Armed and ready with a never-to-be-implemented Plan B, Redline Guide and owner Mike Cherim, along with Guide Ryan Mcguire proceeded to meet our guests at their lodgings in North Conway, from where — after careful consideration and a solid tippy-toes look westward — they’d caravan to the trailhead for Hedgehog Mountain (2532′) off the Kancamagus Highway (Route 112). It was a good call. As it turned out the rains didn’t come until evening, and if there was a rumble of thunder anywhere, nobody really noticed. We’re all thankful for that.
Our guests were a family of four from New Jersey, parents Erin and Chris, and their two children, Katie (8) and Matt (11). A young, fit family stoked and ready. This would be a blast. After a quick gear check they are on trail making their way toward the lower loop junction of the UNH Trail — named after the University of New Hampshire. On the way, as luck would have it, they spotted a moose about 30 meters in the woods. The moose looked at them, and they at it for a while before the creature began to slowly amble away. They never saw any moose poop (moop), but seeing an actual moose beats that by a mile.
Speaking of mile, it didn’t take them long to cover their first and about one tenth past that they encountered Allen’s Ledge. They had just taken a mini-break at the junction knowing they’d take a more substantial break when they arrived at the ledge and that’s what they did. The views were nice, but the air still and humid. They sweated. A good breeze would have been welcome. Despite the heat, though, everyone was in good spirits and smiling. We do not work at the DMV, that’s for sure.
They made our way up the spine-like ridge as the mountain’s whole lessened and reduced. Upward they went. The altimeter told them the real story, but jokes with the kids about the summit being just over the next rise or five minutes away were told, and told well… we’re professionals here at Redline. A couple mini breaks and several feet higher the guides ask our guests to lead the way taking point for the final paces to the ledgy summit and a well-deserved break.
After a period, food eaten, water drunk, the gang gathered their belongings and they made their way down the mountain, Ryan on point this time, Mike sweeping in the back. As they did on the way up, but more so on the way down thanks to the reduced cardio, they talked and got to know each other a bit, both parents and children. What a fine, fun family. The kids were respectful and, like their parents, really a delight to be around. Solid hiker material.
They continued down to the parking area enjoying an uneventful descent hiking ever five minutes more while answering Katie’s “why,” and making only a few necessary stops along the way. Other hikers were met on their way up. It pays to be first up — they had it to themselves — well, not including the moose. Upon reaching the trailhead Katie and Matt were presented with certificates of completion to commemorate their summit. We took a chance making these in advance, but we had faith.
Congratulations to Erin, Chris, Katie, and Matt. Thank you for choosing Redline Guiding! Next time on snowshoes?