We went north for a real hike this weekend. Not all the way to the Whites, where the news reports an unusual number of people getting rescued, and thus I gather is still very crowded. Instead, we went to the Ossipee Range just north of Lake Winnipesaukee. I have noticed a decrease in cars at the local conservation areas since New Hampshire started reopening indoor activities. So I guessed it might be safe safe to venture out to somewhere nicer. Mount Shaw is the farthest south of the 52 With a View with a “low” crowd level.
I picked a route to Mount Shaw that started at the Castle in the Clouds hiker parking lot. We climbed up to views at Bald Knob, Turtleback Mountain, Black Snout, and Mount Shaw. Except for Mount Shaw, all the other outlooks faced towards the lakes. Mount Shaw faced north towards the White Mountains. We could just make out Mount Washington with it’s head in the clouds and patches of snow in the ravines. We saw people at the beginning of the hike, and at each of the views. The views towards the lake were more popular than the view north. I liked the view of the mountains best. I had picked our route using open street maps. It turned out that some of the trails we used aren’t official trails. They were nevertheless easy to follow. The official trails are all old carriage roads that have been repurposed as snowmobile trails. A sign at the trailhead says cross country skiers are welcome, which is at odds with all the trails showing evidence of snowmobile use.
We saw four garter snakes, uncounted toads, and several swallowtail butterflies. Isaac worked on his map reading and compass skills. He isn’t ready yet to get lost in the woods by himself. The lady slippers were blooming. Somehow despite having only green buds a few weeks ago in Stoddard, the vibernum was already mostly past. The bunch berries and blue ball lilies were putting on their show. There was plenty of breeze to keep the bugs and heat away, so Isaac liked the hike. I got my 10+ miles, flowers, and views, so I was happy. And Tyson got lots of views and gentle grades.