• Laura Ventresco

Middle Sugarloaf: A Chilly End to 2017

Peaks: Middle Sugarloaf

Miles: 4.5 (0.9 Road Walk up Zealand Rd)

Hike Date: 12/30/2017

52 List #: 18/52

Summit Beer: Fireball shot

The weather here in New Hampshire has been absolutely frigid! I'm talking temps in the negative, and hasn't let off with any warmer days. I had some time off and really wanted to get a hike in, even in this cold. We picked the warmest day of the weekend and bundled up for a year end adventure.

Due to the cold, I picked a fairly short hike. My little bro, Luke, just finally gathered all his winter necessities and was eager to try them out. This hike was absolutely perfect for it! Short on mileage, fantastic views, and although the temps were cold we were blessed with 0 wind and sunshiny skies.

Some Tips for Sugarloaf in the Winter Season:

  • Zealand Rd is closed but if you drive past it there is a parking lot on the left just past it

  • Walk about 0.9 Miles down Zealand Rd, where you will find a sign for Sugarloaf Trail

  • For those hiking with Dogs: a snowmobile trail crosses this road twice. We did let ours off leash but with caution

  • There is a sign that the bridge on Trestle Trail is closed, not to worry :) your turn off for the Sugarloafs is before this

Zealand Rd Walk

We parked just past Zealand Rd, bundled up, and set off. It was pretty chilly! I would say a high of 5 degrees all day. I was surprised for how cold it was how many other people were out. We passed groups of hikers, snowmobilers and cross country skiers. Even though the trail was broken, I still for some silly reason put on my snow shoes. I much prefer micro spikes for traction and immediately regretted my decision. I awkwardly clambered up the trail, periodically falling, and cussing and stealing a pole from Luke to get up the steep spots.

Before we knew it we were already at the trail junction between North and Middle Sugarloaf. Such a quick hike! No one had broken trail to North yet so we decided to stick to just Middle today. Really cool trails with some massive boulders and a steep ladder just before the summit. I'll be back again one day for North Sugarloaf.

Snack break

We had some quick snacks on the summit- dried mango, partially frozen gummies, and a fireball shot. Plus Zuke's for the dogs. Its always great to get outside. It can be so easy to opt for staying inside in the winter, but epic memories are not made sitting on your couch. Do you want to hibernate all winter or do you want to go climb some mountains? You have to get up and get outside and push your comfort zones sometimes. Then thank yourself later.

We were hungry for some real food. Something warm at least for sure. Next time I will definitely bring hot chocolate and my stove. I feel like we didn't properly show Luke a Winter hike without it.

We ran down the mountain and made our way to Black Mountain Burger Co. in Lincoln, NH. I always pass this place and had been wanting to try it. We rewarded ourselves with bacon corn chowder, a spicy margarita, buffalo chicken tenders and a delicious burger and fries. Well earned and deserved!

Post hike Snow Beard.

Happy Hiking Friends! Stay warm and safe out there.

-Laura the Explorer

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