Short and sweet, but wow, what a view!
Stinson Mountain, Rumney, NH. 2018-12-10 (Monday)
Via Stinson Mountain Trail, including the snow machine loop.
25 dF at the trailhead, 18 dF at the summit. Mostly sunny. Light wind, approx 5-10 MPH. 55% RH, 4 dF dew point. 26.68 mm Hg.
Trailhead: 1115; Summit: 1230; back at car: 1330.
In terms of efficiency, I have no rational defense: I drove much more than I hiked today. But oh my, was it worth it. Stinson isn’t a tall mountain, nor is it particularly steep. It’s a bit out of the way, on the other side of Rumney, but maybe that’s part of its charm. I got the sense that if Stinson wasn’t on the 52 With a View list, not many people would make the drive. And yet, this is the mountain to hike up on a sparkling day, any time of the year, and enjoy a long picnic lunch. With views of Mt Washington in the distance. And then hike back, taking in views of Franconia Notch along the way. And everything in between. To borrow from the lexicon of cinema, this is a cult classic.
Knowing it was a shorter hike, I had a lazy start to the day. Got to the trailhead late in the morning, and set off. The sun had plenty of time to warm things up from the overnight chill. With crisp air and a crunchy, icy snow underfoot, I made headway. The slope was gentle, but constant. Nicely, the trail was well broken-in throughout. I’d chosen my Khatoola K-10s for traction, and it was a good decision. Footing was sure throughout. The crunch of the snow underfoot was a companion.
Around mid-way, I heard a bit of canine commotion, and Rover’s humans called down from up the trail, asking if I was OK with dogs. No worries. A tan, curly haired pup came belting toward me, had a quick sniff, and circled back, before returning at full speed. Much doggy happiness ensued. Shared some warm conversation with the humans for a few minutes, and was told that I’d have the summit to myself. There were only two other cars at the trailhead when I started, so these were going to be the last people I saw on the mountain.
Carrying on, the forest began its slow change from deciduous to conifer. The maples, birches, and so on changed places with spruces and firs as the slope gradually got a little steeper. Then I noticed a slight thinning; more sun, and a warmer glow to the forest. That sense that the summit is nigh. And indeed, it was.
Walking to the edge, I looked south toward Rumney. Turning around, I spied Mt Washington through a gap in the trees. Wow! Indeed, several peaks on the 48 four thousand footer list were visible — Hancock, Bond, and Osceola to name a few. And nearby Cardigan, too. After gazing around for a bit, I turned back, taking the fire road on the way down. It was a smart decision, because after a short walk, a large gap in the trees revealed Franconia Notch, with the ridge in plain view. Icing on the cake!
I came out of the woods after having followed the fire road all the way down. The trailhead was all of a hundred yards or so away, so no worries there. In contrast to the tunnel of trees I enjoyed on the way up, the fire road was a little more airy, and the views into the forest seemed to stretch a little further. It’s yet another mountain to return to in the warmer weather. And yeah, with a large picnic basket. The views from the top were stellar!
Nuts and Bolts: The trailhead is located on Lower Doetown Road, in Rumney, NH. It’s about 15-20 minutes from 93, not far from NH 25. GPS directions were very reliable. When you tee into Doetown Road and see the row of mailboxes, turn right, and the trailhead is about a quarter mile down the road, on the left hand side. A metal USFS sign (#413) will be on the right, and a typical, bare-bones trail head sign (no message board) will be on the left. Enjoy!
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