It’s been a long couple of weeks since my last hike. Spring fever hasn’t been completely eliminated yet and the itch to get out on the trails continues to hound my days at work. Last week wasn’t conducive to hiking being Mother’s Day weekend. Saturday was a family day for my wife’s Mother’s Day recognition while Sunday was spent traveling to visit both of our mothers.
A couple of hiking related things did come out of the trip to visit my mother. First, I was able to get my father’s copy of the AMC White Mountain Guide from 1972. It will be interesting to compare the maps and trail routes and how they’ve changed, opened, and closed over the 45+ years since that edition was published. Abandoned trails are a big thing among a small group of bushwhacking hikers in the Whites and some of the old guides are in popular demand. While I may never attempt to hike those abandoned trails, I find it interesting to see how the current trail network has evolved over time.
The second item was that my mother mentioned that she thought my brother-in-law would be interested in joining me on the AT if I began it. I’ll be checking in with him soon to verify and start to connect some plans with him if he is interested. The great part is that my brother-in-law retired last year, so we wouldn’t both have to coordinate work schedules which would complicate the logistics of section hiking or else stretch out the time required to complete the trail. We just have to schedule around my work schedule. I’ll keep everyone updated on how that proceeds.
My plan was to make this weekend a lower elevation redlining weekend and avoid snow on the trails. The goal was to cross off some non-AT trails in the Moosilauke region. My first trail was the Stinson Mountain Trail up Stinson Mountain, which is part of the 52WAV (With-A-View). It’s located in Rumney, NH and the White Mountain Guide has it as a 1.8 mile trail out and back (3.6 miles RT) and approximately 1,405 feet of gain.
The 52WAV is a list maintained by the “Over the Hill Hikers” Group (overthehillhikers.blogspot.com) and is made up of 52 summits which are all under 4,000 feet but have excellent views. The list was first created in 1990 and over the years two mountains have been removed and replaced. The list can be found at www.franklinsites.com/hikephotos/nh52withaview.php and each mountain name can be clicked to see a picture of the mountain, a description, and links to trail reports. While I’m not actively tackling this list, I have added my current status to my About page. I’ll be knocking most of them off over time as I redline the whites. There are a few that are outside of the White Mountains, but I can check those off here and there.
Stinson Mountain Trail was a well-defined trail with a fairly rocky foot bed. It was easy to follow and a couple of times it crossed or followed a snowmobile trail which also led to the summit. I found the trail to be in pretty good shape. The overwhelming wetness of the spring has diminished on this trail, but there is still a significant amount of mud and water to deal with. There are some very well maintained water bars, but there are also several that are significantly deteriorated and a couple near the summit that have failed and erosion around the log forming the water bar has taken place.
My second trail of the day was Rattlesnake Mountain Trail, which is also located in Rumney. It’s a lollipop trail that is a 2.3 mile hike with 964 feet of gain. For redlining purposes, it is 1.7 miles of unique trail. It has some nice views of the region as well as views of Mt Moosilauke and the Waterville Valley area summits.
The trail was in excellent condition and had a wide, mostly smooth foot bed. The climb was steady and ranged from moderate to steep at times, but not difficult. The trail became wet in places near the split for the loop at the plateau of the trail. The views were excellent with high clouds mixing in with sunshine. A pair of birds of prey (hawks I think, but maybe falcons) were on the hunt while I ate my lunch on the summit ledges. On the decent, there are still some patches of fall leaves which make it slippery in places, particularly when it’s steep.
I don’t know why, but these trails kicked my butt today. The first half of Stinson Mountain Trail was fine, but my legs just struggled to climb this trail and it slowed me down. I still managed to summit in less than book time (1 hr 35 mins). Rattlesnake Mountain Trail was about the same. I had the time off my feet from the drive between trails (about 15 mins), so the first half mile wasn’t bad, but again, the steeper section really took the strength out of my legs today.
I know that it probably wasn’t good to do a significant hike up most of North Kinsman, followed by a two week break before another hike, but I didn’t expect the result from today. On the plus side, I did complete both hikes and got to check the trails off the redline list (+0.3% complete) as well as marking Stinson off the 52WAV list. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get away from work during the week or hike next weekend and see if the time between hikes was a factor. Either way, I need to push myself into much better climbing shape for the AT.
Aside from planning my hike for this weekend, I’ve been working on the blog site as well. I’ve gotten a bio written as well as a Progress Tracker page for the AT. While I won’t be updating it for a while, it’s there for reference. I’ve gotten the listing of all the shelters and summits along the AT (courtesy of www.sophiaknows.com). I’ll be updating the mileage to reflect 2019 distances and each year thereafter for incomplete sections as the annual Data Book is published. I’ve also put up a Reference Links page where I’ll put URL’s of various places I find or use on the internet and you may find useful or interesting.