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01 October 2011

Sawyer Pond on a Rainy Day

So what does one do on a rainy weekend?  Well, hike of course!  My friend Marty lives and works in Boston during the week, and only gets up to NH on weekends.  So, regardless of whether the weather is good or otherwise, we often do a weekend hike together.

Since this first day of October was particularly rainy, we opted to reduce our exposure to mud and slippery rocks and roots by incorporating a long stretch of backcountry roadway into our hike.   Our destination was the lean-to that overlooks Sawyer Pond.  Here we could get out of the rain and have a dry place to eat lunch.

Although some might shun the idea of hiking with an umbrella, this is exactly what we did for large segments of our hike.  It has its advantages.  An umbrella keeps you relatively dry without the need for a rain jacket, or poncho, or similar gear, all of which can be become quite hot and clammy when hiking for an extended period of time.

Our hike began on the Sawyer River Road which is still closed to vehicular traffic due to severe damage caused by the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.  Both of us had seen photos of this damage, but to see it in-person was even more dramatic.  Shown below is a composite photo of the area that was damaged.

Unlike some hikes along roadways which can be boring, this road provides areas of interest along the way.  There are opportunities to view picturesque brooks and rivers such as shown in the next two snapshots.

And, there are vistas of nearby mountains.  However, on a rainy/misty day, the mountains are seen only as faint silhouettes, as seen in the next snapshot.

Regardless of the weather, there are beauties of nature to see and admire that are close by.  This is particularly true during the autumn season when there are a variety of colorful leaves such as the one shown below.

Eventually, we needed to head off the roadway onto the Sawyer Pond Trail.  As was expected on such a rainy day, we encountered muddy conditions, plus slippery rocks and roots.  But it was a very limited exposure and certainly tolerable.  Once we reached the lean-to at Sawyer Pond, there were some nice (albeit misty) views overlooking the pond, such as seen in the next two snapshots.

Just as we were leaving Sawyer Pond for the return leg of our journey, we saw a team of ducks.  My bird identification skills are not the best, but I think these were Merganser ducks.  I'll let the reader be the judge, but I realize that it might be difficult to make a positive identification since the zoomed photo below is lacking in detail. (Clicking on any photo in the report will slightly enlarge the image.)

Just as a footnote to our trek along the Sawyer River Road, we opted to forego a stopover at the remnants of the old village of Livermore.  Both Marty and I had explored these ruins on previous occasions.  For any reader who is unaware, Livermore was a logging town built in 1874.  It was in its prime until about 1930 when the last mill closed, and in 1951 the town was officially dissolved by an act of the New Hampshire legislature. (Click HERE to read more about Livermore, and once there, be sure to click on the link to the audio slide show.)

To sum it up, a steady diet of hiking in the rain would not be something I'd find to be pleasurable.  However, our rainy-day adventure became an enjoyable experience by going with the flow (pun intended) and adjusting our hike to meet the conditions presented to us.  It might have been somewhat less enjoyable if the entire trek had been on muddy trails replete with slippery rocks and roots.  Our exposure to those conditions was limited by trekking along a backcountry road for the biggest chunk of our hike.


Ellen Snyder said...

John - nice photos, despite the rain. Yes, definitely red-breasted mergansers. You picked a better route than we did. We climbed Crawford Path to Mizpah Hut (skipping Mt. Pierce due to weather). It was wet and rainy but lots of people with smiles despite the weather. It was also surprisingly warm, so an umbrella rather than the rain gear we wore might have been a better option!

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Ellen for confirming the ducks as being red-breasted mergansers!

And yes, it never fails to amaze me how happy folks are to be out on the trails, regardless of weather conditions. Sort of makes you think that the Whites are pretty special! :-) It’s terrific to read that you were among those folks who were out enjoying a hike, despite the rather damp weather.


Marty said...

Thanks for posting a great report of our rainy day adventure- I'd never hiked with an umbrella but I'm going to now include it with my "survival" gear.Amazingly enough, neither of us broke into a rendition of "rain drops keep falling on my head".


1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Marty for posting a comment!

Hiking with an umbrella seems to lack popularity, but I’m sold on it! Steve Smith first introduced me to this.

A few years ago, there was an interesting thread about hiking with an umbrella on the Backpackinglight website (see link below). One of the things stated in this thread is this: “. . . with an umbrella you can dress for the temperature, not for the rain.”

You'll probably need to cut & paste this link into your browser:


Grant said...


Hiking with an umbrella? nice! That makes a lot of sense if you want a dry spot to take photos from on a rainy day! As long it isn't one of those days when the rain comes in sideways, I might think about bringing an umbrella on my rainy hikes to!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Grant . . . Heh! Heh! It might take awhile for “umbrella hiking” to catch on, but hey . . . it works! If you haven’t already done so, check out that discussion thread about hiking with an umbrella on the Backpackinglight website:


Summerset said...

It feels like I fell off the face of the planet for the weekend - my father was visiting from the South - so I'm just getting caught up now.

On Sat., we all went out for a little walk and sightseeing tour even in the rain, and he enjoyed it. An umbrella or two would have been a superb idea! As it was, our rain gear worked just fine. We took a walk down Lincoln Woods (the suspension bridge is now open, BTW) for about .5 mile and then back, looking at the river and enjoying the light rain. He's a kayaker so he was very interested in our rivers. We then took a ride down to Sabbaday Falls to take a walk up the trail to see the falls and the brook. Although we didn't get any "views" we did have a great time enjoying the trails as they were and it looks like you and Marty did, too.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Summerset . . . I truly know what you mean about falling off the planet. Toward the end of November, I’ll be making a similar plunge “over the edge” when we travel down South to visit relatives in KY, NC and DE. It will be an 11-day “adventure” which we look forward to with very mixed feelings. Love to see family & friends, but it’s difficult to bear leaving our beloved NH for that long!

Thank you for posting a comment, and it’s wonderful to read that you had a good visit with your father.