Rattlesnake & Mt. Livermore, Squam Lake Region! | 11/19/22
I never know how to feel about hiking in November. Leaves are no fun, unpredictable conditions are frightening, and the quietness can be eerily. But, the second a layer of “freezer burn” coats the leaves, I get back in the game.
With the one day of break you won’t find me serving bacon and eggs, Ryan and I took advantage of the most beautiful day to explore a region we’ve highly neglected. Except for my jaunt up Morgan & Percival when I was 14, I had never been back and Ry had yet to begin. So, knowing I’ll need to do Rattlesnake (Holderness) some 3 separate times for my trace, we got started with the loop of Undercut, up Ramsey, and down Bridle Path. Though I got to highlight three trails, the hike took us about an hour and had an incredible reward-to-effort ratio.
We parked at the Mount Morgan trailhead and briefly road walked to the Undercut trailhead on 113, a flat and variable texture trail. At the base, the thin layer of snow was most comparable to the freezer burn you find on a UDI’s pizza crust. For the most part, it was soft and breakable, but in the rare instances that were not sun-facing, some slippery spots were found. After we passed the Ramsey trail, we continued another minute to the end of Undercut, turned around, and then headed an incredibly short distance up Rattlesnake. Ramsey would not bare any difficulty in the summer, but with some ice and leaves awkwardly layered, there were plenty of spots to be careful of.
At the top of the little gully, we found some more snow as we came to the direction that doesn't face the sun, and soon topped out the peak which awarded excellent views of Squam Lake. Atop the mountain, we met a man who celebrated his first summit in a long time with a Corona who declared, “Now this is what I call God’s country.”
On our way down the Bridle Path, we were delighted by the brilliant trail work that kept the highly traveled trail in good shape. I opted for my microspikes on the way down, but I was in the minority in this outfitting choice among other hikers.
After Rattlesnake, I had not had enough and quickly talked Ryan into driving down the road to Mt. Livermore. We turned off 113 onto Burleigh Farm Road, which was stunning in itself. At the end of the road, we turned past a maple house onto the Old Highway. I will highly clarify that this only worked because we were in a very capable and beastly Jeep. Please do not try to drive this road in anything that is not a large truck or a four-door jeep.
We parked at the Prescott Trailhead and went towards Crawford-Ridgepole, gaining steadily and easily. Contrary to other recent reviews from right after the snowfall, the ground conditions were fantastic on this sunny and frosty day, I never needed my microspikes!
Crawford-Ridgepole remained just as simple as its access trail and the 0.4-mile stretch got both of us excited to come back for the entire ridge in late spring. At the summit, we were delighted to have extensive views of the Belknap Range, Ossipee Mountains, and even Chocorua! We spent some time snacking before keeping on the ridge until Old Mountain Road, which I was very nervous about due to recent reviews. Other than 2 muddy spots, the trail was well-covered, firm, and a couple of snows away from being a great ski trail.
What I thought would be a viewless and forceful hike up Livermore ended out being a fantastic addition to our day, my preference of the two hikes!