Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mt. Roberts - Winter Hiking

Mt. Roberts
Elevation: 2,582ft
Trails: Mt. Roberts Trail
Elevation Gain: 1,313ft
Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Duration: 5 hrs.

Difficulty:  Moderate

Met up with 9 other members of the New England Over 50 Hiking Group today. On my way to the trailhead parking lot I passed Center Harbor and made mental note of what to photograph on my way back out if there was still enough light out. Of course, Lake Winnipesaukee always catches my eye and there would be more than enough to shoot.

The trailhead parking lot is located on Ossipee Park Road off of NH 171.  I spotted the gatehouse at the entry as well as the busy bottling plant next to the parking lot.

We started up the Mt. Roberts trail which winds around the barn and pasture. The trail continues past a logging road, then behind the stables along an electric fence.

One of my hiking companions started off with snowshoes. The rest of us packed our snowshoes with the exception of one who decided not to carry any. Fresh snow fall from the night before  made for some difficult going and after clearing the pasture, we stopped to put on our snowshoes. The one hiking companion who had not packed his snowshoes went back to his car to get a pair on. I get cold too quickly if I stand around so I continued onto the trail with a couple others.

Snowshoes made the hike so much easier! I didn't have to make sure I stepped in the footprints of my companions before me. Nor did I have to worry about post-holing.

The elevation gain is gradual and the views from much of the trail of this little mountain are stunning! This trail is also very well marked with oranges blazes. During my ascent, I kept turning back to see the view and snapped photos every opportunity I had. We met several hikers on their descent including a furbaby. It was very sunny but very cold, and a bit windy. We hadn't reached the summit but the group wanted to stop to eat. Joe found a spot out of the wind to have some lunch and by that time, the hiker that had gone back to his car to get his snowshoes had caught up with us.

There were several ledges leading to the summit. At these ledges we stopped to catch our breath as well as snap photos. The "Lookout Point" was a great place to snap photos with its views of Lake Winnipesaukee. And as we neared the summit, the Cairns became frequent. When we reached the summit, we each had our photos taken next to peak sign. We hung out a bit to take in the view....so breath-taking! We even got to see the top of Mt. Washington when the cloud over its peak lifted momentarily! On the descent, I stopped frequently to take in the views, snapping photos along the way. At the bottom and across from the pasture, there are picnic benches and shelter that overlook Shannon Pond.

** Click on the photos to see a larger view