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The Last Hike

October 8, 2020

Since I only had a half day on Saturday, I opted for an easy-ish hike in Ashland, at Whitten Woods, which promised meadows and scenic vistas over the lakes.

The trail started immediately climbing gently through the woods and across a meadow of ferns bronzing in the autumn sun. For the first time all week I crossed paths with a few other hikers, including a two or three families with young kids.

About a half-mile in, the trail forks: to the left is the south loop, and to the right, the north, perfectly evoking Robert Frost. I chose the right, through the yellow birches.


Up I climbed to the top of the loop. I’d been thinking about how few huge boulders there were on this trail, when suddenly a confusing tumble of them blocked my path. But I found my way, thanks to the frequent markers. Through the trees I caught glimpses of sky, thinking a panoramic vista would be just around the corner. Finally, the payoff came as I started downhill — a spectacular vista of Squam and Little Squam Lakes, with the White Mountains hazy in the distance.

It seems like the colors have changed dramatically in the past two days. This was by far the prettiest view I’ve seen all week. I wonder how many miles my Ahnu hiking shoes have taken me in the past three years?

I managed to escape New Hampshire without encountering any rabid Trump supporters (though there were a few pick-ups parked in fields with MAGA flags). The restaurants I frequented had strict mask protocols, and no one seemed bent out of shape about it. It felt perfectly safe to be hiking alone, though these days I worry about falling; but I was never without cell service. There are so many more trails to explore in this region — can’t wait to go back. All in all, this was a good way to break quarantine, if only briefly.

  1. It looks like the perfect day for a hiking adventure! The colors looked beautiful and I especially admired the view of the lakes!

    • Fall is so gorgeous here in NE, but it’s always bittersweet because of what’s to come. Stay well!

  2. Loving the foliage!

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