On Saturday I hiked Hedgehog Mountain with two of my Leo friends, M and WB. Hedgehog Mountain, besides having a cute name, is a nice little loop hike with some very decent views – especially considering that at 2,532 ft., it is dwarfed by most of the surrounding White Mountains.
Why is it called Hedgehog?, I wondered. Check out the picture of the peak on the Seacoast Dayhikers overview.
Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?
M and I were late to the trailhead, so we didn’t get started until about 10:45 a.m. The trail is only 4.8 miles roundtrip, so we weren’t too worried, except that WB had to wait for us. Fortunately, it was a beautiful fall day, so he lounged on the tailgate of his truck and caught up on some of his flight school reading.
The first stretch of trail (0.1 miles) is almost completely flat. Good warm-up. Then we hit the trail juncture, which is marked by a signpost.
According to the sign, Hedgehog mountain is located in WB’s armpit.
Because it is a loop trail, it didn’t really matter which way we went, as long as we didn’t take the X-country ski trail (marked by blue blazes). We took the left-side trail, which was marked with yellow blazes. It was a slightly longer route to the summit, but more gradual.
The next 1.8 miles took us longer than it should have because we kept losing the trail. There were quite a few downed trees, most of them in the middle of the path. A couple of times we followed a footpath into nothingness, before retracing our steps and finding the trail again.
Eventually, we came to the East Ledges – hands down the best views of the hike.
It’s hard to believe it was already past peak out there.
The ledges provided not only a majestic view, but a royal throne from which to enjoy it.
It was the perfect place for a little rest, so we took off our packs and pulled out our snacks. It was then that the chipmunks came out in such full force that I thought we should consider renaming the place Chipmunk Mountain.
But probably the AMC wouldn’t go for it.
Hiking with WB is like having your own personal guide to the White Mountains. He spent a lot of time out there in his college days and originally studied forestry. He can tell you the history of the trail, the scientific names of certain trees and a whole lot about lightweight gear.
It’s very cool.
We got on our way again and found the last bit to the top was more strenuous. But we lived through it.
We set up camp at the top (not really) and I proceeded to take approximately 52 minutes to figure out how to put the damn hiking stove together. T or Denis have always done it in the past and though I’ve tried to watch and remember, I’ve never done it. So I didn’t remember.
It wasn’t even really cold out, but I was determined to have hot soup or die in the attempt. After cursing the stove, T (for not letting me do it on my own) and WB (for having already boiled water 25 minutes ago), I finally got the thing together. I lit it, put the water on top and waited.
And waited some more.
Then I realized that I never turned the gas up, which is why it was taking so long.
Good thing it wasn’t the dead of winter.
As we were eating, a few more friends came out to visit.
Also, as we were eating, the following conversation took place:
WB: Anyone want an Almond Joy?
M: I will.
Me: I like Mounds better.
WB: I like Mounds too, but no one will share them with me.
M: I will! I just haven’t finished eating yet!
M: Oh. I just realized what he said. Never mind!
Me: (laughing hysterically)
Before we headed down the other side, we took the traditional summit shot:
The way down was a bit shorter and a bit steeper, but we laughed and joked and philosophized merrily about all that is wrong with the world and how we wished we need never go back.
About half way down the trail, I passed under a “widow-maker” – a dead tree leaning precariously across the trail. This one had actually been cut and was perched on its stump.
“Widow-maker,” I called back to WB and M. “That’s a bad one. Someone should really shove that over.”
I looked behind me to see M scurrying away from the falling tree.
WB had given it the requested shove, though he tried to blame it on M. Now there was a tree blocking the path.
Oh well. It certainly wasn’t the only one on that trail and at least now the tree wasn’t going to fall on someone’s head.
Consider it trail maintenance.
I think we should have gotten our parking passes validated for that.