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 The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16 
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 The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Thursday thegibba and I set out for a sunset hike. We left my place about 2 in the afternoon with no set destination, but had a few spots in mind where we could catch a nice sunset from. The Belknaps were first up, but they had a good chance of storms arriving later in the day, so we headed up I-93 towards Black and Blueberry mountains or the Moose via Glencliff, but when we got up there they were having active lightning strikes and downpours, so scratch that. Farther north looked to be the best option at that point so we set our sights on the Nash Stream State Forest and Sugarloaf Mountain as we drove through a rainy Franconia Notch. Things were clearing as we got close, and the Percy's were just staring us in the face, so we made a last minute adjustment and found our way to the parking area on Nash Stream Road, where some fellow hikers were just coming down from a blueberry picking trip up North Percy. They nicely insisted we take a couple of their empty tubs to fill ourselves, and who am I to say no to blueberries?! So we took the tubs, chatted for a bit before they left and we finally hit the trail around 5:30 under promising looking skies.

Storms rolling in after lunch. No hiking here.
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Not looking so hot here either. Onward to Sugarloaf!
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Hey now, what is THAT?! :shock: Change of plans!!
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This is what those perky peaks are. we must go
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The first mile or so of trail was about as flat as a hiking trail not named Lincoln Woods can be and still go anywhere. It followed Slide Brook for a bit then took a sharp left and continued to follow but started to climb up along the top of the embankment. Temps were only in the 80s but there wasn't a breath of wind and you could cut the humidity with a knife. I got down a liter of water in the first mile just to combat the sweating and any effects of dehydration that might come up. We knew it had to do some serious climbing eventually and sure enough the second mile of trail climbed fairly steeply for a while along a ledgy slide or dry watercourse (not sure which) and eventually left it to head for the notch between the Percy's. Not as steep but a little more rocky it continued the climb, with occasional views and beautiful emerald green miss and trees all around. A really nice section of trail for sure, and after about a mile of that things leveled off and we arrived at the notch between the summits.

Easy warm up for a mile or so, even though you could have cut the humidity with the proverbial knife
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Another good storm or two and this boulder could wind up in the brook
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Things get steeper as they follow alongside a slide of some sort
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Trail is about this steep for a while
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They leave the slides side and moderate for a while with an occasional viewpoint
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Nice lush green woods near the saddle between the peaks
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We seemed to remember South was less impressive, so we went up there first, starting on the Old Summer Club trail, which was also part of the Coos Trail, and I think it split off after a bit and and easy to follow but technically unmaintained here path climbed steeply through beautiful moss covered woods towards the summit, turning into mountain azalea and blueberry bushes near the very top, with some views if you walked around a few feet, the best of which was probably if neighboring North Percy's ledgy top nearby. Clouds were still clearing but wave after wave of hazy mountains rolled off to the horizon in all directions. We signed into the summit jar before picking a few blueberries, and as the sun began to sink and the clouds continued to clear we decided to move along to North Percy and make sure if there's was to be a sunset from up there we wouldn't miss it.

The Coos Trail branches off but the actual path up South Percy quickly leaves that
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Headed for South Percy
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Steep, wild, mossy and officially (I think) unmaintained but easy to follow path
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View of North Percy from the trail
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Oh, looky here! A very nice trail indeed! :D
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Signing into the summit jar as sunshine appears
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Nice VFTT
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Presis to the south
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Picked a few berries here but decided to move on fairly quickly
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Down and then back up on the North Percy Trail we went. Shortly after starting the climb we hit the large open ledges reminiscent of Welch and Dickey, which provided a nice look back at South Percy and the surrounding forest as well as out to the cloudy Whites on the horizon. The ledges weren't as exposed as I thought they were going to be, but were nicely open as the golden hour light began to filter through the low clouds. I thought the climbing would be more like the ledges on South Baldface but they weren't even that exposed as the trail wound its way up through the scrub and rock, and shortly we found ourselves arriving at the summit markings with a little time spare, so we got to work filling up out containers with the berries that covered the top of the mountain.

Headed up the ledges of North Percy on the official trail
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Nice look back at South Peak
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Kilkenny Range backed by the rest of the Whites
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Here comes Peter and the sun!
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Ridges
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The promise of a sunset as we near the top
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Lighting up the berry bushes
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VFTT of Sugarloaf and Jay Peak maybe?? I don't know my way around these parts very well
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VT's northeast kingdom
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Clouds look like theyre going to swallow up our sunset :(
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As we picked the berries the sun sank below some clouds near the horizon and we thought for sure our sunset was not going to happen, but suddenly things started to turn colors, lots of color, and then the little red star poked through the clouds and gave us a spectacular show with every color in the rainbow! Really one of the better sunsets I ever recall seeing. The clouds sort of made a portal around the sun and it was like looking into a different world with all the flaming colors inside the window for a while, and it was hard to decide whether to take pictures or pick the berries, so we did both, working our way from view ledge to views ledge and picking berries in between stops. There were a ton of the things up there, big juicy ones too. Not the most I have seen this season (that award goes to Bayle Mountain) but probably the biggest berries, and a lot of still pink and purple ones so there should be plenty more for a while. The views were equally good, with the rolling hills and mountains of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Canada reaching to the horizon.

Almost done with berries and fingers crossed for a sunset
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The sun peaking through the clouds
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Oooooohhhhhh, looooking good!!!
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Yes!! :D
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En fuego!!
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Amazing what this lone fireball can do
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The sun has gone down, but the show must go on 8)
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As the sunset lost it's brilliant flames of color it gave way to some really nice pinks and purples before fading to navy and black, at which point we broke out the headlamps and headed down with the lights of the towns coming on below. We made the trip down in under an hour, fired up the grill and cooked some burgers while sipping a few of Vermont's finest ciders under the stars. Perfect way to end a day that didn't even start until 2 in the afternoon. The only way to improve upon it would have been to have a shorter drive home, as Nash Stream is kind of far up there to be leaving at 10:30 at night. But it didn't kill us, so I assume it made us stronger. The overall experience was just fantastic. For only 5.5 miles and 2350 feet or so of elevation this hike is way up there on the bang for the buck list, and it's always nice when a plan comes together.

Continuing to evolve
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Burning itself out
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Nicely sums up the day I thought
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Time to go
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A quick post hike bite of burger and apple juice
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Cheers to a great hike! :beer:
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Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:06 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Still some purples and pinks? And I don't mean the sky! And WE ARE BOTH OFF STARTING AUG 6, after I punch out at 2 pm! There are two tent platforms somewhere in there, it would be a nice overnight for those who are interested.


Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:32 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Nice to see you finally made it ti the Percy's. Actually, you didn't mention, was this the first time? I haven't done any great blueberry hikes (when ripe) this year. Hopefully there will be some left next next in Acadia. Great sunset. I was coming home from ME Saturday and saw what was most likely just as awesome. Would have been nice to have been on some peak to enjoy that one. Since I wasn't driving I could enjoy it somewhat. :)

Granite Guy wrote:

Things get steeper as they follow alongside a slide of some sort
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That used to be the trail to North Percy. Talk about accidents waiting to happen. I believe one or 2 members here have used it to ascend. Maybe Salty will chime in and tell his tale of woe just going out on it to take a picture. 8)

This is yet another area I need to get back to. Becky still needs Sugarloaf so I will eventually.

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Last edited by JustJoe on Mon Aug 01, 2016 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:43 am
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Beckie there is a sign that clearly states no camping...

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...but I think it pre-dates the Coos trail, which from what I've read has a campsite on the flank of North Percy past the split to the summit. Sure seems like it would be a great spot to spend the night and utilize the summit for sunrise, sunset, stargazing or whatever and still be close to camp. And yes, still plenty of berries that just need another week or so!

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Joe the blueberries were a little late this year in Acadia. Hopefully there's still some left for you. This was my first time here. I don't get north of the notches much, but loved the hike and also need to get back for Sugarloaf. I actually thought that slide looked like it would make a fun trail when dry, but sure looks like it would be a white knuckle ride when wet. :shock: The Adirondacks have a lot of trails and routes up their mountains just like that, but their rock is grippier than ours so it's more of a good calf workout than accident waiting to happen.


Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:47 am
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Sweet....I've gotta get out there....looks like a great hike.

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Mon Aug 01, 2016 1:57 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Granite Guy wrote:
the Coos trail

I saw you mention this a few times in your report. Are you referring to the Cohos Trail (roughly speaking a trail from the Whites up to Canada that recently was "completed"), or is there a trail up there actually called the Coos Trail as well to confuse folks like me?

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Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:15 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Matt I most definitely am doing my best to confuse people! :oops: :D Its one of those things that gets into your/my head wrong and stays that way. I think because it goes trough Coos county my brain makes the switch. Whatever the reason, you are correct. It is definitely the Cohos trail and I'm too lazy to go back and fix it for the 12 people who actually read reports close enough to pick up on it! :lol:


Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:52 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
I like the Percys. I like blueberries. I like sunrises/sunsets. Therefore it should be no surprise I approve of this report! :D

Glad you guys enjoyed it. Nash stream is a wonderful place. The only two hikes in Nash Stream Forest are also some of the most view laden and unique too! How can you go wrong!? 8)

Brian


Mon Aug 01, 2016 5:39 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Better view than I got when I did the Percys :( . Even though that was the only hike I did in Nash Stream Forest, I was pleasantly impressed with the area! The blueberries were nice, too 8) .

Now I gotta go back for Sugarloaf Mountain and possibly Bunnell Mountain...

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Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:32 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Granite Guy wrote:
Matt I most definitely am doing my best to confuse people! :oops: :D Its one of those things that gets into your/my head wrong and stays that way. I think because it goes trough Coos county my brain makes the switch. Whatever the reason, you are correct. It is definitely the Cohos trail and I'm too lazy to go back and fix it for the 12 people who actually read reports close enough to pick up on it! :lol:

It's all good. The first one I passed off as a typo (I do that plenty myself!). But after seeing it a few more times I was wondering if there was an actual Coos Trail up there too. Now I know. And yes, Coos County definitely adds confusion to the issue!

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Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:49 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Gorgeous sunset! I still need to get back there to do the other peak. I want to come in the back way when I go next time. I still think it makes an incredible foliage hike. I still want to know how u get up and function at work the next day with hardly any sleep! I'm always amazed at your energy level. I could not pull that off. Coming down in headlamp must have been tricky :shock:


Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:08 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Hal, Coffee. And lots off it!! :D I've perfected my own cold brew for the summer, which has more caffeine than the hot stuff. 8) The only tricky part about coming down was the rocks were sweating from the humidity and a little slick. Otherwise it's just one step at a time. Nothing to distract you really. It sounds like you're recovering and getting out more so when you get back into backpacking shape you could make a great re-introductory shorter hike out of this one using the shelter on the backside to kill two birds with one stone.


Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:49 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
We went there yesterday. One of the best hikes I've ever had! We went to South first. What a lot of fun reading the canister log. I saw your note about this trip! And I recognized at least 15 names! People from NETC, VFTT, blogs, etc. You know the old saying "It looked easy on paper?" This was the opposite. Looked super steep, but I sure got up there easy. Then, while you're on one peak the other looks so far away, but you're there in no time.Nice, expansive summit. Went down the Percy Loop trail, noticed a new trail (Trio Trail) heading toward the campsite. Easy walk back to the car. WHY IS THIS PLACE NEARLY 3 HOURS FROM HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:40 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
Glad you liked this one. It is a great little hike. Inhad heard they closed South Percy. No signage or anything to indicate that I take it? Three hours really isn't much for a great hike. Much of the best stuff in the northeast is 3-5 hours for me and I'll happily drive it rather than hike something familiar and ho-hum closer to home.


Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:59 pm
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 Re: The Percy's Are Calling...And I Must Go - 7/28/16
No, they didn't close it. You go a few hundred yards on the Old Summer Club Trail, down into a little col, and there it is! They have a sign for it, too. Even if they did close it, I think people would go anyway. There was a comment in the register (from quite a while ago) that the bush whack has turned into a path. I told Prema that's how the West Bond Spur came into existence. We did our usual Saturday crap shoot. Go up, find the campgrounds are full, sleep in the car at a trail head. But not this one. We actually stayed at an inexpensive motel 20 minutes from the trailhead. Prema got to watch baseball! Half of the people on this site think nothing of driving several hours (me included). I want to go back and check out Sugarloaf. If I could retire I'd do the whole Cohos.


Mon Jul 31, 2017 10:22 pm
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