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Old 03-01-2021, 10:42 PM   #1
stripperguy
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Big Pond and it's outflow

Anyone been to Big Pond (near Hoffman Notch) recently, in the warmer months? Or even in the hard water season?
Specifically, anyone had eyes on the outflow of Big Pond? The topo maps show it as a broad section of water, but satellite views show it as nearly filled in with vegetation.
However, NAIP 2013-2015(National Agriculture Imagery Program) images shows a vastly different situation than the satellite images. I do not know the dates that the satellite images were created.
The NAIP images seem to indicate a good sized flow on the outlet of Big Pond...beaver activity? I appreciate their efforts, for sure.

So, has anyone been there lately? Is there really an enlarged outflow?
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:08 AM   #2
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Google Earth (the stand alone software, not the google maps website) lets you select aerial imagery by date of capture. Generally speaking, it looks like there's a lot of regular fluctuation in the water levels.

May, 1995 imagery:


October, 2008 imagery:


September, 2009 imagery:


November, 2011 imagery:


May, 2013 imagery:


September, 2015 imagery:


Looks like either the mid-90's or about 10 years ago were the best times to paddle it. Not so much now (unless things have changed in the last 5 years since the most recent aerial images Google earth has access to). I would imagine also that the time of year that the imagery was taken may factor in as well- the photos taken in spring may be more reflective of spring runoff specifically than the typical, year-round water depth at that time generally.

I agree also that beavers are probably the likely culprits with regards to the changes in water levels over time.

Last edited by DSettahr; 03-02-2021 at 08:28 AM..
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:16 AM   #3
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I looked through my photos and I did find 2 photos of the outlet, both taken on the same trip there in July of 2013. The first photo shows the beaver dam, and the second shows the flow along the outlet itself. Definitely appears to match the 2013 aerial imagery shown above, but again, these photos are nearly 7 years old at this point.




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Old 03-02-2021, 08:46 AM   #4
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I was there in January Ď18. Itís hard to tell the amount of water in it with the snow cover but you can see the meadow at about 2:55 in this video...
https://youtu.be/kQVKks2QWSw
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Old 03-02-2021, 08:58 AM   #5
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My last trip there was in the winter of 2014. Looks like a lot of snags?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1g Beaver Dam.jpg (93.6 KB, 244 views)
File Type: jpg 1h beaver dam.jpg (151.2 KB, 243 views)
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Old 03-02-2021, 09:33 AM   #6
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I guess Iíll have to get my boots dirty this spring...
D, agreed seasonal max and mins are always at play, as well as those industrious beavers.
Justin and tick, those views looks similar, no problem with any snags, I only need a few inches of water.
I suppose a quick day trip with an empty (or MT) boat will determine whether another trip with full pack is practical.
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Old 03-02-2021, 10:10 PM   #7
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I last visited there in summer 2019. The beaver dam is substantial and I would be very surprised if it is not still in good shape. I didn't paddle it but I did bushwhack along the eastern shoreline to get a look at the upper lobe of the flow. It looks very doable and I've been intending to go back there. Information from a friend was that not only is the beaver flow receptive to paddling, but the outlet from Big Pond to that beaver flow is partially navigable. And there is an old trail to permit carry the rest of the way. Memory is that the information indicated the carry trail is on paddler's left, heading toward Big Pond.

The bigger problem with paddling that flow in late Spring early summer is that the upper lobe of it is a sizeable heron rookery (Great Blue). Paddling through would be disruptive and there is a major danger of receiving droppings from the sky with flushed birds!. It is a noisy place when the nests are full of hatchlings. I observed that myself.

The hike to the bridge where the beaver dam is located is very short and the bushwhack along the east side, up on a ridge, is fairly open and easy. So you could do enough recon even without a boat.

Bruce
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Old 03-03-2021, 09:02 AM   #8
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Bruce,
Thanks for the info...sounds better than I hoped for.
MDB and I paddled near the rookery on Round Lake (Malta) before the eagles drove them out. It was really active and loud!
I would be going as early as possible to take advantage of higher water levels and lack of vegetation, so I'll likely miss those rowdy herons.
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Old 03-03-2021, 10:43 AM   #9
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Is Big Pond the same as Big Marsh, which is right in Hoffman Notch?
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Old 03-03-2021, 11:23 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MTVhike View Post
Is Big Pond the same as Big Marsh, which is right in Hoffman Notch?
No, Big Pond is a few miles southeast of Hoffman Notch, but still within the Hoffman Notch Wilderness.

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Old 04-02-2021, 10:45 PM   #11
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I paddled it last fall. There was plenty of water to paddle, but it is shallow and you have to avoid some mucky areas. I just paddled around it and didnít try to get out on the other side, so if youíre trying to use it as a shortcut to Big Pond I canít say how easy it would be to access solid ground on that far shore. Big Pond is well worth having a boat on though, nice views of Hoffman Mt that you donít get from the north side along the official trail.
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:10 PM   #12
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We went there today for a walk to the campsite on Big Pond. The beaver dam had to be 6' or 7' tall in the center and the flow appeared to have plenty of water in it. Easy walk to the beaver dam/ put-in with a boat. I may go back in a couple of days to check out the paddling and to see if getting to Big Pond is possible.
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluequill View Post
...I may go back in a couple of days to check out the paddling and to see if getting to Big Pond is possible.
Haha, any destination is possible, only a question of how much suffering/enjoyment.
Let us know how it goes
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Old 05-01-2021, 09:26 PM   #14
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Well, today was the day my questions were fully answered.



Son Josh and I took a quick day trip to Big Pond via the beaver flooded outflow...thank you beavers. It took about 10 minutes to carry to the bridge near the big beaver dam, where the outflow crosses the trail.
You can see the bridge in the background.



We put in on the far side of the bridge, and waited for the winds to subside a bit. Yeah, that didn't happen, so we paddled out on the flow.
Almost immediately, we scared away a pair of Buffleheads, and there was another pair that flew in from behind us.
Sorry for the poor pic



When we got to the far side of the flow, we realized that were a half dozen Great Blue Herons buzzing about. Sure enough, we counted no less than 15 GBH nests in the flooded trees. Old coach said to beware...we hung out by another beaver dam and watched for a while.



We carried on the north side of the stream through lots of deadfall, and a surprising amount of downed white birch.
Once on the water at Big Pond, we made a bee line to the inlet in the SW corner, mostly so we could head straight into the wind and waves. Yup, we took on water over the bow...imagine if we were on LTL!! Found a nice primitive campsite on the W shore on a point. Then paddled the perimeter until we found a really nice campsite on the N shore. We had our lunches there (PB&J for me, cold pizza for him), and walked the footpath that led N to the marked and maintained blue trail to Hoffman Notch. The primitive campsite was huge and the fire pit was impressive in that it was made with a sizeable split erratic on the one side.



And that was it! oh, almost, we still had to paddle back across Big Pond. This time we carried on the south side of the stream on a well used footpath, much easier going than on the N side. Take a look, you would think this was a marked trail.



GPS says it was a 4 mile loop, not counting the walk on the footpath to intersect the Hoffman Notch trail.
Nice to be out again after spending so much time with the new house...
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Old 05-02-2021, 09:39 AM   #15
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Your photos aren't showing up for me. If it's a google album, you may need to make the album public?

Or you could try rehosting them elsewhere on a host that doesn't mess around with public/private photos. Imgur makes everything public when you upload it.
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Old 05-02-2021, 01:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
Your photos aren't showing up for me. If it's a google album, you may need to make the album public?

Or you could try rehosting them elsewhere on a host that doesn't mess around with public/private photos. Imgur makes everything public when you upload it.
Thanks D, I was looking on my phone and couldn't see them, I'll see what the host site settings are...

In case I can't get it to work, here's a direct link:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/S5RXMLd8soeHfbhB9

Edit again...
OK, I can now see the pics even if I'm logged out here.
Hopefully, everyone else can see them too!
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Old 05-02-2021, 05:33 PM   #17
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I can see the photos fine.

Nice trip!
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Old 05-03-2021, 05:59 PM   #18
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It looks like a neat trip. Thanks for posting the pictures too. I especially like the heron rookery picture. I have been wondering lately what a heron does with its legs when sitting on eggs in a nest. It seems like they would really get in the way, and would be pretty uncomfortable for the bird doing the sitting. I hope that the house work is all proving to be worth it in the end.
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