Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway: Trail 13 Wadleigh Park Kezar Lake to Chalk Pond


My friend, Kendall, joined me for this Guidebook 5.4-mile SRKG hike from Kezar Lake in North Sutton, NH to Chalk Pond Road in Newbury. Our actual distance was 6.2 miles, as we took a spur trail on Poor Farm Road overlook to experience a grand view of Mt Kearsarge and its shoulder Black Mountain.


The predicted weather was to be in the high 80's, so we decided on a 6:30 am start for Kendall to drop off his car at the western trailhead on Chalk Pond Road. We then took my vehicle to Wadleigh Park and Kezar Lake in North Sutton, NH, to start the hike on the eastern trailhead.



I was asked, “Why start at Kezar Lake, rather than Chalk Pond Road?” My answer was simple, “ The SRK Greenway Trail Guide has its trail descriptions in a clockwise direction.” All turns and mileage indicators make it easier to understand and use if you are going in the same direction as the Guide describes the trail.


Kendall lives in this area and has hiked this trail before. I had my personal guide as Kendall described for me unique features that come with experience on this trail. As you watch the below video for our hike, you will see how Kendall’s knowledge of the area, added to my education and enjoyment of the trek. 

Directions to Eastern trailhead

Following the Wadleigh State Park signs, we entered the Park keeping Kezar Lake on our right, and then at the fork going right onto Penacook Road until we saw the trail sign on our left. 


From the trailhead we followed Penacook Road around Lake Kezar as we enjoyed this beautiful lake and view of Mt Kearsarge. (See trail on above Map.)
From Penacook Road, Kezar Lake with Mt Kearsarge (L) and Black Mountain (R) in background
At 1.3 miles from our start, we ended Penacook Road at King’s Hill Road, and the respective direction trail sign and trapezoids.

We went left on King’s Hill Road and would follow it for 2.3 miles as King’s Hill Road transitioned from an uphill rough gravel road to a very rocky, boulder, muddy Class VI road. At the 2.3 junction before getting on the Class VI road, we met Poor Farm Road on our left. The Guidebook mentioned a short spur on Poor Farm Road would bring us to a clearing for an old farm and a majestic view of Mt Kearsarge and Black Mountain. Given, I never want to say, “I wish I had seen Mt Kearsarge as it overlooks Kezar Lake,” we decided to take this side spur road. The majestic views of Mt Kearsarge and its shoulder Black Mountain, was well worth this 20-minute jaunt off the SRKG. 



We returned to the SRKG trail and headed into the Class VI wood road. Indeed, if this were the spring and wet season, we would have been faced with mud, potholes, boulders, and slippery mud slopes. We hiked 1.6 miles on this “trail” and finally came to Haynes Road, a well-maintained dirt road. We came to Baker Road (no sign indicating Baker Road, but with the Guidebook and Kendall, and the trapezoids point left, we “figured the trail.” A .6-mile hike on the tarred Baker Road, and we came to the SRKG right hand turn off into the woods, with a sign indicating both the SRKG and Stoney Brook Trail.  The wood-carved sign indicated .9 miles left to Chalk Pond. 



Summary

Kendall and I made the trail in about three hours for our app route, shown as 6.2 miles.  This time includes short stops taking in the beauty of Kezar Lake with its boaters and fishers, and the short trip to the Poor Farm Road overlook of Mt Kearsarge.

The SRKG Guide had an estimated time of 3 and 1/2 hours for the 5.4-mile hike with a rating of moderate.  We found the hiking rather easy with about 3 miles on well-maintained gravel roads and tarmac.  The forest portions of the hike, given the conditions were arid, was manageable with a few cautious areas for slippery mud and jumping over season run-offs. 

The SRKG trail was well maintained with no blow-downs, and with no significant stops trying to figure out which way to go. The SRKG green and white trapezoid signs were plentiful and easy to spot.

We now, never have to say, "We wish we had hiked the SRKG Trail 13 from Wadleigh State Park Kezar Lake to Chalk Pond."

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