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Nestled in between Spring yard work and rainy days was a sunny Friday ...

I spent way too many hours trying to find a hike that I wanted to do that was within my still-recovering distance and elevation limits....

After pondering late ( too late ) into the night I hadnt arrived at a conclusion.

Gallery / slide show

Then came the morning and the realization that i simply needed to choose someplace and go.

Well, alrighty then ....

I wanted < 6 miles, preferably 5, round trip ( rules out more than you might realize!); a relatively short drive ( ruled out Crawford ) ; not the Belknaps ( been there too often recently, plus ticks, plus expected black flies ). Should have views. Not Pawtickaway ( flies & frequency ). Not Monadnock ( long drive and kind of boring anyway ).  Ossipees?   Mmmm... Roberts? No, too often. Bald Knob? No, not long enough and kind of restricted to the one view. Shaw?  Too long.   Bayle? Not long enough.  Tate?  ....

Hmm, interesting. Plus, some side trails to explore.  Toss some stuff in the car and ... go!

Ok, reach trailhead in expected time. Out of car, saddle up, deet up, and ... where's the trail?

There's been a lot of logging since the last time I was here; instead of the usual trail, there was a large flat open staging area. I didnt see any cairns or signs or anything ...

I tried to follow the old trail  but it was obviously unmaintained. It eventually came out on a logging road that was not overgrown and headed in the correct direction. So I followed this a little way and eventually it became the old carriage road I remembered.

Very shortly reached the first split and headed right. The logging activity from this point up to the foot path was a little confusing; there are quite a few survey tape fliers and a number of red blazes and blue blazes. And the trail blazes are relatively sparse before reaching the foot path.  I seem to remember the Tate Mtn Trail has also been known as the Italian Trail - the blazes are a distiinctive vertical Bar , green-red-green, The paint is a bit dark and may take a little care to spot at the carriage rd junctions. Once on the foot path, the trail is obvious.

Not too long after this first branch is an opening with 3 choices; the middle is the correct one. Then another branch; again choosing the right side takes one eventually thru a cut in a large pile of broken rock and you are at the junction with the foot path proper.  From this point, the trail is narrow but in good shape. It ascends pleasantly, passes some tempting looking ledge outcrops with no views, but does eventually reach one outcrop with a nice view of Winnie and the Belknaps.

Back into the woods, the trail winds along and eventually takes you to a junction with a sign. The sign indictes Rt 171 is back the way you came. I guess you are expected to know that the left choice will take you to Tate; but the right?

The right takes you very shortly to a magnificent open ledge. Don't skip it :)

I had intended to fpollow this spur down to Little Ball Mtn, and even explore down the trail back toward McDuffee rd, but at this point the afternoon warmth of the ledges brought out enough black flies that I lost interest and retreated back toward Tate.   So , I ascended the rest of the way to Tate, a quarter mile or so to some very nice open ledge and views of the Belknaps, Kearsarge, maybe Cardigan. I passed thru the little col to the north bump of Tate and had a nice lunch on the ledges at the base of Black Snout ( South). And fed a few more flies :(

After a little while I headed back down the way I came; I followed the 'new' logging road out to the staging area.  

On ascent: from the parking lot enter the staging area ( it's like a big parkign lot) , go to the far side and take the road that bears right. Just follow the non-overgrown road and it will take you to the old trail. There are a few small cairns along the way for reassurance.

And be careful on the way home - I was almost taken off the board by a fool doing about 70 mph on Rt 171 who Just. Barely. made the curve ( squealing tires and all!) instead of hitting me head on ...


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