In my quest to redline the White Mountain trails I set out to hike the Gordon Pond trail on Friday. By biking down hill from the Beaver Brook trail parking lot to the Gordon Pond trailhead I planned to make a loop connecting up with the Kinsman Ridge trail and descending the Dilly trail which I also still needed for the redlining. This was a great plan except that I couldn’t quite figure out where the trailhead was from looking at the map. I naively plugged in Gordon Pond trail in the google app on my phone and started biking towards it. If my morning brain had been a little bit more functional I would have realized that going uphill towards the trailhead really didn’t match the map at all but I continued walking my bike up (because who bikes up hill anyways?) until Google said I was at the trail.
I was a little confused not to find a parking lot and headed left. I crossed underneath some powerlines, saw a few confusing signs and proceeded to park my bike behind some trees. It was then that I checked my Gaia app and realized I was supposed to head uphill and that I had missed the bottom part. Oops!
Still slightly confused I follow the Gaia track, and ignoring the trail signs at the powerlines again I continue straight across the road, park the bike and come to another trail junction. I turn left but that doesn’t jive with my map or the Gaia track (downloaded forest service map, which isn’t always correct btw) so I turn back and continue straight. I’m following some blue blazes and think I’m on the right track now (I’m discarding the Gaia track at this point because it’s nonsense). I turn left onto a road bed and soon follow along the creek. It’s pleasant walk to where I have to cross the creek. It’s a fairly easy boulder hop across just below where the trail crosses and I continue on. It’s starting to climb a bit now but it’s all pretty gentle. I’m enjoying how green everything is.
I don’t enjoy the little garter snake when I see it at first because snakes always startle me at first. It’s not moving at all so I can take a nice picture of it and hike on. Poor guy is probably cold.
I can hear Gordon Falls as I get closer and enjoy a nice view from the top of them. Crossing right above you have to watch your step since the rock is pretty mossy but it’s a pretty sweet area. Not too much later I cross it again and a little further it gets muddy with some eroded trail and a mud pit. My poor shoes are getting sucked in a few times. Eventually I make it to the spur trail to Gordon pond. There is a big boulder with a small cairn on it marking the turn to the left to stay on the main trail but if you continue straight you’ll get to a nice spot to view the pond and if you’re lucky you can see Mt Wolf. There are some mediocre campsites in the area as well. I enjoy a little break eating some cookies, testing out my rain jacket in the drizzle. Just past the pond I startle a porcupine waddling up the trail, he climbs a tree to get away from me. They’re such cool animals!
I soon make it up to the Kinsman ridge trail and have a fairly easy jaunt over to the Dilly trail. I meet four thru hikers along the way and wish I had brought more extra snacks to hand out. One of them had taken a picture of my car in the parking lot with the excessive hiking and triple crown stickers. Haha.
The Dilly trail is listed as a very difficult trail so I was wondering how hard it would really be. I would have preferred to do it uphill but with the way I made this into a loop I didn’t have that option. In the end it wasn’t all that bad. Yes, the trail was steep, rocky and rooty. But it was dry and I just stashed my poles and took my time. I had an okay view from the ledge and made it down to the closed sign at the trailhead safely. I even walked the nature trail at the bottom but it wasn’t all that exciting. I thought about visiting the lost river gorge but wasn’t willing to pay the $19 to get in so I walked up the road back to my car.
Of course there was still the mystery of the missing mile on the Gordon Pond trail so I finally did what I should have done in the first place and pulled out my White Mountain Guide. It perfectly described where the trail starts and where you can park. It isn’t odd that I missed it since it’s unmarked parking next to a restaurant (don’t park there after 4pm) and you have to walk up a private driveway past a garage to turn onto a rail road grade. You’ll eventually see a gate, walk around it and get to the powerlines I saw in the morning. Instead of continuing straight like I did, the trail actually turns where the signs are which I didn’t pay attention to in the morning. It then continues uphill and turns again to join the trail I followed in the morning. Now the confusing junctions all make sense. Haha. I guess that White Mountain guide book is pretty useful if you actually read it! Duh.