Minimal work for great reward

52WAV, Hikes, TripReport , , , ,

A beautiful day to share a hike with family.  Escorted my son and my sister up to Middle Sugarloaf.  I didn’t look at the details of where to park, but had some idea on Zealand Road.  I pulled into the camping loop first and was thinking this was small parking for a trail head.  We almost left from there, then decided to drive up a bit further and found the real lot.  We arrived at the lot just about 1000 and it was mostly full.  I stuffed the car on the side of the road and we dipped into the woods on the Trestle Trail.

The trail led back toward the campground, which was good and bad.  I knew the bridge was removed and we would have a water crossing, but considered this to be fine as water levels have been quite low lately.  It was also a decent route as we needed the outhouse available at the campground.  After the restroom break we walked the campground road and found the Trestle Trail sign.  It was a quiet, lightly traveled trail only about .1 from the Zealand River crossing.

The river crossing was fairly easy, no spans more than 18 inches, but the water was moving swiftly so stirred my guests.  After a bit of guidance the three of us made it across and on our way .  We followed the yellow markers out and around a giant erratic boulder.  Then it looped back to a wide path, either snowmobile trail or cross country ski trail.  We followed this until it ran into the main Sugarloaf Trail.

The beginning was a mild grade with some roots and muddy rocks.  We took a few minutes rest near some more enormous boulders.  Once past the boulders, the trail begins to lightly steepen.  The footing is great and there are well placed rock steps at the steeper sections.  As we continued our pace, a few groups caught and passed us.

At the junction we headed left toward Middle Sugarloaf.  A short .4 mile strip remains.  This was a level section with a final steep pitch and concluded with a well placed ladder/stairs.  At the summit you pop out of the trees on to some of the finest granite ledges one could experience.  Wide views northeast captured the majority of the Presidential range.  To the east was smaller summits Mt Oscar/Mt Rosebrook.  The views south we could see Mt Hale and the Twins.  And finally to the northwest we saw small town of Carroll.  There is plenty of room to spread out up top and enjoy a snack and some fluids.  One should definitely schedule some extra time to enjoy this small but beautiful summit.

After our rest, some snacks and our fill of photo ops, we started back down.  Navigating some of the upper section took more time on the way down, but we made it safely.  We continued down and zig zagged the giant glacial erraitcs.  The descent was uneventful and I suspect my trail mates were wearing out.  On the way down we continued on the Sugarloaf Trail past some fine stops to play in the river.  We soaked our hands for a few moments before continuing back to the road, avoiding any more crossings until the road bridge at the end.  Took a left on the road back to the parking lot.  In hindsight everyone enjoyed the effort and rewards of the summit.

Stretching our legs at the beginning following the long ride.
Stretching our legs at the beginning following the long ride.
The only crossing where the trestle was removed.  Very low water levels
The only crossing where the trestle was removed. Very low water levels
Giant erratic along both Trestle and Sugarloaf trails
Giant erratic along both Trestle and Sugarloaf trails
Another along Sugarloaf trail
Another along Sugarloaf trail
Still smiling, can't be going too bad
Still smiling, can’t be going too bad
At the split between North and Middle summits
At the split between North and Middle summits
Breaking out of the trees, in awe
Breaking out of the trees, in awe
Enjoying the camera attention, equally impressed with the views
Enjoying the camera attention, equally impressed with the views
Smiles with the Presidential range in the distance
Smiles with the Presidential range in the distance
Hazy Presidential range
Hazy Presidential range
This is Mt Washington, right here
This is Mt Washington, right here
Snacks and drinks and smiles
Snacks and drinks and smiles
Enjoy seeing smiles at the top.  Always overshadows the effort to reach the summit
Enjoy seeing smiles at the top. Always overshadows the effort to reach the summit
Down 302 to Carroll/Twin Mountain
Down 302 to Carroll/Twin Mountain
After the summit spur, less than a mile to the road
After the summit spur, less than a mile to the road
Something took a bite of the donut mushroom
Something took a bite of the donut mushroom
ZigZagging through the boulders
ZigZagging through the boulders
Junction of Sugarloaf Trail and Trestle Trail
Junction of Sugarloaf Trail and Trestle Trail
Back to the road at the Sugarloaf Trail head
Back to the road at the Sugarloaf Trail head
Buds celebrating their victory
Buds celebrating their victory
The trail head across the road bridge
The trail head across the road bridge