Mason: Parker’s to Rail Trail

I took my husband up on his invitation to join him and his running buddies in Mason NH this morning. Beautiful day, lots of sun, 40 degrees or so at 8 a.m. We agreed to meet back in the Parker’s Maple Barn parking lot at 9:30, and I left the runners to follow their own paths. I walked toward the rail trail that runs through Mason from the Massachusetts border north to Wilton and then west to Greenville.

Mason has hills. Not steep hills, but hills nonetheless. Brookline Road heading northwest from Parker’s makes a steady climb up to County Road and continues fairly level to a sharp left turn. At that point, I went straight onto unpaved Scripts Road, a dead end with no-parking signs all along one side. It’s surprising how often no-pavement and no-parking add up to a trailhead.

About ten minutes on Scripts brought me to the dead end with enough space for a few cars to park. A stony little trail disappeared into woods on the right, and I followed it knowing that the rail trail had to be close by. Two minutes later, there it was. A sharp right would have taken me north; I stayed left. You can see from the photo that this is a decently-maintained trail. It’s wide as a boulevard, with unremarkable but pleasant woodland scenery. It must make a great snowmobile trail in winter. Equestrians are welcome, though the Scripts Road trail entrance is not the place for a horse trailer. Several other town roads cross the trail and I suspect some parking is available at each intersection.

I turned around 45 minutes into my walk, which took me only a fraction of a mile on the rail trail. I know from long-ago hikes on more northerly segments of the trail that I could have walked in peace all day if I’d had the time. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop today at Pratt Pond, probably the prettiest spot on the Mason trail.

Although close to town roads, the trail’s peace and quiet are remarkable. Aside from a plane passing far overhead, the only sounds were birdsong and wind in the trees until a pair of runners (hey! I knew those guys!) passed me.

The walk back to Parker’s was of course mostly downhill, and I went into that wonderful restaurant for an excellent breakfast with my husband. As is usually the case with Parker’s on a Saturday morning, there was a short wait for a table. Believe me, it’s worth it. (Try stuffed French toast and a mug of maple coffee. Trust me.)