The title of this Blog report sounds like something taken from a cheap paperback novel. However, this is actually the residue of an obsessive-compulsive trait of mine that oozes forth every so often, especially in matters related to hiking!
Readers of my Blog might recall that exactly a week ago on 27-March I hiked to two little mountains (i.e., Mt. Mist + Webster Slide Mtn) that surround the body of water known as Wachipauka Pond. (Click HERE, if you want to access that report.) Due to a lack of time and other circumstances, some of the things I wanted to do on that hike were left undone. So, as some readers can appreciate, there was no choice, I simply had to go back! :)
There were three goals that l wanted to accomplish, as follows:
1) Attempt to access Wachipauka Pond by following an old corridor of the Appalachian Trail (AT) which once ran on the west side of Mt. Mist until sometime in the 1970s when it was relocated to its current-day course;
2) Follow a faint pathway along the southern shoreline to reach the east end of Wachipauka Pond in order to get a view of the cliffs of Webster Slide with the pond in the foreground;
3) Bushwhack to a precipice above Wachipauka Pond to get an overview of the pond that would include the cliffs of Webster Slide Mountain, as well as the nearby cliffs of Owls Head (Benton Range).
All three of the above goals were accomplished on this trek! Regarding goal #1, Wachipauka Pond was accessed via a corridor that roughly paralleled the route of the present-day Appalachian Trail. Nothing was seen (such as old blazes, etc) to confirm that the corridor was in fact the old AT. Regardless, Wachipauka Pond is accessible via this route, and the time frame is comparable to hiking the conventional route. This opens up the option of doing a lollipop loop hike to the pond when starting from the trailhead on Route 25C. However, without going into excruciating detail, there are some "gotchas" along the route. Therefore, a cautionary statement must be added to say that only those who are comfortable with doing off-trail travel should attempt this.
Shown below is a GoogleEarth image. The current-day Wachipauka Pond Trail (part of the AT system) is shown in yellow. The spur trail to Webster Slide Mountain is also shown in yellow. Shown in red is the approximate route of the off-trail corridor that I followed. The return leg of my trek from the pond to the trailhead on Rt. 25C was done exclusively on the current-day trail (along with a short bushwhack to a precipice on the northern slope of Mt. Mist).
Regarding goal #2, the next photo shows the view of Webster Slide Mountain from the east end of Wachipauka Pond.
Regarding goal #3, the next photo shows the overview of Wachipauka Pond which resulted from the short bushwhack to a precipice on the north slope of Mt. Mist. Webster Cliff Mountain is on the left of the pond. The cliffs of Owls Head are nearby and are seen in the center of the photo. Also, if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the long line of cliffs of the Hogsback (on the horizon near the top of Webster Slide Mountain).
Oh! And I should also mention that it is always a treat to stop at the roadside viewpoint on Route 118 en route to the trailhead. As most readers know, this is a fantastic vista which provides the opportunity to view the Franconia Range and a portion of the Presidential Range all in one fell swoop! As I understand it, this route was popular even back in the late 19th century when tourists travelled it via horse-drawn carriage.
To sum it up, my most recent "obsessive-compulsion" is over and done. However, some things are predictable. It is likely that it won't be long before another episode bubbles to the surface! :)