Imagine how many people are hiking all over New Hampshire on any given day. This is a wonderful and miraculous state. Hiking guidebooks are constantly being improved as well, as new editions come out.
This is true of the newly published “2021 AMC Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide 5th Edition” compiled and edited by Ken MacGray, with Steve Smith.
MacGray is author of the highly popular “New Hampshire’s 52 with a View, a Hiker’s Guide.”
Steve Smith, owner of the Mountain Wanderer Map and Book Store in Lincoln, compiled and edited the latest editions of the “AMC White Mountain Guide” as well as the previous “AMC Southern New Hampshire Guide.”
Knowing of MacGray’s skill and experience in the mountains, Smith recommended that MacGray compile the majority of the new southern New Hampshire guide. This he did.
It was supposed to be a 2020 guide, and was ready for publication last spring. Then COVID-19 hit, and it was delayed a year.
“It is great to finally have it out,” MacGray told me recently. “Ironically” he added, “the year delay allowed us to add some information and changes to it.”
Perusing the book myself, I quickly noticed a change in one of the hikes, namely a new spur trail on Bayle Mountain in the Ossipee Range, that was adopted last summer.
One of those ironic benefits because of the pandemic? Put in a nutshell, this is a highly accurate and up to date guidebook.
Anyway, the book has 50 new trails added to those in the 4th edition. There are many trails and locations in the southern part of the state that I am not familiar with. But the guidebook has perked my interest, like the Stonehouse Forest in Barrington and the 13,500 acre Pisgah State Park in the southwest corner of the state that is reputed to be very wild and lightly used.
Why would someone living in northern New Hampshire want the AMC Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide on their hiking book shelf? For a Conway resident, there are many hikes in it that are much closer than a lot of northern New Hampshire hikes. For example, those in the Lakes Region section, including in the Ossipee Range, Green Mountain in Effingham, and Mount Major in the Belknap Range. One of my favorite short but spectacular hikes is Whiteface Mountain in Wolfeboro. It is good to see it in the new guidebook. It hasn’t been in a guidebook since an early rock climbing guide to the White Mountains by Ed Webster.
Also, there are the must-do New Hampshire hikes no matter where you live, like Mount Cardigan and Mount Monadnock.
The large map that comes with the book has four areas on it, including Mount Cardigan, Mount Monadnock, the Belknap Range and Mount Sunapee and Pillsbury State Park. These maps were created by AMC cartographer Larry Garland. He also created the many convenient in-book maps, adding six new ones. He had to get out in the field for the new ones with his high tech GPS satellite backpack. He also did that with some new trails in the Belknaps. Garland had completed his work by last spring.
Don’t miss hitting the quiet trails in the southern part of the state. The “2021 AMC Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide” is available at White Birch Books in North Conway (603-356-3200), the Mountain Wanderer Map and Bookstore in Lincoln, and elsewhere.
Ed Parsons of Tamworth has written a hiking column for various newspapers in the Mount Washington Valley, and for the Conway Daily Sun since the early 1990s. Since moving to Tamworth 7 years ago, he ranges frequently into the Lakes Region for hikes as well.