Ascent of Mount Paugus on 2010-06-25

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Others in Party:MY 45th "NH52WAV"
Date:Friday, June 25, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Paugus
    Location:USA-New Hampshire
    Elevation:3198 ft / 974 m

Ascent Trip Report

My very first "MOOSE ENCOUNTER" happened today on the way to Mount Paugus, my 45th "NH52WAV" ..... 8.7 miles, 7 hour RT.

I did an out-and-back trip, going over Mount Mexico on the way To Mount Paugus, both summits are bushwacks.

I started at the Cabin TH on hwy #113A, 1/2 mile east of the Wonalancet corner at the Union Chapel or 6.1 miles west of Tamworth. I ascended northbound on the moderate Big Rock Cave Trail which goes over Mount Mexico.

The Big Rock Cave Trail actually passes to the east of the Mount Mexico summit and a short bushwack is required to attain the actual highpoint.
Where the trail reaches a height of land at a large sign "Sandwich Range Wilderness, White Mountain National Forest" I bushwacked a magnetic compass reading of 290 degrees of about 200 yards to what I considered the highpoint at a small bump (forgot my GPS). The deciduous wooded summit area is fairly large/flat and very easy to get around. I walked around in a circle before deciding on this spot.
On my trip back from Mount Paugus I repeated my short trek and came up with the same conclusion.

I visited the Big Rock Cave on the moderate northside descent, and picked up the Old Paugus Trail after crossing Whitin Brook.
The Old Paugus Trail climbs a steep-rough-rocky gully, swings right around a rock face then steadily through a spruce forest to the junction with the Bee Line Trail coming in from the right. It then continues sharply up the south ridge, goes over a rocky-height-of-land, before descending and crossing a small brook on the way to the final-short-steep ascent to the beautiful South Knob of Mount Paugus. This is the end of the Old Paugus Trail and the start of the westbound Lawrence Trail.

The actual summit of MOUNT PAUGUS is visible through the trees (due north from the rocky-height-of-land) and trail-less, requiring a short bushwack. I believe this South Knob should be named as a separate Peak and have its own entry in PB as MOUNT PAUGUS-SOUTH PEAK, since it is the destination for "NH52WAV" and the average hiker isn't interested in a bushwack "He's headed for the view at the South knob". I have therefore entered it as a Provisional Peak, for Greg's approval.

Today's trail from the steep gully to the rocky-height-of-land on the ridge (referred-to above) had a lot of fairly recent blowdown with a lot of moose droppings, and it was on the section of trail prior to the Bee Line Trail that I encountered my first Moose on a trail. It was quick and exciting with no time to pull out my camera before he disappeared up-trail ahead of me.
I first heard noise in the woods to the right/ahead of me before seeing the Moose. It was huge (sweaty-looking) cow. She quickly darted to her left, entered the trail about 50 feet ahead of me and trotted up-trail, disappearing in a matter (of what seemed to be) seconds.
As she was doing this, thoughts ran through me like "Is she going to come at me.", "What am I going to do.", "Get my camera."
Well she didn't make me suffer long, although I stayed defensive as I continued up-trail following her tracks. After I got passed the Bee Line Trail junction I lost her tracks and all thoughts went away.
My very first "Moose encounter" was over.

I first bushwacked to Mount Paugus before continuing on the main trail to the South Peak for my lunch "With A View".

I returned to the TH the same way, going back over MOUNT MEXICO once again. My source of information for this trip was the "AMC White Mountain Guide".


Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1858 ft / 565 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1658 ft / 505 m
    Extra Loss:60 ft / 18 m
    Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Route:big rock cave tr/old paugus tr/wack from mexico
    Trailhead:hwy 113A TH east of wonalancet ,  1600 ft / 487 m
Descent Statistics
    Extra Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Route:return to mexico
Ascent Part of Trip: paugus

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Mexico2010-06-25 a
2Mount Paugus2010-06-25 b
3Mount Paugus-South Peak2010-06-25 c
4Mount Mexico2010-06-25 d

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