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 Lowell-Anderson-Duckpond HellWhack 4/14/07 
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:51 am
Posts: 136
Location: NH
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 Lowell-Anderson-Duckpond HellWhack 4/14/07
This is a trip not soon to be forgotten! I joined Albee, Onestep, Motabobo Michael and Michaels two other hiking companions (ALL VFTT) for a very difficult and very long bushwhack on Lowell, Anderson, and Duck Pond. For the record, even tho we hiked this in mid April, the conditions were DEFINITELY winter conditions.

There was a bit of a predicament involved in this hike, as a few of us (myself included) had planned to go to the FTFC awards that night. This was a motivating factor in starting early. The plan was for the group to depart at 7:30, however I wanted to get a head start on trail breaking so I offered up to start at 6:30. Since I would be breaking trail it was only a matter of time before the others would be able to catch up to me.

So at 6:15 I started (Actually it was more like 6:20 detail details..) Our plan was to loop up Sawyer River rd, go up signal ridge/Carrigan notch trail, Bushwhack up Lowell, Then Anderson, Then go down to Norcross pond and Bushwhack up Duck Pond peak from Nancy Pond. Sawyer River rd was snowmobiled out so it did not present much of an obstacle. I periodically wrote my time in the snow so when the others were catching up to me they would know how far behind they were. Signal Ridge tr was sadly however not broken out, so it was time to start trail breaking!

The snow condition varied wildly, at first it was heavy and wet, but the further up I went the crustier it became. Trail breaking was of moderate difficulty here as snow depths were 4-10 inches. All the ice bridges on the rivers were gone so they provided moderate obstacles.

I started the Bushwhack around 8:40 off up Carrigan notch Trail. I eyeballed the ridge shoulder and took a fairly direct bearing at it. I crossed a stream (no difficulty) and passed over two abandoned logging roads as I began the ascent up to the shoulder. One I reached the shoulder I took some measurements eyeballed a bearing and started the moderate ascent up the mountain through open woods filled with the occasional gigantic possibly old growth dead tree.

By 11:00 I was just a hair under the 3000’ line. Snow was getting progressively deeper and worst of all spruce traps started popping up in great quantity. My pace was slowed considerably here. But fear not! This was also when the group finally caught up to me! Albee had predicted they would catch up to me around half way up Lowell, and he was very close (they caught up 2/3 up)!! I happily gave up my trail breaking duty, and none to soon. This was almost exactly where the spruce got really thick.
We passed through one thick band of spruce (3000’) before hitting some more semi open woods again. Periodic sections of steepness and thick spruce were the norm up until the false summit (around 3600’). From the false summit we were rewarded with great views of Carrigan (except they were slightly obscured) Vose Spur, and Carrigan Notch.

Of course, now the real fun began. The final ascent up Lowell was brutal to say the very least. Steeper than Vose Spur, and thick to boot. We reached the top only to find no canister in sight. We prodded around the trees thinking maybe it was buried (we were on 3-5’ of snow after all) but no luck. Finally after looking around for a very long time we resolved to call it quits. Snacks were eaten and fingers were frozen upon the cold and slightly windy summit. Everyone was fairly wet at this point from the alternating sticky and fluffy snow. My waterproof gloves were soaked through so I put on my spare fair.
We began our descent down Lowell over a medium sized field of severely stunted shrubbery. This was oddly enough one of the nastiest sections because of the deceptive snow depth. I fell into some pretty mean spruce traps here as did many others. The descent onto the shoulder was brutal! Once we reached the shoulder we began our trek to the col between Lowell and Anderson. This was a nice descent – fluffy snow and steep, very good for gliding. The col had one band of significant blowdowns but the worst of it seemed several feet below us (we were on 3-5’ of snow remember??).
After the group made a routing decision at the foot of Anderson (the idea was to flank up to the right as opposed to up to the left) I threw my snowshoe. This is an annoyance I have to deal with because of the strap I have on my shoe. However it was being thrown for a different reason than normal (it was due to ice buildup under the heel). This put me for the first time significantly behind the lead pack. I threw my shoe 4 or 5 times up Anderson before getting it to stay on.

Anderson was another steep climb which reminded me eerily of the climb up the herd path on Nancy. There was a small open section just before the summit which had the best views of the day. There were some seriously awesome views of the pemi from an angle not so often seen.
This was another canisterless peak. After poking around we found evidence of a canister left on one of the trees, but sadly no canister! We did not linger for nearly as long on this summit. We started the ‘whack down to Norcross pond. This section was very thick steep and nasty. At one point we had to change course to avoid a cliff (motabobo wanted to jump). The thickness was pretty tough (but at least there were virtually no blowdowns). It felt like forever before we got to the pond.

The pond was still a giant block of ice so we hung around for a few minutes to breathe a sigh of relief before pressing on to Nancy pond trail. We crossed a section of woods and reached Nancy pond. This is where the group fissioned into two groups: Those who would be going to Duck Pond summit and those who would not.

My plans never included Duck Pond, because my plans were to go to the FTFC awards that night and I knew duck pond wasn’t going to fit in with that dream. However it was approximately 5:30 at this point – and there was no chance any of us would make it. Still I chose not to go up Duck pond peak, I was done for the day!! So Onestep, Motabobo, and Albee took off for the final ‘whack of the day while the rest of us took off for rte 302.

The descent was a slog to say the least, even for those of us not breaking trail. Wet deep heavy snow was the norm, not even the downhill grades could make that stuff easy. It was fun seeing all the snowballs rolling down the hill at the switchback section (which is very steep). We took a small break by the steam donkey ruins, however I was getting cold so I forged on ahead. At the point the snow depth had dwindled to about 1-2” of wet heavy junk. As I proceeded down the trail I saw some evidence that the old road was once a rail grade (you can see the indents of where the rail ties once lay by the way the snow gathers on the spot because of the difference in how packed the earth is).

About 15 minutes before 302 the pack caught back up to me. We finally reached the road and were relieved to get our snowshoes off. At this point I had been hiking for over 13 hours (a little less for the others, but still a long time).

There was one final predicament; all the owners of the cars at this trailhead were still on the trail from the Duck pond journey! We started the walk to our cars parked at Sawyer River rd which were over a mile away. I tried thumbing a ride with no success (tried thumbing a limo too, wonder why he didn’t pick us up?). Finally after about 10-15 minutes we saw the other group pop out of the woods (wow that was fast!). Andy and I got a ride back to Sawyer River rd with Onestep and Albee, The other fellow drove back and got Michael and his brother. Al informed me that it took them 40 minutes to get Duck pond and 30 to get back to Nancy pond. The rest of the time was made up by utilizing the nicely broken trail :)

This was a really strong/awesome group and It was a pleasure hiking with/ meeting all of you. It seems every time I go on a hike with Al it always turns out to be an epic adventure :)


So now I want to see bits of info from the others that I forgot (or that I missed in the 7:30-11:00 shift )

Pictures and This TR here:


Lowell From Anderson.

It's really just glorified walking in the woods.

Sun Apr 15, 2007 7:52 am
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:13 pm
Posts: 2026
Location: Mt Lafayette Winter 2009
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Another great TR Marc.

Gotta keep in mind that there's a whole lot more out there than just 48 hills!

"My feet is my only carriage..." Bob Marley

Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:21 am
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