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Thread: Three night backpacking base camp

  1. #1
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    Three night backpacking base camp

    I am brand new to the Whites and a few weeks ago I packed into Unknown Pond for three nights. I managed to grab the only tent site there with views across to the Presidentials which was really nice. From any site of course there were no views of the pond itself. I am thinking about coming up in late May for another three nighter. I have the AMC book and the 60 best day hike book and the internet of course. It's rather daunting to say the least since I am so unfamiliar with the area. Like Unknown, I prefer to set up camp and then do hikes out of there. I haven't been able so far to find what I am looking for. I can pack in maybe five or six miles depending on difficulty, and it would be absolutely awesome if from my tent there would be either views of a pond/lake and ideally mountains. I want to climb one peak and I can manage maybe 3000' of elevation gain. In the Adirondacks, for those of you familiar with this spot, Colden Lake meets all of that criteria. I would come mid week to cut down on crowds. In that respect, fewer is better. I will have my dog with me, but she is amazing on the trail.

  2. #2
    Member Rhody Seth's Avatar
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    I stayed at Ethan Pond campsite a couple years ago which is a fairly easy hike in. Lovely view of the pond and mountains. From there you can backtrack a short ways and then head up Mt. Willey, which does have a steep ladder section which may be tough for a dog.

    Another one that comes to mind is Thirteen Falls campsite in the Pemi wilderness. It would provide a lot of options for day hikes on Day 2 but it would likely be more elevation than you're looking for.

  3. #3
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    Black Mountain Pond has a couple tent pads that overlook the pond. You can hike up to the ledges of Black Mountain and over to Sandwich Dome for your dayhike.

    Flat Mountain Pond has a tenting area overlooking the pond by the shelter. Sandwich Dome is the closest peak.

    Kinsman Pond might be more effort than you're looking to expend to get to camp, but the Kinsmans are right there.

    Tunnel Brook Ponds gives you the chance to disperse camp wherever you want and you can hike Moosilauke.


    Understand that, depending on the winter snowpack, that time of year can be a crapshoot for open roads and clear trails.

  4. #4
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    I second both of Rhody's suggestions and will add a third.

    Ethan Pond campsite from the Zealand TH trades elevation gain for distance. In addition to Mt Willey, ZeaCliff is right there for the taking and has great views into the the Eastern Pemi. (if you do that, you probably want to back track to the Twinway as Zeacliff Trail is not dog friendly). A valley loop of Shoal Pond, Wilderness, and Thoreau Falls trail from Ethan Pond is a nice day. An out and back to either Guyot or Carrigain are more ambitious but would be wonderful day hikes.

    Thirteen Falls campsite from Lincoln Woods TH is a bit longer than you stated but any elevation gain is barely noticeable. Out and backs to Garfield or South Twin are relatively short hikes with a lot of elevation gain. A loop of Owl Head is a nice day hike as well. A loop of the Garfield ridge might look like fun but beware, lots of PUDS.

    I would add the Perkins Notch tent site. Mt Hight to the West and Eagle Crag to the East are great days hikes from Perkins Notch; both destinations can be out and backs or loops when combined with Wild River trail. Wild River Trail requires some experience / confidence in trail finding.
    Last edited by Tom_Murphy; 11-06-2020 at 08:11 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Many, many options, the questions besides what you are looking for also are, how many people are you looking to see and hoem many more times will you be back? Are you looking to do 4k peaks and you will be back peakbagging? Or are you looking for remote and possibly tranquil?

    All good choices, I especially like Tom's Pekin Notch option and is likely the most remote of the places listed. I like the 13 Falls option also, pack in and then do day hikes of Garfield and then another day, Galehead and South Twin. The Garfield Ridge Trail may be my least favorite trail in the Whites due to the PUDS. (The herd Path on Cliff in the ADK was no fun this June either.)
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mac's Avatar
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    The Perch might be an option http://www.randolphmountainclub.org/.../theperch.html unless camping at 4K plus is an issue. Madison, Adams and Jefferson are possible from this location.

  7. #7
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    I backpacked the AT as a section hike and peakbagged along the way. The AT hits a bunch of 4k's through NH. Any of the Wilderness areas you can camp and hike. If you want to set up a basecamp, Wild River campground is pretty decent place to hike out of. Perkins Notch, the few times I camped out there, only had one other group each time and as was said, lots of places to hike in the Wild River Wilderness. Still probably my favorite Wilderness area to date. Hardly any traffic. This year, though, all bets are off.
    One year, we hiked from the Bald Faces, to Mountain pond and back. Saw a coyote along the trail, seen several deer, lots of bear scat around, but I never saw a bear. My GF hiked the Bald Face circle trail last year and saw a bear on the trail.

  8. #8
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    Thank you so much for all of this great info. Solitude is very high up on my list. I am pretty much a one mountain type of guy. Can ass bust for one, but my other days would be preferably day hikes to nice/beautiful areas. A nice view from the campsite would be awesome. For comparison purposes, I hauled 50+ lbs from Millbrook to Unknown Pond without issue (slow going for sure, but getting there was never in doubt). I have almost always used lean tos in the Adirondacks, but I have a real nice tent that is well under four lbs, so hauling it does not present any problems. As I stated, my one dog will be with me, though she is beyond a shadow of a doubt the best dog I have ever had the honor to hike with.

  9. #9
    Member Kyle D's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=rbi99;456214] Solitude is very high up on my list. I am pretty much a one mountain type of guy. Can ass bust for one, but my other days would be preferably day hikes to nice/beautiful areas.


    From what you've said you are looking for, my vote would easily be Ethan Pond. You will love the Shoal Pond-Wilderness Trail-Thoreau Falls loop as a day hike. Also the view from Zeacliff is outstanding as another day trip. If you are looking for more solitude than Ethan Pond which will have other visitors, there are some rogue sites scattered around Shoal Pond. You may be happier there and the view from the shoreline to Carrigain notch is outstanding. If I were you, the approach to Ethan from Zealand rd. is far more scenic and easier (though longer) than the Ethan Pond trail.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sierra's Avatar
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    I would consider the Great Gulf as a option. Its an amazing place and does not see the crowds that many other location do. There are many established sites on various trails. The only caveat to consider is the routes are not very easy and elevation gain to the summits is significant.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Barkingcat's Avatar
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    For solitude, Black Mountain Pond and Perkins Notch, with an emphasis on the latter.

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