Another day of ambition turned to muck. Oh well. Greg had been up Duck Pond Mtn. recently, and had found a good way down, so we figured mixing that with Anderson and Lowell should be doable. We headed out on the Nancy Pond Trail, each of us remarking how many times we'd been up this trail. It has its dull moments, but generally I enjoy it, and the steep part is short lived. Many stream crossing were bone dry, the major one was really low, as was the cascades themselves.
We climbed up in warm but very humid conditions. We were all sweating like crazy, but came out to the pleasant plateau and finally turned off the trail. It started mucky, but easy.
Then it got very ugly.
We finally regrouped at an open area where the woods opened up a bit, and I found this knarly blowdown root.
Then it closed in again, and got even worse, with hard pushing through young thick stuff to finally make the summit. Grunt. That was aweful. We noted a better way down, and made our not so merry way, coming across a well-preserved bootleg path some local had cut (and been prosecuted for) years ago.
It was better this way, but that was all relative. One final mucky area, and we finally hit the trail below where we started. Onward past Nancy Pond and to Norcross Pond. We intended to start our whack from the near shore, but the humidity and heat was again killing Brian, and he wasn't up for anything else. We went on to the far end to figure out what to do, enjoy the view to the Bonds, and enjoy the breeze coming across the pond. I was leary of continuing to Anderson and Lowell, partly due to no Brian, but mainly because I was anxious about hitting more crap. We talked and decided on Vose Spur, while Brian would head back and meet us on Sawyer River Road.
Cool, at least I get to check out the Nancy Pond Trail north of the pond. And it was awesome. Great grades and very few roots and rocks on this little used trail.
Down bottom we came to what appears to be a railroad grade higher up than I had thought, and incredibly gorgeous open woods.
I went in search of an old campsite along one of the brooks down low. I finally found the brook in question, but my memory of my campsite was far more flat than what I found, yet I was sure I had walked by it. I had hoped to find my old fire ring, but after over 20 years, it was too much to hope for. The copious blueberries were mighty tasty, though. Back on the trail, we came to a young fir tunnel that was way cool.
I was really loving this section of the Pemi Wilderness. We made the turn onto Carrigan Notch Trail, and headed on up to the Notch. We were going to go in the north side, and the woods looked good, but Greg's legs were getting wobbly, and we opted for the normal route on the south side. Frankly, my legs were getting to be in pretty bad shape, too. Had I thought about it, I would've realized this was a long, long trip. Glimpses of the cliffs of Lowell as we hit the notch, with Vose looming heavily above us. We came to “The Rock” and Greg and I were toast. It was hot, my knees were shaking coming off the notch, and Vose is one steep mother. Joe really wanted to go up, but I screwed up with the mileage. Should've done Anderson and Lowell.
So we walked down the rest of the way, coming across a beaver pond with some really ambitious beavers.
I would imagine beavers don't have deep feelings, but were it me, it would totally suck to work on a big tree like in the first picture and then have it hang up in the trees. Ouch. Ah, finally the junction with Signal Ridge. Crap, still 1.7 miles. Sigh. We trudged our way out, where Brian was waiting in my air conditioned car complete with cold drinks. I had a 22 oz. Sam Adams that disappeared very quickly. Thanks, bro. While I wasn't happy with leading everyone on a one peak long walk, I was pretty happy to see the whole of the Nancy Pond Trail, and revisit my camp area and the Carrigan Notch Trail. Some other time for Lowell and Anderson!