Sometimes, it’s just too hot to do anything but lounge in a pond.
On the other hand, I got to use the following line Sunday: “Here’s a trick I learned in the Grand Canyon.”
After a late evening of Thai food the day before and a too-long sleep-in that morning, Janelle and I decided to continue our 52 With a View quest with a short hike up Middle Sugarloaf, a 2,539 foot mountain just 10 miles from the cabin!
Our friends Peter and Elizabeth decided to brave the heat and come along for the fun!
And hot it was! When we set foot on the Sugarloaf Trail off Zealand Road at 10 a.m., the temps were already in the high 60s. By the afternoon, the mercury would rise to nearly 90!
And as Janelle and I continue our mutual hiking education, Sunday’s hike was all about – you guessed it – hydration. The kid’s getting stronger with each hike, but on this hike she learned the valuable lesson of pacing; that heat can slow you down and hurt you as much as snow, or rain.
The trail to Middle Sugarloaf is less than 1.5 miles, but is a pleasant and view filled hike; one of the finest views for the effort in the Whites. Janelle took to the trail like a hiking machine, pounding up the track with a purpose. I mentioned to Peter that pretty soon, the only thing she’ll need from me is a ride to and from the trailhead!
But the heat slowed her, and us, down and it didn’t take long for her to understand that on the trail we truly are beholden to the weather. That’s when I was able to use my Grand Canyon line! A couple of years ago, on the way out of the Grand Canyon, I had a dreadful allergic reaction to Ibuprofen. Meena soaked a bandana for me and wrapped it around my neck and it made a huge difference. So, I did the same for Janelle and it helped get her comfortably to the top!
We opted to skip North Sugarloaf and go right for Middle, and like usual the views didn’t disappoint. We lounged about for thirty minutes or so, ate lunch and warmed ourselves on the hot rocks. But the breeze from the top barely made a dent, and it didn’t take long for Janelle to ask if we had time to take a dip in our pond back at the cabin before we headed home. So down we went.
The big lesson of the day – you bribe a kid to do something they do not want to do. You give them incentive to do something they do want to do! The incentive of spending a half hour in the pond was enough to send the kid roaring down the trail like a freight train. There were, of course, the mandatory conversations about sticking together as a team and that hydration was important on the way down as well. But before long, we were down and headed back to Whitefield to cool off.
Here’s a link to the complete set of photos for the day: Middle Sugarloaf and Burns Pond
If you go: Zealand Road off the 302 East is where you’ll find the trailhead. Zealand Road was just recently opened and still has some pothole and crack issues so take your time. The Sugarloaf Loop leaves the west side of the road just beyond the bridge and it’s only 1.4 miles to the summit. An extra .3 will get you to the equally pretty, but lower North Sugarloaf ledges.
This hike is absolutely doable for anyone. Kids will love roaming about the wide and open ledges and parents will appreciate the quick turnaround time and plenty of picnic opportunities with great views.
If you want a great view of nearly the entire Presidential Range, Middle Sugarloaf should be on your list.