Two GO Members Adopt Smarts Brook Trail in the White Mountain National Forest
By Mike Boisvert.
GayOutdoors firmly believes in giving back to the community. That's why Jon Normand and Mike Boisvert (GayOutdoors, President) have decided to enter an agreement with the National Forest Service to adopt and maintain the Smarts Brook Trail near Waterville Valley, NH in the White Mountain National Forest. We hope that this act will encourage other gay outdoor enthusiasts to adopt trails in their area.
This trail is one of the trails used to climb Sandwich Mountain (3,980’) and is one of the 100 highest peaks in New England. What’s even more special is that Sandwich Mountain is the peak that can be seen from the Rock N River Lodge, a base where many gay outdoors activities have been held.
Trail Maintenance involves cleaning water drainage bars, clearing the trail of branches/debris, pruning back vegetation and blazing the trail for others to follow. We identify water drainage trouble spots for future construction projects such as building water bars and rock steps. The Forest Service gives everyone a free parking pass after so many hours of service.
This is a "southern" trail (relative to others in the White Mountains) and is at low elevation, so snow melts and plants bloom earlier in the spring than elsewhere. It’s a good choice on a hot summer day because of the dense forest and accessibility of the stream. Bring mosquito repellent because it can be buggy.
The Smarts Brook Trail runs for 5.1 miles between NH 49 and the Sandwich Mountain Trail. The first 1.3 miles makes a very pleasant walk along Smarts Brook on an old logging road. (While the 'official' Smarts Brook Trail is shared with the Tri-Town Ski Trail, most people use the logging road --we will not be responsible for maintaining the Tri-Town Ski Trail). In the right season you will see lots of pink lady’s slippers and other wildflowers. You can wade in a beautiful swimming hole beneath a small waterfall and then explore an open pond and meadow area created by beavers—a nice contrast to the "closed in" feeling of the forest. This is one of the easiest places to walk out on a beaver dam in the White Mountains.
After 2.5 miles the trail leaves the logging road as it enters the Sandwich Range Wilderness. A half-mile in from this point, one could camp on the opposite side of Smarts Brook from the trail. Then there is a 1.5-mile stretch of the trail that is in the middle of a giant, granite boulder field. Many of the boulders were house size and larger, and all of them were overgrown with trees, root systems, and moss. This whole section of the trail is truly spectacular.
At the end of the boulder field, the trail takes a sharp left and begins to climb steadily towards its junction with Sandwich Mountain Trail. This section of the trail is very different from the boulder-strewn section. Birches, maples, and oaks at the lower elevations succumb to be overtaken by evergreens as you climb higher.
Once at the Sandwich Mountain Trail, you can take a right and hike 0.6 mile to the summit of Sandwich Mountain; or take a left and hike 0.7 mile to Jennings Peak (3,460').
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