Sally's Gut/Stonedam Island
Looking to explore a Winnipesaukee Island, we decided upon Stonedam Island located in the town of Meredith. Stonedamn Island is 112 acres, and is protected by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. It has hiking, docking, a beach, and picnic areas. It sounded good to the whole crew, so we loaded up our 17' Regal and were ready to go.
The easiest way to get there is to launch at Christmas Island Resort near Weirs Beach. On our way through the Channel, we stopped at Channel Marine for some gas, drinks and supplies. On the bank of the channel we saw the Winnipesaukee Railroad go chugging by. Through the Weirs Channel we motored. Seymour decided to navigate, and got right up front for the best view. Once through the channel, we spotted the Doris E on its way back from delivering the U.S. Mail to one of the islands.
At the end of Meredith Bay we spotted our destination, Stonedam Island. We decided to go the most challenging route possible, so went to the north side of the island to the entrance to Sally's gut. Seymour kept his eyes peeled for markers and spotted a red one at the mouth of the gut. Even Seymour knows that "Red Right Return" applies only to ocean navigation. On the lake it's best to watch your chart and compass. We checked our chart and it told us to keep the marker to our left. We must have looked like we knew what we were doing, because a couple of other boats followed us through the gut. Be careful. The chart says there are markers on either side, but there are not. Keep close to the center and watch the markers that are there. Seymour successfully guided us past the last marker, the only black one in the channel. Through the gut and around the corner we spotted the public dock. It is really only good for two small boats. Luckily, there was an opening when we arrived. We tied up and were greeted by a welcoming sign. One thing the sign doesn't tell you is which direction to begin hiking. The trail is well marked, but you can only see the arrows if you start by taking a right at the sign.
One of the first things you'll see is an open cabin. All guests are welcome to enter the cabin or use the picnic tables out front.
This cabin was moved from Camp Kahonka in Alton, NH and reassembled here. The logs of the cabin are nearly 200 years old. The trail starts out bordering the water and then moves inland. While hiking watch for informative signs telling you about the island's habitat. The trails are beautiful and easy to hike.
While hiking we watched for roots and rocks, but didn't forget to look up and
see the trees reflecting the afternoon sun.
The Main Loop is a shorter loop that goes up to the look-out.
The Long Loop goes around the perimeter of the island and then rounds back
to the look-out. If you have the time, take the long loop. On
reason we took the Long Loop was so we could enjoy the beach. The
beach is not large, but the sand is fine and it is a great place to take a dip
or have a rest.
The trail leading around to the looks a little rugged, but is a pretty easy hike. Up a good incline, and we were at the top of the island. Before heading down to the dock, we stopped to rest and enjoy beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee.