52 With a View: Stinson Mountain
After a few months of not being able to go up to New Hampshire due to my shoulder surgery I was finally back. Of course choosing a hike was a little bit different. I had to pick a trail that was going to be mellow. One that gave little to no chance of me falling and landing on my right shoulder while snowshoeing. This would also be the first time I was doing longer duration exercise without my sling. Sticking with our recent theme I went right to the New Hampshire 52 With a View website to see what some of our options were. The Google Map feature is great to see which of the mountains was near our starting point in Waterville Valley. After a little research I decided that Stinson Mountain in Rumney looked like a good option and sent my dad a message.
Stinson Mountain is very different from any of the other mountains we have hiked in that there is a snowmobile trail all the way to the top. We stuck to the hiking trail and only had to be on the snowmobile trail for a short section until the summit. Stinson Mountain Trail has been well traveled this winter and was packed out. Normally, I would want to hike with just Micro Spikes but I decided that wearing snowshoes would give me better traction and a wider platform for balance. Falling was not an option.
The first mile of the trail is a gradual uphill. This gives your legs some time to warm up. Along the way we came across a little snowman that someone had built right off the trail. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take some pictures with him. The second half of the hike had some more moderate uphills with switchbacks thrown in to help out. Even so this is still a pretty easy hike that gains 1400ft over 2 miles.
As with all of the other 52 With a View hikes we have done so far the view was fantastic. At the top you mostly were looking to the south into Plymouth with Lake Winnipesaukee in the distance. Another noticeable feature is the Groton Wind Farm along Tenney and Fletcher Mountains. The almost 400ft turbines dot the landscape and gave me a bit of a mixed feeling. Although they take away from some of the natural beauty of the area I know that they are a green, sustainable power source. According to Iberdrola Renewables, the owners of Groton Wind, these particular turbines will offset carbon emissions by almost 200 million pounds per year, the equivalent of NOT burning 200,000 barrels of oil.
We weren’t on the summit for very long before we started to be joined by snowmobiles. In a short period of time it went from being just Dad, Jayne, and myself to 10 more people with their snowmobiles. Some of them couldn’t believe we snowshoed all of the way up. For us it was a fairly easy hike, for them there was the fear of falling all over the place with snowshoes on. The sun felt great but wasn’t in the best of positions for taking pictures. None the less we still did our best to try to capture some of the views.
Had there not been so many snowmobiles around we might have gone back on their trail just so we could make a loop and have a little different view. Not wanting to be in their way we just headed back along the packed out Stinson Mountain Trail. The descent was pretty quick and we were once again reminded why we love winter hiking so much, smooth trails, clean air, and no bugs. Stinson Mountain is a great hike for beginners and families. The trail is only 4 miles round trip, has moderate elevation gains, and gives you a fantastic view.