Nancy and Norcross ponds (July 25, 2009)

It sure has been raining a lot in the White Mountains this month, which means a lot of water in cascades and ponds! So Peter Wyatt and I headed out to the Nancy Pond trail to climb Nancy Cascade and on up to Nancy Pond and the height of land at Norcross Pond. Crossing Nancy Brook on the way up was a bit tricky because of all the water. Nancy Cascade (left) was spectacular - you can't see the top from the base and it discharges into a big pool at the bottom that would be very inviting on a hot day. The trail then heads up the cascade along switchbacks, and as we climbed we had some nice views looking back across the Saco valley towards Mt. Crawford and Stairs Mountain (right).
The area above the cascade and going towards the ponds has apparently one of the last virgin stands of spruce left in New England. We could tell why this was - the land is really swampy! It was a beautiful forest, covered with moss. We got to Nancy Pond (left), which is kind of nice but not spectacular, a big pond in a swamp, and then on to Little Norcross Pond (right) which is a little pond in a swamp...
But the best reward of the hike is Norcross Pond, an absolutely gorgeous lake ringed by mountains at the height-of-land and with a sweeping view of Mt. Bond and the Pemigewasset Wilderness at the far end (left). The trail here brought us INTO the pond, requiring accurate balance on the part of Peter (right) and of course I'm not much for balance so my boots got soaked. The ducks and bullfrogs couldn't stop laughing, the little bastards.
Now, I can hear you ask, why such a big lake at the height-of-land? And why is the trail submerged? We got the answer at the outlet of the pond (left) where busy beavers had built a big dam, the little rascals. At the outlet we took in the beautiful view of the Pemigewasset and Mt. Bond (right) and we met an AMC group headed up to Mt. Nancy, which is officially trailless but apparently has a herd path and some rewarding views from the top. That was awfully tempting but we had to head back. There's always another day!

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