Lambert Ridge

A grey day but a nice outing.

For a few months I’ve been thinking of returning to Lambert Ridge, a ledgy section of the Appalachian Trail up Smarts Mountain, not far from here. The first section is steep, leading up to a series of granite ledges with broad views that belie the relatively low elevation at this point on the trail. The climb to these ledges is a worthwhile dayhike, and brings back memories. Read on!

A ledge outcrop near the trail up Lambert Ridge, Smarts Mountain, New Hampshire.

I first came to these ledges in the fall of 1983, on a bushwhacking overnight hike organized by the Dartmouth Outing Club. We were scouting a potential new route for the Appalachian Trail, part of a decade-long effort to re-locate the trail along a newly protected corridor.

Right to Left: Jenny, Tiffy, Jeff, Elaine, Dan, Anne?, and Laura. fall 1983.

It’s interesting to recall the backpacking gear from those days; mine was a Kelty frame pack similar to Dan’s pack below.

Dan and Jeff. Lambert Ridge hike, Smarts Mountain, NH, fall 1983.

The view was as impressive then as it is today.

Panoramic view from Lambert Ridge, today.
The main ledges on Lambert Ridge.

Two years later (fall of 1985, I believe) I returned to these ledges by sawing my way from the base to the ledges with a chainsaw, quite literally, as part of a DOC work group. On a brisk fall day we slowly cleared a new trail. I think of that day, and the many friends on that crew, every time I climb the steep slopes among the rocky outcroppings. Today, it was gratifying, even as I strode alone up through a light snow-cover and under gray skies, to think about the many thousands of thru-hikers and day-hikers who have enjoyed this trail in the 25 years since that fall. Today, I was the only one on the trail, though the were plenty of tracks from hikers who have visited since last week’s snowfall.

The view from the same spot where I photographed the large group of hikers above.

It also seemed to me, as I examined the many animal tracks that crossed the human tracks along the trail, that this area could be an excellent place to see a bobcat. Most of the track were from deer, or were too old to discern, but there were some plausible bobcat tracks near a granite outcrop with ample nooks and crevices that seemed suitable as a cozy winter home.

Icicles on a rocky overhang on Lambert Ridge.

I’ll have to come back again after a fresh snowfall and see who I can find.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

3 thoughts on “Lambert Ridge”

    1. I’m not sure, but I have a memory of tenting at the old shelter site, which had become a tent platform by that time. (And now, I think it’s an empty clearing.) I’ve stayed in the Ranger Cabin, at least two other times, and it’s also possible we stayed there.

  1. Brings back memories – thanks Dave. I bet we slept in the Ranger Station. I remember many nights there. This was one of the best AT improvements – so much better to be up on the ridge than on the old Ranger Trail.

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