Monday, November 19, 2012

Mount Kearsarge - Solo Hiking

Mount Kearsarge (2,937ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,100ft
Trails: Barlow Trail
Distance: 3.6 miles roundtrip
Duration: 2 hrs/50 mins (includes stops for breaks along the trail and at summit)
NH 52 With A View
Difficulty: Easy

I wanted to do another solo hike but this time an easy one especially since I had never hiked on a weekday. I packed the usually emergency shelter, extra layers, survival kit , first aid kit, water, food, camera and batteries. I left my itinerary with my family also including where I would be parked with directions to the trailhead. I've taken to doing this so that my family can get my pickup truck in the event that I'm unable to drive home.

At trailhead of the Winslow State Park. I was the only one in the parking lot, but was okay with that, it was Monday after all. But right before I set off, a car pulled up and a woman and her dog headed up to the Winslow Trail. I originally planned to take the Winslow Trail up and then the Barlow Trail on my descent, but changed my mind. I wanted a short hike, and an easy one as well. So I took the Barlow Trail. I had been exercising on the Elliptical at my gym and could go an hour at a time with no breaks. So I set to hike Barlow with just a couple of short breaks. I was able to keep an even pace and enjoyed the solitude and quietness of the forest.

Although the footing on the Barlow is much easier than the Winslow, I was glad I wore my Microspikes as the ground was covered in fall leaves making many spots in the trail slippery. There were also many spots of the trail that were frozen.

With less than 150 feet of elevation left to the summit, I met up with the woman and her dog who were making their way down from the summit. She told me that the views were fantastic and that I had the summit all to myself. She was right. The trail near the summit is composed mostly of flat rock and it opened to the side of the summit with the cellphone tower and utility sheds. I was all alone and I had the summit all to myself for the 45 minutes I was there!  

The tower was closed but I was able to take photos from the platform right beneath the tower room. Instead of using the picnic tables, I found a spot in the middle of the summit and quickly ate my sandwich. The solitude was wonderful! There was a slight breeze and I sat admiring the north and northwest views. I spent my last few minutes at the summit meditating in the solitude.

Along the Barlow Trail (3)


 At the summit (4)




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