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Part 1:

Mt Rowe Trail ( upper section of Blue Trail ) , Ridge Trail snippet, North Spur Trail, GES Nature Trail

Ahh! An early stick season hike on a muggy (!) November day in NH.

The nice thing about stick season is all the leaves are down and the woods seem so much more open.

The down side to stick season hiking is all the leaves are down and everything looks pretty meh after the brilliant foliage.

And on trails that don't get much traffic, with no rain, the leaves are deep and unpacked ... hiding rocks, roots, slippery spots ...

This backpack might have been more useful today than my usual one:

But I managed to shuffle thru the leaves without the blower and without serious incident  :)

Not a lot of views on these trails, and low clouds didnt help much, but I did take a few pics ...

Gallery / slide show

The trailheads for these trails are widely separated; I parked in the Gilfored Elementary School lot and set out on the Mt Rowe trail in the southeast corner, away from the school.

I had never been to the section of the Quarry Trail between Rand and West Quarry.

Opportunity was knocking, so I made a plan. I also wanted to walk the North Straightback Link, so I worked out a route over North Straightback to Rand. I did not want to go over East Quarry, I did not enjoy the descent on its west side a few years back.

Gallery / slide show

I estimated my plan at about 8.5 miles ( GPS reported 8.9, not bad !).  It included an unmaintained trail; I was a little anxious about that, I walked it 3 years ago, but was not sure I could find it easily. I wouldn't have much time to hunt around...

Had some chores to winterize the camp in Bartlett, so was planning on going to Bartlett this past weekend.

Thought maybe I'd fit in a hike on Parker, see what Washington looked like with a snow cap.

Then an invitation to hike with some friends changed the hiking destination.

When that hike plan fell through, I thought back to Parker.

Gallery / slide show

But Monday morning came, and it was chilly. And I'm breaking in new boots.

Hmmm. Solo, cold, new boots and post-foliage Monday ( not many people in the woods, and Parker doesn't get much traffic).  All those factors left me just a little uncomfortable. Decided on a shorter hike where there would be more chance of other people on the trail.

This seemed a good substitute ....

I've bushwhacked my way up Swett Mountain from the south side before, and of course have been on South Piper several times, but never hiked the Swett Mountain Trail.

Gallery / slide show

Seemed like I might as well do that today, and even though the trail is in the woods, there would be plenty of open ledge.

An important consideration on a blue-sky/puffy-cloud/still-foliage-color kind of a day like this!

Very stoked for this hike, a few weeks ago I met a group of hikers on Mt Waumbek and they were kind enough to invite me along on this hike.

The trail section is one I've thought about but not gotten around to.

The path we took runs from Mt Morgan SSW along the Crawford-Ridgepole path in the Squam Range to Cotton Mtn.

Gallery / slide show

Apparently there is some coverage in one of the AMC guidebooks ( Southern NH); I can't prove it as I've lost track of mine ... but I found enough online info to feel comfortable about finding my way out of the woods. Even in a group I like knowing more or less where I am ... and where the nearest road is  Wink

The views to the N and NW were somewhat limited on this hike, but there were excellent views to be had at several points where the trail pops out onto an opening.

Of course, Mt Morgan started the show with its spectacular ledge ...

Additional information