Bennett Street, Algonquin, Black Mountain Pond, Mary Cary, and Guinea Pond | 7/22/22
Updated: Nov 6, 2022
Wherever the Wonalancet Outdoors Club is involved, there are a lot of trails. Sandwich Dome is no exception, as looking over my map has shown I’ll need to do it about 4 times to get every variation of trails up the mountain in full. For my first go-around on NH's almost-4K, Ryan and I started with the longest variation of trail- Bennett Street Trail, Algonquin (north portion), Black Mountain Pond Trail, and Guinea Pond Trail.
We arrived at the Flat Mountain Pond (Bennett Street) trailhead mid-morning and were second in the parking lot. We made quick progress up the wide and easily graded first 2.1 miles of Bennett Street before the trail noticeably picked up in grade and pushed us a bit more, working our calves and lungs quite well.
Despite the effort, we remained thoroughly impressed by the beauty of the trail and openness of the woods- this one went on Ryan’s list of things to come back and ski tour this winter. Once we got above 3000 feet, moose poop and spruce were abundant and it gave us that lovely far-removed feel that only grew as the day went on.
Once we got to the summit, we did something we rarely do- we sat down. Even had a snack. Ryan and I hadn’t sat down and taken in a view since the beginning of May- concerning as we’ve done at least a dozen hikes together since. I’ve found that the atmosphere of rush that many of the most prominent athletes in the Whites have created has made me forget to stop and look at the view- kinda defeats the purpose of hiking.
But today was different. We stopped at the summit, again a couple of times on the Algonquin trail to admire the beauty of Welch-Dickey, and again when I got myself in a pickle coming down some crazy boulders on Black Mountain Pond Trail.
Black Mountain Pond Trail was not a favorite of mine- we lost most of our elevation in a mile or so and it didn’t come easy, especially as I’m still overcompensating with my quads to save my ankle. However, I had no regrets when we got to Black Mountain Pond. Black Mountain Pond felt as if Carter Notch was hut-less and unknown to most passersby. It had a beautiful tent site and lots of frogs to sing to us as we filtered water and hung out by the water for a good hour.
After our pond moment, we took Guinea Pond and an unnamed spur back to the car, it was another 5 miles and it would’ve been rough if I hadn’t had Ryan tell me about the ins and outs of troubled rappers for most of the walk. We also took a quick trip over to Mary Cary Falls (so underwhelming) and Guinea Pond, via a very rough spur, to complete our water-filled day.
Our hike was probably my favorite day in the Sandwich Wilderness yet- it was the sort of day that even though we knew where we were going, it was like we could come out of the woods to find anything at the end of the forest.
Final Stats: 13.5 miles, 3,028 gain, and 9 average-sized frogs.