Sunday, February 28, 2016

Unknown Pond Peak - 3510 Ft

View of the Horn across Unknown Pond
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Berlin / Kilkenny
DESTINATION: Unknown Pond Peak
ELEVATION: 3510 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 31.713, W71 22.813
TRAIL: Unknown Pond Trail, Kilkenny Ridge Trail, Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 7.0 Miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1810 feet
HIKING TIME: 3 Hours 35 minutes
SEASON: Winter
DATE: February 27, 2016
WEATHER: 55 degrees, clear



PARKING: From route 110 in Berlin turn left into the Berlin Fish Hatchery on (York Pond Rd.) Continue 3 miles to the Fish Hatchery gate (open 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM) and continue another 2 miles to the Unknown Pond Trail head on the right. Parking coordinates N44 29.880, W71 21.580.  Driving time from Manchester is 2 hours 45 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Stark Quad

MAP: (Unknown Pond Peak)




DESCRIPTION:

The Unknown Pond Trail enters the woods and follows the path of an old railroad grade for the first 0.5 mile then exits a short incline to the right. The trail has some overgrowth and is poorly marked with minimal mustard colored blazes as it continues along the bank of a unnamed stream. It makes a gradual incline as it crosses a few hoppable tributaries eventually making three manageable crossings of the brook which can be difficult in high water or winter conditions.  After just over 2 miles and the 3rd brook crossing the trail departs the stream and grade increases to moderately difficult as it passes through a beautiful birch and fern glade offering excellent views of the northern Presidential range and the Horn.  The Unknown Pond Trail continues through a short section of thick fir trees and at 3175 feet reaches the southern short of Unknown Pond.  The trail parallels the eastern shore which offers reflective views of the Horn reaching the Kilkenny Ridge trail junction after 3.3 miles. This area offers several campsites and is popular during all seasons.

Continue east on the Kilkenny Ridge trail approximately 0.25 miles to the height of land.  Find an open spot and begin the short 0.25 mile bushwhack to the southeast.  The woods are mostly open and during my February bushwhack I encountered little resistance and no snow on my sleeves or down the back of my neck. The summit has a high bump however I didn't find a sign or canister at this location.  There was a glass jar with fluorescent orange string hanging from a door handle a few hundred feet away.  I was disappointed with the lack of a welcome.  The jar contained a folded piece of paper and broken pen. I didn't sign in due to frozen ink in the pen.  There was a recent entry from April 2015. I didn't attempt to examine the log more thoroughly due to it's fragile condition.  There were no views from the summit.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Unknown Pond Trail - Kilkenny Ridge Trail 3.3 Mi 3.3 Mi
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - Height of Land 0.25 Mi 3.55 Mi
Height of Land - Unknown Pond Peak 0.25 Mi 3.8 Mi
Unknown Pond Peak - Height of Land 0.25 Mi 4.05 Mi
Height of Land - Unknown Pond Trail 0.25 Mi 4.3 Mi
Unknown Pond Trail - Parking 3.3 Mi 7.6 Mi

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Unknown Pond Trail - Kilkenny Ridge Trail 1 hour 35 minutes 1 hour 35 minutes
Kilkenny Ridge Trail - Height of Land 10 minutes 1 hour 45 minutes
Height of Land - Unknown Pond Peak 15 minutes 2 hours
Unknown Pond Peak - Height of Land 10 minutes 2 hours 10 minutes
Height of Land - Unknown Pond Trail 10 minutes 2 hours 20 minutes
Unknown Pond Trail - Parking 1 hour 15 minutes 3 hours 35 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3510 feet Unknown Pond Peak is one of the lower peaks on the New Hampshire Hundred highest. It's a relatively short and mostly trailed hike with an extremely short and straightforward bushwhack. Unknown Pond Peak, along with Scaur Peak are short bushwhacks making them a great introduction to winter bushwhacking. I toyed with the idea of continuing over the Horn, Bulge and Cabot returning via York Pond Trail however I got a late start in the morning due to a good Samaritan act of chauffeuring a fellow hiker (and his dogs) the 2 miles back to the Fish Hatchery to find a local who could provide access to AAA and someone more knowledgeable than me in how to retrieve keys from a locked car. This was my first hike in several months and the delay confirmed that the NEHH peaks weren't in the cards today.  It was a cold 9 degrees as I parked the car at 8:30 AM with the clearest blue skies I have seen.  The temperature warmed up to 35 upon return making it an ideal day to hit the trails.
View of the Horn 
The Unknown Pond Trail head

Northern Presidential Range




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