Thursday morning, Aubrey and I started our long journey north. Our first stop of the day was to go to Storyland, which from Rindge is a good three-hour drive. We had to activate our season passes and wanted to do that before they opened for the season on Saturday to beat the long lines. After activating our passes it was a good 45-minute drive to the KOA in Twin Mountain. This made our driving time for the day close to five hours, all while towing the pop up. It was a long day already by the time we started driving through Crawford Notch! Oh, and I hadn’t slept since I worked the night shift! We Finally arrived at the campground and a couple hours later “Little House” was all set up! Finally, I was able to relax a bit and early bedtimes were in order.
Friday morning we woke up early, thanks to the early morning sun shining brightly through the canvas walls. I had The Sugarloaves planned for later in the morning, but since we were up and moving I decided to leave earlier than planned to get a head start on the day.
The trailhead for the Sugarloaves is just a few minutes up the road from the KOA and I was surprised to find only a few cars parked on the side of the road but none in the actual parking area. It was just barely 8am when we started out.
The trail followed the Saco River for about a quarter of a mile before it made a turn to start heading up the mountain. As we followed the river, I saw moose tracks in the soft sand along the way, which was neat, and the Saco River was so clear, I wished I had a fishing pole to try for some trout that I knew would be hiding in the rocks. But on we went. The first bit of the trail didn’t feel very steep and was rather flat, it wasn’t until we started passing the large glacial boulders did we start feeling like we are climbing up a mountain.
The large boulders were very fun to see, and Aubrey even managed to squeeze her way through one of them that had broken in two and left a small crevice offering up a shortcut for anyone who can fit.
We made it to the junction to the Middle/North Sugarloaf trails and we had been hiking for almost an hour, and still had not seen a single person! This was very surprising to me, as we are constantly being passed by other hikers along the way. I started to doubt my selection. Middle Sugarloaf is on the 52 with a view list, so there must be a gorgeous rewarding view at the top, but why isn’t there anyone else hiking it?! I kept looking behind, to keep an eye out for hikers coming up behind us, but never did that happen. We opted to go to Middle Sugarloaf first since that one was the official peak for the 52WAV list.
Just before the summit, there is a small wooden ladder, a first for Aubrey (and myself!) and we scurried up the ladder and over the last little bit of rock before we were exposed to gorgeous views all around us! There was no one else up there either! We had the entire summit to ourselves! We spent quite some time walking around, taking pictures, eating and using my Peak Lens app to identify the peaks. I found Jackson off in the distance and pointed it out to Aubrey. Mount Washington was standing tall in front of us, and there was no snow left on this side of it, yet the day before we saw snow on the northern side as we headed to Storyland. After an hour or so we decided to head back down.
At this point, my “first-night camping hangover” was starting to get worse, and the large amounts of bug spray we were applying to keep the nasty black flies away probably wasn’t helping, so I decided we would skip the north peak and just head straight back down to the truck. As we descended we started to see hikers making their way up. The worry of being the only ones slipped away and I was feeling thankful we got to spend so much time on the mountain alone, and none of these other hikers would be able to do that! Down we trotted, stopping here and there to say hi to other hikers and their dogs until we made it back to the truck.
I couldn’t wait to get back to the campground for a swim in the pool!