Saturday, August 20, 2016



I joined Greg Ortiz for a long approach to North Percy Peak via a newly-opened 4-mile segment of the Cohos Trail  - the Pond Brook Falls Trail and then the Trio Trail - in the Nash Stream Forest. In the evening I did a second, shorter hike on the East Side Trail. A marvelous area!

We started our hike on the Pond Brook Falls Trail, which leads to its namesake falls in just 0.1 mile. The new section of trail turns left just below the falls, with a spur trail leading up to the broad ledge slabs (slippery when wet).

With its slabs and waterslides, it's sort of like the North Country's version of Franconia Falls.

The new trail climbs up the slope to the left of the falls. This Cohos Trail bog bridge is covered with chicken wire for improved traction.

This seasonal bridge over Pond Brook well above the falls will be removed each autumn and reinstalled each spring.

Pond Brook, looking downstream.

After crossing Trio Ponds Road, we entered the new Trio Trail, the second and longer segment of the new trail route, which was completed within the last couple of weeks.

The SW spur of Whitcomb Mountain seen across an old beaver meadow filled with wildflowers. Cliffs up there look like an interesting bushwhack destination.

For about a half-mile the trail passes by a series of recent logging cuts. This one opens a view to West Peak and and the sharp summit of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Greg spotted two moose up ahead in one of the brushy cuts. These were their tracks.

The trail running across one of the cuts.

As the trail wraps around the lower west end of Long Mountain, it passes through a vast stand of fine hardwood forest.

Great work by the Northwoods Stewardship Center crew and Cohos Trail volunteers who built this trail.

We wondered if this was some kind of old pool, built to provide a water source.

A gorgeous, Catskill-like hardwood glade.

Long Mountain Brook at the trail's crossing.

Lunch break at the Percy Loop Campsite. As the wheel turns, it's 3.9 miles from the Pond Brook Falls trailhead to the Percy Loop Trail.

Kiosk at the campsite. There's an excellent water source nearby.

New signage.

Another new sign.

Unusual blazing. The Percy Loop Trail is now blazed in red, and in both red and yellow above the campsite, where it is part of the Cohos Trail.

A rather gnarly stretch of the Percy Loop Trail on the damp and shady "back" side of North Percy.

Heading up the steep, grippy granite slabs on the cone of North Percy.

The trail is well-blazed on the ledges.

Summit sign.

Looking north up the Nash Stream valley to an array of 3500-ft. peaks. Greg, an avid bushwhacker, has climbed just about every peak, tall and small, in this region.

West to the Goback/Savage Mountain group.

Looking back up at the scrubby summit. There were plenty of blueberries ripe for the picking.

Aptly-named Long Mountain stretches away to the east, with the Mahoosuc Range on the horizon.

Greg stands on the brink where the abandoned West Side Trail came up via exceedingly steep ledge slabs.

Looking down the old West Side Trail route.

South Percy with the Pilot Range beyond.

Walking down into the SE views.

Christine Lake, with the little nub of Victor Head on its left.

The mile-and-a-half section of Percy Loop Trail below the campsite is a delightful descent route - easy to moderate grades, excellent footing, and fine hardwood forest.

Smooth sailing.

After the descent from North Percy, Greg headed home while I drove farther up Nash Stream Road for a three-mile round trip on the East Side Trail, another link in the Cohos Trail.

The trail starts off beside pretty Nash Stream.

A half-mile in, a rough little side path leads down to this interesting feature, named by Cohos Trail founder Kim Nilsen.

A remarkably pointed boulder.

The Devil's Jacuzzi in Nash Stream, a natural tub with built-in jets.

I continued for another mile, up-and-down through fine hardwood forest, to a side path leading down to a spot at the edge of Nash Stream Bog.

This was a 200-acre pond until its dam burst in 1969, flooding and scouring the valley. It's now the largest wetland in the area. Mount Muise (3615 ft.) can be seen to the right.

The trailhead for East Side Trail is nearly opposite that for Sugarloaf Mountain, so if you're making the long 8-mile drive up gravel Nash Stream Road to climb Sugarloaf, a 52 With a View Peak (as is North Percy), the East Side Trail makes a nice easy second hike for the day. Thanks to all the volunteers who have created and maintain the Cohos Trail, a unique and wonderful addition to New Hampshire's hiking trail system!

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