When I first climbed Hedgehog Mtn (2532') in 2008 with the two Welsh terriers, the sheep laurel was flowering all over the mountain. This time I was too late for the sheep laurel but I did see some flowering Labrador tea, as ewll as pink ladyslippers, bunchberries, and an unidentified bush with small red flowers (which I later figured out is a type of huckleberry).
Starting at 11:00 AM, I saw that the parking lot was mostly full. Due to damage by Irene in 2011, they rerouted part of the loop hike, but the overall distance of 4.8 miles is still the same. We had heavy rain on Thursday, but the trail was in good shape. This was important because the hike requires a lot of walking up steep slant rock. There is even one place where I had to pull myself up with my hands due to a lack of footholds in the rock.
I think the best way to do this loop is clockwise, saving the highest ledge for last. However, I met a number of hikers going the opposite way. One group had an enormous white Great Pyrenees named Chewbacca. Another had a beautiful brown cairn named Beaver. Both of these were drop dead gorgeous and immaculate, as if they were going into a dog show instead of hiking.
The views on this hike are wonderful, as you can see from the photos. I had lunch at 12:55 PM on one of the lower ledges facing south, with the mass of Passaconaway off to the right. After that there is a lot of clambering up to get to the summit, where there are two small lookouts, one of which has some views off to the north dominated by the prominent outline of Carrigain.
After that, I went down past a spot where you can see Mt Washington from the trail. When I got here I wondered if maybe I missed a lookout on the summit. To be sure, I went back and looked around but there are only the two small lookouts up there. From the lower ledges it looks like there should be a big area of lookouts, but the trail doesn't go to all the ledges up there.
On the way back down, I saw a garter snake in the trail. I stopped and had a snack on the Allen Ledge lookout, which overlooks a pond that I couldn't find on the map. I was back out at 5:00 PM. This is a fun hike with lots of interesting features and different lookouts. It was another step for me to whip myself into shape for some harder hikes planned in the future.