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. 




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