Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Hutchins Mountain, Pilot Range - Middle Peak, Pilot Range - East Peak (Mt. Mary), NH
Trails: Bushwhack, herd path, Unknown Pond Trail
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Thursday, June 30, 2022
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: We parked at the Unknown Pond trailhead on Mill Brook Rd in Stark. It’s a long drive in this road but should be passable for all cars. Parking is limited to roadside parking at the trailhead pretty much. One car when we arrived and two or three more when we returned.  
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Dry Trail, Wet Trail, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Mud - Significant 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment:  
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: Some of the drainage crossings at the end of our day nest Unknown Pond Trail we’re a little tricky to do with dry feet. Not large or dangerous crossings at all just not many rocks to step on. Other crossings on and off trail were easier but note that the rocks were a bit slick due to a bit of rain overnight.  
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Herd paths were in nice shape and clearly receive some maintenance. I don’t recall any blowdowns on Unknown Pond Trail. I also don’t think it’s blazed. A bit lightly travelled too so may be a little hard for a beginner to follow.  
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Sure  
Bugs: Not bad in the morning and early afternoon (even when we stopped at the summits) but they got much worse. They bothered us even when we were moving as it got later in the day. Mix of both mosquitos and black flies.  
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: None 
Comments: Day 242, Peaks 235-237. 1st hike of the day. Great day for hiking as it wasn’t too hot!

We considered approaching this ridge from Lost Nation instead but wereconcerned that we hadn’t seen a trip report for that side for years and it could have access issues. Plus, I wanted to turn it into a loop and use another road to the north which we couldn’t find any reports for but saw that it was on private property. So due to these potential access issues and the fact that coming in from Mill Brook Rd was a bit shorter and less elevation gain anyway, we just did this. More whacking, but we knew we’d have good woods.

From the trailhead we walked up the road just a bit further to where it bends back to the NE so as to avoid a wet area and crossing too many drainages. We entered the woods on what appeared to be a herd path or abandoned trail. We headed west along this perceived path which was a bit off our bearing. We noticed a piece of surveyors tape or two a ways in as well but we soon lost the path and headed more SW’ly on our bearing to the winding eastern ridge of Hutchins Mtn. I think we still crossed water once or twice in here but they were small brooks or drainages. We stayed (a bit) north of the major one that drains the peaks and I’m guessing feeds the small pond SW of where we started. This worked well as we avoided any marshy areas or real wet footing.

Grades were very gradual and the woods open until we came to just north of where the ridge we wanted to follow begins. The woods remained open but we hiked very steeply up to attain the ridge. We had little respite as the ridge is steep at its base going from 2200-2800ft in only 0.4mi or so. No cliffs or anything to speak of. Just steep, open woods. At 2800fy things moderated significantly and the woods began to transition as well. We hit a patch of hobblebush and fern hut negotiated our way through the more ferny part easily. After this the woods became more attractive softwoods and remained opened. Blowdowns began to appear as well which we worked around. No blowdown patches though :) Very nice 3/4mi walk from here to the summit ridge around 3400ft.

We followed the summit ridge NW at easy grades but in slightly thicker woods with poorer footing toward the summit. Flat area until the push up the summit cone which was very steep and had some herd paths around a small cliff which was easily worked around. A grown in viewpoint at a locally highpoint not far from the summit and then another more open viewpoint at the summit very close by to the canister. A nice pile of rocks to sit on here too ;) After signing in and enjoying the view, I slabbed SE off the summit to 3200ft then contoured into the col. Decent woods here but I probably should’ve just stayed along the ridge. We stayed along the ridge in decent, but often ferny, woods from here to Pilot. We more or less went right over the unnamed bump in between. Occasional blowdown but all in all decent if not good woods between here and Pilot. We got pulled a little too far to the north coming off this unnamed subpeak but it was easily corrected. Grades most places were generally moderate. Coming off Pilot to the col was a little steeper I think but brief. We found the cabin in the col between Pilot and Pilot SE/Mary and signed in. Cool spot! From the cabin, there’s a path that leads to a privy/woodshed and then one just to the left. This is the herd path that will take you to Mary. The herd path was pleasant and not too steep. Made for an easy and quick ascent up Mary. We signed into the register then made our way back the herd path to the col/cabin.

From the col, we started heading NE down to drainage go about 3100-3150ft, then slabbed down to the east to the ridge next to us, hitting it at about 3000ft. Nothing too difficult about this. Sidehill wasn’t too big a pain in the butt and the woods were open. The ridge was pleasant to follow for a ways and I found it easier to follow than most ridges downhill but it soon became that if you weren’t right at the tippy top of the ridge you’d get pulled into hobblebush, thicker woods, etc. If you take good care to stay on top of it you should have pretty good going. At 2400ft the ridge becomes less defined and we took a new bearing to hit Unknown Pond Trail somewhere around 1900ft. I didn’t take us in a very straight line to do this: first I headed north toward the larger drainage, then NE toward the trail, crossing some smaller drainages. Woods were open and grades pretty flat. Definitely a place to follow a bearing. 0.4mi walk along the trail back to the car from here.

The hike was about 8mi with 2600ft of gain, taking us almost 6.75hrs. 123 more days and 128 more peaks to go…  
Name: Liam Cooney 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2022-07-01 
Link: https:// 
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