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 The Squam Lake Rattlesnakes - 9/5/16 
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 The Squam Lake Rattlesnakes - 9/5/16
Sunday we spent a cloudless day lounging on the coast of Maine. We were supposed to work in little a hike, but it never happened, so Monday was hike day. Cloudy near the coast but sunny inland, so we headed for a hike we've been eyeing all summer, West Rattlesnake. We had our three but also some friends with us and their two young kids, so this one seemed just about perfect. Apparently everyone else in the lakes region thought so too, as parking was quite a production, but once that was taken care of we headed up the Old Bridal Path.

Our 4 mile loop. Up OBP, across Ridge, down E. Rattlesnake and back on Undercut
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One mile of well constructed and maintained trail takes you to the summit ledges, which overlook Squam Lake and the surrounding mountains. With 5 kids (ages 2,3,4,5 and 8) I thought this would make a great half day hike for them. What I didn't count on was them wanting to race up the trail, and race they did, taking only 30 minutes to reach the top. That's 2 m.p.h. if you do the math. Not too shabby for little legs, and we had lunch/snacks up there while taking in the great views.

And they're off!!
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FWIW, heart shaped rocks interest 5 year-olds more than views
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Well manicured trails made the hike up a breeze
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Ledges in sight
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Half hour later we're there
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View from West Rattlesnake
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Which includes the Belknaps
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Boats
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And part of the Squam Range
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Morgan and Percival looked busy too
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After lunch my wife said, so that's it?? We drove An hour and a half for a half hour hike?? At which point I told here there was another peak and options to make a loop out of them. This was put up for a vote and I think everyone except my oldest :roll: were in favor of pushing on, so on we went. we took the Ridge Trail, which dropped about 300 feet between the peaks, and again in pretty short order covered another mile or so to the outlook on East Rattlesnake, which is nice with more lake views and includes Oak Hill and some of the Ossipees. From there it was a short hop to the top (I think) where we had another snack break before heading down.

Onward!
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Wildlife
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Pleasant if unexciting woods
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View from East Rattlesnake's ledge
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Party in Rattlesnake Cove
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East Rattlesnake summit cairn??
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We took the East Rattlesnake Trail down, which was uneventful and brought us to the back roads of the area which we used to connect to the Undercut Trail. Brian's report earlier this year said this was a brushy, mostly useless trail, except that it made a loop possible rather than re-tracing our steps, so we took it anyhow. Some minor ups and downs as it circled around the base of a talus slope, and then the brush. But not just any fern/grass brush, but with lots of poison ivy mixed in for good measure!! Rarely do I see a hiking trail with any at all, but this was brushed right in to the foot bed for quite a ways, and it'll be a miracle if nobody winds up with some. There should really be a warning sign on the trail ends that it's there and there's no way to avoid it. As we neared 113 we found some blackberry bushes, which again all but my oldest :roll: thought was great! Lots of nice juicy berries waiting for us at the end of the hike, and all we had left to do was walk back a few hundred yards on the shoulder of 113 to the parking lot where some ice cold sodas awaited our return.

A stately White Pine and some boulders were really all the E. Rattlesnake trail had to offer
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Private sugar shacks or barns near the trailhead
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This post for the Ramsey Trail marks your re-entry into the woods
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But you quickly take the Undercut Path
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Amazing if nobody comes out with Lyme disease or poison ivy
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We defintiely came out with purple hands and tongues from all the juicy blackberries near the end of the trail
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Ice cold soda to top it all off
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I think as a bang for the buck hike West Rattlesnake is great, and East works well for a sunrise, but this loop, which turned out to be 4 miles with 1000 feet of elevation, lost that bang for the buck factor after a while. Two really nice viewpoints in 4 miles of hiking doesn't quite qualify it for that distinction in my book. Don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful day to be out hiking, and pleasant enough trails, but for 4 miles you can do better. Still, the kids all had a great time, with next to no complaints and a fun day hiking with their friends. Whether you're 4 years old or almost 40 years old, you just can't ask for much more than that! :D


Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:55 pm
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 Re: The Squam Lake Rattlesnakes - 9/5/16
We have yet to hike the Rattlesnakes or Morgan and Percival. Looks like you had a nice day out with all the kiddos. That heart shaped rock I have seen in other reports too, it must be famous! :).

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Thu Sep 08, 2016 5:38 am
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 Re: The Squam Lake Rattlesnakes - 9/5/16
My boots stayed dry that day I did those trails through 2 major, short downpours and off and on sprinkles....until the Undercut. 2 seconds on the Undercut and my boots were a full blown swamp. :evil:

Glad you got to enjoy some of the other trails that area has to offer. I agree with your wife, driving an hour and a half JUST for West Rattlesnake would be a bummer. :D


Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:23 am
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 Re: The Squam Lake Rattlesnakes - 9/5/16
Looks like a great little hike. I was torn between these and Eagle Cliff and Red Hill the day
I day them. Another someday hike. 8)

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Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:58 am
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 Re: The Squam Lake Rattlesnakes - 9/5/16
We almost did M-P that day. Just think, we could have waved hello at you. We nearly redlined that area one nice winter day a couple years ago. Looked great in snow..... except that canine souvenirs show up much better with the white background. Hope you didn't have that problem!


Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:44 pm
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 Re: The Squam Lake Rattlesnakes - 9/5/16
Undercut was bone dry, but plenty of poison ivy to make up for the lack of muck I guess.

Joe, Red Hill was my second choice for this day. Though the kids would like the tower. I haven't done it but lean towards that being a better hike even if West Rattlesnake has a better singular view.

No canine souvenirs Becky, but some from Ursus Americans on the Undercut Trail. The kids got a kick out of seeing it filled with blueberries and acorn shells.


Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:44 pm
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