Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 5, 2017

There is so much do in the Lakes Region in the winter, I don't even know where to begin.  Let's start with the headline New Hampshire winter activity, downhill skiing.  There are two great ski areas right here, Gunstock and Ragged;  we had a perfect day at Ragged with great snow and beautiful views of the Presidential and Franconia ranges all day long.
Upper Ridge at Ragged

That night a couple of inches of new snow fell, just enough to freshen up the lake and provide smooth, effortless cross country skiing.  The clouds were clearing and the lake was beautiful.
Classic New England

Sheep and Bryant Islands decorated for winter

Crockett's Ledge is more exposed in winter

More Classic New England

The snow had just stopped falling so there were no animal tracks to be seen, but I did find this strange groove in the snow. 
Animal track or ice crack?

I can't tell if it's an old animal path or just a wiggly crack in the ice - any ideas?

The next day, it was back west to Cardigan Mountain State Park to hike Mt. Cardigan.  At 3516 feet it's not particularly tall, but its lone exposure and bald summit lend an air of a much higher peak.  All was calm hiking up the east side of the mountain, but once on the ridge, the west wind made itself known, and it was definitely winter. 

Mt. Cardigan, near the summit

A little frosty at the summit
Looking back at Ragged Ski Area from Cardigan
Cardigan is a great way to experience the high mountains with a reasonable hike of five miles.

The following day it was off to the seacoast and Rye Harbor State Park with friends to look for the snowy owl.  We didn't find it.  But we did see a loon diving in the harbor. 
Could this be our loon plying the waters of Rye Harbor?  (Photo by PC Chao)

It's fun to think that this could be one of our loons, spending its winter vacation here on the New Hampshire coast.

On the way back we stopped to watch the planes landing on the country's only FAA approved ice runway on Alton Bay.
The Alton Runway on Winnipesaukee

Saturday was busy with the New England Pond Hockey Classic on Meredith Bay and the Tamworth Ice Harvest and Winter Festival at the Remick Museum in Tamworth. 
Hockey on Meredith Bay

Harvesting ice in Tamworth

The Model T snowmobile club provided free rides under the supervision of Mt. Chocorua
You can see more from Tamworth here.

Skiing, skating, hiking, wildlife, State Parks, and up next... the fishing derby.  Don't let anyone tell you there's nothing to do in winter!

P.S.  You may have seen that the Lake Wicwas Association is sponsoring a guided snowshoe tour in the Hamlin Conservation Area on February 25th.  If you didn't get the notice, send an email to and they will send you the details and put you on the email distribution for future notifications.

Go Pats!

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