Cabin Trail/Lawrence Trail/Old Paugus Trail/Big Rock Cave Trail
8.1 miles 2800'
Kevin, Judy, Emma and Blue
Paugus is one we have been meaning to visit for a long time. We were dog sitting Blue, so thought it was a good opportunity to get us all out on the trail. It seems like forever since we've done any hiking together. At the trailhead Blue was ready to go! Emma trotted along in her usual conservative style while Blue bounded back and forth across the trail in search of chipmunks and red squirrels. He soon understood we were in it for a long haul and came back to the trail to conserve his energy as the day became more hot and humid than expected..
We never tire of taking new trails and exploring new places, seeking out views and just enjoying our time together in the woods. We took the Cabin Trail up to the ridge where it meets the Lawrence Trail and things went well. We met another couple at the junction with the Whiten Brook Trail and we leap-frogged with them most of the rest of the day, and shared lunch on the southern ledges of Mount Paugus. We never made the short bushwhack to the summit of Paugus to sign the canister as the dogs were hot and hungry and we saw no obvious spot to attempt it. We will however do this on a return trip.
There was good cloud cover for most of the day so the sun was not much of a problem, but it was surprisingly and disappointingly humid after the beautiful dry day I had on the Hancocks earlier in the week. Despite the big hike on Wednesday Emma seemed quite ready to go again and did very well considering the temps and humidity. We spent a good amount of time on the ledges taking in the view and enjoying the day. The dogs ate enough for a wolf pack, and we saw a few other couples while on the ledges. When we headed back down, continuing in a clock-wise loop and after leaving the other couple we had met earlier we saw no one else for the rest of the hike.
Following Old Paugus Trail down we stopped at Whiten Brook which was running well and provided a cool refresher for the rest of the hike. The trail down had been rough with lots of blowdowns, but now we picked up the Big Rock Cave Trail which seemed much better footing and fewer blowdowns. We stopped at the caves and Blue and I did some exploring. It was a very cool spot, but like anything in the Whites called a "Cave", it was merely a pile of jumbled rocks with passages big enough to walk through, or crawl depending on which you took. "Big Rock" is certainly an appropriate name for this spot as it is indeed a "Big Rock" with many smaller good sized boulders strewn about to form the "Caves".
We were soon back on the trail and continued to climb up to the viewless summit of Mount Mexico. From there it was an easy hike out, but it had been a longer day with more elevation than really expected. Combined with the humidity we were all hot and a bit tired at the end. Heading back south along rte. 113A we took Fowler's Mill Rd. towards Chocorua Lake and had a dip. Blue had enough energy left to "rescue" some sticks before we packed up and headed home. It was another great day in the mountains!