December 26th, 2015
Sooooo go back with me to when…Christmas was just yesterday and we’re all still walking around like it’s barely Colombus Day.
I’ve started to notice the effects of growing up in one place my whole life. I know my home so, so well; but my adult knowledge and understanding of this area is flavored by my childhood understanding of it as well. It’s different than, for instance, when I had to learn how to get around at school, or in Bozeman. I learned those places by looking at maps and getting myself around.
At home, though, I’ve known how to get myself to different places from just being brought there by my parents as a child. My geographic understanding is completely controlled by my specific knowledge of how to get there. I have no picture in my head of how everyplace falls in with the whole.
As I’ve become more involved with hiking here, I’ve started to see and learn just how connected all these places are. “That road that lead to Joel’s house…if you keep going down it, it connects to Campton, I didn’t know those two places were connected at all!”
This is the phenomenon that occurs in my brain when I take hikes like Mt. Livermore. I make connections.
The Squam range forms the Northwestern wall of the bowl that contains Squam Lake.
Mt. Livermore can be accessed two ways: NH Rt. 113 or Perch Pond Road. My mother and I, along with the three dogs I’m currently sitting, opted for the Perch Pond Rd. entry point. To be more specific, the trailhead on the west side of the range is accessed by Mountain Rd. which branches off of Perch Pond Rd. Note the little red flag pictured above.
The Mt. Livermore loop is unique because it follows these pretty ancient back woods logging paths; you know, from the time when draft horses were still pulling the trees out of the woods for the winter fires.
As such, these trails tend to have a lot of water erosion. The old farm settler’s weren’t really thinking about conservation and erosion back in the day, I guess. They did tend to deforest entires swathes of mountains all at one go, so a road that is slowly carving a gorge into the side of a mountain probably didn’t give much pause.
At the same time, the trails open up a special back woods playground that allows hikers to explore the small but respectable Squam Range.
Barbara, Scout, and Molly (along with Harry and Sally, not pictured) pile into Babe, the Blue Ox (Honda Fit) and head to the trail.
You may notice that the trail in the above picture looks like a road. That’s because it is! The trail from the west side is really just a continuation of the old “Mountain Road” that used to go up and over the range. It connects to the trail named “Old Mountain Road,” because it actually used to be the road.
Hiking up Mountain Rd, we eventually reach a saddle in the range. You can either turn south and go strait to Mt. Livermore, North to Mt. Webster, or you can continue East, towards the lake. You will eventually meet the Old Mountain Road. We continued East, then turned South and followed the old road until we reached the Crawford-Ridgepole trail. At this point we turned Westward and headed back up to the ridge. The Crawford-Ridgepole trail wraps around the backside of Mt. Livermore so that you end up approaching it from the West. From the summit, we headed northward along the ridge line until we reached the ridge junction again. This completed theloop! The ending path looks like this:
Please note that this is not a particularly precise map, but I can tell you that the loop totals about 4 miles over which there is a total of 1000 ft of climbing. We did it in about 2 hours. It should also be noted that the valley to the west of the ridge houses the NH Fish and Game firing range, and it is common to hear gunshots while you are hiking, so don’t get too freaked out if you hear gunshot on your jaunt. Please do be aware of hunting seasons and the safety precautions you should take if you are hiking in a commonly hunted area of the forest. Take responsibility for your safety!
Major perks of the climb are that you get to explore the ancient roads of the state and walk through beautiful old farm fields.
Harry showing us the way to explore a field.
At the top you are afforded a view of the lake and can make out some of the higher southern mountains of New Hampshire.
A Christmas Gift
It’s just like New Hampshire to run into an old friend you haven’t seen in a while in the middle of the woods, which is what happened to us at the top of this hill.
It’s a huge small world.