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 Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy - 8/14/14 
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 Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy Nancy - 8/14/14
Nancy Brook
Nancy Cascades
Nancy Brook National Natural Landmark
Nancy Pond
Mt. Nancy

10 miles; 3000 feet elev. +/-

Mostly in the clouds under mostly cloudy skies w/ a chance of showers. Highs: mid-40s °F Wind: W at 20-35 mph increasing to 30-45 mph

That was the MWOBS forecast for today, so I decided to do another hike I've been eyeing for 10+ years that would have enough of interest even if the summit views never appeared to be worth the trip up north. I left home at 4 and was sitting on the shore of lake Chocorua by 5:30, just in time to watch the sunrise and finish my coffee. it wasn't looking promising but when the sun came up at 5:38 it lit up the sky with some nice pink and blue pastel colors to go with what was left of the fog and clouds from the clearing storm. Good start to the day!

Sunrise at my usual stop on the ride north
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Clouds, fog, mountains and sunlight mixing nicely
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After that I headed across the Kanc to Bear Notch road and took that to Bartlett to scout what was in store for me from the viewpoints and was pleasantly surprised to find things clearing up except for some summit caps of clouds. Hopeful that they too would burn off I continued on and was the only car in the lot at 7:30 when I started the hike. The first 2.5 miles of this trail are easy going, almost never steep and for the most part have good footing. The only issue was the 2.5 inches of rain the area had the yesterday, so things were wet and the streams were swollen. The first crossing of Halfway Brook was pretty easy to rock hop, but then I hit the crossing of Nancy Brook. Not so easy. In fact not possible to rock hop, and after trying a few different spots I decided to just take my boots off and cross that way.

Things were looking good from Bear Notch Road
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Only one there at 7:30 so let the games begin!
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Halfway Brook was rock-hopable with a little care and a stick for balance
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Nancy brook however was not but that's the trail continuing on the far side
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I took my boots off and crossed a bit upstream where it wouldn't sweep me away if I slipped
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After drying off I continued on my way, passing the remains of the old mill, before finally hitting the crossing at the foot of Nancy Cascade 2.5 miles from the car. Again it wasn't hopable, so off came the boots again and I was able to cross on the rocks by stepping on the ones with only a few inches of water on top of them. I could see and hear the cascades thundering just ahead of me so I left my boots off knowing I'd want to try and move around for some pictures on the rocks so why chance wet boots, and when I came around the corner was greeted with a continual blast of cool soaking mist in my face from the cascade as it poured down the rocks. It was a pretty awesome sight! Usually in pictures I've seen it sort of trickles and leaps from ledge to ledge, but today with 2.5 inches of rain giving it a boost it was pouring over. I worked my way down for some pictures but it was hard to get one before the lense kept getting misted on, so after drying it off a bunch of times I took what I could get, put my boots on again and was off again.

Some remains and artifacts from the old Lucy Mill alongside the trail
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Another not hopable crossing at the base of the cascades, but it was much easier than the last
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The falls/cascades were thundering the morning after a big rain storm
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I tried to get a few better pictures but I couldn't keep the camera dry for more than a few seconds in the misty glen unless I stood far away
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After the falls it was short but steep climb as you entered the Nancy Brook virgin spruce forest, which if you didn't know is a National Natural Landmark. Rather than blbber I'll just cut and paste from the National Parks website :D

"The montane stand of red spruce within Nancy Brook Virgin Spruce Forest and Scenic Area, may be the largest virgin forest tract in the northeastern United States. Located within the White Mountain National Forest, the diverse landscape at the site includes classic high elevation ponds, landslides, steep valley walls, cascades, boulder streams, beaver clearings, mountain slopes, ridges, summits, and distant views."

So that's it in a nutshell. The trail was very wet, but seems like it must always be as there's dozens if not hundreds of bog bridges. Wet roots made footing tricky, but the grades were easy and it was a very enjoyable section of trail to wander up and after about 3/4 of a mile came to the ponds, Norcross, Nancy and another small one in between to be exact. Things were not looking good for views however. Disappointing but not unexpected.

The old growth (and very wet) spruce forest the trail climbs through
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Old growth, and new
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Lots of old downed decaying trees but not much underbrush
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Both the trails and the woods were very wet
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There wasn't much to see from at the ponds. Clouds hung around 3500 feet, covering the tops of most mountains and blocking the views, so I didn't stick around there long and headed for the herd path up to the summit of Mt. Nancy. The trail had been easy going for 4.3 miles, but the path was a different story. Full of wet roots the footing was slippery, the wet branches soaked me and this sucker is steep! I don't know how long it is but it climbs 800 feet from the pond to the summit in fairly short distance. About 1/4 of the way up I came to the rock slide, so I went out to see the clouded over views, and found while there that the footing was actually better than on the herd path and similar to the south slide on Tripyramid. I had read it was crumbly and slid backwards as you walked but the rain had consolidated it and firmed it up temporarily, so I decided to go as high as I could on that. After a few hundred vertical feet on it I exited at the top and rejoined the herd path and followed that another 400 vertical feet on wet roots and mud steeply to the summit. Unfortunately views were limited, as the clouds had yet to lift, but occasionally a glimpse was offered up from the small clearing. Not enough to keep my interest and after about 20 minutes in the 52 degree temps soaking wet I decided to head down.

Stubborn clouds blocking the views and summit of Mt. Anderson across Nancy Pond
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Finally arriving at my favorite wilderness in the Whites
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The much anticipated view of the Bonds from Norcross Pond was even worse
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And the view from the outlet was only slightly better
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A little better view from the slide
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Footing was surprisingly decent so I followed it as far as it would take me
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Then it was a steep, root covered, muddy herd path to the top
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And suddenly you're there
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Views occasionally opened up for a few seconds but left a lot to be desired and the stubborn clouds wouldn't budge
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I started down and literally not 5 minutes after I did blue skies began to appear. It took me a while to descend the 400 feet or so to the slide on the wet rooty slick path, and more than once I was saved a spill by grabbing the nearest tree. I intended to take the pat h the whole way but again found the footy so slick along side the slide it was easier and safer just to use it again, and as a bonus with the views finally opening up the scenery was spectacular. After the slide the going was easier back to the ponds, and the views from the outlet were also opening up and the magnificent Pemi wilderness was showing itself for the first time all day.

Blue skies arriving. Better late than never!
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The slide offers up a pretty nice view of Mt. Anderson and the Pemi
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Back at the outlet of Norcross Pond things were looking up too
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And why shouldn't the summit of Nancy open up half an hour after I left?
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Even Nancy Pond was getting in on the blue sky act
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Going down the rest of the trail was a breeze. It had significantly dried out in just a few hours. Water levels had dropped 4 or 5 inches to a couple feet depending on where it was and the crossings were hopable with boots on and the sun was shining. I looked closer at a few of the upper cascades I'd negleceted on the way up, stopped to see the falls with a little less mist and finished off the last 2.5 miles in good time. Back at the parking area I met a guy rolling his own cigarettes who had driven all the way from Cleveland to hike that trail. Apparently it's a favorite of his as he told me he's done it a bunch before and had turned back at the cascades because it was so wet. He was 60 years old and didn't want to risk slipping on the wet bog bridges. Seems odd that with all the trails and places you could get to from Cleveland Nancy Pond Trail is the one you frequent, but to each their own. I also really liked this hike. A lot to see even without views and perfect to do after a big rain storm with the falls and cascades pouring down everywhere. I've waited 10+ years to finally check this one off my list and it was definitely worth the wait.

Checking out a few other cascades, the Nancy Cascades again and a view from the trail near top of the falls of Stairs Mountain were the highlights of the trip down.
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This wet hike was filled with all kinds of mushrooms and fungus too
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Last major crossing was hopable this time. In case you forgot it looked like the second picture just a few hours before
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Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:52 pm
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Awesome. All the way to Mt. Nancy is a bit more than I can handle, but a hike into the cascades, spruce forest, and ponds looks like one to add to my bucket list.


Fri Aug 15, 2014 12:16 am
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I see you can't pass Chocorua Lake, or the lookouts on Bear Notch Rd. without stopping either. 8) I've been on the Nancy Pond Tr. 4 times and I've never seen it like that. Amazing how much it went down during the coarse of the day.

Great pix.

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Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:10 am
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Awesome pics as always. You had much better views than I did yesterday. Love the "PAC man" shroom.


Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:34 am
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HWC the cascades, forest and ponds would be a fantastic destination by themselves. So much great scenery in 4 easy going miles. No real reaon to summit Nancy if you don't want to but the slide is pretty low on the herd path (200 (?) feet up vertically) and its not real steep til after that so if you want that view its pretty easy to get to.

Joe, like you I have trouble passing anything without taking a picture! 8)

Gibba when you said you were in the western whites in the other thread I was wondering how the views turned out. It looked pretty gloomy out that way until mid afternoon. Pac man chasing the leaf ghosts was cool. I saw hundreds of shrooms but he was the one I took the time to take a picture of.


Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:37 am
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Definitely socked in. The sun poked out around 930 but quickly ran away. I'll throw up a trip later on.


Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:10 am
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As usual, awesome pics! :D Does this mean you're back in persuit of the NE100?

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Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:11 am
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Wow, that is a dramatic difference in water levels over a few hours. Spectacular pics for a partially gloom day. Sounds like you made the best of it. I have yet to get there and it has been on my list for years and years. Someday.. someday...


Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:12 am
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IQuest wrote:
Does this mean you're back in persuit of the NE100?


Semantics, or denial maybe! :D It's a longer term goal so I'm not really chasing it. The 111 is the only list I really feel I'm after since whenever I can go with my usual buddy that's our focus and what we decided was next after the 67. That said there's a lot of good hikes on the HH that I've wanted to do for years, but at the moment I've only hiked a handful of them, and working up the desire to hike things like the 6 pack is going to be tough knowing how spectacular and different and new the ADKs are (to me) and that they're the same distance away. But it is actually next in line and makes a nice backup plan if the weather is bad in NY when we get a weekend free or if I get a day free to do a bigger hike.


Fri Aug 15, 2014 10:23 am
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hiking lady wrote:
Wow, that is a dramatic difference in water levels over a few hours. Spectacular pics for a partially gloom day. Sounds like you made the best of it. I have yet to get there and it has been on my list for years and years. Someday.. someday...


HL if it's a matter of a bushwhack, this hike DEFINITELY is NOT that. You would do fine on it. The only thing is the steepness after the falls for a bit and the steep's up to Nancy. Everything else is gravy.

Greg

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Fri Aug 15, 2014 1:20 pm
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Nice GG. I love the way you make the water flow in your pix....cool!

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Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:09 pm
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What can I say? What a beautiful report! I love the Pemi Wilderness, it's my own personal Holy Land. My favorite photos were those ferns with their rain drops and Old Growth/New growth. And that mushroom made me think of a pie with its first slice gone! I'd like to go back there and stay overnight near Norcross Pond. I know at one time there was a shelter, maybe it's rotted away by now! Does the Mt. Nancy heard path go right up to the summit?


Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:33 pm
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Beckie and Prema wrote:
I love the Pemi Wilderness, it's my own personal Holy Land.


Not quite. You have to share it with me!! :D

Beckie and Prema wrote:
I'd like to go back there and stay overnight near Norcross Pond. I know at one time there was a shelter, maybe it's rotted away by now! Does the Mt. Nancy heard path go right up to the summit?


It would be an amazing spot to star gaze from the shore of the pond, but there is no shelter there anymore. There are however well established campsites, a couple right off the herd path on spurs and one righ along side it, and since it's not a trail there's no 200 foot restriction if you wanted to use them.

And yes the herd path goes right to the top. Down low it's wide, brushed in a little for a bit and then the woods thin out. Easy as many trails to follow and the slide was cool too for a short (1/10 mile???) change of scenery. In a nutshell it looks like this...

Clear as day down low
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Brushy middle
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Opens up in nice woods after the slide area
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And steeply leads to the summit clearing in 1/2 a mile or so
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And the clearing looks like this. Can't really tell you what the view looks like however. :(
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Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:47 pm
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Heh, my immediate reaction was the same as Ian's -- NEHH for GG!

Dang though, I REALLY wish that I'd known that path was there to the summit before I went to Norcross etc. last month. I'm very much NOT chasing the NEHH at this point, but dang I hate to miss a mountain. . . and it IS the highest in NH that I haven't been up, which kind of does make it a target, especially as it's apparently so accessible. Dang!


Sat Aug 16, 2014 3:04 pm
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Granite Guy wrote:
Can't really tell you what the view looks like however. :(


Image

:wink:

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Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:30 pm
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