Red Ridge Hike on Moat Mountain
By John J..
On a near perfect autumn day three old friends, Charley, Brian, and John, and by old I mean they’ve known each other for a long time, and a new friend, also named John, began their day in the parking lot of the Baths. No, not those kinds of baths, Diana’s Baths, a series of scenic cascades where Lucy Brook runs over ledges and through large potholes.
During the height of summer Diana’s Baths are swarming with families picnicking and enjoying a break from the heat in the cool waters of the brook. Today however, the Bath’s were empty. After admiring the view and reveling in only the sounds of a gurgling brook, our intrepid explorers continued on their journey to the Red Ridge Trail.
The Red Ridge Trail splits off from the Moat Mountain Trail and ascends…….Red Ridge of course, eventually rejoining the Moat Mountain Trail at the apex of the ridge just below the summit of North Moat Mountain, gaining 2100 ft in its 3.6 mile trek. If you like hiking over rock, sometimes scrambling on all fours, this is a trail for you.
Our friends dropped into an easy rhythm of hiking and conversation, admiring the magnificent views along the way.
The only clouds in the sky were the black wisps of smoke left by the Cog Railway during its runs up and down Mount Washington.
The foursome found the perfect spot for some water, a bite to eat and some quiet time in the sun. They all agreed this was one of the best days of the year. It was hard to believe that they had the trail virtually to themselves.
Before continuing up the trail, Charley and the John’s tried to figure out which peaks and lakes they were looking at; though for some reason, no one wanted to consult the map.
The varied and interesting terrain that marked the first few miles of the trial continued on the ascent up to North Moat Mountain.
And the trail went up.
At 4.8 miles they reach the summit of North Moat Mountain at 3196 ft and were treated to a panorama of color in all directions.
Even right at their feet.
After hanging out on the summit enjoying the view and chatting with a very nice couple from Missouri, it was time to start the trek down.
The trail descended steeply at first, becoming more moderate with time. On the way, they met Fido; I didn’t know people actually named their dogs Fido, a Rottweiler – Bullmastiff mix, whose owner assured them that he, the dog, not the owner, didn’t bite. It turns out the dog was a pussycat and loved to be scratched behind the ears. (Who doesn’t?) Nobody thought to take a picture.
It truly was a perfect day.
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