Back in 1997 I had climbed both North Hancock (4420') and South Hancock (4319') but that was a cloudy day getting ready to rain, and when I was on South Hancock I didn't see much. This time the weather was great and I was determined to check out all the views on South Hancock.
I started out at 8:55 AM in the bright sun. The fall colors driving up here from Newfane were gorgeous. It was in the 60's all day, very comfortable for hiking. I was surprised that the trail was wet, since we had had a dry week in Newfane, but I learned from a hiker that here they had had very heavy rain three nights ago. The streams looked hard to cross. In some spots some of the stepping stones were under water. However I got over all of them without falling in. I went slow on purpose. The trail had a lot of slippery wet stones in it. I think the trail has eroded a lot and gotten significantly harder since 1997. I was at the Cedar Brook trail at 10 AM, and at the loop trail sign by 10:42 AM. At 11:42 AM I arrived at the start of the loop hike. I think everyone else went to North Hancock, but I went to South Hancock.
There were lots of great views from the trail as I worked my way up the steep trail. By 12:57 PM I reached the summit and had the lookout all to myself. There are wonderful views here. It would be even better if they would clear away two spruce trees blocking the view, the trees being in poor shape and no big loss if they were taken down. Here I had a great view of Chocorua, Tremont, Owl's Head, and Carrigain. You could see off in the distance to Maine. While I was up there having lunch I saw a couple of merlins and a gray jay. I left the summit at 1:47 PM.
On the way down I had some good views of a couple of blackpoll warblers. I didn't have time to do the whole loop today but I enjoyed just visiting South Hancock to see the views I had missed in 1997. I was back out at 6:00 PM. On my drive home I saw an opossum in Dummerston VT crossing the street just ahead of my car.