In the middle of peak foliage in 2016 I took a Monday off work and drove up to New Hampshire to hike Mount Nancy, one of the peaks on the New England Hundred Highest list. Mount Nancy is one of a few peaks on the list without an official trail to its summit, but the bushwhack was an easy-to-follow herd trail when I did it.
I parked at the Nancy Pond Trail head and hiked up the trail to the natural dam on the northwest side of Norcross Pond. From there I took the bushwhack to the summit of Mount Nancy. I returned via the same route. The hike was 9 miles with 3250 feet of elevation gain and took me over 5 hours to complete.
I got to the small pull-off parking lot for Nancy Pond Trail in mid-morning and found one other car in the lot. It was windy, cloudy and in the mid-50s; a common autumn day in New England.
I headed up the trail and crossed the Nancy Brook a few times, which due to the time of year was mostly a dry river bed. By 10:45 am made it to the relative-trickle of the Nancy Cascades, where I stopped for a snack.
After the Cascades the trail switchbacked and was steep until it crested near Nancy Pond. The trail continued dark and wet, and followed alongside Nancy Pond, Little Norcross Pond and Norcross Pond.
At around noon I stopped at natural dam on the the northwestern end of Norcross Pond. There was a nice view into the Pemigewasset Wilderness, and above was the frosted cap of the triangular Mount Anderson.
Nearby I found a hardened campsite and the start of the bushwhack to Mount Nancy. Shortly after starting up the bushwhack it split and I chose the left route. The trail climbed steeply up the side of Mount Nancy and at one point got close to a slide. I ventured through the trees to check out the view.
As I hit the altitude where the frost line began I heard three hikers coming down the trail toward me. They were the only hikers I saw until I was on my way out, below Nancy Cascades again.
The bushwhack was easy to follow all the way to the summit. I arrived at 12:20 pm and had another snack. There were partial views toward Crawford Notch, but clouds were obscuring most of the view.
I hustled back out the way I came and only stopped at Nancy Cascade to jump in the water to cool off. I had no inhibitions to jumping naked into freezing water in the middle of autumn in New England.
I was back to my car a few minutes before 3 pm and was surprised to find beautiful blue skies above. Hiking Mount Nancy was not a great hike view-wise, though I was particularly found of the view from Norcross Pond’s outlet. It was an interesting hike for the cascades and alpine ponds though. It would also make a good bushwhack for anyone concerned about getting off trail for their first time, as the herd path was easy to follow.
Video of Mount Nancy hike
Music from Free Music Archive: “Hypocritopotamus” by Doctor Turtle
Date Hiked: 10 October 2016
Elevation Gain: 3250′
Distance: 9.0 miles
Book Time: 6:00
Actual Time: 5:15