Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway: Trail 1 Old Province Road, Goshen to Newbury

For those following my posts on my Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (a.k.a SRKG or Greenway) hikes, this is my tenth of the designated 14 trails. The red arrow in the below map points to SRKG Trail 1 – Old Province Road in Goshen, NH to Newbury Harbor.

The SRKG is a 75-mile "emerald necklace" of hiking trails surrounding Lake Sunapee, and crossing Sunapee, Ragged and Kearsarge mountains.

Mount Sunapee is a 5-mile-long mountain ridge in the towns of Newbury and Goshen in western New Hampshire. Its highest peak, at the north end of the mountain, is 2,726 feet above sea level. We snow ski here. We hike here. We zipline here. I have taken telemark ski lessons here. I have hiked the trails in summer to train for hiking the Knife-Edge Trail on Mt Kathadin, Maine. I have participated in triathlons here. I have competed in a January Winter Wild ski race here. We swim and boat at its foot in Lake Sunapee. 

Majestic Mt Sunapee is a jewel in the Sunapee-Dartmouth area of New Hampshire. And now, I have hiked its back trails as part of the SRKG.

Mark and I got an early 7 am start on this chilly 46 degrees May 31st morning – a perfect day for a hike. We left his car at the eastern trailhead at Newbury Post Office and drove to the western trailhead at Old Providence Road, Goshen, near Mt Sunapee's South Peak lift. The trailhead has numerous trail signs of other trails heading to the summit of Mt Sunapee. 

Within feet of our entrance into the woods, we came to a fork in the trail with the right turn marked with the SRKG trapezoid - a sure sign telling us we were "on trail." Thereafter, we went more than
five-minutes into the hike without seeing any sign, which usually means we missed a turn in the path, or the trail was poorly marked.
We retraced our steps back to the junction and, referencing the SRKG Guide, assured ourselves we were on the SRKG trail. Little did we know we would not see another SRKG sign until we came to a trail junction ten minutes later. We quickly realized the Summit Trail is not readily blazed with SRKG signs. We followed the Summit Trail, most winding uphill, for over two hours, before breaking out in an open grassy area behind the Sunapee Summit Lodge. 

We climbed to the third level of the Lodge for its magnificent panoramic landscape views and my video camera trying to encompass the mountains and lakes within a 100 miles on a clear day.  We then followed the SRKG signs on the gravel downhill service road, where we entered the forest where SRKG trail joins onto the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway and Solitude Trail.

We came upon the spur trail to the white ledges vista overlooking Lake Solitude. We spent 15 or so minutes at this stunning overlook, then returned to the trail continuing down the mountain. At the Jack and Jill junction where Andrew Brook Trail, Monadnock-Sunapee Trail, and Newbury Trail meet, we took the Newbury Trail. 

Going uphill on the Summit Trail is not so hard on the body, but going downhill on the Newbury Trail puts high stress on one's quadriceps muscles, and the physical challenge of this hike begins, and it lasts for the remaining last two hours of the Trail 1 trek.

Before the Newbury Trail meets the Rim Trail, we stop at the SRKG/Newbury Trail overlook with an impressive northeast view along Lake Sunapee, Newbury Harbor, the John Hay Fells estate, Lake Todd, and Lake 

Where the junction of the Newbury and Rim Trail meet, we keep right on the Newbury Trail – for our last 1.3-mile leg of the journey.
Nine-tenths of a mile from the junction, a small rock cairn marks a left turn to the Eagles Nest spur trail, a two-tenths of a mile side trail to an open ledge view of Newbury harbor and the village. Be careful here as this spur can easily be missed, as it has no signs.

Now let's talk about black flies and our last hour of the hike. We had some suggestions for black flies before we reached the Newbury Trail, but they eventually found us. The last hour was discussing our hurting quads and swatting black flies.

We finished our 6.3-mile hike in five hours and 35 minutes. The weather was perfect. The mountain views were spectator. Our trail chat was enjoyable as we shared outdoor and professional experiences. I will not discuss our quads and black flies.

Now prepare yourself for a hike, get yourself a partner, stay two hiking poles apart, and never say, "I wish I had hiked the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway."

Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway (SRKG) Trails Hiked by OutdoorSteve and Friends - Click below links
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