Saturday, July 12, 2014


Carol and I enjoyed a scenic ridge walk on a section of this great trail in southern New Hampshire, visiting Barrett Mountain, New Ipswich Mountain, Stony Top and Pratt Mountain. In the evening I also hiked up to Burton Peak, the southern summit of Temple Mountain. Kudos to Friends of the Wapack for their excellent stewardship of this 21-mile route.

We parked on the shoulder of busy Route 123/124 a few miles outside of Peterborough and headed up the driveway into the Windblown Ski Touring Center. The owners graciously allow hiker access on the well-marked Wapack Trail route along the western edge of the property. (No parking on the Windblown property, please.)

There are numerous intersections with Windblown X-C trails, but the Wapack route is amply signed and blazed. Hikers are requested to stay on the marked route.

The first 1.3 mi. of the route is on grassy ski trails. But we saw nary a tick this day.

Follow the yellow triangles.

The route narrows down to a hiking trail and passes through some amazing fern gardens as it ascends Barrett Mountain.

The trail leads through beautiful spruce forest on the broad, gentle crest of Barrett Mountain (1852 ft.). This was Carol's favorite part of the hike.

After dropping to a col and ascending partway up New Ipswich Mountain, we were rewarded with our first good viewpoint of the day at 3.0 mi. This was a great spot to stop for an early lunch and admire Mt. Monadnock.

Trekking along a semi-open area along the crest of New Ipswich Mountain (1881 ft.). A hundred years ago most of this ridge was pastureland.

One of many picturesque scenes along the trail.

Nice ridge walking.

Descending to the next col, we could see Stony Top and Pratt Mountain ahead.

Stony Top is a neat ledgy area with several viewpoints. Here we could look back and see New Ipswich Mountain.

This outlook is on a turn in the trail along the west edge of the ridge.

The entire Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway is in view here.

The unmistakable profile of Monadnock.

At the actual summit of Stony Top are plaques marking the Wapack Wilderness, a 1400-acre parcel of "forever wild" land protected by the Northeast Wilderness Trust and Hampshire Country School. It includes the summits of Stony Top and Pratt Mountain.

Our progress along the ridge was delayed by frequent stops for blueberry pickin'.

A view east over Pratt Pond.

Approaching the summit of Pratt Mountain (1817 ft.).

This overlook side path is 0.2 mi. south of the summit of Pratt.

This open perch has a beautiful view of Binney Pond and Mt. Watatic.

This scene adorns the cover of the excellent "Wapack Trail Map" produced by Friends of the Wapack.

A grassy section of trail in oak forest above the overlook.

View west from the summit of Pratt.

Expansive view south and west from large open ledge area on west edge of Stony Top.

Another neat section of trail.

A glimpse north to Temple Mountain and South Pack Monadnock.

Heading back through the spruces on the crest of Barrett Mountain.

Around 6:10 pm I headed out on a short second hike from Temple Rd. at the south end of Temple Mountain. In the first half-mile there were two SE-facing viewpoints on the Sharon Ledges reached by side paths. This one is called the Roger Myrick Outlook.

The second outlook has a wider view, including Kidder Mountain. Mt. Watatic in the distance, and New Ipswich and Barrett Mountains.

Nice path through the ridgetop forest.

A well-crafted cairn.

Wide western view on Burton Peak, opened a few years ago by a logging cut.

The summit of Burton Peak (2010 ft.). The stone wall marks the Temple-Sharon town line.

GPS track of the Barrett/New Ipswich/Stony Top/Pratt section of the Wapack Trail - one of the nicest ridge walks in southern New Hampshire.

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