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Working my way back into shape after some winter foot trouble.

Pawtuckaway is always a good place to get back into shape, well, except for bug season anyway.

Good trails, good views. And today, no bugs. And the mud is almost all gone.

Shirtsleeve temps! Sun! Clouds! Blue!
Gallery / slide show

A goodly portion of Southern NH seemed to agree this was the place to be today.

Cars lined up along Reservsation Road near trailheads or gates ( Tower & Round Pd rd still gated).

But the woods are pretty big; it wasn't crowded, even at the tower.

So as winter recedes, it recedes first in the South. The Belknaps are a bit ruggeder than Pawtuckaway, and also Pawtuckaway is a bit further out of winter. Makes it a perfect place to start getting the legs ( and heart and lungs ) back into hiking mode.

I do winter hike, but I really don't like monorail or mud season. And I've had some trouble with one foot so it's nice to be able to take a shorter, easier hike and still get a good workout ans some views.

I was undecided whether to go for North or South Mountain today; when I rolled along Reservation Road I was still thinking about it. Mostly I prefer North Mountain for its comparative ruggedness. It also tends to be less traveled. But today I decided to risk getting trampled at the fire tower and parked near the Tower Road gate.

As I got saddled up, a man and little boy arrived. The little boy was so excited!  Running past me and up Tower Rd :)

Eventually I got my pack & poles sorted out and was on my way.  I caught up with the man and boy, said a few quick pleasantries.  The youngster was very excited still; he quickly informed me he had a pack like mine and really liked it.  I told him that was great, I liked mine to. Then I said goodbye and continued on.

Usually my first priority is to summit; that means usually if I plan to loop I go up the Ridge or Tower trail as soon as possible. Today I took the other direction, walking Tower Rd past the Tower trail to the connector to South Ridge , then up via the South Ridge Trail. this brought me to the Tower from the North.

Turned out to be a pertty good strategy; I saw no one, and only heard two people pass me ( as I was off on a side path).

Very much like hiking Mt Major - there may be 100 people out there, but get off the popular trail and take a longer route and you will see very few people.

Reaching the Tower, of course there were more people. But everyone was pleasant. Lots of people with little kids. There's some construction debris around the base and on the platform, but no nails sticking out. The new ladder and railings inspire confidence.

The tower view was a little hazy but spectacular anyway. Very windy - but not cold like January ! :)

I sat on the ledges for a while and watched many vultures sail by in both directions. I took a BUNCH of bird pictures. It wasn't til looking at them for posting that I realized that there was a bird in the mix that was unfamiliar.

If anyone knows who this fellow is I'd love to hear ... see the contact page :)


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