As the fall begins to make its shift into winter, the days become shorter and shorter. This is why even with an early 7 am start, individuals can still be caught in the dark with these short nine hour days.
On Wednesday, I ventured into the Sandwich Wilderness to continue on my journey of the 48 four thousand footers. I knew there was not much a view from North Tripyramid, but excellent views to Tecumseh and the surrounding ranges from Middle Tripyramid.
I decided to start my journey from Pine Bend Brook Trail and loop it back from Sabbaday Brook Trail by simply walking the Kancamagus Highway for about 1 mile. This would make my hike approximately 11 miles.
Pine Bend snakes its way towards the mountains on a relatively flat trail with one water crossing, which wasn’t too troublesome. The section right before the wilderness was heavily wooded and I was not able to see any snow or ice buildup on the trails or in the small streams. It was not until after I entered into the Sandwich Wilderness that I ran into these conditions. Wilderness areas are not blazed, and during the fall season there is already an issue with the leaves on the ground covering the trail, so once you remove the blazes then you can potentially run into issues. There were a few sections going up the rocky terrain, that I lost sight of the trail. I was fortunate enough to examine the area to see where leaves had been slightly trampled and a set of stone steps was leading towards the trail. This is why it is very important that you bring a map and compass with you any time you are looking to do a hike of any variety. It does not take much for someone to become displaced.
As I continued up Pine Bend Brook Trail heading towards the Scaur Ridge Trail, I started to run into about an inch of snow in some areas. This with a combination of ice on the rocks and the large slanted rocks made the last half mile to Scaur Ridge troublesome.
Once I made it onto Scaur Ridge there were about two inches of snow on the ground, which made following footsteps in the old snow easier. Once I reached the North Peak, there was nothing more than three medium side boulders, which allowed me a small window of a view of the surrounding mountains.
I was then off to the main attraction, Middle Tripyramid. The trail itself was relatively easy as it snaked its way through the pine trees with really not too much to see off into the distance. Even though there really isn’t too much of a view, it did allow for a valuable break to have a quick snack and drink some water. I was planning on eating my sandwich, but it decided to freeze on my way up, which made it least desirable. Another small pocket for a view in north and south directions did offer a small reward at the end of the hike…a fantastic view of Tecumseh! The other reward was being able to hike through a good amount of snow, which meant winter was coming!
I descended Sabbaday Brook Trail, even though it would add approximately two miles to the trip, including a one mile walk on the Kancamagus Highway opposed to taking Pine Bend Brook Trail back to my vehicle . I was hoping that with the eastern side of the peaks getting more sunlight than the western portion, I would be getting out of the snow and ice. I was able to take a layer off and enjoy the warmth from the sun. After you finish with the descent, the trail is fairly flat all the way until you reach the Sabbaday Falls parking lot on the Kancamagus Highway. The first water crossing I reached appeared to be relatively easy with several rocks exposed. I made the mistake of assuming nothing was frozen and took a dip into the Sabbaday Brook. The next three water crossings were a little more challenging to find a way I could jump rock to rock without repeating history!
I took a quick detour from the brook trail and headed down the wooden stairs to view Sabbaday Falls. There were only three other individuals at the falls, which is completely different to how it is during the summer and fall seasons.
You can find the North and Middle Tripyramids hike on AMC Map #3 Crawford Notch/Sandwich Range and the trails are listed in the AMC White Mountain Guide. Overall, I can say the Tripyramids were not my most favorite hike, but every once and a while you just need to get out of the house and go for a hike!
As always you can check AMC conditions for the latest report and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we’re seeing out our windows and for the best trail advice we can give you!
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Backcountry Information Specialist