PDA

View Full Version : Speck Pond Lean-to/Campsite



TJ aka Teej
06-28-2004, 20:51
A larger lean-to in a beautiful location. Six new tent platforms of varying sizes nicely situated along the A.T. as it rises away from the pond. No campfires - cookstoves only. AMC caretaker on site. Between Old Speck (4180', Maine's third highest peak) and Mahoosuc Notch on the highest pond in Maine. Extensive restoration ongoing, lots of rockwork and transplanting in the overused areas. The lean-to was rebuilt in 1978 and faces away from the pond due to the prevailing wind. A composting privy provides fertilizer for the replanted pines. Good water from a spring down the blue blazed Success Pond trail just beyond the caretaker's yurt. Excellent swimming in the leech free pond. $8 fee per person, credit cards (except Discover) accepted, a huge bear box for your foodbag, and there's occasional work-for-stay available.

walkin' wally
06-29-2004, 19:19
I stopped there last September ( 2003 ) after doing Mahoosuc Notch and the Arm. Great location. I got there really too early for me to spend the afternoon so I pushed on to my truck at Grafton Notch. The caretaker was a nice person but I wanted to do more miles. I really did not want to pay either but I would have if I had arrived later.
I met some really nice thru-hikers along that stretch. Constant Motion, Leap year, Wizard, Oopala,and Commander in Chief.
There are some great views in that section. It is interesting looking over to the outlet of Speck Pond and seeing sky just above the small trees.

whcobbs
07-28-2004, 14:12
"on the highest pond in Maine". . Yes, that's what the guide book says, but on the map Chimney Pond on Katahdin seems higher. Maybe we should just say "the highest pond in Maine directly on the AT". Anyway, it's a delightful overnight stop. Thru-hikers had no difficulty with work-for-stay when I visited a few days ago.

Walt

magic_game03
07-28-2004, 15:14
I could be wrong but topozone.com list Chimney pond at 2914 ft and my guide book list speck pond at 3500 ft. my sources are:

topozone.com
UTM 19 506856E 5084539N (WGS84/NAD83)
elev. 2914 ft. Chimney pond

ALDHA thru hikers' companion 2001
p. 144 Maine section
elev. 3500 ft. Speck pond

magic_game03
07-28-2004, 15:19
oh by the way for the original post, speck pond has to be one of the most beautiful places along the Appalachian trail, especially for nobos because you get to spend the day in the mahoosuc notch and climb out of it up to a mountain top pond. a day full of excitement!

whcobbs
07-31-2004, 11:43
Magic--

I stand corrected.

Walt


I could be wrong but topozone.com list Chimney pond at 2914 ft and my guide book list speck pond at 3500 ft. my sources are:

topozone.com
UTM 19 506856E 5084539N (WGS84/NAD83)
elev. 2914 ft. Chimney pond

ALDHA thru hikers' companion 2001
p. 144 Maine section
elev. 3500 ft. Speck pond

weary
07-31-2004, 15:27
oh by the way for the original post, speck pond has to be one of the most beautiful places along the Appalachian trail, especially for nobos because you get to spend the day in the mahoosuc notch and climb out of it up to a mountain top pond. a day full of excitement!

Speck Pond has long been one of my favorite spots on the Appalachian Trail. I visited it first in the 1960s when the only route was the old Fire Warden Trail, which was considered the longest continuously steep trail in New England -- straight up from Grafton Notch.

I was accompanied by a jogger, who worked as an editor at the newspaper where I was a reporter. When we started down from the summit of Old Speck back to Grafton Notch I was sort of jumping from rock to rock (I could do that then) when on an impulse I looked back to see the jogger agonizing way back on the trail.

I've stopped at Speck Pond many times since -- though sadly not since I did the trail in 1993. A couple of times on winter trips. One February, I remember distinctly. I was sadly out of shape. I arrived at the shelter after dark, after tumbling down the last steep drop head first in the deep snow.

Though the Mahoosucs in Maine are state lands, I've always considered them a little bit mine. Around 1975, three years or so after I began a series of newspaper stories claiming that Maine owned 400,000 acres that it had forgotten about, Brown Paper Co., one of the claimants of the land, offered to settle out of court.

The state's negotiator called and asked, "What does Brown own that we want?"

My reply: "The Mahoosucs." The state didn't get all that I had hoped, but that and later additions created a public preserve of 45,000 acres stretching from the New Hampshire border to the East B hill Road, north of the Baldpates.

Weary

celt
07-31-2004, 20:33
Has the fact that Speck Pond is a beautiful place been mentioned?

Anyways... I always enjoy my visits to Speck. My last and most memorable was the morning of my last birthday when I awoke to a mid October nor' easter blowing wind and dropping buckets of rain throughout the Whites and western Maine. I was finishing a southbound section hike of Maine but decided to cut it ten miles short rather than hike into the Mahoosuc Range alone during the fierce storm. The hike out to Berlin NH on the Speck Pond Trail was still a wet and wild adventure but I loved it.

Linesman
05-13-2009, 19:12
The shores of speck pond are a great place to sit and relax. Nice place for echos (as long as people aren't sleeping!) If I remember correctly there is also a beautiful mossy spring with good water. All around awesome spot. If you climb Old Speck make sure to also check out the fire tower.

screwauger
07-04-2009, 21:12
Headed to the Speck Pond Trail off Success Pond Rd in the morning. Been to the summit and saw the fire tower two years ago from the Grafton side. Been hiking all over the area this summer....toss up for me between this hike and the Carlo Col- Goose Eye loop...choose the arm/pond/tower/awesome..bed soon, early start...wish me luck!!! So much water though, not looking to ford so hopefully rock hoppin will do!

Scewauger

screwauger
07-04-2009, 21:25
Headed to the Speck Pond Trail off Success Pond Rd in the morning. Been to the summit and saw the fire tower two years ago from the Grafton side. Been hiking all over the area this summer....toss up for me between this hike and the Carlo Col- Goose Eye loop...choose the arm/pond/tower/awesome..bed soon, early start...wish me luck!!! So much water though, not looking to ford so hopefully rock hoppin will do!

Scewauger
My first post and I spell my user name wrong. Sweet. Time for a sig:banana

Sawtooth
08-07-2016, 16:59
Does anyone know if there's a legit (legal) campsite right by the firetower on Old Speck? I've seen a YT vid of a group of thru-hikers camping at what appears to be a frequently used spot right by the tower. Never been there so do not know. Thanks.

egilbe
08-07-2016, 18:37
There is a quite large flat area next to the observation tower on Old Speck. Probably fit four to six tents. Not sure why anyone would want to camp up there. No water, no bathroom facilities and its ptetty windy, and in a thunderstorm? No thank you.

Slo-go'en
08-07-2016, 20:54
Does anyone know if there's a legit (legal) campsite right by the firetower on Old Speck? I've seen a YT vid of a group of thru-hikers camping at what appears to be a frequently used spot right by the tower. Never been there so do not know. Thanks.

Legal? Debatable
Possible? Yes
Desirable? Depends.

The area right around the tower is beat down to rock and dirt, but I forget exactly how rough the spot is for tenting.

Sawtooth
08-07-2016, 21:24
I was curious as I enjoy photographing both the sunrises and sunsets when I hike, and have been trying to get an idea of where I may want to camp when I do my thru-hike in 2017 or 2018. The tower is there, but of course one never knows if there's going to be a clear view or not.

Here is a link to the YT vid in question. Anyone know what that wooden signs says where they were camping? Thought perhaps maybe it had camping info on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMx4SQaV3Xs

It's only about a mile from the Speck Pond Shelter, so a mile or so isn't too bad. Even pre-dawn hiking. It would be two miles round trip though for the sunset the night prior, unless there's a view of some type at the shelter (have not had a good look for it online yet).

Slo-go'en
08-07-2016, 22:51
Well the climb from Speck Pond to the summit is at first a hike over some really big rocks, then up along steep (and somewhat scary) open ledges. Pray it isn't wet when you do it! It's not something you want to do in the dark!

The video shows the area at the tower to be real rocky, which is what I suspected from memory. They camped off the side of the trail under some trees. That is a fragile alpine area, but the damage has already been done. So, do you want to continue to be part of the problem and add to the damage done there, or do the right thing by camping where your suppost to? Anyway, Speck pond is a pretty neat place.

Sawtooth
08-07-2016, 22:57
Well if I am not supposed to camp there, and if it's going to do damage to the stuff we go to these places to see, of course not. Wild camping is illegal in this area is it not? I'll probably have to settle for sunrise/sunset at the shelter/campsite area. It won't be the first or last place on the trail that will likely be an issue of.

Thanks for the replies.

peakbagger
08-08-2016, 05:45
I have a copy of the round sighting map that was used on the fire tower for sighting fires. It was hand drawn in 1921 and has a hand drawn 360 degree profile view of the surrounding mountain. I has all the summits titled. I also had small US and Canadian flags denoting all the other fire towers. Whne I first started hiking in the area, the summit was entirely grown in with no view and the firetower was closed. The summit clearing was made for a helicopter to land materials. There was nice picnic table but it didn't last long before it got trashed. The new approach from the south via the Grafton Loop trail is an impressive piece of work.

egilbe
08-08-2016, 08:03
That white sign you see is on the Grafton Notch Loop Trail. It gives the distances to the AT, Eyebrow and RT26. It may give the distance to the next campsite on the GNLT, too. Its been a couple years. People camp up there, but its not a designated camping spot. There is a campsite on the backside of Old Speck thats not that far away from the summit, but you still have to climb Old Speck to get to it, or take the GNLT or, I think, you can bushwack from Success pond rd.

peakbagger
08-08-2016, 08:35
No need to bushwhack up from Success Pond Road, the Speck Pond Trail runs right up from the road and is part of the dayhike partial loop used to visit Mahoosuc Notch (Notch Trail to AT thru notch then up the Arm, then the May Cut off to the Speck Pond trail to Success Pond Road and then a road walk back to the start). There was a trail that at one point followed the outlet brook to Bull Branch logging road network which was abandoned many years ago.

egilbe
08-08-2016, 13:54
Another trail to explore...when I get a chance. Thanks peakbagger :-)

Sawtooth
08-08-2016, 16:39
That white sign you see is on the Grafton Notch Loop Trail.

Thanks. Seems like it's in an odd location, almost tucked into that little grove where they camped. Perhaps it's more visible than the camera angle provided.

egilbe
08-08-2016, 16:48
Its not such an odd location if you're hiking GNLT. The tower kinda draws your eye to it and the sign is right there. The trails continues over the summit and past tower on the other side of the clearing, continues down to the AT.

I don't remember the top being that rocky. More like fine glacial till.

Sawtooth
08-08-2016, 18:28
Its not such an odd location if you're hiking GNLT.

Probably. It just seemed from the camera angle that the sign was almost tucked just inside that wood. The other trail doesn't run through that little camping area they were in, does it? From that second tentsite it looks like there's a trail that goes back into the woods. Maybe it's just a thrashed out area of ground.

LoneStranger
08-13-2016, 10:22
Bull Branch campsite on the GNLT would work quite well for Old Speck sunset/sunrise pics if you are comfortable walking with a headlamp. The trail between there and the summit is well maintained and easy to follow. It also has rare for ME switchbacks making the slope easier to navigate. The only real terrain is on the side trail to the campsite and even that isn't much trouble if you've navigated the trail in from either direction.

Sawtooth
08-20-2016, 05:07
Bull Branch campsite on the GNLT would work quite well for Old Speck sunset/sunrise pics if you are comfortable walking with a headlamp.

No issues with the odd bout of night hiking. Will have to take a gander at this one. Thanks!

Berserker
01-25-2018, 12:24
Well crud, I just posted this in the Speck Pond thread that is under the NH shelters, which is obviously in error since this shelter is in ME.

Anyway, a new shelter was being constructed in 2017. I forgot to snap a pic, but as of last August this shelter was coming along nicely. It was still being constructed, but was almost done. I presume it's probably finished now? I love the supports around the opening in the front as they are tree trunks with parts of branches left on, and used as part of the support structure for the roof logs. Really neat looking. I stopped by and had lunch at this shelter on my section hike through here back in August of 2017.

egilbe
01-25-2018, 20:42
41688

New shelter. Smells good, too

Deacon
01-26-2018, 12:44
Yeah, this shelter is huge. I hiked by in July last year and it was basically built but the roof shingles werenít applied yet. Itís all open but the feel inside is it has three separate sleeping areas.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk