To be fair, I had a bit more ambitious plan for the day... not much more, but there we have it. Ashley awoke feeling crappy, the scratchiness in her throat from the day before having worsened. No hiking for her today. We got some breakfast, and I decided to run an errand or two, while seeing if Mike was around. After picking up some new climbing skins (yes people, I'm way ahead of the curve, thinking winter), I stopped by Mike's place to see if he was up for some short redlines, even though he's only keeping track (yeah right). Some waffling as to what would be appropriate, and what his somewhat injured foot could handle, led to these four short hikes.
Hike #1: Rail and River Trail
Trail: Rail and River Trail
Mileage/gain: 0.5 miles, 38' of gain
Sitting on the side of the Kancamagus Highway is an old homestead, the Russell Colbath House. Behind this, is a 0.5 mile interpretive path, leading through the woods, and along a short section of the Swift River. It is a basically flat, gravel path, with not so much as a water bar along its length, and bridged crossings. How this ended up in the White Mountain Guide (along with the Forest Discovery Loop, and several others I'm drawing blanks on right now), I'll never know. We did find an interesting erratic to scramble around on, behind some campsites at Jigger Johnson Campground, and a huge downed tree, that it appeared someone used to practice their axe-work. It was certainly a leisurely foray into the very foreign world of the common tourist, who's footsteps I'm sure we followed in.
|Rail and River Trail|
|A decidedly sluggish Swift River|
|Nice axe work!|
Hike #2: Ammonoosuc Lake and the Red Bench
Trails: AMC Stewardship Trail, Around-the-Lake Trail, Red Bench Trail
Mileage/gain: ~1.5 miles, ~350' of gain
Snagging some snacks along the way, we ended up in Crawford Notch at the Highland Center. Starting out on the AMC Stewardship Trail, we ended up walking across the grass to the start of Around-the-Lake Trail... just because. The path is well graded, making for easy walking, and splits a short distance in. Taking the left branch, we came near the lake and (wait for it) went around it, past a spring, to the spur for the Red Bench. Hoping it was red, we climbed up next to, then crossed the railroad tracks, meeting up with a large AMC group at the bench... which is indeed red, but was swarming with children. Back to the lake, we checked out the spur down to the edge, and then ran along the other side, taking the AMC Stewardship Trail back to the car.
|Framed Mt. Washington from the Red Bench|
|Mt. Webster and Mt. Willard face off|
Hike #3: Crawford Cliff
Trails: Crawford Connector, Crawford Cliff Spur
Mileage/gain: 1.6 miles, 630' of gain
Crossing the street, we hit the Mt. Clinton Road lot, and putting our packs on for the first time. I kind of underestimated this one, or maybe my map sucks, could be both. Crawford Connector was pretty nice, and ends after a bridge over Gibbs Brook, at a scenic cascade. The Crawford Cliff Spur was pretty steep and rough, surprising both of us, though the view wasn't too bad for the effort. Back the way we came!
|Willey, Field, Avalon, Willard, and Crawford Depot|
|A somewhat obstructed view down Crawford Notch|
|The AMC in Crawford Notch|
Hike #4: Sam Willey Trail
Trails: Pond Loop, Sam Willey Trail
Mileage/gain: ~1.2 miles, 71' of gain
This one was an afterthought, as we cruised down from the notch. Sadly, we should have gotten ice cream before we started out, because the Willey House was closed when we got back. Rounding out an afternoon on mostly graded, gravel paths, this proved to be no exception. Easy walking down to a small loop next to the river, before Saco River Trail heads south. Back the way we came after the loop. I think the lighting would generally be better in the mid-day hours, but there were some nice scenes in the wetland areas below Willey Pond.
|View up the notch from Willey Pond|
|More erratic behavior|
|Sam Willey Trail|
|Mt. Avalon and Mt. Willard|
|Ducks at Willey Pond|
This turned out to be just the relaxing day I needed, not pushing the limits... at all. We got some dinner at Joseph's Spaghetti Shed, which I'd never been to before, then some ice cream on the way back to Mike's place. The evening colors were great.
|The Presidentials from the 302 outlook|
From here on out, I don't think there will be many more redlining days that will be anywhere near this easy. Let the planning begin!
New redlining miles: 3.9