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27 November 2016

A Trek to Peboamauk Fall via the old Bog Dam Trail

"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry" is a saying adapted from the 1786 poem “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns.  That saying came to mind on a day in mid-November 2016 when an early start for a long hike didn't materialize.

And so, I ended up doing a shorter hike (about 2 hrs round-trip) to visit Peboamauk Fall using an old decommissioned corridor that was named "Bog Dam Trail" (see map below).  The old trail begins in Gorham, NH at the end of Jimtown Road and follows a route that runs parallel and west of Moose Brook.  This corridor terminates at the junction of Ice Gulch Path and Peboamauk Loop trail.  However in days gone by, the trail continued over Hunter’s Pass and terminated on Kilkenny Loop Road (a.k.a. Bog Dam Road).
Map shows the old corridor highlighted in pink.  It is entirely on public land within the Paul T. Doherty Memorial Forest.
To access the old trail, drive to the end of Jimtown Road, then turn right at end of the road to a parking area on the left (just before the gate to Ice Gulch reservoir).   Here there is a trail sign that's intended for mountain bikers.  It reads "Town Forest Loop".   Or alternatively, the trail can be accessed by walking a short distance up the road (beyond the gate to Ice Gulch Reservoir) where you can pick up the trail on the other side of a dirt berm on your left.

Although the old corridor is no longer an official trail, it apparently receives some maintenance by locals, including a mountain-biking group.  Below is a composite photo which shows some of the features along the trail.
The corridor is un-blazed, but well defined and easily followed (left panel).   Along the route, there is evidence of old bog-bridging (top right panel), and there's even an old dilapidated bridge across a tributary to Moose Brook (bottom right panel).
When you come to the end of the trail at the junction of Ice Gulch Path and Peboamauk Loop trail, look immediately to your right (north) for an orange blaze on a tree, and then follow the blazed pathway STEEPLY downhill to Peboamauk Fall.  Unfortunately there is no sign to direct you, but in the photo shown below, the trail to the waterfall is directly behind me.
In this photo, the trail to waterfall is directly behind me.
I have visited Peboamauk Fall on several occasions.  It unquestionably has beauty, but it's often a bit untidy with fallen trees in the waterway itself and the areas adjacent to it.
This composite photo shows Peboamauk Fall from a distance (1st panel); then nearer (2nd panel) , and then a close-up of the less obstructed area of the waterfall (3rd panel).
Just as a point of interest, "Peboamauk" was the local Native American's word for "Winter's Home".  It's easily understood why such a word would be used to name this spot.  The waterfall is located in a narrow gulch that receives very little sunlight, and therefore is consistently colder than the surroundings at the top of the gulch.  Ice can be found in its deep recesses even during the summer months.

And lastly, perhaps the following should be mentioned. If you are uncomfortable with accessing Peboamauk Fall via the unofficial and un-blazed trail that is described in this report, then this place can also be reached via conventional hiking trails from Randolph Mountain Club's trailheads off Randolph Hill Road (see map at top of this report).  Complete descriptions of these trails can be found in the guidebook entitled "Randolph Paths" available at



One Day in America said...

Hi John,

I love the way Native Americans named things by using language that described the actual condition, function, or beauty of a place. As opposed to the European way of naming things after the men who "discovered" them.
"Winter's Home" is the perfect appellation for this spot!

Also, I like the fact that you're always willing to amend your plans to fit the situation. Looks like you experienced a rewarding hike, even if it was shorter than originally planned.

Nice post with plenty of information!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

I love your insightful remarks about the Native Americans’ way of naming places.

And, thank you for your kind words about me always being willing to amend my plans to fit the situation. There is a quote relative to this which I’ve always found to be inspiring: “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.” :-)


One Day in America said...

Great quote!

Karl said...

Hi John,

This looks like a really cool destination. I'm sure this waterfall is something amazing a day after heavy rain. That's probably evident from the trees at the bottom, with root system in all.

I was going to comment on how cool the name "Ice Gulch Path" was and wondered how it got it's name. Thanks for explaining in the end. It sounds like a great place to let some time pass when it's really hot out in the summer!

I must also mention that you captured some really cool photos, especially the old bog bridges covered in moss...evidence of years past.


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Karl,

Thank you for your comments.

You are 100% correct about a cool place to spend a hot summer day is in the Ice Gulch area, including Peboamauk Fall. It is consistently several degrees cooler in that area than it is in the surrounding areas outside of the gulch. And as I indicated in my report, ice patches can be found there year round.