Smarts Mtn trip report 5/23/09
I decided to play follow the leader and I started a blog http://tarheelhiker.blogspot.com/
I have a few pictures from the hike on there if you want to see them.
Here is my first attempted at a trip report. Smarts Mtn, Lyme, NH 5/23/09
I wanted to do Killington (a VT 4ker) but couldn't figure out if the trails had opened from mud season yet. While reading a NE hiking book I came across Smarts. It was only 3200ft but they said that the elevation gain was 2100ft. Little mountain, decent hike. While researching I also found out that it was part of a string of ancient volcanic islands millions of years ago and there was some good geological features. (I just taught geology and volcanoes to my 4th graders this winter!) So we headed up to my uncle's house in Brattleboro, VT Friday night.
We were up and out of my uncle?s at 7:30am. Grabbed some breakfast at a little bakery in Brattleboro and headed north. It was a little less than an hour and a half drive to the trailhead. Getting there was really easy. As we pulled in I could see a ton of bugs, urg. Upon getting out of the car I felt like killer mosquitoes were attacking me. I got my 40% DEET cream out of my bag and lathered up. Right away the swarms started moving farther away. Excellent. Dad sprayed his bug stuff on and we headed up Lambert?s Ridge Trail which is part of the Appalachian Trail. Right away we started heading up but it wasn?t too bad. About 30min. in we can to some open views. It was rather windy but otherwise the trails were pretty dry and very few bugs. Along the ridge we had multiple vistas with views mostly to the east and south including to Dartmouth Skiway.
Dad and I walked along the ridge for about an hour. Our last vista gave us a view of our destination, Smarts Mtn. After that we dropped into the woods and went down for a while. Finally we leveled out for a while before the final assault to the summit. We had about a mile uphill hiking to go now. About half way up we saw the junction of the Ranger?s Trail, our way down. There were some wet rock sections but they didn?t give us a problem on the way up. Finally, after 3 hours we reached the top. There was a privy, an old ranger?s cabin, and a fire tower. There was a mother and daughter at the tower. The mother was at the bottom and the daughter was at the top so I headed up. I got about halfway and my fear of steep, open, exposed areas got the best of me. It didn?t help that it was very windy and I wasn?t feeling steady. I headed back down and let dad go to the top. I dropped my bag, grabbed the camera and told myself I had to get a few pictures, even if it was only from halfway.
After snacking we headed back down. The wet rocks were more of a challenge this time. I slid along at one point but managed to keep my balance. Dad picked the other side of the rock and still slipped along. The way back we took the Ranger?s Trail so that we could do a loop. The top part of the trail was rather rocky but not bad. Part way down we crossed a stream and saw the old ranger?s garage. Up to this point the hike had been pleasant. It all went downhill after that. Suddenly there was a lot of mud to contend with. Now normally this doesn?t bother me but when there is mud this late in the spring there are mosquitoes, lots and lots of them. (Man I miss the winter with snow covering rocks and roots and NO BUGS). At one point I contemplated running, maybe I could outrun the buggers. I defiantly quickened my pace and I don?t think dad minded this time. I was almost afraid if I stopped to put more bug stuff on I would be attacked and eaten alive. Ah the joy when I saw the car, which was still surrounded by the killer mosquitoes. We literally threw our stuff in and closed the door. Still a bunch of those buzzers got in the car and we worked on killing them. We went down the road a little and then pulled into Dartmouth Skiway to take our boots off and switch pants. No bugs, yay.
All and all it was a decent hike. It was about 7.5 miles in 5 hours. It was a nice workout and there were some good views along the way. I would recommend staying away from the Ranger?s Trail until things dry up more. Get rid of the mud and mosquitoes. Maybe one day I will overcome my fear of heights and go back to go up the fire tower.
Nice trip report. With 16 4Ks in the first year you've clearly got the White Mountain bug. Look forward to seeing them add up on your new blog. Thanks for sharing.
Glad to hear you did the hike! And I looked at your blog--it looks very promising. Bloggers unite! I figured there must be a UNC connection. Oddly enough, I'll be in North Carolina (and Tennessee) for a week pretty soon. Going to visit my old haunts in the Smokies.
I have had trouble with fire towers on occasion. The windiness makes a big difference. Kind of an interesting psychological challenge--to look at what's there (the wooden steps) instead of what's not there (the big gaps between them).
How about a B+ for your first report? Nice blog too.