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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 nb on the moderate Big Rock Cave Trail over Mount Mexico (see its TR for the bushwack), visited the Big Rock cave on the moderate northside descent, and picked up the Old Paugus Trail after crossing Whitin Brook and its Trail at the bottom of the valley.
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 Paugus is visible through the trees (due north) 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 the average hiker isn't interested in a bushwack "He's headed for Mount Paugus-South Peak". I have therefore entered it as a Provisional Peak, hopefully 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 going over to the South Peak, where I enjoyed the vista while eating lunch.
At the south ridge's rocky-height-of-land (noted above) you are able to see the summit (at a 340 degree magnetic compass reading) and the South Peak through the trees. I continued up trail (on a slight descent) a short distance, to where the trail makes a very sharp left turn before descending to the brook crossing. A good trail leads right at this sharp left turn .... I actually didn't know which way to turn for the Old Paugus Trail.
I followed the right trail (generally north) to a camp site to where it continued north as a good heard path, staying on the east edges of the low swampy/boggy/pond area (the outlet of which is the brook crossing noted above). I lost the heard path only to pick it up again as I made my way across a fairly flat area to the start of a steep embankment that I climbed/scrambled to get to the top of the ridge. Once on the ridge I stayed somewhat right always looking for the path of least resistance and the higher ground.
The woods are fairly open and the going is not difficult, numerous heard paths are encountered/followed/lost on the way, probably made mostly by animals.
I walked around, for what seemed to be a long time, looking for the Highpoint (not obvious, I had no GPS but I believe I found it). Further north the woods were solid with spruce and I couldn't get through. I gave up, pretty sure that I found it and returned the same way. The bushwack is about .3 miles one way and it took well over an hour.

Once back out on the main trail I continued on 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".

"MOUNTAINS DON'T KILL PEOPLE, THEY JUST SIT THERE."


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/bushwack from mexic
    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:
OrderPeak/PointDate
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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