Tue, Feb 20, 2024
Nancy & Norcross Pond
by Bill Newman
Hike Length: Overnight
Trails: Nancy Brook Trail
Date: June 26, 2004
We just did an overnighter to Nancy/Norcross Pond and wanted to share our experience with everyone. I was looking for a fairly easy hike for 2 reasons. 1. I had a lot of new gear to try out and 2. I was bringing my 13 year old son on his first hike.
I looked at several web sites, but found Hike-HN.com to be exactly what we needed.....easy to read, personal experiences with great suggestions of hikes, and people that actually answer emails (kudo's for that alone!)
Saturday, June 26, 2004.
The trail head is easy to find off 302 just past Bartlett on the left going north. Look for the next brown trail sign after Sawyer River Road. Parking is free at this one, but it is tight 6-8 cars before you have to park sideways on the main street.
The trail starts out very wide and is very easy for the first 2 miles. There are a couple of stream crossings that can be risky when it rains (and it was, of course) and a lot of the rocks aren't as solid as they look. Plenty of water throughout the trip, but I do recommend a purifier. At about 2 miles in, the trail gets a little steeper and a lot of work was being done on the trail to displace runoff. At 2.5 miles you get to the Cascades. Great place to stop for a lunch break and some water. I'd highly recommend a rest here before tackling the upcoming switchbacks.
For the next 1/2 mile the ascent must be around 1500 feet (est.) and there are only a few switchbacks, so they are a pretty brutal. There really isn't too much to see after the cascades, but you do get a couple of views of the Notch you just came through (maybe just to remind you how quick the ascent is).
After all that work, you eventually level off (ok slight slope upward) to swamp land....but despite the comments in the last review of this one, a lot of work has been done to the trail here. A number of new bridge crossing have been built, in addition to some serious planks to get through the mud.
After the 1/2 mile through the black-boot-sucking-mud, Nancy Pond comes into view....and what a view it is. The trail runs fairly close to the pond so the views keep getting better. It looks like there is a lot of revegetation going on because of the signs, but it doesn't look like everyone one is respecting it.
Keep walking......if you think the views of Nancy are nice, walk the extra 1/2-1 mile to Norcross, the view from one end looking out the other across to Mt. Bond is incredible. It had stopped raining and the clouds were breaking away to give us some surreal views. Mt Nancy is to your right (never found a trail and I'm not sure there is one, but it's almost a 4000 footer and maybe worth the view to the north) and Mt. Lowell (I think) is to the left, and right in between are these 2 incredble ponds. At the end, Norcross falls off into the Wilderness and you get some more incredible views of the Pemi and Bond.
Total time was about 4 hours, but we weren't in a rush and took a few breaks plus had an extra long lunch to enjoy the cascades.
We found a small campsite in the woods (more revegetation areas too) and set-up for the night. A front came in about 9, and it made for a rather windy evening....and of course a little more rain too.
But everything was worth the sunrise over Mt. Nancy that lights up the Pemi. Have your morning coffee on the rocks looking at Franconia.....it's one of the most enjoyable views and a must for any White Mountain hiker.
The trail does continue on to Mt. Carrigan Trail and Sawyer River Trail, but we were turning around to go back to 302. Maybe another time.
Never easy to say good bye to great views like this... knowing that you have to go down those switchbacks you just came up the day before.
Just as brutal going down as up, and the Cascades are again a welcome rest. We ran into a trail crew of 8-10 working on Sunday and they told us about the 3 year plan to have work done on each side of the trail.
They've done a pretty good job to this point. It's a fairly easy trail to follow and plenty of work has been done (stone staircases at some points), but there are a lot of rocks and roots. Nothing too bad, but I would recommend boots for this one and take extra care over the stream crossings. I have never used trekking poles, but could see the point in bringing some thing like that just for the switchbacks.
Great trip for a first timer or any experienced hiker, but expect some work. Views that good are worth it though.
Equipment: Boots, Walking stick, water purifier, wind breaker, camera!
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