Monday, February 27, 2012

Stinson Mountain - Winter Solo Hiking



Stinson Mountain (2,850ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,300ft
Trails: Stinson Mountain, Snowmobile
Distance: 3.6 miles roundtrip
Duration: 3.75 hr (includes stops for breaks along the trail, and at the summit)
Difficulty: Moderate

Another NH 52 With A View! Located in Rumney, NH, Stinson Mountain is just up the road from the Rumney Rock Climbing area. The lower Doetown Road to the trailhead, as well as the trailhead, wasn't plowed but there wasn't much snow on the ground and I was able to drive to and park at the trailhead. Shortly before starting two other cars pulled  into the parking lot. I wanted to be alone so I quickly got my gear on and headed up the trail.

It was very sunny and temps in the low 20's. About 0.7 mile I had to take off my 3rd layer (my insulated jacket liner) and change to a 'thinner'  3rd layer. It was nice to hike in snow. Back in Massachusetts there is no snow on the ground.....it's just cold and brown! Yuck! To be hiking in snow was invigorating. The snow was fluffy and the trail not packed, but MicroSpikes were enough.

I relished in hiking alone, even if it were only for a while. By the time I reached the old tractor road junction (now a snowmobile trail), a group of hikers had caught up to me. I let them pass, taking my time drinking water and taking photos. I continued up the snowmobile trail staying back from the group and when they got to the hiking trail junction they stopped for a rest. I stopped too, remaining behind them.

The group split with a few of them continuing onto the hiking trail and a couple heading up the snowmobile trail. I continued slowly onto the trail, putting some distance between me and the group. The trail was easy to navigate, although some steep spots were a bit slippery due to the powdery snow over ice.

At the summit, the group of hikers were still there so I went down a side path hoping this would lead me to the ledge for views. No deal, it kept getting steeper so I turned back around but not after putting on my 4th layer, an outer shell. By the time I got back to the summit, the group of hikers had left. I started taking photos from all angles. And I also tried to get my Peaks app on my iPhone working. It was slow but eventually it came up.

I was alone at the summit for 15 minutes when 4 women came up. I recognized 3 of them right away as we had hiked together with the Over 50 Hiking Meetup group. We sat and ate our lunches quickly, chit-chatting as well. We weren't alone for long. A dad and his two sons showed up on their snowmobiles. And shortly after, 3 more guys showed up. They took a quick look around and then left. We watched them as they drove off in their noisy rides, leaving us with their exhaust.

I checked the time and mentioned I had been at the summit for 45 minutes and had to get started back down. I let them know that I was making the loop, by taking the snowmobile trail then getting back onto the Stinson Mountain trail to get back to the trailhead. The 4 of them joined me on the descent. We made it back to the trailhead in just under an hour. It was a brisk walk filled with conversation and laughter as we spoke of youthful appearances, longevity and sex at our ages.

On my way out I stopped by Stinson Lake to see if  I could photograph any ice fishermen. No one was there except for one guy clearing the ice top for hockey practice.

So glad to be able to get out and hike in snow! LOL! Also, this hike was a good chance to try out my new winter hiking boots. I bought a pair of The North Face McMurdo II Women's Winter Boot from EMS. It was such a great deal. Originally priced at $130, I bought these boots on sale for $56! And to boot (no pun intended), I ordered it online and got free shipping. I really like the fit of these new boots better than my Merrill winter boots, they are a good width for my foot. And even with SmartWool socks over a sock liner, it was a comfortable fit and my toes were nice and warm throughout the entire hike! I have two pairs of Merrill brand boots (a winter and a 3-season pair) and those are going back in exchange for a pair of 3-season hiking boots! 

 **Click on photos to view larger images

Almost there!
 At the trailhead
 Along the Stinson Mountain Trail



 I think this is Willoughby Mountain
At the summit (7)

 Mt. Moosilauke through the trees
 Seriously??!! Carry in, carry out!



 Stinson Lake, Rumney, NH

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