08 March 2011
Short Report: Ramble along Mt. Tremont Trail Plus Fourth Iron Tentsite Area
This was a shorter hiking day than anticipated, which means a short report! With limited time available, I had in mind to park at the always-plowed Fourth Iron tentsite parking area.
From the Fourth Iron area, I planned to walk the railroad tracks down to a point nearly opposite the trailhead for the Mt. Tremont Trail, and then hike that trail for a short distance along the scenic Stony Brook.
But, before I set off for the Mt. Tremont Trail, I decided to take a short side trip. The recent rain, followed by well below freezing temperatures, served to create rock solid snow, particularly in areas that are shaded for most of the day. With these ideal conditions I was able to roam easily on top of the snow to various places along the Saco River, including a brief foray to the Fourth Iron tensite area.
And speaking of the name "Fourth Iron", I just recently learned that the name comes from the fact it’s the fourth iron bridge north of the North Conway depot.*
* I feel privileged to have received a comment from Ben English about my blog posting. Regarding the name "Fourth Iron", Ben provided me with the following CORRECTED information.
"Fourth Iron is the fourth bridge from Bartlett, not North Conway. Originally all the bridges along the Portland & Ogdensburg RR (Maine Central after 1888) were constructed of iron. The old RR men referred to them as The Irons. First Iron is over Albany Brook, Second and Third Irons are over the Saco, and Fourth Iron is over the Sawyer."
(For those who might be unfamiliar with Ben, his numerous contributions to hiking in the Whites are truly remarkable. Ben is an avid local historian and has coauthored two books on railroading in Crawford Notch. And among his many other accomplishments, he worked on the Appalachian Mountain Club trail crew from 1956-1958. In 1959, he became one of the earliest hikers to trek through the list of White Mountain 4000-footers. A retired English and social studies teacher, he remains an active hiker today.)
Below are a few snapshots showing some of the scenes I saw during my brief side trip.
Looking Southward along the Saco River:
Confluence of Sawyer River and Saco River:
Close-Up of Rapids along the Sawyer River:
Hart Ledge and Saco River:
Following my side trip to areas along the Saco River, I headed down the snow-covered railroad tracks toward the Mt Tremont Trail.
As indicated earlier, my plan was to merely meander a short distance up the Mt. Tremont Trail along Stony Brook. I find this brook to be lovely at most any time of year! I fully anticipated finding an un-trodden trail since I'd seen no recent reports of anyone having hiked that corridor. However, much to my surprise, it was very well broken out. As is often said about a well-tramped trail, it was almost like walking a sidewalk! I only had time to hike up the Stony Brook Valley for slightly less than a mile. At the point I stopped the well broken trail continued. There is no guarantee that the trail is tramped out all the way to the top of the mountain. But in my opinion, I think the chances are good that it is.
As is usually the case, Stony Brook was "pretty as a picture"! Albeit, on this particular day, it was a bit frozen and frosty! The snapshot below shows a scene that was typical while hiking along the brook.
As the Robert Burns saying goes, "The best laid plans Of Mice and Men often go awry . . .". Such was the case for me on this particular day. I'd hoped for a longer hike, but I must say that this short hike had its simple pleasures and was rewarding nonetheless.
I'm still 1HappyHiker! :)
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