It only took me four years of living in Boston to get myself a good pair of hiking boots and get up into New Hampshire to explore the mountains. Having grown up in Florida, I am still enamored with the way the leaves change color up here, and how it makes the color of the landscape explode. My wife was going out of town, so I figured Columbus Day Weekend 2010 was a great way to start to restart this hobby.
I picked up a couple books from Amazon on hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I also ended up finding a great blog called Live Free and Hike New Hampshire. Thanks to a recent post about the Sugarloaf Trail being an easy day-hike, I ventured off up to New Hampshire on Saturday morning.
The drive up I-93 was gorgeous, especially at 7:15am with little traffic and the sun beginning to come over the mountains. I got to the trailhead around 9am, and set off.
There is a 0.9 mile hike from the trail head to where the path splits, to the left is Middle Sugarloaf, and to the right is North Sugarloaf. I trekked to the right first, encountering some massive boulders. As I walked through, it smelled like Christmas, and I came upon this incredibly pink leaf sitting on a dark green pine tree. The picture does not do it justice, the color of the leaf popped a lot more in person.
As I hiked a bit more towards North, a few feet of the trail I noticed a gap in the Earth. When I walked over, it was two huge boulders literally split down the middle. The chasm between looked to be at least 10-15 feet deep.
As both guide books mentioned, when you think you’ve arrived at the summit, which is actually just a large viewing area, hike a bit further. This extra five minutes gives an even broader view out to the mountains ahead. The clouds looked almost as if they were sliding along an invisible plane in the sky. I couldn’t help but ask a passerby to take a photo of me as I stopped for a snack.
I trekked back down and headed towards Middle Sugarloaf. These woods went from fir and evergreen trees to birch, which gave a much different feeling as different line shone through from above. With the wind kicking up on this summit, it was time to set the self-timer on the camera and get another shot.
On the way back down, there is an extension loop to the Sugarloaf Trail called Trestle Path. Unfortunately, I reached a part in the path that seems to be an impasse. A wooden bridge that was once here looks to be long gone. I could see a yellow blaze painted on a tree across the river, so I knew I was on the right path. Anyone know if his path is indeed currently incomplete?
All in all, it was a great day, both weather and scenery for a day trip hike. One tip, do not drive back through Conway, NH if headed back towards Boston. I easily ate up 30 minutes sitting in traffic to wind my way back to MA. I can’t wait to explore more of this area in all four seasons.
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