Tuesday, August 5, 2014


On a hazy sunny morning Carol and I hiked the five-mile loop off Tripoli Road that takes in two lovely backcountry ponds, Little East Pond and East Pond, tucked into separate pockets beneath Scar Ridge at an elevation of 2600 ft..

Just 0.3 mile in, near the junction of the East Pond Trail and Little East Pond Trail, we visited the site of the old Tripoli Mill. For a few years starting in 1912, tripoli, or diatomaceous earth, was dredged out of the bottom of East Pond and processed at this mill. The Livermore Tripoli Co. was owned by Charles B. Henry, youngest son of Lincoln lumber baron J.E. Henry. Diatomaceous earth was used as a polish and for other purposes, but reportedly there were impurities in the deposits at East Pond and the operation was short-lived and unprofitable. In addition to examining the ruins here, we found a geocache (a new hobby for us).

More remains of the Tripoli Mill operation.

Nice walking on the Little East Pond Trail, along the grade of the short-lived Woodstock & Thornton Gore Railroad (1909-1914).

Along the way the trail crosses Clear Brook in a sharp little ravine.

A massive yellow birch blowdown as the trail ascends towards Little East Pond.

Due to beaver flooding a short section of trail was moved away from Little East Pond. The shore is now reached by a spur path.

Little East Pond is shallow and serene, with the wild knobs of Scar Ridge presiding to the north. Middle Scar Ridge is the pointy peak in the center.

The main (west) summit of Scar Ridge is seen to the left.

Back in the 1980s [?] the Forest Service cut a new trail joining the two ponds.

The East Pond Loop is a wild and wonderful walk across the rolling flank of Scar Ridge. Along the way you pas this Kilkenny-ish spot of birch and fern.

East Pond is bigger, deeper, and more wide open than Little East, with an inviting shoreline. By itself it's a popular destination, just 2.8 miles round trip from Tripoli Road. Curiously, East Pond only became part of the White Mountain National Forest around 1990. Up until then, Charles Henry's daughter, Katherine, refused to sell an 11-acre parcel including the pond and the old wagon road followed by the trail, claiming the right to restart the diatomaceous earth mining operation if she so desired. For a full history of the Tripoli Mill, see whitemountainhistory.org.


  1. Steve, I visited East Pond a few years ago after reading one of your previous trip reports, and I found it to be a fascinating and extremely peaceful place. This report and your pictures make me want to go back. And I still haven't been to Little East Pond or walked the loop trail between the two ponds, so I have to do that too.

    1. Thanks, BC - it's a real nice area. The two-pond loop is ideal for a leisurely half-day ramble.


  2. Steve, It was a pleasure to meet you at the store this past week, you autographed my copy of "Ponds and Lakes...".
    Based upon this report, I hiked both of these ponds on the last Sunday in August and it was a good hike for an old guy like me! Both ponds were beautiful and peaceful. I always stop for 30-45 minutes to be with nature and take some photos. Thanks for reporting about the beautiful places in NH!!
    Skip M-south of Boston,
    Red Lining the Blue Hills

    1. Hi Skip - It was nice meeting you as well. Glad you enjoyed the East Ponds - it's one of our favorite hikes.

      There must be many miles to redline in the Blue Hills!