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04 April 2012

Unfinished Business at Wachipauka Pond

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! :)

13 comments:

  1. John,

    From the pond looks like it was a windy day!

    Thanks for the hint about the viewpoint on Rt 118; I never bothered to stop, will do so on my next trip.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mohamed,

      Yes it was indeed a very "windy Wachipauka day"!

      Thanks for posting your comments, and I think you'll enjoy the roadside vista from Rt. 118 when you stop by there during your travels.

      John

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  2. I understand your compulsion to return to unfinished business, John.
    I have so many places/hikes/campgrounds I would like to return to and explore further. Alas, I think it would take several more lifetimes to do it!
    Thanks for another fine post.
    Rita

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    Replies
    1. Rita, as you might guess, I can relate to your comment about it taking several lifetimes to return to all the terrific places visited in the past + continue to visit new places.
      Hmmm! I wonder if a couple of visits to the Fountain of Youth would prove beneficial? :)

      John

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  3. Gorgeous. Is the snow gone from the summit of Moosilauke?

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    1. Hi Mike,

      From the Wachipauka Pond vantage point, I could see just a small sliver of snow at the top with the naked eye. It wasn’t enough to show up in a photo unless I would have done an extreme zoom shot. Regarding trail conditions, you might have read something similar. Regardless, just today I read a report (link below) which indicates that there is still some snow along the route to the top.
      http://www.newenglandtrailconditions.com/nh/viewreport.php?entryid=8133

      John

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    2. Hi John,

      Thanks. That's more current than the one I just posted on VFTT: this thread. This is what it looked like on the summit on 3/31: Facebook posting photo.

      Mike

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  4. LOL. Yes, the title is like one of those old Hardy Boys books! I understand the compulsion; at least this is a good compulsion and not a bad one. A day spent out exploring and enjoying the woods can't be all that bad, right? Is the new camera still being taken out for dates? Maybe it is my monitor, but the contrast of color in the photos is really good. The blue is really blue and everything just pops!

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    1. Hey Summerset . . . yes, you’re so right! Any time (long or short) spent exploring in the woods is certainly an “okay day” from my perspective!

      Thank you for the positive feedback regarding the photos. Yup, I’m still “dating” my cute little Casio! I’m still not ready (yet) to settle into a long-term relationship, but who knows? It might just happen! :)

      John

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    2. I have visited Wachi many times to fish and camp, via an old twitch road. We used to bring canoes, paddle across the pond and camp on the point below Webster Slide. The fishing can be awesome....I'm heading up there in the AM for a few days in the forest, some hiking and fishing. I have been visiting there for 20 years or so.......I love this place.

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    3. Thank you for taking time to post your very interesting comments about your experiences with canoeing, fishing and camping at “Wachi”. This is a magnificent spot in the White Mountain region, and so it’s very easy to understand why you love this place!

      John

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  5. Have you taken the logging road trail from the rail bed to Wachipauka pond which skips Wyatt hill. The trip over Wyatt hill like all modifications to the original AT were designed to make the trip longer and more difficult. Some of the turns in the AT make no sense. This cut off along the old logging access is wet for the upper 20% as it is in the lowest points between Webster slid and Wyatt Hill. The trail is used by hunters, and people fishing the pond as well as a few of us who camp regularly at the pond. It also provides a much easier trip into the pond from which going up Webster Slide is much easier for a day trip. - Camp Cook Ken

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    Replies
    1. Ken, thank you so much for the tip about the logging road. Very much appreciated. I will definitely follow-up on this!!

      Thanks again!
      John

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