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Thread: Lost Trail in the Pemi!!!! Where was the East Side Trail - North End???

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Rindge, NH

    Lost Trail in the Pemi!!!! Where was the East Side Trail - North End???

    On 8/12/15 I left my car at Lincoln Woods visitors center and took the AMC shuttle to Zealand Trail head. At 12:45 I started hking south on "Z" trail to Ethan Pond Trail
    then started down Thoreau Falls Trail. After having looked at the photos on this web site one would have thought that the Thoreau Falls trail was a railroad bed where
    it was like hiking through a tunnel!! Big surprise. Only the lst 1/3 of the south end of the trail was like that. Anyway, I originally thought I would stop at the "soon to be removed" bridge
    over the East branch of the Pemi but when I got there (about 9.5 miles) I decided to try to make it to the campsites on the East Side Trail. So, I continued south on the
    Wilderness trail till I reached the Cedar Brook Trail that goes over towards the Hancocks. My map ("White Mountains waterproof Trail MAp from MAp Adventures) shows
    the East Side Trail meeting at this junction. It also shows the East Side Trail going south and heading a very short distance over to the East Branch of the Pemi and continuing
    south along the river. So, I walked down to the river and that is where it all went wrong!!! NO EAST SIDE TRAIL to be found. I spent a long time searching. I did find a short
    trail going south a few hundred feet to a fire ring but no east side trail!!! By this time I was totally exhausted and started bushwacking along the river. At one point I walked
    away from the river uphill further into the woods and still no trail!!! No place to pitch tent either!!! Finally after about .2 miles I saw a sand bar (mostly baseball sized rocks)
    on the river and realized that I had to stop there. I spent the night there concerned with what I as going to do the next day. Finally, I looked at the map again and considered
    the old Bond Cliff trail which I was familiar with and realized that my best alternative was to ford the river and bushwack up to the Bond Cliff Trail. The ford wasn't too bad at
    only 3 feet or so at deepest part. The bush wack was something else though. downed trees and logs everywhere. I'd be 4' off the ground on a tree one minute and trying
    to fight my way through the deep brush the next! Fortunately I KNEW that the trail was up there and finally reached it. All I could think of as all this was going on was
    that if anything happened to me that they would NEVER find my body!!! Once I got on the Bond Cliff trail it was a 5 mile easy walk back to Lincoln Woods.

    So, my RANT is that if they are going to have trails marked on maps and included in the guide books they should make sure that they can be found and what happened to
    me should not happen to anyone else in the future.

    I am 76 years old and in pretty good shape for my age but I was certainly taxed to the limits of my endurance on this one. You might ask why I did not simply return
    back the way I came. Well, that was an option but I could not have made it the "Z" trailhead for the 9:20am shuttle back to Lincoln woods.

    Finally, we all know that HINDSIGHT is always 20/20 and I do expect that there will be folks reading this that will offer suggestions on what I should have done or not done.
    The reality, however, is that when the boots are on the ground, we are very tired and frustrated we do not always do what may seem obvious to those who have not been in
    this situation.

    I do welcome suggestions on what might be done to bring attention to the right people about the location of that trail at its north end? I still cannot figure out why I could not find it??
    In case anyone is interested and thinks that this is just a "City Dweller" who got in over his head, I want you to know that I have been a long distance hiker since 1968 and have hiked the whole
    AT, 200 plus miles of the Colorado Trail and the Long Trail 2 times as well as all the 4000 footers in New England and some in NY. This is to say that I can find my way around in the woods
    and in the 45 some years I have only gotten confused once and that was when I turned left rather than right on the AT after leaving a lean-to just south of Bear Mountain in NY!!! I remember it to
    this day!! Other than that I have always been able to find and stay on the trail and never needed a compass (I had one on this trip as well as a small air horn and whistle).

    One last word. I have decided that at my age it is just to dangerous for me to hike solo on a trip like this so will stay on more busy trails in the future. Thanks to all for letting me share this
    experience with you.

    Happy Trails from Rindge, NH

    Gordon "Renaissance Man" Ripley
    Last edited by AHIKER; 08-30-2015 at 02:14 PM.

  2. #2
    Member TroutBumNH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Seacoast, NH

    I think the trail junction you were looking for is .5 miles further than you'd gone along the Wilderness Trail. You were likely looking at the point where the old suspension bridge "trail" tee'd into the trail you were on (the red dot on just west of "Wilderness" and north of the 5 in "0.5" on the Map Adventures map (4th edition).

    Just my $0.02,


  3. #3
    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Waltham, MA Jazzbo & Marty meet Bigfoot on Kennebago Divide
    I think I know what might have happened to you. Main question I have is "Did you see a trail sign at the junction at which you thought was junction with East Side Trail?" You may have encountered the junction with the "abandoned" trail that leads to location which used to be the suspension bridge across East Branch which would explain lack of trail. The trail leading to the bridge is still there and has some logs across it to discourage hikers from taking it, but it still fairly obvious. The actual junction with the East Side Trail with the Ceder Brook Trail is 1/2 mile further. In spite of best efforts of WMNF to make visiting the Wilderness Area as difficult as possible they do have a trail sign there. See photo below.

    The FS might wish to consider erecting a sign indicating this is not junction with Cedar Brook Trail, but that would violate the sacred rules of Wilderness Areas "Provide nothing for convenience of hikers - Expert and super-fit back country travelers only". At least a historic sign indicating Trestle #17 for logging RR used be located here and if you're interested you can go see the supports structures that still stand. it is a nice spot to stop to rest and snack.

    You comments are confusing in so far as the East Side Trail in this area actually heads in westerly direction - not south. It turns southward at East Side Campground.

    It sounds like you have a newer edition map as you haven't mentioned the former crossing removed 3 years ago which could also be confusing. If you have an older Map Adventure map it would still show the old suspension bridge and it would be labeled "Wilderness Trail".
    Last edited by Jazzbo; 08-30-2015 at 04:32 PM.
    On #67 of NE67
    On #99 of NEHH
    On #46 of WNH48

    An atom walked up to me and said "i think I've lost an electron"
    I said "are you sure?"
    It reply "I'm positive."

  4. #4
    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Pelham & Bristol, NH
    ugh.... I am NOT surprised this happened. I have gotten lost on "trails" in the Pemi as well. The HUGE kiosks at the trailheads showing the trails/HIKESAFE/bear warnings/etc/etc should tell EVERYONE that, in a Wilderness area, EVERY hiker should be prepared for off-trail travel.

    Not everyone has the latest maps/technology/experience to know what they're in for. Once rescues increase, maybe someone who manages the regulations will actually care.... or maybe not....
    Yay for winter!!!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    New hampshire
    I'm glad you made it out safely, sounds like an epic trip for you, at least you came up with a plan to get out. Being "lost" or not finding the route laid out like you thought it should be, can make you anxious for sure. I was lost once in CO about 9 miles in, makes you feel small in a big place, does it not?

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    During the destruction of the suspension bridge there was some illegal and confusing trail construction and disguising of old trail sections done near the old bridge to try to guide people around and away from some of the trash they left at the bridge site. Looks like you might have gotten tangled up in the mess, or maybe just a bit east of that.

    In any case, once you had crossed the River (not wise, I'd have to say), it would have been lots easier to stay at or near the bank and bushwhack a sort way along the river to the remnants of the old trail they have covered up to the east of the Bondcliff Trailhead (the real one, the old one where it intersects the Wilderness). That remnant, still pretty much intact, would have led you right onto the Wilderness Trail. Except I think they've renamed this section of the Wilderness Trail the Boncliff Trail(?).

    Jeeze it's complicated just trying to write about the mess they've made here.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Becca M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Pelham & Bristol, NH
    The old section of the wilderness trail (on the west side of suspension bridge) leading to the base of the Bondcliff Trail is very obvious and the debris thrown into it to prevent hiking is pretty much cleared out. Seems to see a lot of use and for good reason - it's a TERRIFIC trail section - WHY did they have to close that too?? yeah, I know why.
    Yay for winter!!!!!

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