Greg and Joe came up with Mt. Nancy for this weekend, with Brian being out for hunting. Spiffy! I haven't been up to the ponds in decades, the forecast looked great (and held for once), and there were views to be had, plus lots of water features that I love. Joe was going to get a head start, so I went down to meet Greg in Bow, only to find a deer in my way on I-89. Brakes were applied, avoidance was initiated, all to no avail. I hit the poor thing in the hindquarters with my left front side. With the car still drivable, I figured I'd get down to Bow and let Greg know the situation. As it turns out, Joe was there, once again being at the right place at the right time, saving the day for me. Nothing more could be done with the car, so off we went, with the accident hanging heavy in my mind. I was thankful it wasn't a moose – the outcome would've been much different.
Crawford Notch was in an unusual mood today, as it was completely in the clear. In fact, no clouds at all were in sight. So up we went, making good time to the Cascades, coming across the owners of the only other car in the lot in the process. I remember nothing about the cascades, and they were a lot bigger than I thought. First highlight of the day.
Next up, the steep climb up the headwall, which at least had views of the brook above the cascades and Stairs Mountain. Finally leveling out, we were greeted by a very rooty and bouldery trail, some snow and ice, but at least the limited mud was frozen. Bog bridges were a bit tricky, though. Views of Nancy and Anderson here and there. Greg discovered at Nancy Pond throwing rocks on the thin ice made some pretty funny noises (something like a “boip”). I was informed that I throw like a girl.
We continued our pleasant walk to Norcross Pond, which looks like an overgrown infinity pool with the Bonds/Twins behind it. The highlight for today was the other end, and we greedily headed off to that, and big smiles were had at the great view into the Pemi. This I remembered, perhaps there's hope for me after all.
We stayed a good long time admiring the views, picking out mountains from the Hancocks over to Whitewall. What a gorgeous day, and it was so nice and warm (bordering on hot) in the sun. The other two fellows joined us, and asked Joe or Greg, “Is this the top of Mt. Nancy?” “Uhhhhh, no, that's it.” “Waaaaaayyyyy up there??????” Yoiks.
We saw the likely source of the herd path earlier and headed up to a Y intersection and took the more worn right branch. Dead end. Backtrack, and sure enough, the way was quite obvious. More pleasant walking up to the slide, more views!
We were warned not to follow the slide all the way, and sure enough we almost did that (thanks Brian). From there it got steep. Real steep. Brutus Bushwhack steep. A slow ascent, but we finally came up to the mossy summit area, where the path led directly to a west looking ledge, with fantastic views from the Presis to Attitash.
I had thrown out the possibility of whacking over to Bemis early in the planning, but I was having such a pleasant day, I didn't want to ruin it with a likely thick whack, and then the blowdown mess on Bemis which I found rather frustrating last time. I floated this thought, and we decided we'd go down to the old Bemis trail junction and decide from there, a heck of a long way around, but that worked for me. So back down the way we came where we came across two guys going after the NEHH list. We chatted shortly, where we found out the two other guys we saw earlier had dead-ended and turned around trying to find the herd path, which we were relieved to hear. In no time we were back at the trail (me: “we're done already?!”). I think we forgot how long the trip back was, and at 2:15 we hit the Bemis junction, no way there was time for this, and I had lost any interest in anything but getting out at this point. I think we made the right choice, it would've been a pretty late day, and I was quite happy for the easy, stress-free and very viewful hike on such an unusually warm November day. Thanks gents for such a great time and the most excellent suggestion!