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Thread: Smarts Mt

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    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Smarts Mt

    What's your preference on climbing/descending Smarts Mt? It would be a summer hike. Looks to me like ascending via Lambert Ridge and descending via the Ranger Trail is the way to go but usually VFTT members have good reasons for suggesting either direction on these loop hikes so I'm curious about people's opinions. I assume the fire tower is still open. Right?

    Actually I have the impression that VFTT is on life support with very little action over the last week so I just thought I'd ask a question. What's up? You all just hibernating?
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    The fire tower was refurbished recently and in excellent shape. The standard is up Lambert, down Ranger, although, I prefer the Daniel Doane/J Trail/snowmo trail route because I'm lazy and people-averse. I've only been up in winter but gather that the J trail up high has a pretty notorious boggy section in summer.

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    Member JToll's Avatar
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    I took the J Trail last summer and there were many new bog bridges and no boggy sections. The Daniel Doane Trail was very eroded on the upper section.

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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    Up Daniel Doan and down the AT northbound is great, but be aware that near the top the Doan Trail stays icy and muddy much later. Another great option with this is to keep going north on the AT to Cube, then down the Riverndell Trail and left on Baker Rd. back to your car.

    Another cool way up Smarts is the old Maskoma Train from Green Woodlands, if you can find the beginning.... but you have to then either go back downt he way you went up or plan on a long hitch on a road with no traffic to get back to your car ; - )
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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    I haven't done the Clark Pond Trail (which might be the 'snomobile trail' JoshandBaron referenced?). Lambert Ridge is quite nice, but I also enjoyed the Ranger trail too, so a semi-loop with those is great. Connecting with Cube via the J Trail and the Eastman ledges is probably my preferred option for a bigger hike. The J trail is very mellow, and the unique views from Mt. Cube are worth the extra effort IMO. If you're just doing Smarts though, I'd suggest doing it from the south.

    Glad to hear their refurbished the Fire Tower. It was missing a bunch of panes last time I was up there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TJsName View Post
    I haven't done the Clark Pond Trail (which might be the 'snomobile trail' JoshandBaron referenced?). Lambert Ridge is quite nice, but I also enjoyed the Ranger trail too, so a semi-loop with those is great. Connecting with Cube via the J Trail and the Eastman ledges is probably my preferred option for a bigger hike. The J trail is very mellow, and the unique views from Mt. Cube are worth the extra effort IMO. If you're just doing Smarts though, I'd suggest doing it from the south.

    Glad to hear their refurbished the Fire Tower. It was missing a bunch of panes last time I was up there.

    CPLT is the Maskoma trail Scubahhh mentioned. The snowmobile trail I use crosses the J trail before the bridge and closes the loop with DDT at the house where DDT enters the woods.

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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    CPLT is the Maskoma trail Scubahhh mentioned. The snowmobile trail I use crosses the J trail before the bridge and closes the loop with DDT at the house where DDT enters the woods.
    Ahhh, that makes more sense given that I didn't remember seeing a snowmobile trail up there on any of my hikes.
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    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    What's your preference on climbing/descending Smarts Mt? It would be a summer hike. Looks to me like ascending via Lambert Ridge and descending via the Ranger Trail is the way to go but usually VFTT members have good reasons for suggesting either direction on these loop hikes so I'm curious about people's opinions. I assume the fire tower is still open. Right?

    Actually I have the impression that VFTT is on life support with very little action over the last week so I just thought I'd ask a question. What's up? You all just hibernating?
    I didn't like the Ranger trail at all. Eroded and really boring. Nothing of value. I would go back Lambert Ridge.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Thanks to all who responded. I'm looking forward to the view from the fire tower and filling in another 3K NH peak.
    And its good to see that VFTT is still alive and well after all. Not nailed to the perch, perhaps just pining for the fjords.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

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    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Is this the Mascoma Trail that Scuba is writing about??? I hiked Smarts Mountain once from Green Woodlands via bushwhack from Green Woodlands in 2014. Near summit I came across a decent woodland road that was going my way and so I took it and followed it to junction with main trails. I decided to follow the woodland road down on my descent and it turned out to be very good condition. Very few blow downs. Drainage was excellent. I didn't notice any saw cuts indicating it was maintained. I was very pleased to forego job of route finding. The trail generally follows Clough Brook which shows up on USGS maps.

    It appeared to be sort of a stealth trail in that point where it joins Green Woodland Trails is obscured with brush, but it does terminate in log landing clearing at end of spur trail from Green Woodlands trails system. I revisited Green Woodlands web site the other night and downloaded latest MB and XC ski trail maps. The trail is shown as dashed line on MB map, but not shown on XC map. It is not shown as MB trail, but is shown dashed sort of FYI. Funny how Green Woodlands appears to focus on MB and XC, but hiking appears to be totally ignored. I wonder if since it is shown on the MB map they have begun maintaining the trail in some way. I prefer this route as it cuts down on my driving time as I generally approach from east and trail is darn nice one. Coming in from gate Dorchester Road RT has lengthy approach on good roads for total RT of 10+ miles.

    This hike just got added to my to-do list for this year. I'm curious to revisit the trail and see tower renovations.
    Last edited by Jazzbo; 03-06-2020 at 08:01 AM.
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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    Jazzbo-

    From the top if you head north on the AT and keep an eye out you'll see a slightly overgrown trail heading off to the right with (maybe) a sign indicating the Maskoma (with a 'k') Trail and yo can follow it all the way down to Green's. From the bottom it's a little trickier to find, but as with most things easy if you know where to look. I can send you directions if you like.

    I know the bushwhack you're talking about, I think, because I've done that as well, looking for the old Maskoma Trail.

    South of Green's the trails also connect to Rt 118 south of Dorchester and eventually (I think) to Cardigan via Firescrew. if that's right, it's just a matter of figuring out how to get from Alexandria Four Corners to Ragged without to much road walking and presto! NH's very own Long Trail...
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    Senior Member Jazzbo's Avatar
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    Hi Scuba ... thanks for writing. The trail I took from summit taking off to the right heading north on AT from tower fits your description. In 2014 the only sign it had was one shown below "This is not the AT". I think it is the one you are talking about. My GPS track indicates it follows Clough Brook pretty closely the whole way. If I had named it might of called it the Clough Brook Trail.



    I could see myself doing combo MB/hike even if I end up pushing the bike on the approach to the trail. I find it very sporty coasting out on a MB. Maybe stop by one of the ponds for a cool dip??? Humm!
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    Senior Member Scubahhh's Avatar
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    Yes, that's the one. On older maps it's marked and referred to as The Appalachian Trail, and also Clark Pond or Maskoma Train, depending on whether you're connecting with Moose Mountain or Cardigan.

    I first walked it a long time ago: bushwhacked up as you did because I mistakenly followed what looked like a better trail up Meadow Brook rather than turning up Clough Brook. Once I got to the point where the "road" along Meadow Brook fizzled out I was too damn stubborn to turn around and just kept going uphill. If I remember right it was pretty easy open hardwood most of the way, and pretty sprucy near the top, with a pretty eroded streambed that was tough to follow.

    I think the actual AT (Lambert Trail) is a more interesting hike up from the south to Smarts, unlike the north side where the old AT (Daniel Doan Train) is much cooler than the current version. The "new" AT up Cube (Kodak Trail) on the other hand is more fun than the older version (Cross Rivendell).

    Driving to somewhere like Reservoir Pond or Cummins Pond and then riding up to the Maskoma Trail would make a great bike/hike combo. I wouldn't recommend the road ride from the AT parking lot to Greens, though. Just my 2.

    Thanks for bringing this up... I think I'll try to get out this weekend to connect this with Cardigan if I can...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazzbo View Post
    Hi Scuba ... thanks for writing. The trail I took from summit taking off to the right heading north on AT from tower fits your description. In 2014 the only sign it had was one shown below "This is not the AT". I think it is the one you are talking about. My GPS track indicates it follows Clough Brook pretty closely the whole way. If I had named it might of called it the Clough Brook Trail.



    I could see myself doing combo MB/hike even if I end up pushing the bike on the approach to the trail. I find it very sporty coasting out on a MB. Maybe stop by one of the ponds for a cool dip??? Humm!
    I can't find the original so you'll have to excuse the link to my instagram post from a 2018 trip. The sign has mileage via the Clark Pond Loop for LD rd, clark pond camp, moose mtn shelter, and rejoin the AT.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BgHsesHg...d=uruyr3f0w5tz

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    Senior Member TJsName's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    I can't find the original so you'll have to excuse the link to my instagram post from a 2018 trip. The sign has mileage via the Clark Pond Loop for LD rd, clark pond camp, moose mtn shelter, and rejoin the AT.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BgHsesHg...d=uruyr3f0w5tz
    I think that's the sign I was thinking of. I remember be confused my first time up because I didn't expect to find another signed trail.

    The strava heat map is a neat way to see if trails get much use, and it looks like the CPL does, although the connection SE towards Carriagan isn't obvious to me: https://www.strava.com/heatmap#13.34...790/purple/run
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