Wednesday, July 27, 2016

New Hampshire: Day 4. Rattlesnake Mountain and Squam Lake

Kali enjoying the view of Squam Lake from Rattlesnake Mountain
On our last full day in New Hampshire, our friend/host Patti had to go back to work so I decided to tackle a relatively easy hike to what promised to be a spectacular site overlooking Squam Lake, the lake where On Golden Pond was filmed.  The weather was forecast to be overcast but warm and humid, so I didn't want to exert too much, and ascending Rattlesnake Mountain was only a 200 foot climb over a distance of about a mile.
Fallen birch in New Hampshire woods
We arrived at the trailhead at 11 a.m. on a Monday morning and found it to be nearly filled with cars - an ominous portend.  We squeezed into a parking spot and then began the hike on the wide, well-traveled trail.
Kali on the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail
Almost immediately, we had to start giving way to large families with many children who were descending the trail.  There were so many people coming down from the top that I commented to Kali that it was as if an entire village of young families was evacuating.  Again, an ominous sign that the summit was going to be swarming with rowdy kids.
Old New England stone wall on the left
Rattlesnake Mountain is a research natural area donated to the University of New Hampshire.  (I wonder if the crowds interfere with research?) The trail system (which includes several trails in addition to the popular main trail to the top of the mountain) is maintained by the local Squam Lakes Association.
Steps and stones
As we approached the summit - anticipating the worst - we were surprised and delighted to find that we were completely and utterly alone.  We spent about 20 minutes at the top enjoying the view of Squam Lake directly below and Lake Winnipesaukee far to the east - and cooling off.  Though the walk was short and relatively easy, the day was really humid and Kali and I were both soaked with sweat. 
Squam Lake
As we headed back to the parking area, we encountered a few people climbing to the summit, but nothing like the hordes who were descending as we hiked to the top.  The parking lot was nearly empty when we returned.

Since it was lunch time, we drove four miles south to the town of Holderness where our friend had told us we could have lunch overlooking the lake at the Basshole Cafe.  Great views of a bustling little recreational harbor and great super-crispy French fries in air conditioned comfort!  After lunch, we headed back to our host's house, stopping at the New Hampshire Guild of Craftsmen's store in Sandwich Center to peruse some excellent craft offerings.  Though we were tempted by a few pieces, we're in our de-accession stage of life and we left empty handed.

2 comments:

robin andrea said...

Really glad you and Kali had that lake view all to yourselves. What a grand vista that is. New Hampshire is quite beautiful, and I am delighted you took this trip!

Scott said...

We were so lucky with our timing at Rattlesnake Mountain, Robin Andrea. New Hampshire is beautiful; it's a shame it's so far away.