Hostel Weekend: Cotton-Livermore Loop
Weekend Trip DATE: 10/07/2016 - 10/09/2016
Trip/Event Location: Waterville Valley, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Jon and I are running this hiking weekend from Rock ‘N River [Mike and Jon’s house] in the White Mountain National Forest for this getaway! It’s all about all of us having fun...
We will provide directions to Rock ‘N River in a separate email to anyone who reserves a bunk.
Here are the directions to the trailhead if you will only be day hiking with us [We will meet you at 11:00AM]:
The trail [sign] starts off at a pull-off on the west side of NH 113, 1.1 miles north of its junction with US 3 in Holderness. We’ll be driving a blue Toyota Tacoma truck.
We were much stoked for this hike at peak autumn foliage! These are mountains Jon and I have never hiked before.
The path we took runs from Cotton Mountain Trail, along the Crawford-Ridgepole path in the Squam Range, descending down Old Mountain Rd. and Old Mountain Highway making this a loop hike. There is some coverage in the AMC guidebooks but I found enough info online to feel comfortable about finding our way out of the woods. I like to know more or less where I am when running a hike.
The views to the N and NW were somewhat limited on this hike, but there were excellent views to be had at several points where the trail pops out onto an opening.
We started from the Cotton Mountain Rte. 113 trailhead eventually spilling out into an old gravel pit. Ascending Cotton was pretty straightforward, good footing, with a few steps.
Cotton Mtn turned out to be no softie... the ascent was steep. Sort of like a middle-of-the-mountain trail section in the Whites, though much shorter - which was fine with us.
The Cotton Mtn summit is wooded but with a limited view available from a little rock outcropping. There was some colorful foliage but it was not peak like further north. The red leafs of the maples stood out among the yellowish-green forest.
The descent down Cotton Mtn. was rough and steep. Near the bottom I saw an opening in the woods to the left and thought this could be a beaver pond. We decided to investigate and sure it enough it was with a beaver lodge!
The ascent of Livermore had some interesting switchbacks. Just something about how smooth they were- walk, turn, walk, turn, pretty soon I lost my sense of direction and was just meditatively following the trail…reminded me of walking in a labyrinth.
Reaching the Livermore outlook was a huge unexpected treat. The view from this spot is the most expansive along the Squam Range Ridgeline, except maybe for Mt. Percival.
We took a few minutes to soak it in, had lunch and Jon took out a pumpkin cookie with a candle where everyone sang ‘happy birthday’ to me. We then started our descent back to our vehicles.
There was an interesting marker at the outlook of Livermore, with "25" chiseled into it. The descent down Livermore was steeper than anticipated but not rough. We found a similar marker in a stone wall, with “JK 1913”, chiseled into it and “24.” These must be old property markers.
We reached the Old Mountain Road junction, took a right and continued our descent. It was eroded in spots but led to an excellent view of Red Hill beside an open field, before joining Old Mountain Highway.
On Old Mountain Highway we visited the Prescott Cemetery. A century ago, this old road followed by this trail was part of the main highway between Holderness and Center Sandwich. We descended at moderate, easy grades until we reached Rt. 113. On the road walk, myself and Rick decided to practice our rodeo skills…LOL.
On the drive back to Rock ‘N River, we stopped by at Owens Farm and marveled at the assortment of pumpkins, vegetables and gourds. We checked out the two seater voting privy and I promptly sat down to vote for Hillary. I posed next to Hillary and loved the sign posted next to Trump.
At the lodge, we sat on the deck having beer/wine and snacks to enjoy the spectacular foliage display. Jon cooked up a delicious meal of grilled chicken marinated in Italian dressing with peppers, mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes, and side salad. For dessert we had strawberry-rhubarb pie topped with whipped cream.
Thanks for a great weekend. So nice to meet everyone!
Trip Report by Mike
Photos by Jon & Mike
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- A great weekend! Mike and Jon are perfect leaders and hosts. Excellent judgment, very considerate, and just nice to be around. Their hostel is far better than most. It has fabulous views and very comfortable sleeping arrangements. Jon is a great cook as well. I have high confidence that all trips that they offer will be good ones as long as the members' fitness levels are at least equal to the particular fitness level of the trips offered. - nakedswimmer
nakedswimmer Oct 11, 2016 at 9:46 AM
Comment: A great weekend! Mike and Jon are perfect leaders and hosts. Excellent judgment, very considerate, and just nice to be around. Their hostel is far better than most. It has fabulous views and very comfortable sleeping arrangements. Jon is a great cook as well. I have high confidence that all trips that they offer will be good ones as long as the members' fitness levels are at least equal to the particular fitness level of the trips offered.