Well, third time's the charm , as the saying goes ....
For some reason I got it into my head that I wanted to hit all the summits in the Squam range.
The only one I had left was Mt Squam itself....
About a month and a half ago I gave that a try, going in from the Doublehead Trail . I turned back a half mile or so short of the summit -
Then, a couple weeks later, I decided to try via Mt Percival .
At least, I got closer
Last week, I decided to give it one more try. Obsession is not pretty. Nor is it easy to ignore.
I really did not enjoy the ridge trail from Doublehead toward Squam the last time, but it seemed the easiest route. Plus I really , really did not enjoy the trip out from Percival the last time I was there - the bugs were just brutal. So it seemed like I might as well go up Doublehead again to finally get this out of my hair.
The weather looked awesome, and it being the July 4th weekend, I knew there would be people. But !! Driving past the Morgan trailhead I was astonished. Both parking lots were full, and there were cars all along Rt 113, on both sides of the highway and both sides of the parking lots. Yikes. ( Later I learned this is a real problem for the town. Solutions are being discussed, some alternatives involve no parking signs.... I'd hate to see that, but I can see the problem.)
Seeing that I began to be concerned about what the Doublehead trailhead might be like. But there was no problem - mine was the only car there. Even the Percival lot had no spillover ...
I got a little better picture of the optical illusion from the parking lot. The tower/trees seemingly sticking out of a ridge are actually on a ridge beyond and just hidden.
So anyway ... up the Doublehead trail; it didnt seem as steep as last time, which was good. Maybe I'm getting into better shape. Maybe I just had more sleep. More likely, it was just more familiar.
Having been on the ledge below Doublehead before, I did not dawdle. Much.
On to the goal.
And soon, down to the col and back up and then down, and then up and then down .... really, this trail probably has 500 ft of elevation gain in these little ups and downs over strips of ( almost 100 % viewless) ledge. Across the col swamp/stream and up, about .4 miles from the Doublehead/Ridge trail junction it looks like there are some ledges just a couple hundred feet off trail; but the woods looked impenetrable ... so onward .... hoping the trail crossed some of the other open ledge visible on the South side of the ridge.
About a half mile along I passed my previous far point. Ah ! New territory. Unfortunately, more puds. But at least, no more swamps :)
I was rewarded about .7 mi from the trail junction with a narrow Southern outlook. Not spectacular, but nice.
Moving on, I broke out at about .85 mile onto the northern facing ledge. This is a very nice spot, a wide and wild ledge, with Mt Squam's summit rising above it. And a short break in the trail. The trail is there, it's just kind of hidden. But not hard to recover - after you've recovered from the expansive Northern view :)
At this point, a couple and their dog ( same/similar breed as Atticus I think, but different color) appeared. Turns out they are working on the SLA 50 - a redline of the Squam Lake Association's nominal 50 miles of trails. They were headed for Percival.
I was starting to think about going on to Percival and hitching a ride back to my car. Knowing what was ahead beyond Squam, and what was behind ... hmmm .... and there's plenty of traffic on 113 .... something to think about.
Then ... it's back into the woods for the final climb. The climb wasn't too bad. We all reached the summit cairn ( the best part was watching the little dog sprint up ledges that I had to thread with care :) ) , had a quick look 'round and continued on. There wasn't much of a view from Mt Squam, though possibly we could have found a little more with some brushwhacking. But with Percival ahead, why bother ?
So ... on we went, reaching Percival without problems, and then down from there. Once again, as on Parker last week, it was pleasant to have someone to chat with on the way down.
When we reached the trailhead, my new friends let me hop in the back seat; they were headed to their car spot on Sandwich Notch Rd and very kindly drove me all the way in to my car at the Doublehead Trailhead. This was most welcome! I would have been grateful just to be dropped on 113, but saving me the extra .9 mile road walk ... well, all I can say is awesome! :)
So ... I am now released from the need to visit Mt Squam. Hmmm ... what's this SLA 50 thing, again?