Hiking Trail Conditions Report
Peaks Unknown Pond Peak, Mt. Mary, Pilot Range - Middle Peak, Pilot Range - West Peak, Hutchins Mountain, NH
Trails: Unknown Pond Trail, Kilkenny Ridge Trail, bushwhacks
Date of Hike
Date of Hike: Thursday, November 16, 2023
Parking/Access Road Notes
Parking/Access Road Notes: Only car in the Mill Brook Road lot, northern terminus of Unknown Pond Trail. Road is open and relatively snow-free for now, icy mud was slick on the drive out @ 1:30pm 
Surface Conditions
Surface Conditions: Snow - Trace/Minimal Depth, Snow/Ice - Frozen Granular, Mud - Minor/Avoidable, Snow - Spring Snow, Leaves - Significant/Slippery 
Recommended Equipment
Recommended Equipment: Light Traction 
Water Crossing Notes
Water Crossing Notes: All on-trail water crossings were easily hopped on rocks, off-trail wasn't much of an issue until nearly back at the trailhead lot, in and around the old logging cuts were boggy 
Trail Maintenance Notes
Trail Maintenance Notes: Beautiful trails and highly enjoyable with a trace dusting of snow. Coarse and granular to aid in traction 
Dog-Related Notes
Dog-Related Notes: Didn't see anyone all day, lots of bear and moose tracks off trail, possibly bob cat, as well 
Bugs: Nothing biting, but lots of white moths @ ~2000' on the descent 
Lost and Found
Lost and Found: Nothing comes to mind.  
Comments: Superb day roaming the Kilkenny Mtns for a short whack to Unknown Pond Peak. Struck off KRT at the height of land, without obvious herd path, the going was pleasant and easy going through highly open woods - stunning birch glade surrounding the recognized summit area. Signed in to the register and followed my tracks back to KRT. Kilkenny Ridge Trail had 1-2" of crusty snow, packed by prior traffic, making for easy going without obvious rocks sticking up, jogged back to the pond just for the fun of it - since the conditions allowed.

Followed KRT around the pond and struck off yet again into trailless woods nearly at (just beyond) the spur trail junction for The Horn, as the forest was much younger and travel would be impeded by eye-level, snow-shedding boughs, back-tracked to cut onto the Pilot Ridge by following the 3,675' elevation contour along the northwestern shoulder of The Bulge. Followed the ridge proper by weaving around small sections of blowdown, only 3 main patches of downed timber that I can recall, not bad at all.

From Mt Mary (Pilot Ridge SE peak) it was entirely easy to pick up and follow the cut herd path which leads down to the cabin and beyond. Again, here, I jogged down the snowy path; traction was great all day along the ridge as my Hillsounds went for another ride, definitely not enough snow in these hills for snowshoes yet.

Departed the herd path to beeline a path of least resistance up to Middle Pilot where I found the canister and wooden sign wickedly high up in a tree - hefty snowpack when that was hung, perhaps? Onward, easy trek to the NW Peak of the Pilot Ridge - NH500? Onward still, lost all signs of herd path descending into the col to Hutchins. Easy grade to begin the final climb of my day, Hutchins has a rather steep band guarding the ultimate mountaintop. Locating the old wooden sign and canister was easy - there is even a nice lookout toward the Percy's from nearby. Strolling around the summit area, views in various directions can be had if determined enough to pick through leaning conifers.

Followed my ascending footprints 0.4-mile eastwardly or so to pick up a long east-facing ridge which would guide the 2-miles back to my awaiting car. Loads of fresh moose tracks along the ridge descent. Evergreen slowly faded into a birch glade followed by open hardwoods below ~2,850'. Steep ascend to start as the remaining snow was melting atop droopy ferns, making for slick footing where spikes would have just balled up and probably gotten themselves thrown in a ditch.

What a better way to end a marvelous ramble across the Pilot Ridge by descending into old logged terrain, many boggy areas, bare hobblebush stems soon gave way to a sea of thickets and thorns (insert sarcasm here).

For a full detailed write-up with color photography, check out the link below. Enjoy!

Happy Climbing  
Name: Erik Hamilton 
Date Submitted
Date Submitted: 2023-11-17 
Bookmark and Share Disclaimer: Reports are not verified - conditions may vary. Use at own risk. Always be prepared when hiking. Observe all signs. Trail conditions reports are not substitutes for weather reports or common sense.

Copyright 2009-2024, All Rights Reserved