In mid-June 2018, I did a trek that involved hiking to Gentian Pond by traveling the entire length of the Austin Brook Trail, plus an additional hike eastward from the pond for about a 0.5 mile on the Mahoosuc Trail (part of the Appalachian Trail). The purpose of the additional half-mile segment along the Mahoosuc Trail was to gain access to some ledges overlooking Gentian Pond and the surrounding area. The round-trip journey was about 8 miles with about an 1,800 ft elevation gain.
Just as point of interest, Gentian Pond is a tarn situated at 2,165 feet along a ridgeline in the Mahoosuc mountain range. It was discovered in 1876 by Eugene B. Cook and Lucia and Marian Pychowska who explored this region of New Hampshire during the 1870s. Along the pond’s shoreline, these early adventurers came upon wildflowers known as Bottle Gentian, and thus decided to confer the name of Gentian Pond to this body of water.
|My route of travel for this hike is highlighted in pink on this map.|
|The hike began and ended at the Austin Brook Trailhead with its unique turnstile for entry and exiting the trail. (The turnstile allows hikers access but obstructs access to motorized vehicles such as ATVs, etc.)|
|At the Gentian Pond Shelter is a log structure with two platforms for sleeping. It’s located at the northern-most end of the Austin Brook Trail. A short connector trail links the shelter to the Mahoosuc Trail (part of the Appalachian Trail).|
|A view from inside the Gentian Pond Shelter looking toward mountains in the Evans Notch area of Maine|
|Gentian Pond as viewed from a point along its south shoreline|
|While en route to the ledges above the pond, I paused to snap a quick photo of one of the white blazes along this segment of the Appalachian Trail (locally assigned name is the Mahoosuc Trail)|
|Highly-zoomed image of Mt. Washington and Boott Spur, as viewed from an off-trail ledge located a short distance off the Mahoosuc Trail|
TO SUM IT UP:
This was yet another of my adventures that I sometimes refer to as “peak-less hikes”. Hiking to the top of mountains can be very enjoyable. But as I and others have discovered, hikes to “peak-less” destinations can also bring great joy and satisfaction. :-)