Thursday, March 30, 2023
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Backpacking South Shoal Pond Peak

Backpacking South Shoal Pond Peak

South Shoal Pond Peak, also called Twintop or Mt Quinn isn’t a well-liked 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 way in which, 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 certainly one of 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 a bit “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!

Method Backpack Route

The Route (out and again – map above)

  1. Hancock Notch Path
  2. Cedar Brook Path
  3. Wilderness Path
  4. Thoreau Falls Path

South Shoal Pond Peak is a trailless mountain on the New Hampshire 500 highest record that I’ve been working via for a number of years and hope to complete sometime. The NH500 has fairly a number of bushwhacks on it and it’s a enjoyable method to maintain my off-trail navigation expertise honed whereas touring to all elements of New Hampshire, together with areas outdoors of the White Mountains.

South Shoal Pond Peak can be positioned about 9 miles from the closest street within the Pemigewasset Wilderness Space, so a backpack was in an effort to get there. I’ve a buddy 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. Nonetheless, I knew I’d take pleasure in backpacking out to the height and mountain climbing a number of trails that I haven’t visited for a number of 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 just about 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 peak of land.

Pemigewasset Wilderness Boundary
Pemigewasset Wilderness Boundary

Top of land (HOL) is a navigational time period used within the NorthEast to indicate a watershed boundary and if you happen to 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 cross 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 steadily 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 perform a little Tenkara fly fishing.

Cedar Brook
Cedar Brook

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 believe this spot will make an excellent 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 arising. 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’ll attempt.

Logging cap artifacts - these are protected - do not remove
Logging cap artifacts – these are protected – don’t take away

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 bear in mind seeing many extra rusting barrel hoops and sled runners, which is what you often discover on the outdated 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 executed with the timbers within the outdated bridge. This being a Wilderness Space, wheeled automobiles are prohibited, so there’s no method to take away the particles until you carry them out on foot.

Pieces of the old Thoreau Falls Trail Bridge
Items of the outdated Thoreau Falls Path Bridge

What I noticed shocked me a bit. There have been giant sections of bushes standing subsequent to the outdated concrete bridge abutment. These, I surmised, should be the stays of the walkway from the outdated bridge, which I suppose have been left to rot in situ.

This part of East Department of the Pemigewasset River is sort of slim, which made it an excellent location for a bridge. Upstream from the outdated 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.

I fished this section of the East Branch
I fished this part of the East Department

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 subsequent morning when temperatures could be cooler.

I camped at a pre-existing site off the Thoreau Falls Trail
I camped at a pre-existing web site off the Thoreau Falls Path

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 e book (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 an excellent place to enter the forest with a low understory, shot a bearing on my compass, and began climbing. The woods have been largely open till I reached a set of cliffs guarding the west aspect of the summit. I adopted the contour south to bypass them and climbed the summit from the south aspect.

South Shoal Pond Peak Bushwhack

I discovered the “canister” which was a glass jar containing a log e book 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 have to be in your greatest sport for each.

South Shoal Pond Peak Canister and Log Book
South Shoal Pond Peak Canister and Log E book

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 may 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 before today.

I’ve yet one more week of grid-cation left and hope to do an analogous 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.

See additionally:

Philip Werner has hiked and backpacked over 8500 miles in the US and the UK and written over 2500 articles because the founding father of, famous for its backpacking gear evaluations and mountain climbing FAQs. A devotee of New Hampshire and Maine mountain climbing and backpacking, Philip is the creator of Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers, a free on-line guidebook of the most effective backpacking journeys within the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Maine. He lives in New Hampshire. Click on right here to subscribe to the SectionHiker e-newsletter.


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