Smarts Mountain Loop Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 04/19/2014 - 04/19/2014
Trip/Event Location: Lyme, NH
Trip Leader(s): shep5
Max # People: 10
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Join me for a modest 7.6 mile loop hike to the summit of Smarts Mountain in the Upper Valley. Although its elevation is a mere 3240 feet, it has a feel similar to higher peaks in the White...
From Vermont: Take Exit 14 off of I-91 and follow VT-113 E and East Thetford Road to Dorchester Road in Lyme. This is approximately 8 miles (20 minutes).
From Concord, NH and points east and south: From Rte. 93, turn onto Route 89 and continue to Exit 18 (Route 120 North). Continue for 4.9 miles, turning right onto Lyme Road. At the traffic circle, continue straight onto Rt. 10 (Lyme Road). Follow Rt 10 and turn right onto the common and then right onto Dorchester Road. This is approximately 78.6 miles (89 minutes).
NOTE: Follow the signs for the Dartmouth Skiway from the common to Dorchester Road. The parking lot is on the left just before the iron bridge over Grant Brook. The AT crosses the road here.
Look for a gray Hyundai Elantra.
For GPS Users: 43.797073, -72.071751 (346-390 Dorchester Rd; Lyme, NH 03768)
On Saturday, April 19th, ultimately there were four of us who showed up for the hike (Bob, Jim, Fred and myself)...a couple guys had taken themselves off at the last minute, but we didn't know, since there was no cell service in the area. After waiting until about 9:30AM, the four of us started up the Lambert Ridge Trail. The day started out on the chilly side (30's) with little wind and mostly overcast skies (we seemed to be on the line of clouds, since it had been clear and sunny just south of Hanover).
Both trails (Lambert Ridge and Ranger Trails) originated from the parking area, but we headed up the Lambert Ridge Trail (AT) as it has a little more to offer. The trail climbed at a modest, but steady grade and after about a half-an-hour we reached the first of a number of open ledges with nice views into the surrounding countryside. The trail continued to climb, but with some up-and-down as the trail traverses the multi-humped ridge. By about 10:45AM we were encountering snow and this became more persistent as we finally reached the steeper, icier sections right before the two trails rejoined. It was at this time that Bob and Fred put on microspikes and Jim and myself bare-booted it. It became even slower going after the junction with much more ice. Parts of the icy trail could be avoided by heading into the woods, but there were short sections which were difficult to navigate. Still we all made it and by about 1PM we had reached the firetower in a small opening near the summit. It was time for our much-deserved lunch break. Another couple had come up right behind us and we enjoyed speaking with them as well. Without climbing the tower, there were no views from the peak. A couple of us did climb up to just below the cab. The clouds had lifted so there there were good views, but it was still rather gray out. It was very windy on the tower and it flurried for a short time while we were on the summit. After lunch we checked out the old ranger cabin, which was now being used for backpackers. Also there was alot of evidence of moose bedding down in the areas around the cabin.
By about 1:40PM we were starting our descent again. Part way down the couple, we met on top, had loaned Jim a pair of microspikes to make it a little easier on him. We got back to the trail split by 2:10 and took a cookie break. From this point we took the Ranger Trail down. This trail descended to the valley floor quicker and then meandered about on its way back to the parking area. It was pretty good as the snow and ice were patchy and not as much trouble. Along the way, we also encountered old power/communications poles and the old garage that the rangers had used to park their cars. After this the old jeep trail followed the brooks back to the trailhead. We arrived back to our cars at 4PM. Of course by this time the sun had totally come out and it was a beautiful afternoon!
Afterwards, Bob had to take off, but the rest of us headed south to West Lebanon and enjoyed a nice post-hike meal at Lui-Lui's.
It was a good day out. Thanks to Bob, Jim and Fred for joining me. It was great to meet some new GO'ers and catch up with others. Smarts Mountain had a lot to offer with its ridge views and structures. It made for a great kick off to the spring hiking season!
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