View Full Version : 50 mile hike recommendations?

04-23-2005, 08:20 AM
I am looking for recommendations for a 4-night 50 mile hike in the White Mountains or in Maine. This is for a small group of Scouts to help them get some experience beyond one night trips. I want something a bit flatlandish with a few peaks to break up the days -nothing too boring.

04-23-2005, 11:50 AM
The AT between Monson and Flagstaff Lake I think is a perfect outing that satisfies the specs. You get two good climbs of 1500 feet plus. Moxie Bald Mountain (2,629 feet) & Pleasant Pond Mountain (2,477 feet). They get to take a canoe ferry crossing over the Kennebec River. Lots of ponds and waterfalls for swimming in between to break up the woodland walking. Also a couple of river fords to teach some balancing skill. Plenty of wilderness. Only two paved road crossings in that entire stretch. Also, you could resupply at the Route 201 crossing at Caratunk or maybe even leave some goods with Steve Longley at his place. If going north to south (actually east to west), the last morning you could have them feast on pancakes at Harrison's Pierce Pond Camp.

Here would be a rough itinerary.
Day 1: Blanchard-Shirley Road to Moxie Bald Pond Lean-to. 11.6 miles.
500 feet elevation gain. Highlight: The two Piscataquis River fords
and Bald Mountain Stream crossing. Excellent swimming at Bald
Mountain Pond.

Day 2: Moxie Pond Lean-to to Pleasant Pond Lean-to. 13.3 miles.
2500 feet elevation gain. This is your mountain day. Moxie Bald &
Pleasant Pond Mountain (great views). Another night at a swimmable
lake, this one with a boat dock.

Day 3: Pleasant Pond Lean-to to Pierce Pond Lean-to. 10.6 miles.
Another lake to camp by and swim in. 1400 feet elevation gain.
Highlights: Canoe ride across Kennebec River & waterfalls along Pierce
Pond Stream. Also, 6 miles into hike, you cross US 201 and can
resupply or pick up stashed supplies at Longley's place in Caratunk.

Day 4: Pierce Pond Lean-to to West Carry Pond Lean-to. 10.0 miles.
700 feet elevation gain. Start off this day with a full breakfast at
Harrison's Pierce Pond Camp (make arrangements evening before).
Mid-day stop 6.2 miles-East Carry Pond. Another evening at the shore
of the pond. Swimming & loons. Between East & West Carry Ponds
discuss the history of Benedict Arnold's ill fated attack on Quebec.
They hiked thru here using part of this route over 200 years ago!

Day 5: West Carry Pond Lean-to to East Flagstaff Road (end of hike).
5.9 miles. 1200 feet elevation gain. One last stop for a swim, 0.6 mile
before the end of the hike - Flagstaff Lake. Plenty of time to undo
car shuttle and drive home.

If you need a day to drive up: add Day 0: Drive up and set up car shuttle. Hike 2.7 miles to Horseshoe Pond Shelter. This hike will include the first of the Piscataquis River fords and 250 feet of elevation gain. This will also make day 1-8.9 miles & only another 250 feet of elevation gain.

04-23-2005, 02:11 PM
How old are the scouts? Twelve miles a day in the Whites might be a bit much for the younger ones...

04-23-2005, 06:03 PM
The boys are 14+. It is a select group. They have all hiked before (and will have a couple solid shake down hikes. Three separate outings are planned, the other two are the Presidentials South to North, and a loop around the Pemi (Franconia Ridge to Bond etc...).

04-23-2005, 07:14 PM
I can't help trying to fit your parameters into my back yard, so heare goes:

West to East (a totally arbitrary decision) -- Start at Route 113 (Holderness Rd). Morgan Tr - Crawford Ridgepole Tr - Sandwich Notch Rd - Algonquin Tr - Bennett St Tr - Flat Mtn Pond Tr - McCrillis Tr - Rollins Tr - Dicey's Mill Tr - Walden Tr - Lawrence Tr - Old Paugus Tr - Beeline - Piper Tr - Middle Sister Tr - Carter Ledge Tr - Nickerson Ledge Tr - Piper Tr.

It's only 40 miles, but 10 miles/day on this route will be a good workout. Mountain Summits include Morgan, Percival, Squam, Doubletop, Sandwich, Whiteface, Passaconaway, Nanamocomuck, (Wonalancet) Hedgehog, Paugus, Chocorua, Three Sisters. It includes an end-to-end traverse of the Sandwich Range Wilderness, a remote high pond, some river walking and 13,200' of climbing (avaerage 3400'/day).

OK, so it's not flatlandish. But you're not going to find 50 miles of flatlandish hiking in the Whites

04-23-2005, 07:22 PM
Just curious: are you looking for a loop hike?

04-23-2005, 08:46 PM
A loop is not important. Minimum of 50 miles is what counts (the lads want their 50 miler award). The two trips recommended so far sound good. I'll pass them on to the boys doing the route planning.

More suggestons are welcome. I know it's hard to find good flatlander stuff in the Whites, but anything near to or less than a few thousand feet of ascent in a 12 mile day is pretty flat in my estimation.

Tramper Al
04-24-2005, 09:00 AM
How about the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway? (http://www.msgtc.org/MSGTCtrail.htm) I believe it is something like 49+ miles peak to peak, so by the time you have ascended Sunapee and descended Monadnock, you'll be all set.

Camping is limited to the handful of designated campsites, so you may not be able to divide your daily miles as evenly as you might like. And it would not be a good choice for a large group (>10 ?).

If you can work with those issues, I think it absolutely meets your criteria for 50 miles, mainly flatland with a few nice peaks. As a bonus it is an end-to-end accomplishment to go with the 50 mile patch.

04-24-2005, 09:11 AM
Ah, the 50 miles are a non-negotiable requirement. The route I suggested could be modified to meet your requirement but now I think you're better off with something along the line of Arron's suggestion. Anything on the AT between Gorham and Baxter could be considered. Road crossings could be used as caches.

I guess the LT in Vermont is further than you want to travel. Many years ago I enjoyed my Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway hike. I think that's 50+ miles and flatlandish by your standards but probably won't have the backcountry feel the boys are looking for. I don't know enough about the Cohos Trail to recommend it but it might be worth looking into. It's 162 miles long and you could probably find a section that meets your parameters.

04-24-2005, 03:47 PM
My firsty thought was pretty much the same as what Askus recommends (although in less detail), it covers some great terrain and is pretty easy (My, then, 14 y/o son and I did a 22 mile day day coming into Monson from the South). I also remember some spectacular blueberry picking in August. You could also carve out a piece of the 100 mile wilderness as a Maine alternative.

A second possibility would be to take a 50 mile piece of the AT starting just south of Moosilauke. For example, you could go from Rt. 25 at Glencliff NH and go south to VT. rt. 14 @ West Hartford VT. - there is some beautiful territory there and its pretty easy going. Alternately you could start a little north of 25, at Rt. 112, Kinsman Notch, in NH in order to add Moosilauke and finish at Hanover for about 52 miles. The stretch across Moosilauke would add difficulty, but offer a great peak as a reward. If you started in Hanover, Moosilauke could be the Capstone of the trip.

A group of 14 year old scouts who have some trail experience should be able to average better than 12 miles a day if you don't have too many ups and downs. My son was not an uber-hiker by any stretch and had no problem with 12 - 16 mile days at 13 and averaged about 14 on a backpacking trip the following year and spent a lot of time waiting up for me at trail crossings.

04-24-2005, 09:44 PM
Thank you all. The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway sounds good. We could find a side trip to get the 50. The group size is likely to be no more than 6, including two adults. The Moosilauke trip sounds good too. My son did Moosilauke when he was 8, and he managed. When the boys are well prepared and enthusiastic about the challenge, they can do a lot. Another group of our Scouts will be doing the Presidentials, and a third will do a peak-baggers loop around the Pemi.

An alternative I'm considering is a set of short hikes between camp sites from which we can day hike some peaks or other destinations to get 50 miles in.

04-25-2005, 08:59 AM
Consider doing roughly half the 100 Mile Wilderness from Abol Bridge to West Branch Ponds (or vise versa). I think this meets your 50 mile threshold with a bit to spare plus there are a couple side trips. I haven't hiked it but have visited parts of the route in scouting out car spots, caches and bailouts. Latest DeLorme is essential.

Tramper Al
04-25-2005, 09:15 AM
Thank you all. The Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway sounds good. We could find a side trip to get the 50. The group size is likely to be no more than 6, including two adults.

I don't have my MSG Guidebook handy, but the miles they'll quote you for its trail length are just from summit of Sunapee to summit of Mondanock. So your guys will be comfortably over 50 miles just by walking in to the start and out from the finish - no side trips to add mileage will be necessary.

They may especially enjoy ending their 50 mile quest on a 'grand summit' like Monadnock. I would suggest you go southbound with that in mind. And, I don't know how the scouts feel about non-BSA patches, but they'll have earned the right to wear the MSG patch (http://www.msgtc.org/MSGTCgarb.htm) as well.

This online MSG map (http://www.msgtc.org/MSGTCmap.htm) should give you a rough idea of where the hills and campsites are along the 50 miles.

Eric Savage
04-25-2005, 10:30 PM
An alternative I'm considering is a set of short hikes between camp sites from which we can day hike some peaks or other destinations to get 50 miles in.

Another possibility that might match up with this idea is to explore the Wild River area, east of the Carter-Moriah range. There are several places to set up camp and you could day hike to various peaks of the surrounding ridges. Someone else would have to speak to the ruggedness of those day trips though, as I have not climbed any of them from inside that valley.

04-26-2005, 08:02 PM
I'm going by a 20+ year memory here but I recall that the Wild River Trail and Moriah Brook Trail and on up to the summit of Moriah were both very pretty and not overly challenging. Haven't been up the Baldface range from that side but there sure looks like some nice loop possibilities.