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01 March 2011

Time Management: Mts. Stanton and Pickering

There's a saying attributed to Art Buchwald as follows: "Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got." On the first day of March 2011, I had the dubious honor of living out the message contained within the saying quoted above.

I had some chores to do around the house, and it was nearly 1:30 PM by the time I finished my work, and grabbed some lunch. All the while, it was killing me that it was such a beautiful sunny day and I was NOT outside enjoying a hike. So, I quickly calculated that if I threw together some hiking gear and got on the road by 2 PM, then I'd have maybe about 3.5 hours to apply toward a hike.  And, those meager few hours would also have to include travel time to a trailhead. This would be a time management challenge!

Since I live in Bethlehem, there are a number of short hikes that would be doable within the timeframe available to me. I ruled out obvious choices such as Mt. Willard since I've been to nearby places such as this on numerous other occasions when I was challenged for time. It suddenly occurred to me that I could likely have enough time to hike to Mt. Stanton, and even possibly Mt. Pickering if the trail was broken out and conditions were good.

I jumped in the car and was at the trailhead in Glen at about 2:45 PM.
The parking on Covered Bridge Lane can be difficult during snow season, but I was able to barely squeeze into a spot on the shoulder of the road. I hopped out of the car and was delighted to see that the trail was broken out! It only took a few minutes to slap on my snowshoes and head up the trail through an attractive hardwood forest.
Within 35 minutes I was standing on White's Ledge enjoying my first view of the day. The view toward Kearsarge North takes center stage from here.
I know a number of folks dislike the hike to Mt. Stanton & Pickering because of the clutter of condos, houses, etc that are included in the views. This is certainly understandable. Although I personally consider the views to be quite pleasant, I'll have to say that I'd be hard-pressed to classify them as blockbuster views. But like everything, it has its place, and it certainly fit the bill for my time-management issue on this particular day.

When I arrived at the summit of Mt. Stanton, only about 45 minutes had elapsed since leaving the trailhead. It was obvious that it would NOT be a time-management challenge to continue on to Mt. Pickering! I was indeed 1HappyHiker since Mt. Pickering has views that are unavailable from either White's Ledge or Mt. Stanton.

Another 20 minutes or so of hiking brought me to the summit of Mt. Pickering.  Presidential views (such as shown in the photo below) are available at and near the summit area.

There are also nice views toward the Carter Range.
And of course, there are views toward the Attitash Ski area all along this route to Mts. Stanton & Pickering.
This entire trek took 2 hours round-trip at an unhurried pace. However, I must admit that the trail conditions were nearly perfect! The smooth and firmly packed snowshoe track covered a multitude of roots, rocks, and other imperfections that would potentially make for slower travel-time during warm-weather months.

At the risk of sounding boastful, I'll say that I was operating at peak efficiency with my time-management skills when it came to my hike. However, I must admit that the same could not be said regarding my chores earlier in the day. Perhaps it's human nature to doddle when doing something unpleasant! :)

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