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 Sandwich Dome via Algonquin Trail - 7/26/14 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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 Sandwich Dome via Algonquin Trail - 7/26/14
I worked until noon Saturday but when I got out and found my wife and kiddos had gone to the beach with their cousins I took advantage of my free afternoon and headed for the Whites. I haven't done much hiking there recently and was excited for this one, but with limited time I wanted something fairly quick to get to. Sandwich Dome fit that bill and the Algonquin Trail sounded like my kind of fun, so that's where I went.

Sandwich Dome from Sandwich Notch Road. The trail pretty much follows the ridge on the right
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Sandwich Mtn. Farm - 1801
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The rough dirt road to the trail is also from 1801. Coincidence?
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After driving up a few miles of the rough but interesting Sandwich Notch Road I arrived at the trailhead just before three. There's room for about three cars and I was number two, but of course as I put my boots on another one pulled up, which only had one guy and a tall greyhound wearing jingle bells on his collar. Nothing like the sounds of Santa's sleigh to give you a real feeling of wilderness. :? We chatted about how his dog could sprint up the mountain and leapfrogged for a mile or so but I got sick of listening to the bells and stopped to let them go ahead. Right after they left the trail got pretty steep, but not rocky. Earth and roots. Reminded me more of the Adirondacks than the Whites. After the steep stretch I came to the first open bedrock ledges that were covered in blueberry bushes and had a couple handfuls before moving on.

4.5 miles with 2850 feet of elevation
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The trail is almost entirely in the wilderness area, lightly used and lightly blazed. Perfect
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The first of many open legdes were covered in blueberry bushes, which were still only about 25% ripe, but good enough for a nice snack
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A bit up the trail the dog was standing there and his owner was calling from up the trail loudly for him, so I brought him along and reunited them and then left them behind. The trail got steeper and rockier, now it felt like the Whites! Shortly I hit the first scramble mentioned in the guide book as fairly difficult. It's about 30 feet high and straight up, requiring the use of hand and footholds on the rock and roots to get up. Fairly difficult indeed and you wouldn't want to lose your grip for sure but once up there is a beautiful view from the top of it just off the trail of Black Mountain. I took a break there but again heard the dog and his owner as they got near the bottom. He wasn't happy with the dog's inability to get up or stand still on the ledges and I don't believe they ever made it up, but I got sick of listening to him telling the dog to Sit! Stay! Wait! and moved on. I never saw them again.

Getting rougher as it goes up
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The only scramble that could present a problem. I didn't find it too difficult but you wouldn't want to lose your grip
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Looking back down the scramble
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View of Black Mountain from the top of the scramble ledges
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After that the trail gets really nice. About a mile of open ledge/bedrock through short pine trees with frequent ledges and views, eventually approaching one of the best on the hike which was a birds-eye view of Black Mtn. Pond. There I ran into the only other person I'd see on the trails, a friendly guy who was camping nearby, so we talked for a minute and then I went on my way.

An entire mile or so of this sweet stuff!! :D
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Lots of viewpoints from on or just off the trail too like this one of Bald Knob, Sachem Peak, Tecumseh, Osceolas and beyond...
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1.8 miles to go
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Shortly the trail turns into a walk along a densely wooded steep sided ridge. Occasional peek-a- boo views through the trees but mostly just a nice moderate walk along the fern/moss covered ridge with thick pine trees making a needle covered floor to the tunnel for much of the way. One 150 drop and then the final section of trail climbs steeper and rougher to the junction with the Sandwich Mountain Trail just below the top and I finally popped out on the summit rocks just before 6PM. There are views, nothing spectacular but not bad. Waterville Valley is front and center with the Osceola's and then the Franconia Ridge beyond that and the Bonds seen over the Mad River Notch. It was hazy and a little cloudy so the Presis, while visible, were hard to see. The Eastern Sandwich Range was visible through the treetops if you moved around but not all from one spot. After a water break and soaking in the views and late afternoon sun I headed back the way I came, hoping to make the 4.5 miles back to the car without a headlamp.

Sandwich Dome about a mile away
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Tree tunnel along the ridge
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3980 foot high summit rocks. If this mountain were 20 feet taller it would be mobbed.
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Hazy Franconia Ridge and Pemi area
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VFTT
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Without much to see I made the 1.8 miles back along the ridge to the birds-eye viewpoint in good time, again meeting the same guy from a couple hours earlier and talking a bit more while taking a few more pictures. He'd bee watching some people who were camped on the shore of Black Mtn. Pond while they swam and was just hanging out for the sunset. He said he does this stuff every single weekend but never takes a picture. Just tries to soak it all in and enjoy the moment. I also try that but like my pictures as well as the memories. To each their own.

6PM and 4.5 miles to go in the gorgeous evening light. Life is good!
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Back at the brids-eye view of Black Mountain Pond as the sun sets
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Swimmers/campers at the pond
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From there it was back down the semi open side of the mountain with views towards the setting sun. My camera battery died right before the final scramble (I always have a spare but not this time) but there wasn't much to see after that anyhow. So I threw it in the pack and picked up the pace, making it back to the car at 7:45 with plenty of light to spare. Not bad time for me, three hours up and 1:30 down if you take out the 15 minute chat with the guy on the ledges. Took me the same amount of time to drive home as it did to get down the mountain! :D

A leisurely mile of this and then time to speed things up and beat the setting sun
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Top of the last scramble and end of the battery
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IMO this is one of the best trails in the southern Whites. Rugged and very scenic just as the guide book says. Views are frequent, changing and really good, even if there's no single 360 degree view spot. Half a dozen big blow downs with by-passes but otherwise it's in good shape and dry. Seems like it's fairly quiet and lightly used too based on the condition of the ground and the tiny parking lot, but the difficult access up the rough Sandwich Notch Road must have a lot to do with that. All fine by me, and if you couldn't tell I was extremely happy to have chosen this hike for the afternoon.


Last edited by Granite Guy on Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:58 pm
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And it's not that far from Lawrence! This is definitely on the short list! We are also thinking of going up Sandwich from the "Joe Keys Trails Complex" on the other side :)

Come on now, fess up! You went for the berries!


Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:02 pm
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Wow nice pics! Of course I've hiked it and remember nothing except the summit. We were down there last weekend and mtn biked/hiked to Guinea Pond. When we were driving out a guy with his family in a big Ford truck from Mass. coming from Campton side was all lost trying to follow his GPs to castle in the clouds. What a chuckle! He was a bit concerned about the rough road and I said enjoy it it is an adventure besides you are fine in this big truck. People!

Well GG as much as you are not doing the 52WAV list, that one is on it! And you got some redlining in with nice views. It was hazy up north from the Canadian wildfires:( looks like it was fine where u were.


Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:13 pm
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Beckie and Prema wrote:
And it's not that far from Lawrence! This is definitely on the short list! We are also thinking of going up Sandwich from the "Joe Keys Trails Complex" on the other side :)

Come on now, fess up! You went for the berries!


I didn't go for them, but would go back for them! :D I'd also like to hike up via the Sandwich Mtn Trail. I think it and this one are supposed to be the best on the mountain and would like to see them both. If it's anywhere as good as this one it'll be time well spent!


Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:13 pm
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Nice! I've been meaning to hike Sandwich Dome via that route for years. Yesterday was about the haziest I've seen it in a while. Go day to spend time doing this. :wink:

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Sun Jul 27, 2014 4:34 pm
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Algonquin trail is amazing and I sang its praises pretty hard here viewtopic.php?p=36626

Also it was the last hike I smoked a cigarette on, and the last time my car didn't have a horrible shifting problem.

I've heard Black Mountain has a really good view ledge but idk if there is a herd path or not


Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:23 pm
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Nice haul Joe!! :shock: My mouth is watering just thinking of the pie I could make with those. I plan to dedicate at least a day next week on vacation to gathering as many as I can off Mt. Major. I'd ask you where you got those but it doesn't appear there'd be many left! :wink:

Walrus wrote:
Algonquin trail is amazing and I sang its praises pretty hard here viewtopic.php?p=36626


I feel exactly like you do. I also had the same loop planned but with the description of the scrambles (even though the WMG usually over-hypes them) on BPT and the sun sinking I decided to retrace my steps. I'd still like to check it out someday but probably for an ascent and back down Algonquin.


Last edited by Granite Guy on Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Jul 27, 2014 6:41 pm
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You had a lot of info on this hike, has it been on the back burner just waiting for an opportunity to arise? :) Awesome pictures and a great TR. We'll probably continue to do the 52WAV list after the towers, we'll be keeping this route in mind for this mountain.

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Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:10 pm
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I hiked up to Jennings Peak via the Sandwich Mt Trail once, but I didn't have time to continue to Sandwich Mt. Your trip report is great and Algonquin looks like an awesome trail. Question about Sandwich Notch Road: I drove that road once years ago and I swore I'd never do it again because the condition was so bad. Is it driveable with a little $%#@-box sedan, or do you have to have a truck?


Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:28 pm
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Man, I'm headin' for my fridge right now! And another good thing about that Turkey Hill Farm (Haverhill) where we picked ours. We went two nights ago, one of the owner's daughters was there, she is a chiropractor and the office is 10 minutes away!


Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:04 pm
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hiking lady wrote:
Well GG as much as you are not doing the 52WAV list, that one is on it! And you got some redlining in with nice views. It was hazy up north from the Canadian wildfires:( looks like it was fine where u were.


Definitely NO 52WAV for me!! But the red line was nice. Disappointed I didn't get the loop I wanted in but some day. And, another list I'm not doing (yet) the NEHH has it too, but that's not officially beginning until the 111 is done, so this and the others I've hiked don't get a check mark quite yet. :D

WeRmudfun wrote:
You had a lot of info on this hike, has it been on the back burner just waiting for an opportunity to arise? :) Awesome pictures and a great TR. We'll probably continue to do the 52WAV list after the towers, we'll be keeping this route in mind for this mountain.


The Hundred Highest has been on the back burner for years so I've looked into it multiple times but never made it there. Every once in a while I pick a peak off it, although as mentioned I'm not actively working on it.


Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:11 pm
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hophiker wrote:
I hiked up to Jennings Peak via the Sandwich Mt Trail once, but I didn't have time to continue to Sandwich Mt. Your trip report is great and Algonquin looks like an awesome trail. Question about Sandwich Notch Road: I drove that road once years ago and I swore I'd never do it again because the condition was so bad. Is it driveable with a little $%#@-box sedan, or do you have to have a truck?


This was only my second time on the road, but IIRC not much has changed in the last 10 years. I have a 4-Runner that made it just fine, but there were a few spots a small car might bottom out. If you brought a shovel you might be able to fill in a few potholes though! :D I don't know what the other end to Sandwich/113 is like though. Maybe it's better. Maybe Hiking Lady knows. Sounds like she was out that way.


Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:16 pm
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Nice. I did the Al a few years ago and really liked it. Glad to see that weathered old sign is still there. I think that was what I liked best about the whole hike :)

I did it a little earlier in the year and remember having to practically run that long straight stretch in the beginning due to the mosquitoes.

I remember the steep part below the col with Black as being pretty rocky with a lot of moss. Very slippery ... but the boots I had back then had pretty bad traction, so maybe that colored my experience a bit.

I liked the wide view from Sandwich Dome, but I thought it was kind of disappointing in that I popped out of the woods and had that view ... but not much more. Paradoxically, I remember the summit as having restricted view despite the panorama ... I guess what I'm getting at is the summit view quality was fine, but the quantity was a bit lacking. But that open section of the Algonquin is quite worthy :)

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Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:47 pm
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Granite Guy wrote:
hophiker wrote:
I hiked up to Jennings Peak via the Sandwich Mt Trail once, but I didn't have time to continue to Sandwich Mt. Your trip report is great and Algonquin looks like an awesome trail. Question about Sandwich Notch Road: I drove that road once years ago and I swore I'd never do it again because the condition was so bad. Is it driveable with a little $%#@-box sedan, or do you have to have a truck?


Maybe Hiking Lady knows. Sounds like she was out that way.


Ya know i came in on the Campton side and there was a vw car behind me and cars parked at Algonquin. However i wouldn't do it in a car. There were a couple of dicey spots. Maybe it wouldn't matter in a *poop* box sedan hophiker.


Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:19 am
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Great pix and looks like a great route! I'd like to hike Sandwich again via this trail. That is, if I can get my Corolla up the road. :/ I think I'd find the route more interesting than the summit, which I thought was pretty blah the first time around. I guess I was expecting it to be more open.

And depending on which map you go by, you'd only need 7 more feet to make it a 4K. ;)


Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:53 am
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