Waterville Valley Backpacking Trip - 6/14/71 - 6/19/71


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  1. #1

    Waterville Valley Backpacking Trip - 6/14/71 - 6/19/71

    Date(s) Hiked: Monday, June 14 thru Saturday, June 19, 1971.

    Participants: Aaron Schoenberg - 19, Steven Guth - 18 & Bob Solomon - 17.

    Trails(s) Hiked: This was a double loop out of Waterville Valley. Greeley Pond Trail, Osceola Trail, hitched back on Tripoli Road to Waterville Valley, Livermore Trail, Mt. Tripyramid Trail (north side), Sleeper Trail, McCrillis Trail, Flat Mountain Pond Trail, Guinea Pond Trail, Black Mountain Trail, Algonquin Trail, Sandwich Mt. Trail.

    Total Distance: 43 miles

    Difficulty: Strenuous

    Special Required Equipment: Sneakers, backpack.

    Trip Report: I found my trip report and pictures from my second backpack trip and 1st in the White Mountains. What an experience. Boy, was I dumb. Had a great time. The next six posts cover this trip in detail. When I see ill prepared hikers in the woods, I look back to my early days hiking. But with a little bit of luck, you can enjoy and learn from experience, which I did. I always considered myself good at route finding and planning a reasonable trip. The trek itself was reasonable distances with a fair hike planned each day. For this trip my only source of information for planning was a freebie White Mountain National Forest Map (one sheet) put out by the National Forest Service. It showed shelters, trails and contours. Later on I figured out mileages and learned about the AMC & 4,000 footers. I have no idea why I chose this area to backpack, other than I had this map and thought it would be fun to hike in a new area. All my previous hiking experience was in Harriman/Bear Mountain Park in NY and one previous backpacking trip in the Catskills.

  2. #2

    Monday, June 14, 1971

    Date(s) Hiked: Monday, June 14, 1971.

    Pictures: link to Gallery - Waterville Valley Backpack Trip - 1971 - Pictures 1-6

    Participants: Aaron Schoenberg - 19, Steven Guth - 18 & Bob Solomon - 17.

    Trails(s) Hiked: Hike started out of Waterville Valleyfollowing the Greeley Pond Trail. We camped at the Greeley Pond Shelter

    Total Distance: 3.4 miles

    Weather: Overcast & cool.

    Difficulty: Easy.

    Special Required Equipment: Sneakers, backpack.

    Trip Report: After driving up to Waterville Valley, we hit the trail, sometime in the afternoon. I remember seeking out a ranger to get a fire permit so I could make campfires on this trip. I must have heard or read that this was something you should do. I don't have statistics as I did not keep detailed records of this trip, but I did have notes that I wrote some stuff down on the back of the developed photos which I just recently dug up. With that and my memory I was able to piece together this report. This first day was an easy walk as anyone knowlegeable of the area would know. Note, you can't camp at Greeley Pond anymore, but back then there was a shelter at this pictureque location. We did not see anyone this day and had the shelter to ourselves. One of the items we either forgot or just didn't think to bring was insect repellent. I did not know what a black fly was so how was I to know that I was to be speckled and annoyed beyond belief by these pesty insects. And this was peak black fly season. That was lesson #1, that black flies are the most annoying creatures to inhabit the earth.

  3. #3

    Tuesday, June 15, 2003

    Date Hiked: Tuesday, June 15, 1971.

    Pictures: Pictures: link to Gallery - Waterville Valley Backpack Trip - 1971 - Pictures 7-13

    Participants: Aaron Schoenberg - 19, Steven Guth - 18 & Bob Solomon - 17.

    Trails(s) Hiked: From Greeley Pond we hiked up and over East Peak Osceola and Mt. Osceola. We followed the Mt. Osceola Trail from Greeley Pond to Tripoli Road. We then from our car in Waterville Valley followed the Livermore Trail to Norway Rapids.

    Total Distance: 7.3 miles.

    Weather: Overcast & cool. The thermometer on the fire tower at Mt. Osceola indicated 42 degrees. Do we look improperly dressed and cold in the picture on the fire tower?

    Difficulty: Difficult.

    Special Required Equipment: Sneakers, backpack.

    Trip Report: I had a couple of 3500 foot climbs under my belt from a previous Catskill trip. But nothing prepared me for ascending 1850 feet in 1.5 miles as we ascended East Peak. I never knew a hiking trail could be so steep. I laugh back at that because of all the mountain ascents I made since. Another item that was of incredilble luck. I did not own a pair of hiking boots. Note the picture. When we climbed we ran into small pockets of snow. Can you imagine if I tried to climb higher peaks, what would have happened? I don't know why I did this hike but looking back I am glad I did because my footwear was not suitable for this kind of hiking, but if there was more snow, the trip would have been
    aborted as we just would have been improperly prepared for the conditions. As it was we were ill equipped, but luck was on our side.

    Anyway, we climbed East Peak and Mt. Osceola, my first two 4,000 footers in the Whites. Little did I know that I would be a peakbagger many years later. (I will be finishing my 4,000 footers in the Whites on August 5, 2004). I also finally returned and climbed up East Peak and Mt. Osceola as a day hike from Kancamagus Highway on Sept. 18, 2001. What memories did this hike bring back. Especially the stop at Upper Greeley Pond. The water was just as aqua clear now as it was then. At that time Mt. Osceola had a fire tower on its summit, but I was told it had not been staffed since 1966. We also met the first two other hikers on the summit. The view was phenomenal. It also gave us a glimpse of some of the other mountains we would be climbing in the next several days. This was the highest point we would encounter on the trip (4,34O feet). On the descent we counted 14 switchbacks in the fire tower (Mt. Osceola) trail towards Tripoli Road. Someday, I am going to see if I got my count right.

    When we got to Tripoli Road we hitch-hiked to Waterville Valley and our car. Reorganized for the longer second loop of our trip, we headed back out. This time our destination was Norway Rapids where we planned to camp under the stars. If it rained we were going to sleep in the car as we did not have a tent with us! The weather was in our favor. But lesson #2, bring a tent. It was a cool clear night.

  4. #4

    Wednesday, June 16, 1971

    Date Hiked: Wednesday, June 16, 1971.

    Pictures: Pictures: link to Gallery - Waterville Valley Backpack Trip - 1971 - Pictures 14-23

    Participants: Aaron Schoenberg - 19, Steven Guth - 18 & Bob Solomon - 17.

    Trails(s) Hiked: From Norway Rapids we continued to hike up the Livermore Trail. Then we took the north fork of the Tripyramid Loop Trail, Kate Sleeper Trail to the south summit ledges of Mt. Whiteface and Canp Heermance.

    Total Distance: 7.8 miles.

    Weather: Sunny & pleasant. The temperature dropped at night as this was the only night we camped on top of a mountain around 3900 feet.

    Difficulty: Difficult. Especially climbing the North Slide of Tripyramid.

    Special Required Equipment: Sneakers, backpack.

    Trip Report: Now we have full backpacks and if East Peak of Osceola was tough, North Slide of Tripyramid was next to impossible, but we did it. The loose talus made us feel like we went two steps up and one step back. I can't wait to reclimb this peak as a dayhike loop (north to south) on my trip on August 2, 2004. Back to the saga, right in the middle of the ascent of the north slide my pack strap broke. Amazingly, Steve had a little sewing kit and he fixed it. (luck!) That was the heaviest pack I ever carried with an estimated weight of 35 pounds. My notes showed that it took us 2.5 hours to make the ascent of North Tripyramid! Book time is 1:30. (and I did it in sneakers!) And we still had 4 or more humps to go over and we were already spent. But oh those views were fantastic. We could even see snow capped Mt. Washington 35 miles away. The south slide of Mt. Tripyramid also had much loose talus, but we did not go all the way down as we turned on the Sleeper Trail. So I don't remember it as being anywhere near as bad as North Slide Tripyramid. I found the Sleepers to be tedious and that was because I started developing a fever. A couple of aspirin and a good nights rest and I felt better the next morning. However, the clear cool evening was spectacular from the ledges on Whiteface. We saw clearly over to Chocorua. However, this being the highest night camped at, it was also the coldest. Maybe 40 degrees. Also yesterday we camped at the lowest campsite on our trip (1700 feet at Norway Rapids), this night was the highest, 3900 feet. Other notes for this camping night: Nearby was a mother with her two daughters 6 & 8. They became our friends for the night. We were so bitten up they nicknamed Bob, King of Spots. Water at this location was scarce. Our water supply was a puddle. (water purification - us - are you kidding, we were lucky to have a sewing kit with a needle!) Also, I believe the shelter we stayed at (Camp Heermance) is also long gone. Lesson #3: Take water purification.

  5. #5

    Thursday, June 17, 1971

    Date Hiked: Thursday, June 17, 1971.

    Pictures: Pictures: link to Gallery - Waterville Valley Backpack Trip - 1971 - Pictures 24 & 25

    Participants: Aaron Schoenberg - 19, Steven Guth - 18 & Bob Solomon - 17.

    Trails(s) Hiked: McCrillis Trail from Camp Heermance at the south summit of Whiteface to the intersection with the Flat Mountain Pond Trail. This trail we took to the Flat Mountain Shelter.

    Total Distance: 8.8 miles.

    Weather: Sunny & pleasant.

    Difficulty: Easy

    Special Required Equipment: Sneakers, backpack.

    Trip Report: We had no idea about 4,000 footers, so although I was so close, I never was at the summit of Whiteface. So on August 1, 2004, I tentatively plan on climbing Whiteface and Passaconaway. It will be fun exploring the ledges on Whiteface and the site of the Camp Heermance Shelter and reliving the memories. The hike itself was an uneventful forested hike and descent of Whiteface. The hike was longer in '71 than it is today because the junction of the McCrillis & Flat Mountain Pond Trails was much further down the mountain closer to the 1000 foot elevation point near Whiteface Intervale. This was the lowest point we reached on on the trip. One other highlight was the sighting of a snake on the trail which we could not identify.

    When we got to Flat Mountain Pond, we found a canoe we could use. Unfortunately there was a leak in it and we were constantly bailing water. No wonder it was left discarded. Flat Mountain Pond now took the honor for the worst mosquitoes and black flies. SWAT!!! Also, there were several fisherman there. I believe they were able to drive up in 4 wheel drive vehicles. Does anyone know if there is still easy access to this lake?

    One of the things that worked out well was that the three of us were friends and hiked together for years in Harriman Park. We shared menus, food, and other equipment. Keeping our packs of equal weight and sharing was very convenient. We got along well and shared chores, gravitating to what we liked. Bob was our fire builder. Steve was our chef and I was our waterboy and dishwasher.

  6. #6

    Friday, June 18, 1971

    Date Hiked: Friday, June 18, 1971.

    Pictures: link to Gallery - Waterville Valley Backpack Trip - 1971 - Pictures 26-28

    Participants: Aaron Schoenberg - 19, Steven Guth - 18 & Bob Solomon - 17.

    Trails(s) Hiked: Flat Mountain Pond Trail, Guinea Pond Trail and Black Mountain Trail to Black Mountain Pond Shelter.

    Total Distance: 8.7 miles.

    Weather: Warm & pleasant.

    Difficulty: Easy

    Special Required Equipment: Sneakers, backpack.

    Trip Report: Most of the hike was easy walking as we followed old logging railroads. The Black Mountain Pond Shelter is another shelter we stayed at that has since been removed. Only the Flat Mountain Shelter of those we stayed at still exists. About one mile from Black Mountain Pond a logging operation was taking place which we could hear from the shelter. On our way up the Black Mountain Trail we met a forest ranger. He told us in the four years he worked in the WMNF, he came across his first sighting of a black bear that morning. The only animal life we saw were 2 snakes, many toads, frogs, fish, birds, one beaver, chipmunks and zillions of bugs. He also was very nice and gave us some good insect repellent. hen we got to the shelter there was a rowboat in excellent condition left there for hikers to use. This was much better than the holy canoe at Flat Pond or the raft at Greeley Pond. The ranger said the fishing is very good in Black Pond. I don't know about the fishing, but we enjoyed the refreshing swimming there in the crystal clear water.

  7. #7

    Saturday, June 19, 1971

    Date Hiked: Saturday, June 19, 1971.

    Pictures: link to Gallery - Waterville Valley Backpack Trip - 1971 - Pictures 29-32

    Participants: Aaron Schoenberg - 19, Steven Guth - 18 & Bob Solomon - 17.

    Trails(s) Hiked: Black Mountain Pond Trail, Algonquin Trail and Sandwich Mountain Trail.

    Total Distance: 6.7 miles.

    Weather: Sunny, hot & humid.

    Difficulty: Strenuous.

    Special Required Equipment: Sneakers, backpack.

    Trip Report: With the heat and humidity high, this last day on the trail was very tough. We had to climb up and over Sandwich Dome. The views were so-so due to the haze, but on a clear day would be spectacular. We started the hike climbing right a way, going up 1200 feet in the first 1.1 miles. Then we continued climbing more gradually on the open and beautiful Algonquin Trail. Now on top of the numerous bug bites I have, I now have to deal with sweat, dirt and sunburn.

    Well the trip completed successfully. We accomplished and followed the route we set out to do. We were fortunate the weather was nice and dry the whole time. No rain the entire trip. However, looking back on the trip, I know we were lucky as we were definitely not prepared for inclement weather, or had equipment that would stand adverse conditions. But when you are young you go without thinking of the consequences of your actions. I hope you enjoyed the pictures that go along with this report and if I have any questions on labelling, please jump in to help me out, as I would like to know what I am looking at in these pictures (especially the views). If you have any questions feel free to ask.

  8. #8
    Greg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Thomaston, CT

    Re: Waterville Valley Backpacking Trip - 6/14/71 - 6/19/71

    Quote Originally Posted by askus3
    Special Required Equipment: Sneakers, backpack.
    Those Chucks are groovy, man! :P
    I ski double black diamonds.

  9. #9
    found this doing a search for "sandwich dome" which I think I may try to hike sometime this summer via black pond. have the pictures been removed - links don't work?

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