North Pack Monadnock

April 26, 2013.

I've been curious about this route up to North Pack for quite some time and finally took the time to find some more info as to where the trail actually begins. I've been up this road to hike North Pack via the Wapack Trail four times now and have never seen where this trail is located. Armed with much better info and today seems like as good as time as any. Heading slowly up Mountain Road and there is the trail sign on the left and a place to park just across the road.

Armed with no physical map due to the lack on any info on the Internet I head out. I also just bought the AMC Southern NH Trail Guide and was quite disappointed that they do not have maps other then Monadnock, Cardigan and Sunapee/Pillsbury State Park. Of course while doing this write-up I now find a map.

Anywho, on the trail and there is a map posted on a tree just after starting on Ted's Trail.

 

The trail meanders through the woods relatively flat crossing over a few streams and some recently forested areas. Not completely forested but thinned out so it's not an eyesore. Reaching the first junction with Carolyn's Trail and I come across a weird anomaly on a tree. I think I found the inspiration for Wallace of Wallace and Gromit fame.

 

The trail passes through a stand of Beech trees with there smooth bark and the first of many stone walls on this trip.

 

Crossing the stone wall and I am entering the Wapack National Wildlife Refuge. Shortly after, surprisingly the trail comes upon a rocky outcropping and actually passes through them on a wooden bridge. Hidden from view until on the bridge and on the left is a small waterfall. What a strange and unexpected but pleasant little spot in the middle of the woods.

 

 

The trail follows this brook for a ways meandering through the woods passing a few smaller cascades along the way. Shortly the climb begins getting steeper as it goes for the first real elevation gain of the day. Crossing another stone wall and parallelling it for a bit and a reprieve from the steepness.

Over a few ledges and a short and quick climb onto a ledgey outlook, the first view for the day. Up and over some more rocky ledges and another viewpoint this time with better views all the way to Pawtuckaway State Park located in Nottingham.

 

Further up the trail and I reach the intersection where Ted's Trail goes right and a trail out to the Cliffs goes left. Making my way left and soon I realize where I am as I have never come out via this way. Out in an open meadow before reaching the Cliffs and this is the spot I was at over a year ago when I came to watch the sunrise on that cold February morning. The only difference is I came in from the other direction, now I know where this trail goes, as I thought I was following a herd path that morning. Reaching the Cliffs and always decent views from this spot. A look down from the top at the talus field below and a shot south at the Wapack Range from Pack Monadnock to Watatic.

 

Sneaking around a corner of the ledge and I can see Monadnock.

Heading back and I missed these trees on the way in, couldn't figure out what caused it. The only time I have seen tree bark stripped is from bears but these trees had no claw marks and they where not just low but high up. Turns out the guilty animal is most likely porcupines.

 

Back at the intersection and continuing on Ted's Trail going over all different terrain. From woods, to ledges, to dark woods, snow still hanging in there in the shady spots, to more ledges until it pops out onto the Cliff Trail in the most inconspicuous place. Been by this spot quite a few times and I have never ever noticed this trail before.

 

 

A little over two hours from starting and I am once again on top of North Pack Monadnock. Someone has taken some time and rebuilt the cairn as last time I was here it was a jumbled mess.

Another shot of Monadnock with the sun setting.

A quick trip over to the northern ledges and Kearsarge is just barely visible in setting sky and haze. Being almost 6 in the evening it is time to boogie back down taking Carolyn's Trail this time. The trail starts out very ledgey, then rocky and finally very woodsy. I get the impression that this trail is not used as much as Ted's or the Wapack Trails.

 

A couple of nature's curios as I am coming down. A huge boulder/ledge, as it is at ground level, with a cool split and a beech tree with a strange slit in it.

 

Reaching the marsh and they have put boardwalks along this area to help protect against erosion. There is even a bench in the middle of this stretch to sit and reflect (not during black fly and mosquito season).

 

Making good time and even jogging in the easy spots, did I mention I went backpackless and poleless for this hike? I reach the flat spot and there is a loud noise right in front of me. A quick flash going to my right and another to my left, there were two deer in the trail and I spooked them and they in turn spooked me. Reaching a junction in the trail and I head left slowly and quietly hoping to get look at one of the deer. Up the trail a hundred yards and there he is but he runs back to where I first scared them and too quick for me to get a shot with the camera. Back down the trail and I catch another glimpse of him as he takes off in the direction of the first deer and there is nothing in the picture I did get. I follow and see there hoof marks in the trail but never see them or hear them again. Making my way back to the intersection and I figured out where I am, at the first junction where Carolyn's Trail and Ted's Trail diverge. There is another trail, not on the map, that is blazed red and it is the one I turned initially to follow the deer. Will have to come back at some point to explore where this trail goes.

Making my way out on Ted's Trail and it is a little after 7 when I emerge onto Mountain Road and back at the car. A great set of trails and definitely a return trip is warranted.


Final numbers: 5.9 miles, 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Redline Miles: 0.0, Total to Date: 357.4