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 On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16 
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 On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16
So it looks like the weather conspired once again to keep me off of the bucket list and defaulting to some redlining. Since I knew my day would involve rain any way I looked at it I wasn't looking to drive overly far or do anything overly ambitious. Of course that what I TOLD myself, but as I like to say "No one ever listens to Brian", and that of course means Brian himself. :lol: So I picked the Rattlesnakes in Holderness, which stand sentinel over Squam Lake, the ubiquitous Golden Pond (anyone who isn't a Millennial knows what I am talking about....or should....and if you ARE a Millennial who has no clue what I am talking about, Netflix it for goodness sake!) I had been on West Rattlesnake twice, but never on anything else besides the Bridal Path to the summit. In my big brain I decided to reline the trails....all of them. All in one day. Yes, I was going to hit them all right then and there. Since the route I used was pretty convoluted, random, involved a 1.25 mile road walk, and re-using trails I am going to give a rundown of the trails in list form rather than use a linear type of report.

Old Bridal Path:
Not much to say about this one. Odds are if you have hiked West Rattlesnake this was the route you used. Super graded and maintained it is more like a park walk than a trail.

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Before you get to the summit there is a spur that leads to a secondary view. A bit different angle from what you get on the summit and worth the side trip since it is only yards off the Bridal Path.
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The summit is contained within the Armstrong Natural area.
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And of course the summit views is pretty iconic. I remember first seeing a photo of this view in a New Hampshire Department of Tourism magazine and it was one of the photos that ignited my hiking craze.
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Ridge Trail:

This .8 miles of trail connects the two summits of West and East Rattlesnake. It is fairly mellow, nothing overly steep, and decently maintained.
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Col Trail:

This section of trail runs from 113, through the col and down to the 5 way junction on the lake side of the area. The first .5 mile starting from the road starts out as road then turns off to a real trail that is pretty rough and rocky, passing a pond that is just so-so in the scenery department, climbing a little bit more steady as you approach the col.

The start of the col trail off of 113.
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The pond. This is the best view you get from trailside. Poking around near the shore might get better views, but it is still just more of a big mud puddle with bullfrogs croaking in the background.
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Approaching the col and the junction with the Ridge Trail.
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Butterworth Trail:

This trail starts off a side road from 113. The is limited parking. Care should be taken following this trail as it pops on and off an old logging road pretty quickly. It is in decent condition, moderately but not oppressively steep, and is a good alternative for a direct ascent of East Rattlesnake.

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The view from East Rattlesnake.....it is obvious why West is the gem of the two, but I wouldn't necessarily call it horrible (or rather, on a nice day it would be OK....it is pretty socked in here in this pano, but the picture actually came out worse than the overcast would indicate).
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East Rattlesnake Trail:

This trail comes off the summit of East Rattlesnake and drops down to the 5 way junction. It is in decent shape, and the steepness is about on par with Butterworth, albeit of a shorter distance (.4 miles).
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Five Finger Point Tr.:

This is a gem of a trail. It basically is a loop trail (1.3 miles) around the little jutting mini-island on the lakeshore. It pops out offers a number of interesting views of old Golden Pond itself. The West side of the loop holds the most bang for your buck, but the whole loop is well worth it.

The start...and end....of the loop.
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The first lakeside view.
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The second lakeside view.
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The eniter area was littered with these interesting plants that certain members of this forum might find interesting. A little green right now but should be blue eventually....
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3rd lakeside view.
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The granddaddy of lakeshore views.
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One last shoreside view before ducking back into the woods. I love Squam's crystal clear water....
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Pasture trail:

This trail runs from the summit of West Rattlesnake to the 5 way junction and out to the Five Finger loop. It is a bit tough to find off the summit because it is a bit grown in for the first few yards. Moderate grades and so-so footing take you down to the 5 way. From there it bobs up and down out to Five Finger. It is what it is, the only way to get to the Five Finger loop

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Ramsey Trail:

This is by far the most rugged and steep section of trail on these peaks. Very rocky, worn, with sketchy footing in the rain slick rocks. This would probably a pretty fun and sporting ascent route on a dry day if one is looking for an alternative to the highly manicured Bridal Path.

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Slick and steep.
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Undercut trail:

This trail runs from 113 to a side road off of 113. There appears to be very limited parking here too. This is the absolute worse trail of all these. I managed to go the entire day, even with pouring rain, in dry shoes. But the last 1/4 mile before getting back to 113 was heavily grown in at spots with ferns and grass. My shoes went from dry to swamp boot in literally 30 seconds of walking. On a dry day maybe not so bad, but again, heavily grown in. The rest of the trail is mostly mellow grades and not as bad as the first 1/4 mile.

The trail passes off this road. To the left is a cabin, the right is the trail.
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Going uphill.
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From dark into light.
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This gives an idea of how grown in the first 1/4 mile is.
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And that's it. Overall I pegged in at just a tad over 10 miles (including the road walk between the Butterworth trail and Col trail on 113.) It was a decent way to kill the day and check out some new trails. When I pulled into the parking lot for the Bridal Path I was the first car. When I got back around 1:00 the lot was packed and cars out all up and down the road, pretty amazing considering the weather for the day (I got back to my car in a light drizzle.) So my take is there are some good trails, some so-so, and only one real bad one. If you are looking to do the Rattlesnakes again some day with a little variety give the above ones a try.

Brian


Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:33 pm
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 Re: On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16
What a great idea! We did something like this in winter 2015, but still have a couple trails lest; we even did a road walk, like you! Your day was prettier - no dog #$%^ every two feet on the Bridal Path like we saw!


Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:04 pm
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 Re: On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16
I had debated more than once of just returning to the car and moving it to one of the other trailheads in order to cut out the roadwalk, but in the end I figured what kind of hiker would I be if I moved my car 3/4 of a mile down the road. :lol:

It did pour pretty good when I was on the eastern end of the Five Finger loop, but thankfully it passes through some pretty dense tree cover. I was amazed at one point to realize that despite the pouring rain the ground I was standing on was bone dry, the rain just could not penetrate the tree cover! Needless to say I spent a few minutes there waiting for the worst of it to pass before moving on again. :D

Brian


Tue Jul 12, 2016 5:18 pm
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 Re: On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16
That is a great idea for a hike. Timely for me too - we had climbed Mt Pemigewasset, and Pierce & Jackson on the holiday weekend, and the weather was so nice on the 4th that we stopped to hike Rattlesnake on the way home. I wanted to try something different from the Bridal Trail, so we took the Col Trail from Rte 113 and went to East Rattlesnake, then the Ridge Trail to West. We really liked the Col and Ridge Trails, and only ran into two people before hitting West Rattlesnake. We debated doing the Five Finger Point Trail, but didn't have time. It looks really nice, will have to go back for that one.


Tue Jul 12, 2016 8:52 pm
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 Re: On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16
I lucked out too in regards to people. For most of the day I only bumped into one person, a local out walking his dog on the trail, who I engaged in a pleasant conversation about the trail system. He said I would like the Five Finger loop and he was correct! I did bump into about 6 people when I made my second visit of West Rattlesnake for the day (so I could take Ramsey down) at the summit view. But that was about it. No doubt the weather played a part, though I was still shocked to see how crowded the lot was considring the fact it was raining off and on.

Brian


Wed Jul 13, 2016 5:48 pm
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 Re: On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16
Nice. I tried to do East Rattlesnake from West Rattlesnake once, I think it was before that sign was there. Absolutely could not find the trail and gave up after about 30 minutes. :roll:

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Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:41 pm
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 Re: On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16
Interesting idea. My only trip to the Rattlesnakes I went up East Rattlesnake Trail and down the Pasture Trail for a sunrise hike. East is a perfect spot for it later in the year when the sun rises farther to the south and right across the lake. I'll have to go back and check out more of this one. Squam is a beautiful area, both the lake and the mountains around it. I always think I want to use some of the SLA campsites on the lake too, but the $60 a night price tag has kept me away so far. Maybe they are worth it. Anyone ever used any of them who can say for sure?? And I think I know a guy who might be interested in those little green berries in a few weeks while up that way on his annual summer week at Winni. I'll pass the word on! :D


Tue Jul 19, 2016 10:42 pm
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 Re: On Golden pond: Rattlesnake redline galore 7-9-16
Granite Guy wrote:
And I think I know a guy who might be interested in those little green berries in a few weeks while up that way on his annual summer week at Winni. I'll pass the word on! :D

Yup. a few weeks should just about do it. I found a small handful of lowbush blueberries to snack on, but the highbush blues are still 2 or 3 weeks away from ripe over there. 8)

Brian


Wed Jul 20, 2016 5:34 pm
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