Peacham Bog Loop

This isn't so much a Peacham Bog loop, as it's a loop, and it goes around Peacham Bog, but also does so much more!  After much exploring with Team Barks-A-Lot, Dogman and flying solo, I finally tested a full circuit that linked together a series of current trails, logging roads, VAST trails and abandoned trails/roads.

Shown on the right, the route starts at the Devil's Hill Trail parking lot in Peacham (off Green Bay Loop), tags Devil's Hill and cranks around the Bog (stopping at the little vista at the southern end with the bog bridges and the bench).  Once into the main part of Groton State Forest (near the Nature Center and New Discovery State Park) I link up with the trail system there, tag Big Deer Mtn and then crank the logging roads back east.

It's a scenic run.  To a large degree you can set your own pace.  There are a few sections that are slow due to mud, steep trail or rocks/roots,  but to a large degree it's pretty fast trail running.

Running w/ the dogs meant stops for water and cooling off at all the brooks and bogs but even that only added at most 30 minutes to the total time.  I spent another 10-15 minutes taking pictures too so I think running solo or with one of my lightening fast buddies would make this a 2:30 adventure.

One other note:  the entire loop can be done easily on skis.

Time:  3:25
Dist:  12.1 mi
Elev: 2,089 ft


The First Great Peacham Bog Bushwack

What a great bushwack!

Bog Route
Thanks to the loan of a garmin GPS 12XL (ca. 1997) I tracked my route today w/ the dogs into the wilds of Peacham Bog.  The image on the right from Google Earth shows the route.  We (me, Spanky The Wonder Dog and Jake) did this counter-clockwise.

We ran the trail from the truck to the top of Devil's Hill.  The bushwack started from the summit of Devil's Hill (bushwhack marked in yellow) and dropped down into the wildest place around here.

The bushwack off the top of Devil's Hill, for anyone interested, is done by heading south from the main summit, staying on the marked trail.  As soon as the trail starts to dodge downhill, stay on a southerly bearing.  If you follow the ridge, you can cross the saddle and then drop into the notch (Jennison Mtn is the next hill).  I curved SE and then E, staying in a very steep wood just south of the open cliffs that you stand on at the summit.  It's a challenge to descend, but nothing complicated - it's just steep woods.

The original plan was to try to hit a little opening w/ some open water (see blue dot trail) but without the aid of the GPS - just using guesswork.  But man, that's no place to navigate.  No landmarks.  Just wandering around in the woods.  If the sun hadn't been out I would've died out there.  No Kidding.  When I hit what looks like open meadow on the image, it was wet bog - running water with little tufts of grass, roots and brush.  We crossed to a little hill, explored, then crossed back and continued south until I hit an abandoned VAST trail (dogman and I call it The Forgotten Notch Trail - it runs between Devil's Hill and Jennison Mtn).

Detail of Crossing
In the detail image (below, right) I've corrected for some GPS tracking glitches as the unit lost satellite communications.  We poked around to find a crossing back from the little hill.  The 'hill' was about 100 yards across and maybe 30ft above the bog - enough to stay high and dry.  Much of it was open woods, however the trees get about 6-12 inches apart in sections and I got home with dripping blood and cuts and bruises.

I only went knee deep in water twice - mostly, by carefully placed feet I was only a few inches deep.

The return leg (the orange section heading north) was on an abandoned VAST trail that lead to a much-traveled snowmobile trail that skirts Martin's Pond.

The entire loop took 2.5 hours.

What a crazy adventure.


Peacham Bog via Jennison Pass

Yesterday, Team Barks-A-Lot (spanky, jake and i) took a 2hr out-and-back out to some mysterious parts of the Peacham bog complex in Peacham, VT.  Word on the street is that people die in Peacham bog because it's easy to get lost.  no kidding.  Luckily, my forays into the bog are many and short, extending further each time so i have a pretty good idea of how to get in and out to get out.

Yesterday's trek is plotting on this rough map.  it starts at the top-right at the white dot (parking lot for Devil's Hill trail).  we went:
orange to yellow, yellow to purple.  the purple trail is an old farm road that goes up and over a pass between the two peaks of Jennison Mtn.  it's probably only a 100-150' climb from the yellow trail.

On the descent it completely evaporates and there is absolutely no sign of any human incursion in the entire bog section.  as i arced down along the section of bog with open water i found a number of spots that would make outstanding camping sites.  so far, this location is as far as i think i can get from human activity.  i can't imagine anyone being down there for any reason.  it's not hard to navigate, but some sections i wouldn't go in because the woods were too dark - not that i was afraid of boogey-men, but the tree trunks were a foot apart and it would be like entering a very dark maze.

The other cool thing is that lot of the surface is rocks, w/ roots, moss and organic matter forming bridges, and water trickling underneath.  it's a really remarkable place.  i'd like to go back there on skis.

In the meantime, the turquoise trail is a known bushwack (took TJ on it.  dogman's been on it too) and on a future loop will hook up with it along with the Jennison Pass bushwack.

My plan is to know my way around and through the bog.  even though the main 'open' sections are inaccessible in the warm months, i'm discovering that there are many routes in and around the bog.  it's a complex region.


Joe's Brook Boardwalk

There's an extraordinary bushwack from Greenbank Hollow to Morses Mill in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  The setting is a high bank over Joe's Brook, which winds through a narrow valley and over small falls and cascades.  There is an old farm road of sorts that can be followed for most of the way, although exploring down by the water has it's own rewards.  The banks are steep and unclimbable in sections, so caution is in order.  Additionally there are a few tributaries that make lovely forest pools on the descent to the brook.

The title of this post comes from a sign on an old horse trail that joins with the road.

The bushwack runs between Greenbank Hollow at the site of the old Mill that has been uncovered and identified as an historic site in Danville.  Enter the woods by the site of the old Grist Mill, following the trail.  The trail ends by the water's edge and at this point you're on your own.  It took me 1:15 to get to a property at Morse's Mill.  Out of respect for the landowner I turned around before reaching Joe's Brook Road.

On the return, stay high to enjoy the giant boulder field and the mossy brook.

Full picture gallery here.


Franconia Ridge, Cannon, Kinsman Death Slog

Route Stats:  18-20 miles (not sure), 8700' vertical, approx 9 hrs.

  • Ascend Falling Waters to the Ridge, North To Lafayette, Descend on Old Bridle Path.
  • Cross 93, Ascend Hi Cannon to Summit, Cross Cannon Balls to Kinsman Pond
  • Tag North Kinsman
  • Return to cars via Kinsman Pond, Cascade Brook and Lonesome Lake Trails
Mutha's Trip Report:

'Go'!  That's the last I see of tMail and The Irish Rose as we all immediately spread out heading up the Falling Waters Trail.  As tMail reported, the lower section of the Falling Waters/Bridle Path (from the parking area up to the footbridge is destroyed.  It's all gullied out and the woods are torn up.  It's clear that rather than rebuild the trail a new one will have to be built along side this death zone.

Communications System
It was just before 8am so the traffic was light on the ascent, and everyone politely moved aside.  It wasn't very cold, but the air was humid and the ridge entirely enshrouded in fog so evaporation was close to nothing.  Visibility on the ridge was in the 20-40' range and there was almost no wind so you could hear the clicking of poles in the distance to warn of approaching hikers.  Again, on the ridge, it was nothing but polite hikers who easily and quickly moved to the side.

Up and over Lafayette, and down toward Greenleaf Hut.  This is where it started.  Hundreds of hikers were ascending this trail and they ranged from families with little kids, to tourists unsure of where they were, to day hikers, avid hikers, etc.  The first group I encountered having lunch *IN* the middle of the trail were french Canadian.

Since I have them, here are some benchmarks
Bam, back to the parking lot:
Car to Little Haystack:        1:10
Little Haystack to Lincoln:    0:15
Lincoln to Lafayette:        0:20
Lafayette to the Hut:        0:25
Hut to Car:            0:50
Total Time:            3:00

Ridge Time:            0:35
Lafayette Summit to the Car:    1:15
Above Treeline:            1:00

I'd like to say I throttled it back to save a bit for the next stage, but I don't really think I could've gone any faster - maybe shaved of 5 or 10 minutes if I really pushed.

Hi Cannon Ladder
Got back to car and saw tMail's time written in the dirt on the windshield.  Wrote my time for Pat.  It reminded me that we could use a trail notification/communication system for these types of events.  I spent 10 minutes swapping water/food/etc., noting that I'd eaten one bar and only 12 oz of water.  Not good.  That probably accounted for the massive charley horse that took me to the ground at Greenleaf Hut.

The 'run' up Hi Cannon was anything but.  It's 2.8 miles of staircase-steep - very similar in speed to going up the North Slide, although it's dirt trail, not exposed ledge (there's one set of ladders but only for about 20').  Actually, I imagine that it's nearly identical to the ascent up Willey from the Ethan Pond Trail, minus the initial flat part.  Take a look at the attached pic.  It's relentlessly up, and I've never done anything like that after pushing hard on the Franc Ridge Loop.  Painful. It took 1:30 exactly to get from the car to the top of the tower.

Cannon Tourist Tower
Near the top, I saw a shape coming toward me through the woods.  I heard "Mutha!".  WTF?!?!?  It was tMail, coming down Hi Cannon.  As he put it:  "I'm all turned around". On the plus side, we 'ran' the rest of the day together, which was a lot more fun than going solo. ; But next time you're out w/ tMail, remember the following anecdote:  at the Kinsman Ridge junction coming down from Cannon we had to decide to head down to Lonesome Lake or continue on via the Cannon Balls.  tMail sat on a rock w/ his head down, muttering "I'm shot - I'm toast - I got nuthin' left".  I felt like I was pushing to do the Cannon Balls, but when he stood up and started running it was clear that the bastard was just testing me.  He tried it again at the junction of Kinsman Pond where we had to decide to head down or tag North Kinsman but he didn't fool me.  The rest of the day was almost solo again.  Damn that fleet-footed bastard.

All trails in great shape, except for the lower part of the OBP.  Hint for anyone heading up there in the next few months:  stay in the rutted stone gullies but keep to climber's left of the carnage until you re-find the trail.  Remember this on the way down, too.

 tMail's Trip Report: 
MadDog you were the first person I thought of when I got to the trail head.  Why you may ask?  Here it is.  I pull in open the car door and I thought I was at a rock concert from back in the day.  She was a complete hippy dressed in National Forrest clothing.  I recognize the song, see below.  She has her arms out doing the classic Woodstock, side to side, fly away.  She turns and says to me Happy Labor Day weekend.  I thought of making out with her.


We are nervously getting ready, it was like the start of the race.  I said, "Mutha, say Go" he says "No you say go", I say "Go".

We start running, hit trail and get lost, there is no trail, its sandpit and wind downs, carnage.  We find the trail and then its a hammer fest to the summit.

North Kinsman Group Shot
I was pushing hard saying, WTF and I doing I still need to do the other side of this Homicide hike.  Haystack summit in 1 hour 1 minute, I wanted to puke, I took some calories in and blasted to Lafayette 37 minutes lots of running, just ripping it, saw people can't remember where nor did I say anything to them.  It was a total blur, there were people on the summit of Lafayette, I just cranked down.  One person stopped me, a kid who was ready to murder someone on the summit that took his poles or walking stuff, he was pissed.

I hit the car at 2:36:19 trashed, quads blown.  I restock, I was lost with out my crew, I had to do everything on my own :-(  It made me think of VT 100 and how I want to get back there.  The last couple of weeks it has been like a rat noring away at me about not finishing.

The blast down OBP was eventful full carnage running around people and through people, I kept yelling runner, thanks, heads up, to your right, to your left.  Canadians, lots of them, some Asians, one hot.  Quebec girls love runners, I heard one guy yell, "That is fucking hardcore".  The girls at the junction for Kinsman Pond and Fishin Jimmy and Kinsman Ridge WOW, particularly yellow sports bra.  I saw here again at the parking lot she said Hi, I gave her MadDog's cell phone number.

As I pulled out of T1 - I wrote on Mutha's car the time 10:36am.  I blasted up the trail head to Hi Cannon Trail, missed the turn, hit Lonesome Lake took some other death wish assault to Cannon, wandered around up there, ending up descending the Hi Cannon Trail, ran into Mutha, mentally losing it, lost marbles, turn around hit Cannon again, we debate Cannon Balls, do them run sections, debate N. Kinsman, hijack some guys map to look at distances hit N. Kinsman.  The Kinsman Pond Shelter is a bomb shelter absolutely beautiful we need to overnight up there, the pond is awesome.  You can see on the Garmin tracking how I started down Hi Cannon Trail heard Mutha and turned around.

Food - I experimented, all liquid, only had two bananas and Peanut Butter and Jelly wrap.  I made two 5 hour bottles of Sustained Energy with Strawberry Lemonade Nuun tabs, tasted like a creamy.  I also had two gel flasks and lots of ecaps and 3 liters of water.  I am trying to eliminate sugar as much as possible, the stomach was really good all day.