This was essentially my first hike of the spring, just a quick getaway mid-week to hike in an area that I've never been to. Plus, I wanted to get photos of the Three Ponds Shelter for the website. So I drove up north, found the trailhead without much trouble, and was surprise to see several cars in the lot. One was a USFS truck, so I suspected there was a trailcrew at work. I started on the Three Ponds trail, doing the loop clockwise, through the mostly open woods and it was pretty clear that parts of the trail are also used as a snowmobile route. The snowmobilers take care of the trail and some bridges, multi-use and all. I eventually ran into another hiker who was checking out the streams for fishing possibilites. He was from the south, so we had a good conversation while hiking about the differences in the mountains.
We ran into one half of the trailcrew along a section of muddy woods road. I assume the trail dries up after the spring melt, but it was a bit of a mess. The trail jumps off the road and back into the deeper woods, following a stream with a nice little gorge. We came to the end of the main pond, then to the shelter where the other half of the trailcrew was getting ready to move on. They came around the other side of the loop and told us to be a bit careful around the beaver dams. The upper ponds were very pretty, with lots of beaver activity and one interesting crossing but we managed. We eventually made it to the junction with the Mt Kineo trail and started looping back towards the trailhead. There is one or two really nice waterfalls on this section along Brown Brook.
Back at the car we parted ways and I drove past the Rumney climbing cliffs to the trailhead for Rattlesnake Mountain. No, not the one on Squam Lake but the one in Rumney. It's a short little hike with some nice views, a nice way to add a little more milage to a pretty short hiking day. The trail up is pretty steep, climbing up an old logging road with little relief, but then loops over the rocky summit with some very nice views. The rock itself is highly metamorphized, and looks striking. The whole loop took less than an hour, including some time spent relaxing up top. All in all, an area of the Whites that doesn't get much use but makes for some great hiking.
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