April 21, 2013.
Staying out of the White Mountains due to there still being quite a bit of snow in the higher elevations. It's been a few weeks since last going out, three to be exact. The attempt up to Mt Tremont really took the wind out of my sails so to speak. At home it is spring but up in the mountains there is still two to three feet of snow and it's not melting anytime soon. Don't get me wrong, I love winter hiking but there is a time to move on and now is that time. So off to Red Hill, which is located on the eastern side of Squam Lake. This should be low enough in elevation that I shouldn't encounter any snow, and if I do the snowshoes are being left at home so...
I find the parking spot beside the lake with no problems but not sure on where the trailhead is located, book says it's a couple hundred yards down the road. Driving back down the road looking for the sign and I don't see it. Turning back around and I head back slowly looking for it and finally I see it and head back to my parking spot. Get all my gear together and start up the road and, oops, forgot my poles. Unlock the car and start back out again stopping to take a few pics across the lake. Start walking away and, damn, I think I didn't lock the car. Head back for a second time and sure enough I didn't. OK, all set with the absentmindedness, time to move on. It is 7:45 now and time to hit the trail.
What a nice crisp cool day just perfect for hiking. The trip up to the ledges of Eagle Cliff does not take long. I reach the steep section that the guide book warns about, when it mentions "difficult and dangerous" one wonders. Supposedly there is a bypass trail around this section also. About fifteen minutes from starting and I am at the base of a steep section looking up. I see no signs of a bypass and head up.
I make my way up and didn't really think it was all it is written up to be. I stop and there is an outlook ledge over to my right and a view of Squam Lake.
A short ways up the trail and I see the sign for the bypass trail. Doesn't make sense as to the spot it is in and confused I keep moving on not taking it.
Skirting around through the woods and some ledgey sections and the trail pops out onto a big ledge with some great views.
Heading up the hill to a higher point and I do not see any evidence of the bypass trail. Further up the trail and there is a sign but no mention of the mysterious bypass trail.
So rather than miss a trail for my red-lining I head back down the way I came to the last trail marker and head off on the Bypass Trail. To add real confusion to it all the trail is heading south parallelling the summit ridge and slightly downhill. Then it makes a hairpin turn and continues downhill. It finally dawns on me where it might be ending up and sure enough it is at the base of the first steep section I came up. There are no signs and only a blaze on a tree and if you are not looking (like I wasn't) for it you would never see it. Turning around and heading back on the Bypass Trail and I come to a spot where there is a small looking ravine.
Deciding to head up this ravine and not sure where on the trail it will meet up just to save more re-tracing of my steps. Strangely enough it ends up right back where I turned around at the sign on top.
A few minutes later and I am on top of Eagle Cliff and then on another knob and get my first look at Red Hill.
Down into the knoll and past Teedie Trail. It is a gentle walk through the woods with minor ups all the way to Red Hill.
Just below the summit and I start seeing more expansive amounts of snow leftover on the trail.
Less than an hour from leaving Eagle Cliff and I am on Red Hill with its shed, cabin and fire tower, it is only 9:50 in the morning.
Up the stairs and the wind is very sharp, cold and unrelenting. I do not stay as long as I would have liked to but long enough to get a few pictures.
And my first look at Mt Monadnock from anywhere north.
Back down from the tower and down to the other trail for the day, Red Hill Trail. Red Hill Trail is an old fire wardens jeep trail and still wide enough to drive a vehicle up. A short distance down and there is a path leading off to the right and has blazing on it. Passing it I start to wonder why it has blazing and where it comes up as it does not show on the map. Turning around I head back up and turn onto it and take the chance on where it may lead. It travels through some woods and then comes out in an open meadow with a view down onto Lake Winnipesaukee.
Another meadow shortly down and back into the woods until it pops out onto an old logging road. Looking to my left down the logging road and I see no more blazes. Across the road and the trail/path continues but not as distinguished as before. Feeling adventurous I cross the road and take the path. It becomes less discernible as I go until finally I can no longer make it out. Turning to my left and I start whacking back through the woods hoping to intersect with the old logging road. I come across a small stream with all its mossiness.
Crossing the stream and picking my way through the woods and I can hear voices up ahead of me. I come out onto the logging road and the two people I heard must have wondered where the hell I came from. I say my good mornings and head off to my right on the road still hoping it leads down to the beginning of Red Hill Trail. Less than twenty minutes from crossing the stream and I am at the parking lot/trailhead. It is only after returning home that I find out that this is called Red Hill Loop Trail as it is in my red-lining spreadsheet but, like I said, not on the map. Good thing I decided to take this trail after all.
Back up the trail and a right turn at the sign to follow Red Hill Trail, straight was Red Hill Loop Trail, not marked by the way. Just before the bridge I can hear the water off to my right and know down the embankment there has to be a cascade.
About five minutes later and I start seeing stone walls and then old stone foundations off in the woods on both sides of the road. Then I reach the left turn on the fire warden trail and see one of the best kept foundations I have some across. The house was built in 1828 and not sure when the house itself succumb to its demise, there is a small blurb that it was in the 60's on a Moultonborough site, which might explain its good condition.
Shortly I come across the two people I ran into when I came out of the woods back on Red Hill Loop Trail heading up Red Hill Trail. Not sure where they turned around but I passed them and never saw them again. Back to the top of Red Hill and turning left back onto Eagle Cliff Trail returning the way I came until I reach Teedie Trail. Another left turn onto this trail which heads down towards Squam Lake.
Coming across a huge stone wall and parallelling it I lose the trail at its corner. Looking around I try to figure out where the trail goes and I head back up a short ways until I find the spot where it crosses over the wall just by a big old dead tree.
Back on the trail and a little over ten minutes later I am back at the road and walking back the four tenths of a mile to the car.
Final numbers: 9.1 miles, 6 hours.
Redline Miles: 6.6, Total to Date: 357.4