A Hike as Sweet as Candy, Percy Peaks – June 15

Percy Peaks from the road

Percy Peaks from the road

I felt like a kid in a candy shop on this hike, I loved everything.  I’ve been eyeing this hike since May when I read Nilsen’s description of this hike in 50 Hikes North of the White Mountains.  Though I felt disappointment every weekend that we’ve come up to the White Mountains because the weather hasn’t been just perfect.  I was like the kid waiting for that candy store to open, sad every time the store had the closed sign in the window. June 15 the candy store opened and I was giddy with excitement to hike the two peaks.  Off we went to see some amazing views and hike beautiful trails.

We started the hike at 8 in the morning, the only car in the parking spot off of Nash Stream Rd in Stark, NH.  Cross the bridge and the trail enters the forest on the right.

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The trail was well maintained, but it doesn’t get as much traffic as other White Mountains Forest Trails. We enjoyed seeing the contrast of old and new work on the trail.

New Bridge vs. Old Bridge

New Bridge vs. Old Bridge

At a mile, a large boulder greeted us and we veered to the left of it. Talk about the determination of wanting to exist, check out the tree growing out of the rock.

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Next we came upon staircases with an easy rise, great for short legs.

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Staircase courtesy of Crews from the North Woods Stewardship Center in VT.

At 1.2 miles the trail pitched upwards, following the old trail.  The former trail went straight up the mossy slabs.  According to Nilsen’s book, two deaths of humans from slipping here have occurred and even one moose slid to his death.  Thankful the trail was re routed.

Old Trail went up that, ekkk not safe

Old Trail went up that, ekkk not safe

After the first cross over on one of the slides, turn around for the first start of some eye candy.

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The sections began to get steep and we had to do some fancy footwork.

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After this we entered a very webby area, had to find a stick to clear the way.  It was like walking through cotton candy, all those webs.

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Next we connected to the Old Summer Club Trail, part of the Cohos Trail System.  We walked on this for a few paces to the connector to South Percy Peak.

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We hiked the nameless South Percy Peak trail for .3 miles to the summit.  This forest was untamed here with a few blowdowns that required over/under skills or a  slight bushwhack to get around them.

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Can’t go over, can’t go under..try to go around

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over and unders

Once we reached the peak it was like we entered a blueberry bush candy store.  Oh to come up here in August to eat our full would be heaven.

Blueberry bushes galore

Blueberry bushes galore

As we faced North Percy, Kim Nilsen’s description of  the peak, kept popping into my head “a gumdrop”, no other label fits it better.

look at that "gumdrop"

look at that “gumdrop”

We started our descent and backtracked to head up to North Percy Peak.

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This is where the fun began, walking up rock slabs.  I am usually terrified of this type of hiking, but after reading Steve Smith’s description of walking up this rock slab, I was calm.  He referred to it as  “you stick to it like flypaper”.  He was correct, no slipping at all in dry weather.

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The pitch was steep, but if wet, do NOT attempt this hike, that would be disastrous.  We reached the summit, with lots of ooohing and ahhhing, felt like the candy store just opened and we didn’t know where to look first.  The views were stunning and we had it all to ourselves.

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We hardly ever take our photo by the summit sign, but today we did. We usually don’t do it because there are gobs of people around a summit sign.

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After wandering around the top and eating for 20 minutes, we headed down.  At one point I yelled to Mike to stop, it looked he was going to drop off the end of the earths and it would make a great photo.

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Coming off of North Percy, facing South Percy

After descending we joined up with the Cohos Trail, the Percy Loop.  I know my domain name is CThikergal, of course when I hike on the Cohos Trail, I like to pretend the CT stands for Cohos Trail, instead of Connecticut.

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  We walked on this beautiful path for 2.3 miles.  It doesn’t see a lot of trampers, the moose scat on the trail was even starting to grow moss.  This is my favorite type of trail, not a lot of traffic and it is wild looking, full of beauty only touched by nature.  Every where we looked it was beautiful, again like that child in the candy store with all the colorful candy perfectly placed to entice all the senses.

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The trail at times was a bit muddy and I had to laugh out loud when I discovered moose skid marks in the soft earth.

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Moose skid marks

The trail ended for us at the Nash Stream Road and we had a mile road walk back to the car.

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At one point we could look back and see a glimpse of the “gumdrop”.

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We highly recommend this hike on a beautiful clear day.  We saw no one on the trail, though where we parked had four cars in it when we arrived back at our car.

We both felt like little kids exiting the candy store, all giddy after a full day of experiencing nature’s  candy.

The Details:  Loop hike for 6.3 miles, elevation gain was 2500 feet, time was 5 hours 9 minutes.

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