Scenes from three spring hikes...
LOWER SQUAM RANGE
On a gorgeous afternoon I enjoyed a 7-mile hike along several trails on the lower (southern) part of the Squam Range. Starting on Burleigh Fram Road (off Rt. 113) I used the Old Highway, Old Mountain Road, Crawford-Ridgepole Trail out to the first viewpoint on Mt. Webster and then back over Mt. Livermore, Prescott Trail, and Old Highway.
The best parking is on Burleigh Farm Rd. at its junction with Laurence Rd. The trek began with a scenic stroll up Burleigh Farm Rd. through wide fields with views of the Squam Range (shown here), the Rattlesnakes and Red Hill.
Thanks to the landowners who allow public access on the privately owned lands of the Squam Range.
Along the Old Mountain Road, which leads over the ridge to perch Pond Rd.
Hardwood ridge walking on the Crawford-Ridgepole Trail.
Oak giant with pincers.
Squam Lakes Association (SLA) trail signs. The SLA does an admirable job maintaining the trails on the Squam Range.
This excellent viewpoint on a shoulder of Mt. Webster is reached 1.5 miles north of the Old Mountain Road junction.
Mt. Whiteface, Doublehead Mountain, Mt. Israel and Mt. Chocorua.
A classic Squam Range vista: the Ossipee Range and Red Hill behind Squam Lake.
Stone wall along Crawford-Ridgepole Trail as it approaches the summit of Mt. Livermore (1500 ft.).
Intensely blue water of Squam Lake from Mt. Livermore viewpoint.
One of numerous switchbacks on Crawford-Ridgepole Trail as it descends the steep south side of Mt. Livermore. This section follows an old bridle path that - a neat example of excellent trail construction.
MAD RIVER PATH
On a dreary drizzly day I walked a short path in Waterville Valley that I hadn't been on in many years. The Mad River Path runs along its namesake watercourse for nearly a mile, mostly on White Mountain National Forest land. There is no parking at the north trailhead on West Branch Rd., but this is easily reached by a 0.25 mile walk down West Branch Rd. and a pedestrian walkway from the Snows Mountain parking area on Boulder Path Rd.
In a couple of locations, traditional Waterville Valley Athletic & Improvement Association signs point the way.
There are several nice views of the Mad River along the route.
Large step stones installed by the OBP Trailworks pro crew enable a crossing of the West Branch of the Mad River.
The confluence of the West Branch (which flows down from Thornton Gap) and the main river (which comes down from the Greeley Ponds in Mad River Notch).
An impressive staircase is used for the ascent of a steep bluff. Rock steps ease the descent on the other side.
More river vistas towards the south end of the trail. The round trip from Snows Mountain parking area is about 2 1/2 miles.
On that same drizzly day I headed over to the Livermore trailhead to see where my boots would take me. When I saw that the little nubble of The Scaur (in back on the left) had emerged from the fog I decided to head up to that longtime favorite via the Kettles Path.
A woodpecker condo had fallen onto the Kettles Path footway.
As expected, the foggy atmosphere limited the views from the craggy perch atop The Scaur.
Patches of snow were still visible on the lower Waterville Valley ski trails.
Upon departing The Scaur, I would be looping down off-trail to these fine hardwoods at its base.
Waterville Valley's Rock of Gibraltar, next to Irene's Path.
Black Cherry is not an especially common tree in the Whites. This is a good-sized one, with a Red Trillium ready to bloom at its base.
Looking up at the cliffs of The Scaur.
The open hardwoods beckon, even on a dismal day.