Stonehouse Pond - 7/4/14
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Author:  Granite Guy [ Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Stonehouse Pond - 7/4/14


First day of vacation for me and my 3 year old wakes me up at 5:30 wanting my spot in the bed. Of course I gave it to her and to make the most of it grabbed my camera and backpack and headed off for a little morning hike. The forecast said rain was coming and I didn't want to be gone long anyhow so I decided to check out a little hike I had halfway done before and wanted to see more of. Twice I've gone to Stonehouse Pond in Barrington but once was just to check it out and watch the local teenagers dealing with the cops because they were shelling the cliffs with a potato gun and once the mosquitos drove me out of the woods after about 5 minutes. Today I was determined to make the loop and get up the Stonehouse itself, so with bug spray added to my arsenal off I went.

Look for these signs on Rout 9 to find this little gem

The 150 foot high namesake Stonehouse across the pond

I got to the boat launch where the trail/herd path starts. There was another car from a fisherman already out in his kayak (this is a very popular fishing spot) and you can go either way. I went clockwise since I went the other way last time. The trail isn't blazed but is easy to follow for the most part, except maybe coming down the cliffs where multiple paths branch off. Anyhow I crossed the outlet of the pond and headed up a small knoll that leads to some really nice view ledges across the pond. They drop right off to the water so views are unobstructed, and in spite of the trash that littered them it was a great spot with a great view. It would make a real nice one to just sit an watch the sunset, assuming the mosquitos didn't find you. They actually weren't that bad today so I took my time taking a few pictures in the last of the morning sunlight before heading off.

Views from the first rock/ledge outcrops along the shoreline

Peekaboo and shoreline views are frequent

One lone fisherman had the water to himself this morning

The trail follows the edge of the pond closely through really nice woods with big trees and frequent peeks and viewpoints along the way. Seems like there were a lot of large hemlocks and spruce trees and more evergreens than deciduous trees. Strolling through the forest the birds and squirrels chattered and the fish were jumping in the pond. This place was like a little hidden paradise. Really even nicer than I thought it would be. I had pretty high expectations from what I've read and seen of the place and I'm happy to say it didn't disappoint!

Getting closer

Climbing up under the massive cliffs

The actual climb is short but steep and a little slippery when wet

After 1/2 mile of shoreline walking you get to the cliffs themselves, and the climb, while short, is pretty steep as the path makes it's way up along the underbelly and around the backside of the cliffs before emerging on the flat summit area. From there you can wander around for a couple different viewpoints. Looking straight down on the pond from up there was impressive and Blur Job and some other mountain (Hussey maybe?) were visible under the cloudline. I'll have to go back on a nicer day to see what else is visible from up there. You can get as close to the edge as you dare, but be aware that the drop is 150 feet and pretty much straight down. If the water is deep enough you might survive the fall but something tells me the odds are not in your favor of doing so. These cliffs are a favorite spot of rock climbers and herd paths lead all over so be careful which way you go to explore. Some paths go right along the edge and one even goes over an undercut ledge, which I had no desire to test the structural integrity of. I was happy poking around the wide open flat area with some views and watching the two rowboats trolling for fish.

Birds-eye view of the pond

The second fishermen of the day have arrived

Blue Job and friends on the horizon

A second ledge has a slightly different view but footing isn't as good

After a break up there I continued on the loop and headed down, steeply again, until you come to a small gorge with but a trickle of a stream running through it and farther along another slightly larger stream feeding into the marshy arm of the pond. The trail flattens out after that and completes the loop through some more nice woods filled with big white pines, coincides with a snowmobile trail for a few hundred feet before branching off and finishing the circuit with still more views through the trees across the pond.

Coming down along the other side of the ledge

A little gorge and a couple small streams were the highlights of the second half of the loop


Finishing up with more nice woods walking

Total distance isn't much, exactly a mile according to Google Earth, with about 300 feet of ups and downs. Not a big hike but above average scenery, woods, fun terrain, nice views and even solitude on the trails. Definitely unique for the area but this little hike would be a gem anywhere it was located. I'm actually surprised it's not more popular. I've known of it for years and never did the entire loop, so maybe everyone else also overlooks it for one reason or another too, but if you're ever looking for a quick little hike or are just in the area it's a worthy spot to visit for sure.

Author:  WeRmudfun [ Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

Great detailed report, you do find some cool areas and the pics are awesome. How deep do you think the water might be below the cliff? Enjoy your vacation, I expect plenty more TR's? :) We took a 2 hour ride today only to be rained out. :(

Author:  Granite Guy [ Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:35 pm ]
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WeRmudfun wrote:
How deep do you think the water might be below the cliff? Enjoy your vacation, I expect plenty more TR's? :) We took a 2 hour ride today only to be rained out. :(

Water is 20-30 feet right off the cliffs and 55 in the middle. Pretty deep for a little pond but the cliffs are the same height as the Piscataqua River Bridge into Maine, so surviving would require some serious diving skills or lots of luck! :D I may indeed have some TR's if I do anything I think might interest anyone.

I was worried about the rain too so I bagged a sunrise hike in favor of some sleep, only to be woken up anyhow an hour later and it looked like I had at least a couple hours closer to the coast. It was actually sunny along the immediate coast all morning from what I could see but Agamenticus was ruled out for a shorter hike to get home ASAP and hang out for the day and pack, so even though the rain line looked to be splitting the state up the middle I went here knowing it should be a short but sweet hike if it stayed dry.

Author:  hiking lady [ Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:49 pm ]
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When are you leaving? Nice color in those pics and I love the water shot. We went on a hot humid day last yr and still managed to enjoy ourselves. It is quite the gem. Have fun in acadia!

Author:  Keyz56 [ Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:35 pm ]
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That really looks like a nice place GG. Great pix as usual.

Author:  Granite Guy [ Fri Jul 04, 2014 4:40 pm ]
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hiking lady wrote:
When are you leaving? Nice color in those pics and I love the water shot. We went on a hot humid day last yr and still managed to enjoy ourselves. It is quite the gem. Have fun in acadia!

Thanks! Pics are all HDR and I probably overtuned that one a tad. Since it was raining this afternoon I messed around with them much more than usual, other wise they were flat, dark and gray.



Image Image

Planning to follow the rain up the coast. So probably right after lunch and be there by dinner in time to set up and go watch some fireworks if they need to use their rain date. Hoping the forecast is right. I could ask for a little more heat for the beach, but if this is what I get we'll be happy campers! :D

Jul 5
Rain Clearing / Wind 66°

Jul 6
Partly Cloudy 74°

Jul 7
Mostly Sunny 71°

Jul 8
Isolated T-Storms 72°

Jul 9
Few Showers 70°

Jul 10
Isolated T-Storms 73°

Jul 11
Mostly Sunny 74°

Jul 12
Sunny 74°

Jul 13
Mostly Sunny 74°

Author:  hiking lady [ Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:00 pm ]
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Cool.. and brrrrrr....for temps!

Author:  Keyz56 [ Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:14 am ]
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hiking lady wrote:
Cool.. and brrrrrr....for temps!

Burrrr? Oh man, I'll take that over the heat & humidity any day.
The heat & humidity made my last climb shorter then I wanted to go.
I sweat a lot, even in the winter. It's the Italian in me my mom said. Image :lol:

Author:  Grindboy [ Tue Jul 08, 2014 10:15 pm ]
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Yes! Glad you liked it GG, as you may recall this is a HUGE local favorite of mine that I've visited I believe 8 times.

For what it's worth, it DOES look like you had a hazy day, but there's really nothing else visible from the top of the cliffs than you saw. But between the views of the cliffs and the views from the cliffs and some nice woods, I'm a huge fan and feel like it's one of "my" spots and love it when others enjoy it as well.

Author:  xwhaler [ Mon Sep 15, 2014 12:41 pm ]
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Just stared lurking on here looking for short hikes in the NH Seacoast that I can do with a child on my back and my dog.
This looks like a great option not too far away from me!

Author:  BobC [ Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:00 pm ]
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Welcome to the forum, xwhaler. If you want to find some Seacoast hikes, just take a look at Granite Guy's trip reports (you can click on the 'Search' link while reading a post, and from there you find all posts by him in the Trip Reports forum). Lots of good hikes that he researches, then I go on, since I also live in the Seacoast area. 8)

Note the the 'Search' link that is an oval does not work on this site; you have to open up a post and use the one that appears under 'Your source for NH Hiking Discussion'....

Author:  xwhaler [ Mon Sep 15, 2014 1:03 pm ]
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Nice, I did see that GG posts some really impressive TRs for our area. Thanks for the welcome!
I live in Epping and have done Pawtuckaway a bunch of times, Crotched Mt, Mt Major, Blue Job, Adams Point, Sweet Trail, Massabesic.
Always on the lookout for new options!

Author:  Granite Guy [ Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:11 pm ]
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Welcome xwhaler! There's a lot of nice stuff in the area for trips like you mentioned. Not much in terms of mountains/elevation gain, but a lot of nice trails with rolling terrain for sure. Besides what you mentioned Agamenticus in York, Stratham Hill, Rockrimmon in Danville, Bauneg Beg in South Berwick, Fort Rock in Exeter, the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newington, Rachel Carson National Wildlife Trails on the southern Maine coast are some favorites but there's a lot more. If you want I can see if I can pull together some sort of list later tonight for our little corner of the world.

Author:  xwhaler [ Mon Sep 15, 2014 3:39 pm ]
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Awesome thanks! Don't spend too much time but I can tell from reading your posts on here that you are very passionate and knowledgeable. I love discovering lesser known gems that are both dog friendly and a place I can bring our 18 month old son in the pack...occasionally we'll let him walk a bit too.
We've also done Mt A about a half dozen times, Star Island on the Shoals (I have a boat to bring us out there!), and Catamount Hill in Bear Brook this summer. Northwood Meadows is also nice and we've done the Oaklands and Fort Rock in Exeter. My wife takes the dog over to the trails at PEA quite a bit.

Haven't done Rockrimmon or Stratham Hill so will need to check those out.

I'd like to try the Andrew Brook Trail to Lake Solitude/Sunapee but unsure how my back would enjoy a 6 mile R/T with 23 lb boy strapped in!

Glad to be here, seems like a really good community.

Author:  Granite Guy [ Mon Sep 15, 2014 6:30 pm ]
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Sounds like you've already found a lot of great places. I almost went to Star Island this summer but the price was a little much for the ferry out so we went to Casco Bay instead. Much cheaper and many of the islands have trails and rough roads to walk.

Rather than link a bunch of TR's I'll just link things I have bookmarked and pull ideas from and let you do the exploring. Most of them are pretty self explanatory from the web address. All of these have maps and descriptions of the properties in their area. If you find one you like and do a search there's a lot of them with trip reports on here but I still have a lot to go. I can't say much about where dogs are allowed as I don't hike much with them but the sites probably do.

Southeast NH

Southern Maine

Northeast Mass

And if you haven't seen it yet there's this thread here too...

Hope it helps and gives you a few new ideas.

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