So a few days ago I set out to climb Doublehead ( in the Squam Range ) , with a goal of visiting Mt Squam.
I reached both Doublehead peaks, but turned back on the walk out to Squam, partly tired and partly too late in the day.
That was a good decision at the time, but ... I hate not reaching a target
Gallery / slide show
Today I got out a little earlier, and thought I'd try to reach Squam again, this time from the Mt Percival trail.
This is weird ... I don't know whether I made it. Doh!
So ... Squam is a funny mountain, on the topo it has two very close sort of peaks.
My GPS tells me I passed the peak. But GoogleEarth tells me ... well , it seems to be telling me I turned back about 100 meters short of the summit - although it tells me the summit is "The Rattlesnakes East" . Heh. I'm pretty sure I wasn't that far off my reckoning :)
It being a nice Saturday, there were cars in the Percival lot - I've never parked here before, always used the Morgan lot and the Morse connector, to do a loop over Morgan & Percival.
Up the trail and past the connector, nice and easy trail for about a mile or so, although the mosquitoes were rising with my passage as though the bailiff had announced the judge entering court! Ugh. I love not having to lug snowshoes, spikes and enough down for 10 geese, but I hate the bugs!!
I reached this stone wall - it looked suspiciously like it might be part of the one I saw on Doublehead; about the right elevation.
I usually think of stone walls as boundary markers or fences for livestock ... but given the location of this one, and the one on Doublehead, I think maybe the purpose is to hold in the steep - cause in both places, this is where the steepness starts to set in!
A little more huffing and puffing brought me to a brief flatter setion with some water. And of course plenty of mosquitoes for this little fellow -
It wasn't too long after that I passed a family - one youngster was very excited about the newt he'd found... he was holding it.
It's good to see families out in the woods, and kids excited about wildlife ... but I wish I could have thought of a diplomatic way to tell them that it's better to just look with eyes and ears.
Oh well, onward .. reached the Percival ledges in short order. No, not via the caves. I don't fit tight spaces very well. And caves are excellent things to avoid IMHO. Where I was born, all sorts of interesting ( i.e. painful and or dangerous ) things live in caves. Pass.
Anyway, plenty of people opted for the cave route, in both directions. Enjoy, HYOH :)
Mosquitoes gone ... maybe the numerous dragonflies were more efficient than the newts below :)
Enjoyed the view for a few minutes, then headed off toward Mt Squam via Crawford-Ridgepole path.
The trail quickly deteriorates. The footing is generally good and not wet. But the brush has closed in quite a lot, in a few spots it was not immediately obvious where the trail exited a ledgy opening. Quite a contrast with the Mt Percival trail. But still, easily navigable if the occasional minor confusion and fairly sparse blazing doesn't worry you.
The trail also has many short PUDs over ledges. None particularly strenuous, but they add up.
A few ledgy spots were covered with a light layer of moss. AKA "summer ice". Quite slippery with my soles, anyway.
Other than the PUDs, the elevation change along this trail section was small - about 200 ft loss, then 200 ft rise to the summit ( or shoulder?) of Squam.
Like last week's trip to Doublehead, this was a very disappointing trail section; both intel and GoogleEarth seemed to indicate lots of popping in and out for views. Not so much. There was one very nice view to the south ( not even close to the Percival view) , and a few obstructed views. Otherwise, a long series of teases of ledgy openings ringed with trees. Sigh.
Suddenly the trail seemed to enter a section with more up-down-ledge entering a wooded area. Enough. Dispirited from my dashed expectations, and (maybe) misled by my GPS into thinking that I'd passed the summit, I headed back.
Much to my surprise, I met a couple of hikers headed for Doublehead. And shortly later was passed by another pair heading the same direction as I. More traffic than I expected to see, judging from the trail condition.
Reaching Percival, I spent a few minutes with the camera; the light was a little better than when I had been there earlier.
Then descent ... by now, it was late afternoon. There is a spot where the trail crosses a rockfall/streambed , and the crossing takes a little care. Just past that I found my pace had to quicken considerably. Last week, there were black flies. Today there were mosquitoes. For some reason I had thought the mosquitoes were a problem on the ascent. Ha ha ha.
I did not want to stop even to put on my bug shirt. From this point to the trailhead, I just kept moving as fast as I could. I was almost jogging when I reached the flats. Up to the car, take off pack and be ready to toss it into car and jump in myself ... open the door, toss & jump, close door and ... spend 10 minutes killing the dozen mosquitoes that still got in. I must have gotten them all, though, no bites on the ride home :)
nice hike, except for the bugs. And ... I'm wondering ... maybe I have to go back to really put this peak in the bag.