MOUNT STANTON: 7/5/12
For a short, steep climb, little Mount Stanton (1716 ft.), the lowest peak on the long Montalban Ridge stretching south from Mt. Washington, offers some pretty fine views. It's a great destination for a short hike for anyone who lives or vacations in the Mt. Washington Valley. The trailhead for the Mount Stanton Trail is in a residential area on Covered Bridge Lane in Bartlett.
The trail starts off alongside a driveway and quickly enters the National Forest. One immediate challenge is this decrepit footbridge over a small stagnant brook.
Pleasant woods on the lower part of the trail.
A steep gravelly climb lifts you to a shoulder above the cliff known as White's Ledge. This is a very pleasant section of trail with a few partial views.
The most open view atop White's Ledge is down to the L from the trail, looking across at Kearsarge North.
The ski trails of Attitash are seen across the Saco valley.
The Saco winds through the valley; Green Hills in the distance.
This erratic boulder signifies the start of a second steep, gravelly section, which gets you up to the summit ridge of Mount Stanton.
At the top of the pitch there are a couple of fine outlooks on the L. This view looks towards the Doubleheads in Jackson. North Baldface/Sable/Chandler on the L; Thorn Mtn. on the R.
I made my way down to a dramatic lower perch overlooking the Saco valley - a great lunch spot.
Looking east to Kearsarge North, with the Gemini and Mt. Shaw on the L and Hurricane Mtn. on the R.
From a ledge farther along the trail, Mt. Tripyramid popped up through Bear Notch.
The stretch of trail along the gentle summit ridge of Stanton passes through a beautiful stand of red pines.
The trail skirts just to the R of the mountain's high point.
My favorite viewpoint on Stanton is about 0.1 mile (100 ft. descent) beyond (west of) the summit. A side path drops down to this boulder-topped ledge with a view NW up the Rocky Branch valley to the upper Montalban Ridge.
Iron Mountain, with its great south cliff, rises across the valley to the N.
A closer look at (L to R) Mt. Parker, Mt. Resolution, the Giant Stairs, and the Back Stair.
The loooong ridge of Mt. Davis fills the horizon, with Mt. Isolation on the R.
Wildcat, Carter Notch, a socked-in Carter Dome, and Black Mountain.
Since the higher peaks were socked in, it didn't seem worth it to slog over to the north view on Mt. Pickering and back. After a leisurely descent off Mount Stanton, I headed back across Bear Notch Rd. and the Kanc. It was a nice afternoon, so I pulled into the Oliverian Brook trailhead and took a stroll on logging roads (which double as X-C trails in winter) to the large open area at the base of darkly-wooded Hedgehog Mountain. Mt. Passaconaway peeks out behind Hedgehog.
I followed the grassy X-C trail west across the big, brushy clearing for additional views, including Mt. Hancock and Green's Cliff....
Potash Mtn. and distant Mt. Kancamagus...
...and Mt. Tremont/Owl Cliff.
The X-C trail follows the old Swift River logging railroad grade westward to the UNH Trail.
A purple fringed orchid along the trail. The round trip to the field is an easy mile or so, and you can extend it another quarter mile across the clearing. A nice little diversion if you're exploring along the Kanc.