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Doc McPeak
08-17-2004, 04:41 PM
I'm doing a backpacking "looping" traverse through the Pemi Wild in September after Labor Day. I'm still researching away (only been to NH twice) but thought I would put some of my questions out early for the expert's opinions.

The route as of now: 2 cars. Leave from the Hancock Notch TH, hike the HN to Cedar Brook, to the Wilderness, up Bondcliff, Twinway, to Garfield Ridge, to Franconia Ridge and down from somewhere along the ridge (probably Liberty Spring) to car #2 at The Basin. We will be hitting most all the spurs to peaks along the way. Feel free to chime in on this route with any ideas, suggestions, or warnings.

Here's my laundry list of questions:

1. Parking Passes? Needed for Hancock Notch? The Basin?

2. Supplies in Lincoln? Grocery stores? Walmart? Outfitters? Wine store?

3. Also, is Elvios for dinner a good bet? I remember it being fondly mentioned?

4. About the timing? How are the trails and campsites the week and weekend after Labor Day. Plans right now are to arrive Guyot Campsite after lunch on Friday, and Garfield Ridge Campsite pretty late on Saturday.

5. Is there a charge after Labor Day?

6. If these two are full, what are the other options?

7. After doing the Hancocks we will be thinking about a camp near the start of the Bondcliff Trail. Are there good and legal (200 foot rule, etc.) camping areas near Camp 16? Or early up the Bondcliff Trail? I've looked over the regs and they are similar to NY.

8. Water up high? After the Guyot Site ... to Zealand and back? Then down and to both Twins? Anywhere before the Hut?

9. Water along the Garfield Ridge Trail to Franconia Ridge? And along the FR down to Liberty Springs?

10. Does Layfayette Campground still have pay showers?

I think that does it for now! :D

Any scoops, partial answers, or suggestions greatly appreciated!

Papa Bear
08-17-2004, 05:55 PM
Originally posted by Doc McPeak
We will be hitting most all the spurs to peaks along the way. Make sure you take the time to go over to Flume from Liberty.

7. After doing the Hancocks we will be thinking about a camp near the start of the Bondcliff Trail. Are there good and legal (200 foot rule, etc.) camping areas near Camp 16? Or early up the Bondcliff Trail? I've looked over the regs and they are similar to NY. Was there last week. Try Franconia Brook campground, on the Wilderness Trail by the bridge, 2 miles before the Bondcliff Trail. It's run by the UFSF (not the AMC), it's pretty big (no where near full last week) and is fairly attractive, along the East Branch of the Pemi where Franconia Brook comes in. It's Right Here. (http://www.topozone.com/map.asp?z=19&n=4886273&e=294321&s=50&size=l&datum=nad83&layer=DRG25) And it's FREE. Just find an empty spot and sign in. Other camping is not allowed nearby. You'd have to go off a ways, probably up the Franc. Br. Trail. There were "No camping" signs along the Wilderness Tr. in that area.


10. Does Layfayette Campground still have pay showers?
Yes

Have fun
Pb

Frodo
08-17-2004, 06:49 PM
Hey Doc McPeak,

I'll try to answer some of your questions....

1. Parking Passes? Needed for Hancock Notch? The Basin?

For Hancock Notch, yes, the Basin, no, though I wouldn’t park there. I would recommend parking at the Whitehouse Trail PL. It is about the same distance, but you actually hike on a trail opposed to a bike path which may or may not have bikers flying down it.


2. Supplies in Lincoln? Grocery stores? Walmart? Outfitters? Wine store?

No Walmart (yet), but plenty of other small stores to allow you to get virtually anything you need. I would also recommend stopping by the Mountain Wanderer for maps, books, and some friendly advice from legendary Steve Smith...


3. Also, is Elvios for dinner a good bet? I remember it being fondly mentioned?

Elvio’s is pretty good, and so is the Chinese restaurant (Chieng Gardens) on the second floor.


4. About the timing? How are the trails and campsites the week and weekend after Labor Day. Plans right now are to arrive Guyot Campsite after lunch on Friday, and Garfield Ridge Campsite pretty late on Saturday.

You should have no problem with Guyot on a Friday afternoon. Can’t say the same about Garfield late on a Saturday...


5. Is there a charge after Labor Day?

Yes


6. If these two are full, what are the other options?

If Garfield is full, I would suggest either heading back down the ridge and looking for something on the flats well off the trail. Or just keep going down the other side past the Pond and look for something legal in there.


7. After doing the Hancocks we will be thinking about a camp near the start of the Bondcliff Trail. Are there good and legal (200 foot rule, etc.) camping areas near Camp 16? Or early up the Bondcliff Trail? I've looked over the regs and they are similar to NY.

There are several no camping signs at the junction of the Wilderness Trail and Bondcliff Trails, so I would suggest either finding a legal spot before you reach it, or just keep going up the Bondcliff Trail until you find something (it’s all open woods in that area)


8. Water up high? After the Guyot Site ... to Zealand and back? Then down and to both Twins? Anywhere before the Hut?

If you stock up at Guyot, you should be all set till you reach Galehead Hut. There is no water on the way to Zealand, on the Twinway, or on the Twins (unless a hurricane comes thru the day before you get there, or if you want to filter a mud puddle).


9. Water along the Garfield Ridge Trail to Franconia Ridge? And along the FR down to Liberty Springs?

No. In a pinch there is always the Garfield Pond (nothing like filtered pond water, ewww), but since you will come across it early in the day, you will likely not need water at that point. I would suggest stocking up at Garfield Campsites and be prepared to go all the way to Liberty Springs without a refill (unless you want to decend to Greenleaf Hut, ouch!).


10. Does Layfayette Campground still have pay showers?
As PB says, yes.

Enjoy your trip, it's an awesome time to visit the Whites, and you will likely see a few summit flags flying on the 11th...

Gris
08-17-2004, 08:31 PM
I wouldn't necessarily bank on it, but last July (2003) there was a small spring about 0.25 down from Lafayette toward GL hut. It's easy to miss too. There are also small springs just below Little Haystack which seem to produce a trickle at Shining Rock. However, i don't know it would be worth it to head down there and back instead of just forging on to Liberty Springs site. But you might investgate the little Lafayette spring.

Doc McPeak
08-17-2004, 09:25 PM
Papa Bear,

Flume looks awesome and is on the agenda. We will drop packs at the LST and go over for it and back... or perhaps i'll be going solo and my friend (and once or twice a year BP partner) will be snoozing on Liberty??? I may doing a few of the spurs myself, though he does get easily suckered along for the ride...

I read your (as usual) excellent report on your recent adventures and took note of the FB campsite. We will be coming from the other side so we'll just find a legal spot aways up the Bondcliff, or before if we're dragging at the end of CB.

Frodo!

Record breaking, Denali conquering, and now dishing up the excellent Pemi beta!!! You da man. Great scoops. I had counted Wednesday drive day in my figuring which put us back a day, but we think we may head in to the woods on Saturday now. So Guyot would be Sunday, and Garfield would be Monday. That should work better. I guess I'll be visiting the Hancocks on the 11th, and will say hello to the flagbearers.

I figured as much about water on the ridges. I'll plan on no water except the Hut and springs and work it from there. From Garfield to Liberty will be a haul... Just when you've polished off those bottles of wine, the skin gets filled to the brim with water for the long ridge hike! Hopefully it will be a nice cool September day.

Gris, thanks for the scoops about water on Franconia. Good thing to know. We'll probably just bite the bullet and carry all we need.

Oh yeah, what's the bear situation in there? I'm used to lugging my bear can in the Dacks. How do people store their food at Guyot and Garfield? Last year on the LT, we just hung our food on the rope and tuna can set-ups in the lodges.

Thanks again!

Mohamed Ellozy
08-17-2004, 09:27 PM
2. Supplies in Lincoln? Grocery stores? Walmart? Outfitters? Wine store?

As Frodo says, yes to all except Walmart. But as someone who lives 7 miles from Lincoln and about 15 miles from Plymouth let me gently suggest that shopping in Plymouth is a better experience.

There is a Walmart superstore in Plymouth as well as an excellent supermarket (Hannaford's), both along Rt 25. I do all my food shopping at Hannaford's except when I need something simple and don't want the longer drive. Hannaford's also has a much better wine selection; there is a State Liquor Store in North Woodstock which also has a good selection.

On the other hand, there are multiple outfitters in Lincoln, none that I know of in Plymouth. And, as Frodo says, if you need maps, books or just advice there is the unique Mountain Wanderer in Lincoln.

David Metsky
08-17-2004, 11:13 PM
Originally posted by Doc McPeak
Here's my laundry list of questions:

2. Supplies in Lincoln? Grocery stores? Walmart? Outfitters? Wine store?

There's a supermarket in Lincoln, plus several convience stores. There's an outfitter to the south of 112 fairly close to the highway, plus Mountain Wanderer for books, maps, advice. You can buy wine at the supermarket.


3. Also, is Elvios for dinner a good bet? I remember it being fondly mentioned?

Elvios is OK, nothing fantastic. I prefer going to the other side of the highway and having a brew and dinner at Woodstock Station.


4. About the timing? How are the trails and campsites the week and weekend after Labor Day. Plans right now are to arrive Guyot Campsite after lunch on Friday, and Garfield Ridge Campsite pretty late on Saturday.

Any Saturday night before Colubmus Day is busy, but Garfield Ridge isn't as bad as Guyot or Liberty Springs.


6. If these two are full, what are the other options?

The caretakers will direct you to overflow spots, you won't be turned away. The overflow spots aren't as nice as the "real" ones, but they are servicable.


7. After doing the Hancocks we will be thinking about a camp near the start of the Bondcliff Trail. Are there good and legal (200 foot rule, etc.) camping areas near Camp 16? Or early up the Bondcliff Trail? I've looked over the regs and they are similar to NY.

There's no camping within 1/4 mile of the old Camp 16. It's not listed on the online version but as far as I know it is still enforced. But head up the Bondcliff trail and then go 200 feet from the trail, you can find lots of sites.

Hope that helps, too.

-dave-

Doc McPeak
08-18-2004, 08:58 AM
More good scoops...

My friend is coming from NYC, so we will meet in Plymouth at the Hannaford. I try to avoid Walmarts whenever possible... I can also where a cousin went to college.

Doubt we'll need to visit the outfitter, but it's always good to know where they are.

Woodstock Station it is, Dave.

Almost definite to shift back a pair of days for Sunday and Monday at the campsites, and quieter summits and trails. Good to know we won't get turned away though. Figured it worked something like that.

For Camp 16 we'll either camp before or head up the Bondcliff as suggested.

Now, can I leave the bearcan back in NY? What's the food storage like at the campsites? I envision short trees? But also can't imagine bears up that high? I figured we would do a quick hang before we do the Hancock Loop, but should be safe once on the Ridges?

Thanks again, Dave and Mohamed!

David Metsky
08-18-2004, 09:12 AM
You won't need a bearcan in the Pemi, at least not likely. Up hike (Guyot and Garfield Ridge) most certainly won't be a problem. Mice may be a problem up there, they usually are more of an issue.

Down low it's important to hang your food properly. Concentrated use areas like 13 Falls have bear boxes but if you are setting up camp in the woods you are very unlikely to have a problem. Still, normal precautions are needed to make sure it stays that way. There have been problem bears in the Pemi in years past.

Wear your VftT patch in Woodstock Station, you never know who will be there...

-dave-

Cornbread
08-20-2004, 10:08 AM
I would normally never contradict anything Dave says, but...after labor day (once school starts, really), places like 13 Falls tend to be unmanned, and they stash the bear-box for the winter. So, don't count on it being there. In other words, do what Dave says: take appropo precautions and hang your food.

(I gave someone bad advice on this exact topic last year, so this is my penance.)

David Metsky
08-20-2004, 12:58 PM
Please, contradict away, you may well be right.

From the AMC site:
Nine of the most heavily used sites staffed with caretakers from June 1 to Oct. 15 to help minimize impact in the area and promote Leave No Trace camping practices.
I know 13 Falls has a caretaker in summer, the question is "Does this particular caretaker stay until Oct 15?" A call to the AMC would answer that.

-dave-

Doc McPeak
08-20-2004, 01:35 PM
We probably won't be near any of the lowland campsites, and are prepared to go with our well seasoned (ADKS) hanging technique. Though after that recent Bear incident out west, maybe we should just stash our food in Busch beer cans ... ;)

Another question: We are now taking only one car. What kind of shuttle service is there to take us from the Flume lot up the Kanc for a drop-off at the Hancock Trailhead? We should probably reserve since the date will be a busy (I imagine) saturday Sept. 11.

Also: We may opt for a hotel room in Lincoln that friday. Any suggestions?

I know some of the Inns sometimes do a shuttle service for customers.

Thanks again.

peakbagger
08-21-2004, 07:51 AM
Caretakers after labor day is a hit or miss experience. AMC advertises for replacement workers after the college students head back to school to fill in the huts and the backcountry sites. If they dont get enough candidates, they staff the huts first and the backcountry sites second. This has happened frequently over the years, although usually they cover the weekends at the most popular sites.

Kurchian
08-28-2004, 11:24 PM
Does the spring water at Guyot Shelter need filtering?

David Metsky
08-28-2004, 11:35 PM
It is recommended that all water in the Whites be treated. People drink from springs (including Guyot) without treating it all the time, but I wouldn't. Hikers aren't know for their careful hygene around water sources, alas.

-dave-

Nadine
08-30-2004, 08:31 AM
The AMC offers shuttle service to certain trailheads. If you log on to the website and click on the shuttle link, you could see what matches up.

David Metsky
08-30-2004, 09:06 AM
The AMC Shuttle (http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/lodging-shuttle.cfm) doesn't go up the Kanc so it won't help you here. It's mainly for dealing with the huts, and there are no huts along the Kanc.

THe Shuttle Connection (http://www.theshuttleconnection.com/) should be able to get you to the trailhead.

-dave-

Doc McPeak
08-30-2004, 09:19 AM
I've got my reservation with the Shuttle Connection, and we've got our room right in the Notch so we're looking pretty good.

I was curious about the springs, so Dave already answered that question. Thanks.

One more question about the Bondcliff trail. The book says last sure water at the 2nd crossing. Do you think the brook will be running at some of the higher crossings in this rainy year? No one has mentioned it in any of the reports. There is a note in the AMC guide about water being up the brook bed a bit if the 4th crossing is dry. Since we're lugging full packs we want to fill up as high as possible for our trek over the Bonds. Any thoughts?

Thanks

David Metsky
08-30-2004, 09:29 AM
I've seen the upper two crossing dry, but it has been a fairly wet summer so who knows. If it were me, I'd just fill up at the second crossing and eliminate the worry. You really wouldn't be saving a whole lot of time and effort by waiting until the last crossing.

-dave-

dug
08-30-2004, 10:08 AM
I once convinced our party to lug water all the way past the last true, solid crossing based on past experiences and advice. They didn't let me hear the end of it as we passed multiple little streams that could have provided water. Tough call, but with the recent rains you might be OK. There is nothing once you reach the ridge until you get to the Guyot Shelter.

Will
08-30-2004, 10:47 AM
Originally posted by Doc McPeak
One more question about the Bondcliff trail. The book says last sure water at the 2nd crossing. Do you think the brook will be running at some of the higher crossings in this rainy year?

The third and fifth crossings were very robust this past Friday. Fourth completely dry. The fifth crossing sometimes trickles below the bolders and you can get access up or downstream from the crossing.

Jay H
08-30-2004, 05:28 PM
Eric (Tuco) and I just came back from a 3-nighter in the Pemis... Might be able to answer some of your questions though I lost count of the stream crossings on Bondcliff. We started on the Garfield Tr and stayed the first night at 13 Falls (Caretaker is there, didn't ask him how late he stays there though). Little did I know since i've never camped in the Whites there's an $8/person fee. Well, lets say that we didn't stay in another campsite although we were planning on staying at Garfield Ridge on Sunday night.

We camped on night 2 about a mile up the Bondcliff trail from Wilderness at a stream crossing. Not one of the Black brook crossing but on my AMC White mountains map, is the second stream that feeds into the Black Brook..

That area is very thick but since I wasn't familiar with the area and I knew once the trail headed north, it would be hard to find a spot so we decided to camp off the trail but not far from the stream. The camp we had was very very marginal though. The next day, as we climbed bondcliff, I noticed the forest opens up a lot and there are most likely legal campsites in this area that is a helluva lot better than the one Eric and I stayed at.

The second day, after going all the way over Bondcliff, Bond, etc. etc. and at the Galehead hut, we decided to find a site off the Gale River Trail rather than stay at Garfield Ridge so we hiked down and found a spot next to the Gale River. Nice spot on the other side of the river.

I know there was a falls and stream crossing somewhat after the real steep climb to Bondcliff but I don't know what # crossing this is that you all talk about. It is full of large boulders and if you look out, you look into a ravine before you cross it and head up some more. This stream is definitely flowing and definitely filterable. At least as of 8-29/04 when we went by. It rained ALL NIGHT on saturday night and we had about a 1/2 hour of intense tstorm pass by on Sunday night, all heat related storms that flare up just past sunset....

Jay

Doc McPeak
08-30-2004, 07:07 PM
Thanks everyone for the water scoops!

I'll keep an eye on the weather for the next 2 weeks and go from there. It sounds like there is water up past 3000'? Do you guys remember a ball park elevation?

Jay, thanks for the camping scoops. We will probably camp near the end of the Cedar Brook Trail.

Will
08-30-2004, 08:03 PM
Originally posted by Doc McPeak
It sounds like there is water up past 3000'? Do you guys remember a ball park elevation?

The fifth crossing is at approx. 3100 feet. It's the one with the large boulders Jay referred to.

Jay H
08-31-2004, 06:09 AM
Yes, that sounds about right to me. Eric had a cheap barometric altimeter watch thing and I know we camped around 2000 which was before the real climb to Bondcliff started..

It's a great hike (even in the haze with no views!)


Jay

dug
08-31-2004, 06:22 AM
Lots of bear activity in the Cedar Brook Trail area. Also, alot of that area is off limits to camping as it pretty camped out. Most of the established spots had a 'no-camping' sign in them. But, it is all hardwoods so you should find a spot.

Dr. Dasypodidae
09-02-2004, 12:22 AM
Doc McPeak asked "Also: We may opt for a hotel room in Lincoln that friday. Any suggestions? I know some of the Inns sometimes do a shuttle service for customers."


The Carriage Motel on the main drag in North Woodstock has reasonable rates, a lot of through hikers spend a night there, and I think that the owners might shuttle you around for a fee.

The Pemi Pale Ale at Woodstock Station across the street from the Carriage Motel is one of the hoppiest brews to be found anywhere in the Northeast.

Doc McPeak
09-16-2004, 11:43 AM
Originally posted by Dr. Dasypodidae
The Pemi Pale Ale at Woodstock Station across the street from the Carriage Motel is one of the hoppiest brews to be found anywhere in the Northeast.

Yes, it was. Just how I like 'em! The Pig's Ear was tasty too!

Thanks for all the help, everyone!!! We had an amazing tour around and through the Pemi Wilds. I'll post a trip report soon with many many great pics.