View Full Version : Full Moon Overnight to Unknown Pond 9/6-7/09

KD Talbot
09-11-2009, 08:36 PM
Unknown Pond at Sunset

Unknown Pond/The Horn 3905'/The Bulge 3950'

Unknown Pond Trail/Kilkenney Ridge Trail

10.6 Miles 2450' Elevation gain to The Bulge

Kevin, Judy Emma Tim and Val

On Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend we had the pleasure of backpacking to Unknown Pond with Tim and Val. Originally this trip had been suggested by our mutual friends the Trumans who wanted to climb Mt. Cabot in their quest for the 48, but circumstances prevented them from joining us. This was a shame because we had a great trip and thanked them from afar several times. We decided that if they ever want to venture out there we would join them as it is a most pleasant spot and a most pleasant journey to get to.

Our trip really started Saturday afternoon with a drive to Tim and Val's beautiful home in Ashland. We had a great surf and turf dinner of steakhouse shish kabob and cajun shrimp that we provided complemented by some local corn and fresh veggies from T&V's garden. The climax was a blueberry pie with berries from a local PYO farm and Val's excellent pie crust. A truly satisfying meal! After several beverages night was falling and the full moon was rising so we pitched a tent in the yard. After some discussion we convinced T&V that they were being no less of a host by not giving up their bedroom which had graciously been offered and allowing us to sleep under the full moon in their big yard. It was a beautiful night and turned out to be colder than the next night that we spent a hundred miles north above the notches.

Emma Guards the Campsite

Next morning brought a bright sun in a cloudless sky and T&V put out a huge, delicious breakfast. Finally we were off. I could have stayed around and continued to eat huge, delicious meals all weekend, but the others, especially Emma, had other plans. We made the drive north in what seemed like no time. I can't imagine how awesome it is to live somewhere where you get on the highway and can already see Mt. Moosilauke. It would definitely increase my days spent in the mountains. With a little help from me as navigator Tim negotiated the streets of Berlin and we were soon heading west on Rte. 110 towards Milan and the York Pond Rd. The confusing detours in Berlin are gone, but it is still a winding route through those streets so care is needed to stay on the right path. We were a little surprised to find the trailhead parking lot full, but it was a holiday weekend. We unloaded and got ready. Emma was giddy.

American Painted Lady Vanessa virginiensis.

The trail in to the tent sites is unremarkable. A few minor wet spots. A few easy brook crossings. Eventually you come to a spot with a filtered view towards the Northern Presidentials and soon after that you are there. It goes by fast with such good company. The first campsite we came to was a double campsite which would have served us just fine, but we decided to check out the rest. Another camper had told Tim there were over thirty campers crowded into the seven sites the night before. Only one set up remained, lucky us. How clever of me to suggest we come Sunday/ Monday. I'm still patting myself on the back. We took the two furthest sites from the pond, but they had filtered views of the Northern Presis, beautiful!

Unknown Pond at Dusk

After setting up our respective camps we headed off to the pond and did some exploring and eventually made our way along the trails to one of my favorite summits in the Whites, The Horn. The views from here are tremendous. West over the Piilot Range to Vermont and beyond. Northwest to the Percys. Further north to Dixville Notch and lots of stuff I have yet to explore. To the east the whole of the Mahoosucs are stretched out along the horizon. Further south the Moriahs and Carters and further south still, the Presidentials with the summit of Washington sticking up over Jefferson like an extension. Directly south the view is taken by Mount Cabot, but I can think of worse things to block my view. After an hour or more on The Horn we skipped over to the viewless Bulge which for some reason Judy and I remembered having at least a partial view but didn't. Tick off a couple of more summits for Tim and Val's 100 Highest list.

Early Sun lights Up The Horn

Back at the camp there was a large area for a fire ring that was used by most campers as the kitchen, however, it got so cool that afternoon that most all of us went down to the pond where the sun warmed things considerably. I had donned my heavy fleece and winter hat only to be roasted by the sun near the water. It was amazing to see Emma stretching out and taking a nap in the sun at suppertime. Usually she is on high alert and I expected her to be on super high alert as there were several other dogs there as well. It must be a very comfy dog type of place because they were all stretched out for a nap and behaving very well. Despite the lure of a bonfire Judy, Emma and I turned in early after supper. I hadn't slept well the night before and was coming down with what turned out to be a respiratory infection which I'm now on penicillin for. Even so, it was a great trip.

Rising Sun/Setting Moon

Sunset that night was beautiful, followed by a near full moon which lit the woods up like day. Next morning I was up early and down to the pond for sunrise. The early light was beautiful. A front seemed to be moving in. If I had to guess the weather for this day I would have had to say it would be a wash out. I would have been wrong. The threatening skies did only that, threaten. It soon gave way to clear beautiful skies and warm, fall temps. It was a pleasant hike out with slightly lighter packs, and we were soon on the way back to Ashland where we parted ways. Val sent me home with the remains of the fabulous blueberry pie. It had been a truly delicious weekend!

Complete set of pics here:



09-11-2009, 10:26 PM
Excellent report, and magnificent photos!!:)

09-12-2009, 06:27 AM

Great trip report. The photo's are great. Cute doggy too.

I have a stupid question. Is the name of the pond "Unknown Pond"? That's what it sounds like. At first, I thought you just didn't know the name.

Sorry if that is a dumb question, my wife and I are new to hiking this year and are really just becoming familiar with the White Mountains.

Thanks for sharing.


Snow Miser
09-12-2009, 09:23 AM
Great TR and photos. That first photo of the sunlit clouds reflecting on the water is beautiful. And Emma looks so content just lying there outside your tent.:)

KD Talbot
09-12-2009, 10:15 AM
Thanks for the kind comments! It was a great trip!

Karl- The only dumb questions are the ones you don't ask! Yes, the name of the pond is Unknown Pond. If you have the AMC maps of the Whites you'll find it on the North Country map, map 6. It is west of Berlin and Jericho State Park, near Mt. Cabot. There are three Unknown Ponds (at least) in NH, but this is the only one that lies in the WMNF.


09-12-2009, 12:16 PM
Emma was clearly saying this was a good idea. Let's not do that Mt Washington thing again. That last one in July was too much.

09-12-2009, 12:50 PM
I'm glad that we were able to suggest such a nice trip. Too bad that we didn't actually go ourselves :( Excellent TR and photos - almost like being there. Almost. The good news is that the weekend of the next full moon is three weeks away and we will hopefully have another weekend of weather like you guys had for this one. There's no way that we're missing the next one!!!

By the way, flaunting not only the wonderful dinner, pie and breakfast but also getting the leftover pie to take home was just a cheap shot. ;)

By the way - we're going to have to hold you to your offer to go back to Unknown Pond with us. After seeing this excellent trip it way up near the top of our list. Fall is almost completely planned but it's not too early to start thinking ahead to Spring...

KD Talbot
09-12-2009, 07:59 PM
You guys were definitely missed, but we'll more than make up for it next month! We're definitely up for a return whenever!


09-12-2009, 09:32 PM
It's weirdly redundant when posting both here and on Views from the Top...


We had a GREAT time throughout the entire weekend with your guys!! Your kabobs were stellar! We actually tried to reproduce them since then (and we've never had them before at all), but ours were not as good as yours.

I still wish you would have stayed in the house. It was so cold that night.

I'll never give away the secret of the pie crust! LOL

My trip report is behind... but hopefully I'll use tomorrow morning to catch up! I'll post the link here as soon as possible!!


p.s. Mark and Natalie, whenever you are free and want to head in there, just let us know. Tim's already trying to plan another trip. The idea of a winter overnight from vegematic will probably send him over the edge. He'll be all over it!!

09-13-2009, 10:42 AM
Great trip report and incredable pictures. Looks like you all had a wonderful time. Emma looks really relaxed in the woods. Thanks for sharing.

09-13-2009, 01:22 PM
As I hoped, I got caught up a bit today on the trip reports! Here's our rendition of the great overnight!

Trip report here (http://www.barkeater.ws/nh48/images/UnknownPond/20090906/UnknownPondFrames.htm)


09-13-2009, 02:31 PM
As I hoped, I got caught up a bit today on the trip reports! Here's our rendition of the great overnight!

Trip report here (http://www.barkeater.ws/nh48/images/UnknownPond/20090906/UnknownPondFrames.htm)


More great pics (but still none of the pie) and another great TR. Still very jealous - but just repeating to myself - three more weeks, three more weeks... :)

09-13-2009, 07:47 PM
Great trip report and pictures also Val. Sounds and looks like you all had a great time. Thanks for sharing it with us.

KD Talbot
09-14-2009, 07:08 PM
Excellent TR and some great pictures. Glad you guys were along and enjoyed it!