By Jayne Glennon
From Fryeburg, Maine, we headed to North Conway, N.H., under the threat of more rain. The village was overrun with art hunters making their way through a sea of white tents set up for a weekend arts and crafts fair. By the time we passed Zeb's Country Store, umbrellas were popping open. Five minutes later at the Bryce Hiking Path trail head, rain was steady. The Bryce Hiking Path is a 1.2-mile trail to the top of Cathedral Ledge and my planned walk. We gave up on it and took the auto road to the top and stood under our umbrella. Even in the rain the views of the surrounding woodland and fields were awesome. A group of rock climbers had just finished their ascent when we arrived and were unbuckling. Not a sport for me.
To the southeast we could see Echo Lake State Park. A one-mile trail follows the lake edge and connects to many other area trails including the popular Bryce Hiking Path to Cathedral Ledge. The rain was slowing, so Craig and I headed to Echo Lake for to walk. We paid $4 each to get into the state park and for the most part, had the swimming area, picnic tables and bathhouse to ourselves. A few low clouds lingered but were temporarily burning off. We followed the trail to the right hugging the shoreline but met up with many unmarked trails and at about the halfway point met up with the Bryce Hiking Path connector.
Next stop was Moat Mountain Smokehouse and Brewing Co. for a tray of delicious smokehouse nachos and a favorite of ours -- Moat Bone Shaker Brown Ale. As we relaxed at the Moat another round of heavy clouds moved in and any chance of more hiking was taken off the menu.
Echo Lake walk
Date: May 24, 2014
Distance: 1-mile loop
Weather: Off-and-on rain; 60 degrees
Fee: $4 each at Echo Lake, none at Cathedral Ledge
What I liked about this walk: Great views, well-used trails, state park, facilities, lake, only a couple miles from the center of North Conway
What I didn't like about this walk: Rain kept us from taking Bryce Path