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  1. #1
    New Member DocWatson's Avatar
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    White Mountains suggestion needed for this weekend

    Been itching to get out for weeks. Done some short day hikes/snowshoeing to help appease my urges. Now that I'm working from home for a few weeks the urge to get out is worse. The Whites are close by (1.5 hours to Thornton, ~2 hrs to Crawford Notch area)

    Since I will be getting a late morning start Saturday morning due to a commitment, does anyone have any suggestions for camping that is close to where you park? I know Campton Campground is closed for the season, but is it accessible to camp during the closed season? I saw in a youtube video someone camping at Sugarloaf campground in the snow even though it was closed and they said it was a .5 mile hike from the parking area.

    I'm just wondering what I have for choices. Thank you for any suggestions.

    - Clyde

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocWatson View Post
    Been itching to get out for weeks. Done some short day hikes/snowshoeing to help appease my urges. Now that I'm working from home for a few weeks the urge to get out is worse. The Whites are close by (1.5 hours to Thornton, ~2 hrs to Crawford Notch area)

    Since I will be getting a late morning start Saturday morning due to a commitment, does anyone have any suggestions for camping that is close to where you park? I know Campton Campground is closed for the season, but is it accessible to camp during the closed season? I saw in a youtube video someone camping at Sugarloaf campground in the snow even though it was closed and they said it was a .5 mile hike from the parking area.

    I'm just wondering what I have for choices. Thank you for any suggestions.

    - Clyde
    I have no idea if anything has been closed for Covid but we've stayed at closed campgrounds in winter and never had an issue. Hancock is open year round. Lafayette Place is open year round for walk-in. Jeffers Brook Shelter just south of Moosilauke is a quarter mile from the road. Rattle River is an easy 1.5 mile walk. The Basin campground in Evans Notch could be an option. I'll be doing a trip to my favorite spot in the southern Whites this weekend before they tell us we can't leave our homes.

  3. #3
    New Member DocWatson's Avatar
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    I called the WMNF supervisors office this morning. Verified that any of the closed National Forest campgrounds are ok to stay in under the following conditions...

    1) You can park off the road as many roads still have winter parking bans
    2) If the company that manages the campground is there, they may ask you to leave if they are preparing for this season and it is dangerous to camp there (clearing trees, etc)

    Then there was the expected spiel about facilities would be closed, no vandalism, pack out the trash, etc.

    - Clyde

  4. #4
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    The guy supervising the campgrounds for the management company from the Kanc south is named Gary. He is a decent guy and easy to get along with. Like JoshandBaron said, Hancock is open. There are miles of trails accessible with a short walk up the river from there, if you are looking to hike while there.

  5. #5
    New Member DocWatson's Avatar
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    Thank you JoshandBaron & Ductape, call me cheap if you want, I call it frugal ;-) I want to camp as much as I can so I'd rather not pay a campground if I don't need the facilities. This allows me to budget more for gas money. (plus more solitude during the warmer months) We'll be checking out the closed campgrounds to see what we can do. Maybe get a short hike in on Sunday before heading back to our unofficial shelter-in-place status.

    I grew up doing a lot of dispersed camping with my father on fishing trips in Maine. However at that time it was mostly truck camping (needed 4wd) to a remote mountain pond in Maine's paper country. Access provided by old logging roads. We would camp next to the pond or nearby. The only time we typically paid for staying at a campground was if we wanted a place to take advantage of the pools, hot tubs, and access to a beach (Old Orchard, York, etc) The dispersed camping in the Whites brings back the fond memories of camping with my father. (He's still alive, but I treasure those memories.)

    - Clyde

  6. #6
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    I can appreciate that. We used to stay @ the Jigger Johnson a lot, which is halfway across the Kanc. I agree with free camping, but I wouldn't be nuts about parking out on the road. We grew up much the same way, as my father would never pay money for a campsite. He worked up through that area when 93 was built, and he had a handful of secret sites to overnight from Campton on up to the notch. There were areas beyond the tree line right on 93 where they parked the construction equipment, and we would sneak in there after dark. We also did some camping on Maine logging roads, with several trips up on the Golden Road. Good luck with whatever you choose. I'd love to hear back after you go..... where you stayed, how parking was, did anyone check up on you, etc.

  7. #7
    New Member DocWatson's Avatar
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    My neighbor and I ended up at Fourth Iron. The self-pay box was covered up so no fees were being collected. Before we ended up at Fourth Iron we drove through the Kanc. Big Rock campground you could get into if you had 4wd (we didn't) and a truck was driving out as we went by. Passaconaway Campground looked good. We walked in there a little bit, but you would need to park in on Downes Brook East Rd across the street. Jigger Johnson wasn't plowed and didn't have parking nearby that got you off the street. We drove right by Blackberry and Covered Bridge campground and just enjoyed the views as we headed towards Fourth Iron.

    My hammock
    clpAE94.jpg

    My neighbor's amok is under the amok tarp
    clp44F4.jpg

    That rock wall is on the other side of the Saco River
    clpD5BC.jpg

    Warming our feet. Away from the fire the temp read 24*F
    clpB03E.jpg

    Me at the fire. My buddy had a light on under his tarp behind us.
    clp6F97.jpg

    What I woke up to Sunday morning and the thermometer read 15*F at that time (6:45) which is the low it had recorded overnight.
    clp3A70.jpg

    When we got to Fourth Iron, a family was walking out. I don't think they were there very long as there was only one other car in the parking lot and there was a dog left in it. We took the 1st group campsite as that was the first site as you walk in and closest to the beach. We were by ourselves until about 10pm until a group of young guys walked in and set up at the 2nd group site. We waved and said hello as they walked by. They acknowledged us but didn't stop to talk. They set up their hammocks, got a fire going and played cards long after we went to bed. They were also packed up and gone shortly after I climbed out of my hammock.

    First time I tried winter-ish type of camping (I know, it's technically spring). I had tucked my jacket and some extra clothes in my underquilt, that was a mistake as it made the quilt sag and my back got a little chilly. However, if I kept the sleeping bags (I was using two as top quilts) tucked under me I was warm. I also had a hot hands pack on the bottom of each foot and one in the small of my back.

    It was a fun experience. Unless I get stir crazy working from home, I think I'm good about getting out again until it warms up a little more. ;-)

    P.S. It was especially nice that the outhouse wasn't locked.

    - Clyde

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