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Green Mountain via Dearborn Trail
Green Mountain (1884')
NH - Central East
Summit, views, fire tower
1400 feet (cumulative)
20-30 degrees, snow showers
Start down the street from the trailhead, hike Dearborn Trail up to the summit of Green Mountain, and then retrace your steps back to the car.
Dearborn Trailhead (550')
Green Mountain summit
Dearborn Trailhead (550')
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This was a fun trail with sweeping views along the whole way due to the absence of the tree leaves. I thought it was spring when I left my house - it was 60 degrees and sunny and all the snow had melted. What a surprise I received in my short trip north. By the time I arrived at the trailhead it was about 30 degrees and the ground had a good snow covering.
The snow was soft enough that crampons weren't needed but I think snowshoes would have been helpful. I sank down about ankle deep with every step I took - and sometimes as far as knee deep. [How deep is the frog pond? "KNEE-DEEP" (say it out loud with a deep voice)]. My boots were soaking wet within 5 minutes. In spite of the conditions being far different than I expected, it was great to see so much snow. I thought winter was too short this season. Here the sky was overcast and I even got treated to a couple snow showers.
The path was well marked with white tree blazes which was reassuring because I was the only person setting foot on this trail since the last snowfall so I had no other footprints to follow. The climb was steady. Stepping and sinking and/or slipping ensured I had a great workout in spite of the short distance. I paused often to turn around and look behind me to enjoy the sweeping views of the surrounding small mountains and lakes. Even walking forward, there was a view off towards the left for much of the way. There were a few small stream crossings and wet areas.
After 0.9 mile I saw what I refer to as "Split Rock". It's right next to the trail on the right-hand side and is about 4 feet cubed with cracks splitting it into thirds. This made a good rest spot and the views were great. It was here that I stopped to consider whether or not I wanted to forge on to the summit, knowing that if I did, I'd be hiking back down in the dark. I decided to continue on, remembering that a couple weeks ago when I skied at nighttime I didn't even need my flashlight due to the combination of the snow and the full moon. (I realized later in my climb that since the full moon was a couple weeks ago, there would be no moon tonight.)
The last half-mile was tough with my steps sinking deeper and more unpredictably into the snow. It took me almost 40 minutes to cover this short distance. Closer to the summit the temperature dropped down to about 20 degrees and the winds became strong. Having to kick toe holds into the snow made my already soaked feet cold too. Since it was so warm at home, I felt ridiculous packing my cold weather gear, but now I know it's always good to be extra conservative.
As I got closer to the summit the conifers outnumbered the deciduous trees and the views were obscured for a short segment. When I got to the summit proper I sat on an inviting snow-free picnic table in a pleasant grove of evergreens. I threw on my gloves, neck gaitor, hat, and windbreaker. Then I undid my frozen laces, took off my sopping wet socks, dried my feet, then put on fresh dry socks - all the while rejoicing that I didn't leave the extra pair behind in my living room.
After that I was ready to tackle the super-summit - a.k.a. the 61-foot fire tower. As I climbed higher the winds got stronger but the extra layers and dry socks made a world of difference so I was far more comfortable than I had been five minutes ago. The top of the tower is above all the trees, thus affording a 360-degree view. Looking off in the direction that wasn't visible from the trail, the mountains were even bigger and more impressive-looking and there were lakes on that side as well.
Also at the summit was what looked like a small house and shed. Since they were a couple hundred yards away from the fire tower, I didn't bother to investigate - that distance seems long when it requires traipsing through the snow. Next to the picnic table were a couple log benches. All in all it looked like a pleasant summit to hang out at, given warmer weather and more daylight.
My descent of the mountain coincided with the descent of the sun. Going downhill in snow is far easier than uphill. My strides were about 3 times the length of my uphill steps. I felt like I was walking on the moon where the lack of gravity allows for big bouncy strides. I was having a blast and I reached Split Rock in half the time it took me to cover that same uphill segment.
Again I took another break at Split Rock since that's such a neat place and I needed to regroup. Here the temperature was back at 30 degrees so I took off my extra bundles and got out my headlamp. The rest of the descent also went much quicker than the climb due to my super-strides.
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Please check the links below to get the latest status, closures, and alerts regarding forest roads, trails, and campgrounds.
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Heading north up Rt. 16, turn right onto Rt. 153 at its first junction with Rt. 16 in Wakefield.
Follow Rt. 153 North until coming upon Hobbs Road in Effingham. There is a historical marker for the "First Normal School in NH" at this turnoff.
Turn left onto Hobbs Road and follow it for 1.1 miles.
Park at the end of the street.
The trailhead is opposite the house that's at the end of the street. The sign is set back but it is visible from the road.
I couldn't go the last 0.2 mile on Hobbs Road because it was too muddy and I feared getting stuck. There were people outside their house at this point and I asked them if it would be okay to park my car in the street there. They said they had no problem with it as long as I left room for the people down the street to get by. I pulled over as far as I could to allow enough room. The street is not very wide.
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