walkway from the previous bridge, which I suppose have been left to rot in situ.
This part of East Department of the Pemigewasset River is kind of slim, which made it a superb location for a bridge. Upstream from the previous bridge web site, there’s a pleasant stretch of rocks and drops that make good trout habitat. So I obtained my rod and fished this part, once more fairly efficiently.
The day was waning, so it was time to move out and discover a place to camp on the Thoreau Falls Path. I forded the stream slightly below the place the bridge used to run as a result of it’s fairly shallow there and headed down the path which runs alongside the North Fork. I discovered a pre-existing campsite close to Jumpin Brook, which comes down from Mt Bond and feeds into the North Fork, and arrange camp. I deliberate to bushwhack the height the following morning when temperatures could be cooler.
As soon as my tent was arrange, I fished some time on the North Fork which was ice chilly, ate dinner, hung a bear bag, and listened to a guide (audible) for some time earlier than going to sleep.
The following morning, I had breakfast, packed up, and headed north a mile or so to the purpose the place I’d deliberate to begin the bushwhack. I discovered a superb place to enter the forest with a low understory, shot a bearing on my compass, and began climbing. The woods had been largely open till I reached a set of cliffs guarding the west facet of the summit. I adopted the contour south to bypass them and climbed the summit from the south facet.
I discovered the “canister” which was a glass jar containing a log guide of earlier guests and signed in. Then switched course and bushwhacked again down, taking a barely totally different line, however rejoining the path very near the place I’d began the climb. It’s essential to keep in mind that there are two halves to any bushwhack: the climb and the descent. You actually must be in your finest sport for each.
The day had began to warmth up once more, so I began retracing my steps from the day earlier than since this was simply an out-and-back route. I usually attempt to hike totally different trails on my return journeys, however that will have added a day to my journey and I wanted to get dwelling. I took my time although and stopped for extra fishing and water breaks, having fun with the return hike as a lot as I had the day past.
I’ve yet one more week of grid-cation left and hope to do the same Backpack-Bushwhack-Fly Fishing journey to a different a part of the forest I haven’t visited for some time within the Wild River Wilderness.