Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks None, NH
Trails: Sawyer River Trail, Hancock Notch Trail, bushwhack
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Sunday, July 30, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes:  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Standing/Running Water on Trail, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes:  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes:  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes:  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found:  
Comments: The objective of this trip was to bushwhack to a hidden pond in South Hancock’s eastern cirque, and to ascend 500 feet up the wall of the cirque in order to obtain a view of the pond.

For the five-mile trail approach, I took the Sawyer River and Hancock Notch Trails, with a short detour to a small pond that provided a nice view to Juno Peak. I soon left the trail and bushwhacked north for 1.5 hours, staying to the east of the stream that drains the pond. This section was much thicker than I had remembered from a previous visit, and I could not find any open woods on the line I had chosen.

After arriving at the floor of the cirque, I identified the viewpoints I wanted to visit: one was a ledge just off the western ridge, and the other was a large slab on the opposite side. I chose to ascend the western side first, but had to make a conservative retreat after encountering some very sketchy terrain— a mix of boulders, blowdown, and super thick woods. Back at the base of the ridge, I bushwhacked across open forest for 0.3 miles, after which point I reached the base of the opposite wall; here, I encountered similar challenging terrain, but with less blowdown and fewer large rocks. When I finally reached the top of the slab, I was greeted with an incredible view of the pond below; in addition, I could see the small ledge on Juno Peak that I had bushwhacked to last weekend.

After a long break to take in the view, I made the descent back to the pond and chose a different route to reach the trail, finding somewhat better woods. When hiking on the trails today, I did not encounter a single other hiker. Trail conditions were mostly dry on the Sawyer River Trail, with significant standing water on sections of the Hancock Notch Trail. Overall, this was a rather long and excellent day in the forest.

Photos at the link below.  
Name: timbercamp 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-07-30 
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