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Mmm, yummy. I love eating crow. Just a couple weeks ago I was saying it was looking not so good for foliage; the foliage in the Zealand area did fall a little short of my hopes, but in the Belknaps and Pawtuckaway region it is really looking nice.

So, I was looking for a foliage hike rather than a big mountain trek.

I was thinking Tate Mtn, but decided that Pine Mtn, which I'd never been to was more attractive.

 

Gallery / slide show

Partly because I just was at Tate a couple weeks ago, and partly because on Pine Mtn the sun would be more at my back - better for the pix ...

 


 

5 miles(rt), 1100 ft elevation gain ... say what?

I ran into a number of minor issues with this hike, some of which inflated  the time/distance/elevation expended.

There are actually 3 trails here, "Arlene Frances Morse Trail" , "Mary Jane Morse Greenwood Trail" and "Robert A Greenwood Sr Loop".  Or "Arlene" , "Mary" & "Robert".

 This may sound like a litany of complaint - it is not intended to be such. I was/am thrilled to be able to access this property, the following are offered to help others and to explain how a little hill turned into a 5 mile/1100 ft walk Smile

  1. Trailhead/Parking - I really wantd to park at the Mary trailhead, but there really is no useful parking on Alton Mtn Rd, so it is preferred that users park in the Mike Burke lot on Avery Mtn Rd. Ugh. Roadwalk back to Mary trailhead? Naw.
  2. Note from the map the little bubble on Arlene ... if there is any blaze or marker, I missed it. Not a big deal, but a little puzzling.
  3. Arlene and Robert are both blazed in yellow. There are no signs at junctions, so again a little head scratching here and there.
  4. Mary is not blazed at all ... hmmm, the kiosk requests people stay on marked trails , sort of implied that Mary should be marked.
  5. The kiosk map and the internet map show different positions for the Mary/Robert/Arlene junction with respect to the summit ...
  6. the open ledge is not indicated on the map(s)
  7. This is a blueberry mountain, and though the blueberries have long since gone by, there are herd paths that can be very tempting to follow.
  8. The forest society's web page describes a trail "Dana and Arthur Morse Loop Trail", which seems to correspond with what the map shows as the Robert trail;
  9. The forest society web page also describes the Robert trail as though it were the Mary trail, and there is no mention of the Mary trail.

 

So ... I followed Arlene to the Robert junction and not sure whether I was on Robert or on the Arlene bubble I took Robert, and in due time reached the Arlene/Robert/Mary junction. Mary looked very much like one of those logging roads you run into occasionally that goes off into private land and is being used for ATVs or such; that appearance was enhanced with a fire pit at the junction. So I continued on to the open ledges looking for the "proper" Mary. I planned to descend Mary, then ascend Mary and descend the rest of Arlene.

Of course, before pursuing that plan I hung around on the open ledges for a long time looking at the pretty colors. Actually the area might be better described as an open ledgy field; it's pretty flat. The view of Alton Bay and the south side of the Belknaps is superb.

And the tribute to Dave Roberts is very cool. Bravo for that, and thank you Dave Roberts!

So after a while I started casting around trying to find Mary. I wound up going down Arlene thinking maybe the maps were off a little. It looked promising, but shortly I found myself back at my starting point. Huh. Mary must be that "logging road". 

Well at this point plain stubbornness kicked in, so it was back up Arlene ( Robert is OK but kind of boring after you leave the field where it begins). Back to the logging road. Ok, down the logging road. This did turn out to be Mary. Mary crosses a heavily overgrown field below the views ledges, and is completely invisible from them due to the overgrowth. Mary has a couple of limited views. Iteventually delivered me to Alton Mtn Rd. The most interesting thing about Mary was probably a little well or watering hole on the side of the road.

Kind of primitive compared to the masterworks on the Starr King Trail ( Waumbek), but still functioning. Though I didnt test the water Wink

Reaching Alton Mtn Rd, I was faced with a road walk or going back up the hill. Hmmm. Crossing the view ledges again sounded like the thing to do on such a great day, so it was back up Mary, then down Arlene. After enjoying the views a little more and noticing how the later morning light muted the colors.

So maybe that explains how I got so much mileage and elevation out of this little hill ... spent most of the morning there, but it was very worth it.

If you aren't interested in exploring all the trails, the Arlene trail up and back is about 1.5 mi, 330 ft elevation gain  to the open views and back to the trailhead.  A very small effort for the quality of the view!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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