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mtruman
04-04-2009, 04:31 PM
For the last month we've been trying to get our daughter to commit to a summer camp option so that we can plan our NH hiking trip around it. Last 2 years she's gone camping and backpacking with a teen group while Natalie and I have done hut-to-hut hikes (as well as STP last year). After several weeks of prodding she finally says "I'd really rather go backpacking with you guys". Whoa - what? Teenage daughter wants to spend time with Mom and Dad! Better yet, backpacking! Wait, no huts? No says the daughter - has to be backpacking. OK, that's the plan then. So REI dividend has now been invested in a 3 person backpacking tent, maps are spread out on the table and plans are under way. I had already made reservations for pre and post STP days at Moose Brook so now we just need a destination. Figuring on a 3-4 day loop. The possibilities so far:

1 - Franconia Ridge loop. Up Falling Waters and across to Liberty Springs tent site for night 1. Franconia and Garfield Ridge to Garfield tent site for night 2. Back to Lafayette and down Old Bridel Path day 3.

2 - Start from Lincoln Woods and do a loop over the Bonds, Guyot, Galehead and through the Pemi with nights at 13 Falls tentsite, Guyot tentsite and Franconia Brook tentsite. Interested in opinions on which direction would be better for this loop.

3 to N - Anything else that you can suggest that provides good tenting options, time above treeline, etc.

I'm interested in knowing peoples experiences and opinion of the AMC tentsites. I'm a bit concerned about overflow options if the tentsites are full based on the locations and potential for legal off-trail camping in the vacinity if there isn't space.

We appreciate everyone's suggestions and input.

TrishandAlex
04-04-2009, 05:22 PM
Mark,

Don't have advice since we haven't done it yet, but just letting you know that Alex and I will be doing a backpack for the Bonds in July. We'll be going Galehead (hut stay) -South Twin - (Guyot tentsite stay) Bonds - Zealand.

Let me know if you're going through the Bonds and when -- it would be cool to cross paths with you and your family out there.

Charlie
04-04-2009, 05:46 PM
is the 3 person tent big enough if you have to stay in for some time
i always went with a little bigger for elbow room

i have big elbows :D

Tim&Val
04-04-2009, 06:36 PM
The possibilities so far:

1 - Franconia Ridge loop. Up Falling Waters and across to Liberty Springs tent site for night 1. Franconia and Garfield Ridge to Garfield tent site for night 2. Back to Lafayette and down Old Bridel Path day 3.

2 - Start from Lincoln Woods and do a loop over the Bonds, Guyot, Galehead and through the Pemi with nights at 13 Falls tentsite, Guyot tentsite and Franconia Brook tentsite. Interested in opinions on which direction would be better for this loop.

3 to N - Anything else that you can suggest that provides good tenting options, time above treeline, etc.

I'm interested in knowing peoples experiences and opinion of the AMC tentsites. I'm a bit concerned about overflow options if the tentsites are full based on the locations and potential for legal off-trail camping in the vacinity if there isn't space.

We appreciate everyone's suggestions and input.

1. This is totally my opinion, but I'd go up Liberty Springs trail and set up camp at Liberty Springs tent site. If you feel the need for more climbing that day, you have options to go to Mt Liberty or even over to Mt Flume and back, but at least they are optional and not required in order to get to the night's resting place. Keep in mind that I have a strong dislike for Falling Waters trail in general. ;) That could be coloring my opinion.

2. This sounds awesome! I can't wait for Tim & I to do something similar. We've been on Bondcliff 2x, and it's our favorite of all the 48. I have reservations about recommending Franconia Brook Tentsite. I know it's like 3 miles in, but it's only about an hour from the parking lot due to the very flat trail. The tent sites are close together and right off the trail - which at that point is wide enough to drive a truck on. Guyot Tentsite looks awesome - we stopped there once just to refill our water supply,etc. They have a GREAT overflow section. In fact, we know people (and probably would include ourselves) who prefer the overflow section... We've not been to 13 Falls, so can't comment on their space. This could be 2 nighter for many folks - probably not Tim & I, or you could stop someplace along the way for a non-designated-campsite night. Tim and I have stayed along this route (and widening it out to include Owl's Head). I can PM you more info if you'd like.

3. First thought: This one's not a loop, but an "out and back". We did Mt Isolation via the Davis Path from Rt 302. Lots of beautiful views of-and-from Mt Crawford, Mt Resolution, Stairs Mtn, etc... There was a designated tent site about 6 miles in. Problem on this trip is water - or lack thereof. Once you get on the ridge, there isn't much. Again, I think Tim's got the coordinates (or at least could point to the spot on the map) where we got water during the trip. This could be a good 2-nighter, or you could make a loop around the Dry River wilderness with Rocky Branch Trail to make it longer. Mt Isolation gives incredible views of the Presis.

Overall, we've had good luck at the tent sites, but we've never been there when they were full. My sister and her family were concerned about the same thing when they were hiking into Ethan Pond from Zealand last fall, but the caretaker told them that they always make room in the overflow section. They never turn anyone away. That doesn't mean that you won't be close to someone else, but you shouldn't need to go find your own legal campsite just outside the "border".

I'm envious of your planning and psyched for summer!
Valerie

mtruman
04-04-2009, 07:34 PM
Thanks for all the quick replies!


Mark,

Don't have advice since we haven't done it yet, but just letting you know that Alex and I will be doing a backpack for the Bonds in July. We'll be going Galehead (hut stay) -South Twin - (Guyot tentsite stay) Bonds - Zealand.

Let me know if you're going through the Bonds and when -- it would be cool to cross paths with you and your family out there.

Our dates will be between 7/27 and 7/30. We're probably going to wind up picking the route and duration based on the weather at the last minute. I got a site at Moose Brook for several extra days so that we'd have options. It would definitely be great to cross paths (or share a path) with you and Alex out there.


is the 3 person tent big enough if you have to stay in for some time


We were originally planning on getting the REI Quarter Dome 3 which is probably a bit of a squeeze for 3. We wound up getting the Hoodoo 3 (http://www.rei.com/product/761889)which is absolutely huge and doesn't weight that much more (under 7 pounds). Should be plenty of room for the 3 of us for 2-3 nights and will have room for us plus our gear if it is just my wife and I (since I don't hold out hopes for my daughter coming with us every time). Can't wait to get out and try it out now...


1. This is totally my opinion, but I'd go up Liberty Springs trail and set up camp at Liberty Springs tent site... Keep in mind that I have a strong dislike for Falling Waters trail in general.

2. This sounds awesome! I can't wait for Tim & I to do something similar. We've been on Bondcliff 2x, and it's our favorite of all the 48. I have reservations about recommending Franconia Brook Tentsite. I know it's like 3 miles in, but it's only about an hour from the parking lot due to the very flat trail. .

3. First thought: This one's not a loop, but an "out and back". We did Mt Isolation via the Davis Path from Rt 302. Lots of beautiful views of-and-from Mt Crawford, Mt Resolution, Stairs Mtn, etc... There was a designated tent site about 6 miles in. Problem on this trip is water - or lack thereof. Once you get on the ridge, there isn't much. Again, I think Tim's got the coordinates (or at least could point to the spot on the map) where we got water during the trip. This could be a good 2-nighter, or you could make a loop around the Dry River wilderness with Rocky Branch Trail to make it longer. Mt Isolation gives incredible views of the Presis.


Thanks for all the input Val.

The reason that I chose Falling Waters and not Liberty Spring is that it makes the hike a true loop. No easy way to get to the Liberty Spring trailhead parking at Lafayette Place (I don't think). We actually really like Falling Waters too. We've done it as a partial a couple of times and did it on the way up to Franconia Ridge last summer.

The input on Franconia Brook campsite is good. I kind of wondered if that might be the case. Still might be a fun place to hang out for an afternoon even if it's a bit crowded. It looks like a fun place for swimming based on these pictures from HikeTheWhites. (http://hikethewhites.com/f_b_shelter.html) You might be right about just skipping it and taking the extra hour to head back to Lincoln Woods though.

The options for something including Isolation and Dry River Wilderness are something I'm definitly going to check out.

Tim&Val
04-04-2009, 09:03 PM
Re: Franconia Brook Campsite - please take note too of which side of the river it's on. It *used* to be on the west bank, now it's on the *east* bank. It may be possible to take off the shoes and cross the Pemi in July if you end up on the wrong side! :p

P.S. the bike path /snowmobile trail would get you from one parking lot to the other without any real issue. I wouldn't let that stand in the way. That being said, if you guys are fans of Falling Waters then more power to you!!!

Charlie
04-04-2009, 09:26 PM
nice looking tent mark

mtruman
04-04-2009, 10:32 PM
Re: Franconia Brook Campsite - please take note too of which side of the river it's on. It *used* to be on the west bank, now it's on the *east* bank. It may be possible to take off the shoes and cross the Pemi in July if you end up on the wrong side! :p



I noticed that the site had moved to the other side of the river. Probably has come as a surprise to a few folks who didn't know. There are stepping stones that cross it at the campsite area as long as the water is low enough. We have seen it pretty high in July a couple of times but you're right, usually you'll just get you ankles wet :rolleyes:

FisherCat
04-04-2009, 10:51 PM
I'm interested in knowing peoples experiences and opinion of the AMC tentsites. I'm a bit concerned about overflow options if the tentsites are full based on the locations and potential for legal off-trail camping in the vacinity if there isn't space.



Legitimate concern. That's a real busy time of year. Don't forget that you don't always have to limit yourself to a loop. Make use of the AMC Shuttle as well.

http://www.outdoors.org/lodging/lodging-shuttle.cfm

We once did, and I'll be doing it with the wife again soon, a hike going up to Garfield and hitting Galehead, the Twins, the Bonds, Zealand, Field & Tom, and exiting at the Highland Center and catching a shuttle the next day back to our car. That was nice and it took 4 days and three nights cause we really putted along and had fun taking our time. It was about 7-9 miles a day if I remember correctly.

mtruman
04-05-2009, 06:20 AM
Don't forget that you don't always have to limit yourself to a loop. Make use of the AMC Shuttle as well.

We once did, and I'll be doing it with the wife again soon, a hike going up to Garfield and hitting Galehead, the Twins, the Bonds, Zealand, Field & Tom, and exiting at the Highland Center and catching a shuttle the next day back to our car. That was nice and it took 4 days and three nights cause we really putted along and had fun taking our time. It was about 7-9 miles a day if I remember correctly.


You're right - the shuttle is great. We used it the last two years doing the huts. Once from Appalachia to Highland and the other from Lafayette Place to Zealand Rd with 4 days in between each time. The route that you're talking about doing with your wife is basically what we did last summer except that we started with Franconia Ridge and didn't do the Bonds. It was just incredible. Wouldn't have worked without the shuttle (well, I suppose there is always hitch hiking). There's a bit of a limitation with the timing and beginning/ending locations but that just takes a little planning. Definitely going to look at more of the options with that approach. Thanks for the suggestion!

krummholz
04-05-2009, 05:52 PM
This may be further north than you want to go, but an interesting 3-day backpack can be done as follows:

At Monson, Maine, you need a shuttle to the start point where the A.T. crosses the dirt road along the West Branch of the Pleasant River (near the Katahdin Iron Works and Gulf Hagas). Then you hike south. First night is at the Cloud Pond lean-to on Barren Mountain. Second night is at the Wilson Valley lean-to or along Big Wilson Stream. The next afternoon you're back out to where you left a car on Route 15, the highway between Monson and Greenville.

It's pretty rugged, but really spectacular and worthwhile.

mtruman
04-06-2009, 07:15 AM
This may be further north than you want to go, but an interesting 3-day backpack can be done as follows:

At Monson, Maine, you need a shuttle to the start point where the A.T. crosses the dirt road along the West Branch of the Pleasant River (near the Katahdin Iron Works and Gulf Hagas). Then you hike south. First night is at the Cloud Pond lean-to on Barren Mountain. Second night is at the Wilson Valley lean-to or along Big Wilson Stream. The next afternoon you're back out to where you left a car on Route 15, the highway between Monson and Greenville.

It's pretty rugged, but really spectacular and worthwhile.

My wife and I would both really love to do this one but as it turns out it is what my daughter did last summer with the AMC group (a 5 day starting with Gulf Hagas and ending up at White Cap). She loved it but she wants to go elsewhere this year. We'll definitely get back and do at least a chunk of the 100 Mile Wilderness someday (and Katahdin as well I hope). Thanks for another great suggestion.

rockin rex
04-06-2009, 08:32 AM
I know how much you folks enjoy Franconia Ridge area but One of my favorite hikes is the Carter Moriah / Wildcat Ridge Trail. This can be done via the A.M.C. shuttle and the hike is very close to Moosebrook campground. You could also tie in Mahoosuc notch with this hike. Doing the Carter Moriah trail North to South gives you incredible views of Mount Washington. You will not see as many people over on this side either compared to Franconia Ridge. I envy you folks. There is no better family time spent than to spend it hiking. I don't think Baxter will ever forget Huntington Ravine and Madison he still talks all the time about Seek The Peak. Enjoy the planning and enjoy the trip.

mtruman
04-06-2009, 05:46 PM
I know how much you folks enjoy Franconia Ridge area but One of my favorite hikes is the Carter Moriah / Wildcat Ridge Trail. This can be done via the A.M.C. shuttle and the hike is very close to Moosebrook campground. You could also tie in Mahoosuc notch with this hike. Doing the Carter Moriah trail North to South gives you incredible views of Mount Washington. You will not see as many people over on this side either compared to Franconia Ridge. I envy you folks. There is no better family time spent than to spend it hiking. I don't think Baxter will ever forget Huntington Ravine and Madison he still talks all the time about Seek The Peak. Enjoy the planning and enjoy the trip.

Thanks Rex - I've been wondering about the possibilities in that area since the shuttle suggestion. We haven't done anything east of Pinkham yet and would really like to. Very open to suggestions about good non-tentsite locations to camp in the Carter/Moriah/Wildcat area as well as thoughts on routes.

I agree about the family time. We've been really lucky to have some incredible time hiking, paddling and camping with our daughter since she was little and are so thankful that she's still into doing that with us as a teenager. Are you guys going to be at STP this year? Hope so and look forward to seeing you again.