Create a vacation – What happens when you add 3 days to a long weekend? A mini-vacation happens! It is hard to escape a fast-passed project, but there are only 3 long weekends in American summer (Memorial, Independence and Labor days), so you must use them to the fullest. The hardest part is asking for days off for consultants. You are there to perform a very focused task, and every day you are not there is an opportunity for competitors to swoop in. But you must, anyway.
Plan – head away from the crowds
It is not enough to have a vague desire to get out and spend some time with nature. To transfer desire into reality you need a plan. Where do you want to go and what do you want to see? This time I decided to visit never seen, never visited before – North Region of White Mountains – Pilot and Pliny Ranges north of route 2. Even on Internet there are only a few posts about this area, and they mostly concerned with land disputes between National Forest and local land owners.
I’ve created a detailed plan in Excel with distances that I would have to travel by car, ride on the bike or hike on foot. Plan covered 6 days and 5 nights in the wild:
Day 1 arriving to Bod Dam Road (BDR) and setting camp somewhere along Landing Camp Trail
Day 2 conquering Mt. Cabot – local giant at 4,167′ (Pilot Range)
Day 3 exploring Pond of Safety and its surroundings
Day 4 conquering Mt. Weeks and its neighbors (Pliny Range)
Day 5 biking through back doors of Jericho Mt Park
Day 6 breaking the camp and lunching at North Conway Horseheathers
Image of the map on the right shows actual excursion taken during 6 days in the wild. The most logical, exciting and exhilarating trip was exploring a long abandon trail to Hunters Pass and Ice Gulch on DAY 3. there is something essential and primordial in exploring long forgotten lands.
Phone Calls – On Wed, May 10 I made 3 phone calls to NH that I usually never do. I called Forest service and they advised to call Androscoggin Ranger District (603-466-2713). An actual person explained to me that they are not sure about the status of Bog Dam Road at this point, but they will be able to have more answers closer to Memorial Day weekend. And yes, no parking pass is required in the entire Norther White Maintains.
I also called Berlin Fish Hatchery (603-449-3412) and again live person told me that the hatchery gate is only get closed on the schedule (4PM till 8AM) in June, and currently it is stays open 24H.
Spring is here, but it is still cold and rainy. Day temperature struggles to reach 70°F (21°C) and at night temperature is below 50°F (10°C). And over 50% chance of rain every day except one. This probable the worst forecast out of many long weekends over many years that I go to NH.
In preparation for this trip I made several important purchases:
|Merrill Outright Inferno Hiking Shoes (DSW $90-$20=$70 04-30) They constantly change their models, so it is easy to make a mistake. These are not waterproof.||Water filter (REI Sawyer Squeeze – $40) You no longer need to depend on boiling water. Just filter and drink.|
|Titanium alcohol stove (REI – Vargo Decagon Stove – $35) It burns alcohol. For 6 loads I carried 8 oz and 11.2 oz plastic bottles with alcohol. And, yes! You can extinguish and you can pour unused alcohol back into the bottle.||Titanium pot (REI Snow Peak Trek 1400 Titanium Cook set – $60) I was able to use metal handles when hot. To prevent pot from tipping over I used large stones. Do not forget to test entire setup at home and construct a wind screen from several layers of aluminum foil.|
|Backpack (see details below) Backpacks are so sturdy that you never need another pair. The only reason to upgrade this expensive item is to shed pounds off your load.||Backpack rain cover (REI Framingham – 05-18- $35) – this item is convenient, but price makes it just an irrational exuberance.|
|I even bought original and very expensive and very light Patagonia R1 Buffalo Green Hoodie (REI 05-22 – $159)||Reflectix 2′ x 25′ Double Reflective Insulation (Home Depot – 05-22 – $24) Reflectix is a sturdy bubble wrap with a reflective surface on both sides. Out of 25′ I used only 6′ as my perfect sleeping pad. Remaining roll, I will use later as bubbles will eventually burst on the first pad.|
New Backpack and my base weight
With a new ultralight backpack I underwent a temptation to see how much stuff I will be carrying. I did not want to go into ounces, so all my measurements in pounds. My very old Kelty backpack that I inherited from my previous boss Gary Welsh at Welsh Consulting weighs 4.8 lb. It is more than 20 years old. My new very expensive and very light backpack – Basalt Black Osprey Exos 58 Medium (REI $176) – weighs only 2.4 lb.
Here is a breakdown of my preliminary base weight:
|Backpack with pad||5.4||22%||mag, clips|
|Hammock||2.2||9%||Hennessy Ultralight Backpacker Asym|
|Backpack Brain (top pocket)||2.4||10%||wires, chargers, batteries, maps|
|Kitchen and batch||3.2||13%|
Just before departure on the evening of Wednesday, May 24 I weighted the final packed backpack and I saw 30.0 lb. on the scale screen. However, categories that listed above are very good to build your waterproof bags and make sure you are not forgetting something major.
One day before the vacation I was still at work in Farmington, CT resolving problems and fixing issues. I arrived home probably around 7PM and continued last minute packing and preparations – attaching bike rack to the back of the car, checking food and water, charging spare batteries.
List of Abbreviations
FR forest road
BDR Bog Dam Road
Navigate through the List
- 01 NH Trip May 2017 - Preparations for the trip to Bog Dam Road (2023/03/09)
- 02 Thursday, May 25 - Drive, Search, Camp and Rain - Perfect! (2023/03/10)
- 03 Friday, May 26 - Remarkably Unremarkable Bunnell Notch Tr. to Mt. Cabot (2023/03/11)
- 04 Saturday, May 27 - Visibly Invisible Trail (Hunters Pass) to Ice Gulch (2023/03/13)
- 05 Sunday, May 28 - Relax to Unknown Pond (2023/03/14)
- 06 Monday, May 29 - Mud, jaws, bridge and rain (2023/03/15)
- 07 Tuesday, May 30 - We are so distracted by day job from our trail lives (2023/03/17)
- 08 May 2017 Bog Dam Road trip - Lessons learned (2023/03/18)