Thursday morning I caught wind that the Ambassador from the Hike it Baby Concord Branch was hosting a hike in Holderness which is a good two hour drive north but wanting to meet up with her and explore a new mountain I was game!
So Friday morning I was packing up the Escape bright and early, I had noticed there was recently a passing shower sometime in the wee morning hours, but now the sun was starting to creep up into the sky and bright blue sky was starting to show. It was going to be a gorgeous day for a hike after all, since the predicted weather was partly to mostly cloudy. As we headed out shortly after 7:30am, it started to rain, at first just a mist and then pouring rain, but it ended within 20 minutes and sunny blue sky was back out. After another 20 minute of driving it would start pouring again, and it would rain for another 20 minutes, and it continued this pattern the rest of the drive. I was committed to this hike either way. I had my rain clothes and Aubrey had her Oakiwear suit in the car so even if we arrived to the trailhead and it was pouring, we were still good to go. Luckily by the time we arrived the storm system had seemed to move out and left us with cool partly cloudy day.
The trailhead was easy to find (if you had the right GPS address set), and was located right off Route 113 in Holderness about 5 miles from Squam Lake Natural Science Center. There are two parking lots on either side of the road, on the left is the Morgan/Percival lot and the right is West Rattlesnake. The lot was busy with people, mostly unprepared hikers, jeans, no packs, no food or water. Sure the hike is only 2 miles round trip, but that still doesn’t mean its safe to hike without anything except a cell phone. There were many families in the parking lot, and Aubrey was greeting them all. To my surprise these families weren’t there for the group hike and made it out on their own! I was impressed with the amount of families out Friday morning. Our Hike it Baby group found each other and as we waited for stragglers and those whose GPS brought them else where to arrive we got to know each other.
Shortly after 10am we decided it was time to venture up the trail, Aubrey took off to the front of the group like a shot out of a cannon. She is getting to be quite fast and determined when hiking. I was starting to think Pack Monadnock was a fluke and she really wasn’t as fast as I thought she was, but she was gone! I hurried up to catch up with her. We stopped frequently to let the other catch up and soon enough she was gone. At one of the stops I had noticed her hair was falling out of her pony tail so I started to fix it and noticed a Dog Tick stuck to the back of her ear. So out came the first aid kit and I took out my Tick Key and proceeded to pull the damn thing out. It in the worse place too! I could hardly get a grip on the thing and when I would it or Aubrey would move and it would be freed. Finally I was able to get the tick out head and all. Deep sigh of relief that it was a Dog tick and not a deer tick! It most likely was picked up when she was rolling down the big hill behind our house the night before, or from Brady.
Within an hour we reached the top of the mountain, the views were awesome. Squam Lake was just underfoot and you could see all the small islands and points. The summit was nice for a break, there were areas of rock, dirt and grass to sit and enjoy a snack and take some pictures. As everyone was packing up to head back down, I hung back with another member, who had just shown up since her GPS led her the wrong direction. The rest of the group had a good 10-15 minute head start on us, yet we caught up to them fairly quickly and then soon passed them. We would pause periodically to let the rest of the group catch up, but our two girls were having fun running down the mountain, and even when they tripped over rocks and roots it didn’t phase them much, they popped back up and started running again.
After finishing the hike, we hung out and chatted, tick checks and had some snacks before all heading out. A few members where talking about heading to Squam Lake Science Center, I considered it, but ultimately passed on it since I feared there would be a meltdown shortly after entering and I didn’t want to pay to get in and only manage under an hour until I decided it was time to go. There is a whole summer to visit again 🙂