Sunday, May 21, 2017

East Scar Ridge (3620 Feet), Middle Scar Ridge (3480 Feet)

East Pond and East Peak of East Scar Ridge 
STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Livermore
DESTINATION: East Scar Ridge, Middle Scar Ridge
ELEVATION: 3620 feet, 3480 feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: East Scar - N44 01.153, W71 33.917
SUMMIT COORDINATES: Middle Scar - N44 01.518, W71 34.830
TRAIL: East Pond Trail, bushwhack
DISTANCE: 6.25 miles
ELEVATION GAIN: 1820 feet
HIKING TIME: 5 hours
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 20, 2017
WEATHER: 65 degrees, clear skies

PARKING:

Parking can be found at the East Pond trail-head on Tripoli road. There is parking for about 10 cars in the lot with overflow parking available on Tripoli road. There is not a USFS pay station parking fee at this trail-head.

Drive time from Manchester is approximately 90 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Mount Osceola quad

MAP: (Scar Ridge, East peak), (Scar Ridge, Middle peak)


DESCRIPTION:

Scar Ridge has a nasty reputation as one of the thickest and most challenging bushwhacks in the white mountains. I teamed up with a partner for this endeavor and we found both extremes of difficult and challenging sections where the spruce are so thick that you can't see your feet along with spotty sections of wide open woods.

The East Pond trail starts along a gravel road for 0.4 miles to the junction of the Little East Pond trail. A hundred feet to the right is the site of the old Tripoli Mill remains (see historical data below). The trail ascends gradually then crosses East Pond brook still with a moderate ascent reaching East Pond and the junction with the East Pond Loop trail after 1.4 miles. The pond offers excellent reflective views of the East peak of East Scar Ridge. East Pond trail continues its moderate ascent another 0.8 miles to the height of land at 3100 feet. Take a deep breath, build some self-esteem and start the bushwhack to East Scar Ridge. We found the first 0.3 miles a pleasant stroll through very open woods. After a few comments about the ease of this journey, karma struck at approximately 3400 feet where the spruce closed in surrounding us with thick and dense Christmas trees. This whack was arguably the nastiest of the entire traverse and finding the summit was uplifting. The thickness continued on descent but opened up as we reached the 3400 foot elevation contour. The open woods were an easy stroll to the unmarked 3400 peak between Middle Scar and East Scar. This peak contains an obvious summit high point but is not marked with a sign, canister or any other man-made symbol. We descended to the northwest through patchy and spotty woods into the northeast side of the col and a thick, steep and slow ascent to the gratifying summit canister on Middle Scar.

On descent we followed a fairly well defined herd path back into the col that in hindsight, I wish we stumbled across for the ascent. From the col we headed southwest through thick and steep woods towards Little East Pond. It was thick for most of the descent but eventually transitioned into open hardwoods near the 2800 foot contour. We popped onto the East Pond loop trail very close to the junction with the Little East Pond trail and spur to the pond.

It felt good to be back on trailed ground for the 2.0 mile jaunt back to our vehicles at the East Pond trail-head.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
East Pond Trail to height of land 2.2 miles 2.2 miles
height of land to East Scar 0.5 miles 2.7 miles
East Scar to 3400' peak 0.4 miles 3.1 miles
3400' peak to Middle Scar 0.55 miles 3.65 miles
Middle Scar to East Pond Loop Trail 0.65 miles 4.30 miles
Little East Pond trail to Parking 2.0 miles 6.3 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
East Pond Trail to height of land 1 hour 1 hour
height of land to East Scar 40 minutes 1 hour 40 minutes
East Scar to 3400' peak 45 minutes 2 hours 25 minutes
3400' peak to Middle Scar 45 minutes 3 hours 10 minutes
Middle Scar to East Pond Loop Trail 45 minutes 3 hours 55 minutes
Little East Pond trail to Parking 45 minutes 4 hours 40 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

East Scar Ridge is ranked #81 on the list of New Hampshire hundred highest. Middle Scar ridge has its highest elevation contour line at 3480 feet putting its optimistic elevation at 3499 feet. Technically, this potential 1 foot difference takes it off the NH 3500 footers list. For me it's far too close to call and I've added it as #103 on my personal NH 100 highest list.

East Scar ridge is marked with a sign and small PVC canister.  There are no signs, canisters or man-made objects on the 3400 foot peak and Middle Scar has a PVC canister marking its summit.

East Pond Loop trail sign at East Pond junction

The East Scar summit
Canister marking the Middle Scar summit
Middle Scar from Little East Pond
 The Livermore Tripoli company was a mining company that in 1910 built a mill to process diatomaceous earth collected via a pipeline from East Pond. The DE was filtered, dried then loaded into railroad cars for shipment.  The material was used as a paste to polish silver and jewelry. More information on the operation can be found on the Livermore Tripoli Co. website.

Cement footings
Long brick wall

Livermore Tripoli Co. 




Savage Mountain - 3510 Feet

STATE: New Hampshire
TOWN: Stratford
DESTINATION: Savage Mountain
ELEVATION: 3510 Feet
SUMMIT COORDINATES: N44 43.920, W71 32.666
TRAIL: Lamms trail - Bushwhack
DISTANCE: 4.0 miles round trip
ELEVATION GAIN: 1930 feet
HIKING TIME: 2 hours 45 minutes
SEASON: Spring
DATE: May 19, 2017
WEATHER: 60 degrees, overcast, low clouds, partial drizzle

PARKING: From Route 3 in Stratford look for a sign mrking Lamms trail on the right. The road skirts the edge of an open field, continues past a trio of camps goes through an open gate for 1.5 miles to its terminus at N44 43.396, W71 34.199. I parked in an open clearing after 1.15 miles.

On my topo maps, google earth and automobile navigation system this road is shown as Bissell Road. As I arrived the road was signed Lamms Trail.

Driving time from Manchester is approximately 2 hours 45 minutes.

USGS QUAD: USGS Stratford Quad

MAP: (Savage)




DESCRIPTION:

My original plan was to follow a logging road I saw on Google earth then bushwhack to the col between 3380 Foot Teapot Mountain and Savage Mountain but I drove too far on Lamms trail, all the roads and ATV trails I encountered ended up heading straight for Savage Mountain. I modified my plans and headed for the Savage and Spruce col.

From the end of Lamms trail I continued east on a ATV trail (barely shown on Google earth) that paralleled a tributary of Smarts brook to where it petered out in a muddy section at 2450 feet. I bushwhacked a short distance popping out on an wide logging road. I followed the logging road in a northeasterly direction to 2525 feet where it makes a U and changes direction. From the U bushwhack in a northeasterly direction to the summit. The bushwhack is through moderate woods with a few minor (50 to 100 feet of) thick bands making it somewhat challenging but the woods aren't impenetrable or frustratingly thick. I would recommend bearing to the north when possible to avoid section of cliffs near the 3100 foot elevation contour as shown on Google Earth. My route chosen is shown below. I've seen trip reports that describe the bushwhack as trivial through open woods to thick and heavy. The route I chose is neither trivial or extreme. It got me to the summit, use it at your own discretion.


TRAIL DISTANCES:

HIKING DISTANCES
DESTINATION
DISTANCE TOTAL DIST.
Parking to end of Lamms trail 0.3 miles 0.3 miles
ATV route 0.56 miles 0.86 miles
Bushwhack to logging road 0.14 miles 1.0 miles
Logging road to U 0.15 miles 1.15 miles
Bushwhack to summit 0.75 miles 1.9 miles

HIKING TIMES:

HIKING TIMES
DESTINATION
TIME TOTAL TIME
Parking to summit 90 minutes 90 minutes
summit to parking 1 hour 15 minutes 2 hours 45 minutes

NOTES / COMMENTS:

At 3510 feet, Savage mountain ranks at #101 on the list of 102 mountains in New Hampshire over 3500 feet. In addition, it's 1360 foot prominence makes it #69 on the most prominent peaks list. The summit contains a standard PVC canister with a log book and does not have any views.

ATV Trail
Eerie bushwhack into the mist
Savage summit canister