Finally! We were gonna head out Sunday to do a regular hike! We hadn't done anything since our Thanksgiving trip to Georgia and hadn't done a significant hike in NH since before that! Scott was up an hour early and ready to go when I finally rolled outta bed. We geared up and Java in hand jumped in the truck. I wasn't sure yet where we were headed. The weather looked to be very nice and I wanted to hit something close by as to take advantage of the sunny sky before clouds rolled in. Three options were in my mind. A return visit to Castle in the Clouds Conservation Area, Mt. Israel and Red Hill. Once we arrived in Center Sandwich we decided on Red Hill.
We found the Eagle Cliff trail head sign and parked on the side of the road. Last time we missed this and ended up hiking the Teedie trail and missing the cliff. We started off at 9:30am and up the partially icy trail. We left the micro spikes behind figuring we wouldn't need them. We made our way up to the ledges which were decorated in Ice. The trail even had a river of ice down it, but we were able to maneuver around. At one point I told Scott I was going to be careful this year to watch where I am stepping, especially whilst taking pictures. No sooner than I said this I slipped off a small dirt banking that we used to bypass some ice, and I fell onto the ice sheet that dropped 20ft. down the trail and into some rocks! I dug my fingers into the frozen dirt just enough to hold on. I had nothing to grab hold of and no way to get myself off the ice. Scott came over and pulled me to safety. Another hiking accident averted!
Up to the cliff the view opens up across the frozen Squam lake and there is a nice view over to the Sandwich Range. We took a break here and took in the view. It didn't take long however that we began to feel the chill in the air. Up and over the two knolls, the second giving a wide open view of Red Hill and a partial view of the Sandwich Range, then down the col. to meet the Teedie trail. Then up the long, but gradual side of the mountain. Up on the ridge we encountered two female deer who somehow didn't here us talking and didn't scatter until we were 30 feet from them! It startled us as one darted across the trail in front of us and the other stopped to stare before taking off down hill. Unfortunately I wasn't fast enough with the camera!
Once over the false summit we arrived up at the Red Hill summit (2030'). Just as we came up to the Wardens cabins an owl took flight from a dead tree next to one of the cabins. The wildlife was out today! We dropped our bags and climbed the fire tower. The Sandwich Range was clouded in ... grrr! But the view was nice back over to Squam lake and the sun shining off Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap range. Back down we ate a snack and watched as a man in his 50's, walking with a pole and a bit of a limp, with no gear what-so-ever and in shorts walked up to the tower, touched it, looked at his watch and headed back down. OK then!
On our way back down another small owl or hawk took off right above me making me jump. We carefully made our way across the cliff area where we ran into a family. And we made our way ever so slowly down the icy ledges, finishing around 2pm. Ironically, the next day I looked at when we last did this mountain and it was on 12/16/09, almost exactly a year later! That time we were trudging through deep snow! This is a lovely hike. And on a clear day the views are some of the best! 5.4 miles / 1,850' elevation gain / 4.5 hours