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 Southern NH Trail Of A Different Color - 1/24/16 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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 Southern NH Trail Of A Different Color - 1/24/16
Consider this my version of Views and Brews. 8) I also thought I needed it for mt January Pawtuckway Grid but was mistaken, it's actually February I'm missing it for.

The kiddos were staying at the grandparents for the night, so Saturday afternoon my wife and I headed out on a trail of a different kind, the NH Seacoast Wine Trail! :D We got an e-mail alert for the barrel tasting the wineries were doing and figured we'd make a day of it. For ten bucks you can go to all four on the trail and get tours of the facilities and try some of their wines and spirits straight from the barrel, as well as a bunch of of their bottled wines in their usual tasting rooms. I'll keep it short, but it was a fun time, and you can go any time for the regular sampling if you're ever near one. Some are usually free, some are three bucks, but a chance to try 30 different NH made wines and half a dozen spirits? Sign me up, although I can't really recommend the White Mountain Moonshine! But a nice little taste of NH I'd say. There's actually hikes near each of the wineries too that I have done before, and a lot more wineries and distilleries in NH, so should I ever feel like starting a list like Views and Brews it is entirely possible and probably quite easy to do. Just need a catchy name. You never know...

A different kind of trail to start the weekend :D
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Anyhow after sleeping in today and waking up to bluebird skies I had to get out before the Pats game. We grabbed the gear and headed off for the hike I'd pair with the Flag Hill winery and distillery in Lee, the nearby Pawtuckaway! My wife has never hiked anything but South Mountain there, so I decided Rocky Ridge was a good destination. We arrived at the Round Pond parking area to find it overflowing but wedged ourselves into the woods on the side of the road and headed off. RP Road was hard packed and bare-bootable. We turned onto the Boulder Field Trail at the unsigned beginning and made out way through the jumble of rocks to the sign for the Upper Cliff where we started our bushwhack of Rocky Ridge.

On a day like this you just have to get out!
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Even if it's just to visit a very familiar friend like Pawtuckaway
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Apparently we were not the only ones who felt that way!
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Taking the turn onto the Boulder Field Trail
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Enjoying an easy start to the whack up Rocky Ridge
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Un-tracked, other than animals, we used snowshoes for traction and easier going, although the snow wasn't that deep and we probably could have made it without them. Around the cliffs and up we went, shedding layers in the bright 30 degree sunshine. At one point there were footprints for a bit but they disappeared and never went near the clifftop viewpoints we were headed for. With snow on the ground it was pretty easy going along the granite slabs and over the scrub and shortly we found ourselves atop the ridge, away from the crowds and enjoying the spectacular sunshine beating down on us. It's my absolute favorite spot in the park, with views of the other mountains that actually make them look like mountains and a drop straight down to the ponds hundreds of feet below. We hung around, took a few pictures and didn't really want to leave, but eventually had no choice as we wanted to get lunch before picking up the kiddos.

Easy going along the top of the cliffs
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Enjoying the sunshine and views along the way
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A little more up
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And finally the top of Rocky Ridge!
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View of North Mountain
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The pines on Middle Mountain
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The tower on South
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Round Pond
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Rocky Ridge Pine Cones
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From the top we followed a herd (of deer) path in the snow. I figured they must know the easiest way down, and I was right. They took a gentle route right down to the tree on the North Mountain Trail that marks the start of the whack if you come from that direction. Pretty amazing actually. Then it was down through the boulder field and under the cliffs and slabs of the ridge as we looped back to where we started, taking a route across the frozen swamp that many before us had used before rejoining the trail near the Slab and exiting the way we came.

The herd (of deer) path we followed down
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Back on the well packed North Mountain Trail we ditched the snowshoes
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The boulder field soaking up the sun
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Ice draping the lower cliffs of Rocky Ridge
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Crossing the swamp with a peek at the summit cliffs of the ridge
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Passing the Slab and out the way we came
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Spying a possible nice viewpoint on Rocky Ridge from the parking lot. It would look north, assuming it is accessible, so I must return 8)
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Not a huge hike, and we are setting our sights on a few more winter 4K's for her, but for today this was perfect. The weather, the size of the hike (3mi/600 feet) the escape from the more crowded trails down below. Perfect! Followed up with lunch at the Tuckaway Tavern, which I can't reccomend highly enough either. I had the surf and turf burger which was a ground rib-eye burger topped with lobster salad and my wife had the ground steak tip burger, which was actually even better than mine. Both were absolutely amazing however, and a good way to finish off the weekend. She even said we should go back and hike there again soon, although I think the Burger had a lot to do with that! Should have ended it there without watching the Pats game when I got home. :( Can't win them all however, but other than the game it was a great weekend and who knows, perhaps even the start of a new hiking list! 8)

A better ending than the Pats game was
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The Surf and Turf Burger
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Yummy
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Link for the Seacoast Wine Trail
http://www.flaghill.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Seacoast-Wine-Trail-2012.pdf


Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:43 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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 Re: Southern NH Trail Of A Different Color - 1/24/16
Some good drink, a good hike and good food. If there is a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I haven't seen it. You need a name for this list? The pawtuckaway 2 with a brew?


Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:15 am
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 Re: Southern NH Trail Of A Different Color - 1/24/16
thegibba wrote:
Some good drink, a good hike and good food. If there is a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon, I haven't seen it. You need a name for this list? The pawtuckaway 2 with a brew?


Only problem with the name is there are 4 mighty mountains in Pawtuckaway, not just two. But better way to spend half a day? Not in my book. This is my idea of a fun date! Thank goodness I found a wife who'll humor me like this from time to time. :D


Mon Jan 25, 2016 1:13 pm
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 Re: Southern NH Trail Of A Different Color - 1/24/16
Granite Guy wrote:
On a day like this you just have to get out! Even if it's just to visit a very familiar friend

Must. Resist. Arrgggggghhhhh.... :wink:

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Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:24 pm
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 Re: Southern NH Trail Of A Different Color - 1/24/16
Kathy wrote:
Granite Guy wrote:
On a day like this you just have to get out! Even if it's just to visit a very familiar friend

Must. Resist. Arrgggggghhhhh.... :wink:


Don't hold back. We're all friends here. You've got Pierce, I've got Pawtuckaway. It's all good. :wink:


Mon Jan 25, 2016 11:59 pm
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 Re: Southern NH Trail Of A Different Color - 1/24/16
Yeah ur really getting to know Pawtuckaway well there GG. Time to switch it up, don't u think, no and not the Big A. :D does that mean u drink and get to hike intoxicated? Wife looks very animated...... :P


Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:43 pm
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 Re: Southern NH Trail Of A Different Color - 1/24/16
hiking lady wrote:
Yeah ur really getting to know Pawtuckaway well there GG. Time to switch it up, don't u think, no and not the Big A. :D does that mean u drink and get to hike intoxicated? Wife looks very animated...... :P


Well I hadn't considered the order in which to do the trails, but that could make the place more interesting! My wife is usually goofy and animated, but yes she was having a good time free of the kiddos and looking forward to lunch. :D I do need to get out to new places. Life or the weather has gotten in the way of a few bigger trips. Acadia last week was nice. Hope to see a lot more of that and the Daks before winter is over for sure.


Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:40 pm
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