Salty's The Bulge Trip Reports


Hiking Dates



Date Climbed: 09/29/2013

Distance: 9.2 miles

Low Elevation: 1550 feet
High Elevation: 3905 feet
Elevation Gain: 3100 feet
Elevation Loss: 3100 feet

Start Location: Unknown Pond TH – north
Finish Location: Unknown Pond TH – north
Route: Unknown Pond Trail, Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the Bulge, back and up the Horn spur to summit. Whack on ridge north to about 3800', back to summit, Horn Spur, Kilkenny Ridge trail, whack to Bishop's pond and back, Kilkenny Ridge Trail, Unknown Pond Trail

Weather: Warm, sunny
Companions: New Hampshire, HardCoreIdiot, JustJoe, K-Man, Julie, Katahdin, Becky, Desi, krpayer


And finally it was time for the last of our little group to finish the NH3k list. With a twist. Joe was not finishing the NH Hundred Highest, the NH 3000 footers, the NH 200 highest, AND the 52 With a View list. Outstanding! Just two peaks remainined, the Bulge and the Horn, the former being on the first three lists, the latter being on all lists. We had a good crew today, Joe, Becky, Greg, Desi, Brian, Keith, Julie (and of course Katahdin), and Kris. Bob was supposed to join us, but he was a no show by the time we left.

We started up the northern end of the Unknown Pond Trail, finding the distance to be a couple miles shorter than the southern end, and also new ground to me. The trail is quite pleasant, going through hardwoods and having easy grades. Higher up are some amazing birch glades that deserve some exploring at some point.

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We took a nice break at the Kilkenny Ridge junction and some of us did some checking out of the pond. More lily pads than I remember.

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Now I was on familiar ground, and knew we were in for more pleasantness through mossy softwoods as we climbed up to the Horn junction. At that point, Brian, Greg, Joe and I headed off for the quick trip to the Bulge while the others waited. I had forgotten how steep it was in places, but I also forgot there were some neat views back to the Horn. A quick tag and that left 1 more for Joe. We scurried back down, where the true nonsense was about to begin.

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I struck out ahead, trying to get something setup before Joe got there. After the huffing and puffing getting up to the Bulge, this was tricky, but I managed to get Polly the filthy talking parrot setup just below the summit on the path. I then waiting for the first victim. Brian, of course. I think he fell in love with the parrot at first vulgarity. The others got their insults, and I shut it down, fearing some other group might come up and get highly offended.

I went up to Keith, commenting the views weren't as good as I remembered, nor was the way up to the summit rock as hard as I recalled. “Ummm, it's up there.” Salty strikes again. Oh yeah, that's the rock I remember. Ugh. Joe clambered up, and that was it, a four list finish.

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I had as much trouble getting up as last time, needing that metal pin badly. Oh yeah, the views are as good as I remember. This time I could look on the Pilot range as something familiar rather than dreaded.

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The Percy's showed a good view, too, with the dratted Gore and much nicer Sugarloaf and Castle in the background.

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Out came the joke gifts. A self-proctology set was amongst the memorable. And also there was the good stuff.

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I struck off to the north to try to get a view in the small area where there was no view, following the ridge down through moderate woods, but picking up a herd path in the process. Down, down, down, I could see a drop ahead, but couldn't seem to get to one where it provided a view until I came to a tall ledge, and knew that was it. There were obstructed views of Bishop's Pond and Rogers and Square ledges, but nothing too great. Ah well, worth a try. Given that I left my camera at the summit, my cell phone would have to do.

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I went back to the summit to find everyone packing up and wondering where the hell I went. Huh? Just down the ridge. Was I gone that long? Guess so! We headed back out the way we came, and once down far enough, I wanted to visit Bishop's Pond again. Some went ahead, and others headed off to Unkonwn Pond Peak. Joe and I went to the pond, and was disappointed to see how murky it was.

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Ah well, I did get some confirmation of something in the area I had thought I had seen before, so I was pretty pleased about that. I had decided to get some compass practice on the way in, and did the same on the way out, having no issues. Good to see the skills are intact.

After getting back on the Unknown Pond Trail, it was what seemed to be a long trip out, and the road was welcome. Walking back up it to the cars was not, but I had ice cold beer in the trunk, which tasted especially awesome. Heck, I even shared! Bob had left a note, he was trying to catch up, but somehow got on the wrong trail at the junction. Oops.

We had a nice meal, gave each other more crap, and headed on home. It was a beautiful day, and was great to be at Joe's finish. He's a good friend, whom we convinced to do the 3k list after swearing he wouldn't, and I believe he got a lot out of it. Like me, he doesn't want to actively do anymore lists, been there, done that, but what a great journey it was.

Date Climbed: 08/29/2010

Distance: 12.7 miles

Low Elevation: 1730 feet
High Elevation: 4170 feet
Elevation Gain: 3640 feet
Elevation Loss: 3640 feet

Start Location: Unknown Pond TH
Finish Location: Unknown Pond TH
Route: Unknown Pond Trail, bushwhack to "trio ponds", Unknown Pond Trail, Kilkenny Ridge Trail east to HOL, bushwhack to Unknown Pond Peak, Kilkenny Ridge Trail west, bushwhack to small Unknown Pond, Kilkenny Ridge Trail west to Horn Spur to Horn, Horn Spur to Kilkenny Ridge Trail, Bunnell Notch Trail, York Pond Rd.

Weather: Dry but hot, sunny, breezy up high
Companions: (none)


A solo hike was in order for the weekend, and a big long hike picking off 4 peaks Brian's already done wasn't a bad idea either. I knew hitting Cabot, The Horn, The Bulge and a trail-less 3k would be perfect, and looking at the map, noticed a lot of things within ¼ of the trail that looked interesting.

After a restless night's sleep, I headed up the Unknown Pond Trail at 7:50. First stop was about halfway up, a close trio of small ponds about 200 feet off trail. I emerged onto a nice little beaver pond, looking quite attractive in the morning light. Lots of moose sign, and was surprised to see a minnow swimming around.

Back on the trail, it was a relatively easy climb to Unknown Pond, although I was feeling a lack of sleep. Unknown Pond is stunning, and looks like a great place to set up camp, and maybe do some fishing or exploring.

At the junction, I headed east on the Kilkenny Ridge to just beyond the height of land, where the woods opened up wide into ferns and birches. Here I bushwhacked for 10 minutes up to Unknown Pond peak, a NH3k and one of the easiest whacks I ever seen. The summit was equally as open and was inviting me to take a nap, but I had much more to do today.

A quick 5 minute trip down and now going west on the ridge trail, I broke off trail again after a while for a ¼ mile trip to another small pond.

On the way out I happened to look down and find a moose antler. I wasn't about to hump that over 3 peaks, and besides a couple of the points were broken, but it was very cool to finally find one. Next up, The Horn, a nice climb, except near the summit where the trail gets kinda weird in its routing. I didn't understand the warning about the tricky bit getting to the top until I saw the large boulder that is the summit. A foot wedge, and a ring screwed in helped, but the view was fantastic, with nearly 360 degree views.

The climb to The Bulge was pretty easy. The climb up to Cabot wasn't so easy. 50 feet of elevation at a time, my legs were beat, it was hot, and I hadn't eaten enough, as usual. Finally crossing the summit, I stopped at the cabin, where the views were ok enough. I was hoping to hit the talus fields, but I was pretty beat already so maybe another day. I did spot a ledge very close to the trail further down, and I wasn't surprised to see it was trailed, and it had a decent view. The PUD before the Bunnell Notch Trail was just plain cruel at this point, and I was reminded why I like hiking with Brian – his pace is sane. It was a long, long trudge down, but I was at least treated to some cool brook water and interesting woods, arriving at the parking lot at 3:00. 4 peaks, 3 ponds, 3 bushwhacks, 7 hours, 12.5 miles. I think I've got my “killer day” out of my system for a while.