Mt. Tremont (June 17, 2012)

6 miles, 5 hours
Mt. Tremont leaves the crowds behind. It is too long to be a casual hike, too short to be a destination day hike. The AMC guide warns of an overgrown trail that's hard to follow. It is not a four-thousand footer, and its exact altitude is controversial - see below. The trailhead is hidden from the road, and and just a few miles away is the Davis Path trailhead which takes you with less effort to Mt. Crawford for awesome 360o views. No wonder then that Roger Gagne and I saw not a soul on the Mt. Tremont Trail on that beautiful Sunday. After (eventually) finding the trailhead we went up the trail along pretty Stone Brook, which ricocheted across flat ledges (left) and formed a succession of small cascades (right). The trailhead is at just 820' but we climbed effortlessly to 1,800' along the stream.

Eventually we left the stream to climb a ridge above it and from there circled the head of the valley, crossed the stream one last time, and steeply climbed up the mountain. Despite the guide's dire warnings we found the trail to be in great shape and a pleasure to walk on. At about 3,000' an opening in the trees gave us a view of the southern Presidentials and the ledge-speckled Montalban Ridge (left). Eventually we got to the top, which emerges from the forest to a ledge with breathtaking views. Now, how high is the top? The AMC trail guide says 3,371' but the USGS marker (right) says 3,384'. Who is right? This is a question of considerable importance. Imagine that you're on a quest to climb all the thirty-three-hundred-eighty footers of New Hampshire (and I'm sure some people are). Do you need to climb Mt. Tremont or not? This needs to be resolved. Similarly sloppy geodesy let to major snafu on Owl's Head, as related in my hike report from a few weeks ago.

But let's get back to the view. The view from the top of Mt. Tremont is fantastic and unique. It offers a 180o panorama looking south, stretching from Mt. Chocorua to the east (left) to Mt. Carrigain to the west (right). The only sign of human activity was the faint ribbon of the Kancamangus Highway. Particularly spectacular was the view of Sawyer Pond below us with Greens Cliff behind it like a spike in the middle of the plain (below left). Mt.Tremont may be the only mountain from which you can see Sawyer Pond.
From there it was back down to the trailhead, again appreciating the excellent footing. There were an unusual number of frogs along the path, camouflaged with their surroundings (I hope I didn't step on any!). We saw a cluster of black-and-white butterflies on the trail caucusing or something (right). We had no idea what they were doing but whatever it was they were not easily distracted. If you know why butterflies would cluster like that please drop me a line.

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