NH projects on 2014’s National Trails Day, June 7

Sure to be seen on Trail Day: tiger swallowtails.

Sure to be seen on Trails Day: tiger swallowtails.

I was happy to find a link on my Facebook feed this morning, directing me to a list of Trails Day projects nearby this weekend. For my southern New Hampshire readers, take note of projects at Temple Mountain, Pisgah State Park (two projects there), and Bear Brook State Park.
Details here: http://www.nhstateparks.org/whats-happening/national-trails-day.aspx

A new trail up Temple, to form a loop with a segment of the Wapack Trail? Yes, please.

If I can’t get out there Saturday, I’ll find something closer to home. Mine Falls will have a cleanup day on the 14th. I owe the trails a little love. Which reminds me – the city of Nashua, probably with some volunteer help, is doing heavy-duty work in Mine Falls Park this week to clean up the canal, pulling out trees toppled in the October ’11 snowstorm. Great job!

Temple Mountain Retreat : NH State Parks

Here’s a link to a wonderful new post from the New Hampshire State Parks blog. The Wapack Trail over Temple Mountain is familiar to me, but I had no idea there was a Buddhist meditation center nearby. Southern New Hampshire continues to surprise me.


I hope you get to enjoy some quality time on the trails this month!

Some Days, a Road is as Good as a Trail

I head to Temple, New Hampshire, nearly every New Year’s Day for a 3-mile walk. Most of the two hundred or so people around me see it as a 5-k race for runners, but a few of us take a slower pace. The race fee goes to charity, the atmosphere is festive, Temple’s a pretty town, and all comers are welcome. Last week, that added up to 45 minutes of New Year good cheer for me.

The route is a simple loop starting near the town green on Route 45: West Road, Fish Road, Mill Road, Hadley Highway, and back to the distinctive town hall building. Traffic is nearly nonexistent on New Year’s Day, but even on a business day, this would be a safe & relatively peaceful route.

Why would I go for pavement when there are trails with fresh snow nearby? This event is an annual tradition for me; the roads with their bucolic views are ¬†plowed and clear; there is virtually no auto traffic on a holiday; the very sight of the Sharon Ledges on Temple Mountain’s ridge makes me smile as I think of the berries I’ll be able to pick when I head up that way in the summer. All that, plus the post-race hot soup provided by the race committee, makes this trip worthwhile.


Go pick some blueberries!

I headed to Temple Mountain on this sunny Sunday to enjoy a couple of hours along the Wapack. I packed a lunch, but I needn’t have bothered: there were enough blueberries on the bushes to feed me & anyone else who might happen along. I stopped to eat at the Berry Pasture, with a fresh breeze in my face and Monadnock dominating the view to the west. Can’t beat that.

Not that I’m encouraging anyone to bail out of work this week, but I highly recommend a berry-picking trip to a hill or mountain near you — and soon.

Temple’s piece of the Wapack

I’ve dayhiked many times on bits and pieces of the 21-mile long Wapack Trail between Ashburnham MA and Greenfield NH, but for some reason I never had time until recently to check out the segment on the northern side of Temple Mountain. I always drove past the old ski area’s parking lot on 101 as I was on my way somewhere else. The ski area went out of business a few years ago, and there’s actually serious talk about making the property into a new state park, which would be great for — among other things — the Wapack. I finally made time to check the area out last weekend.

I didn’t expect that finding the proper trailhead would take awhile, but it did. This is hardly a remote area, with route 101 right there and Miller State Park/Pack Monadnock across the street. I figured I’d park in the old ski area’s lot and I’d immediately find the familiar yellow-triangle blazes for the trail. I saw a bunch of old ski trails, but no blazes. Other cars were there, so I knew someone had to be on the trail. I tried going up one of the old ski trails, but the recent rains had left them badly eroded and muddy. I don’t mind mud, but I was getting annoyed with myself for being unable to find a simple trail! I soon met up with a gentleman in the same predicament as I. He recommended walking out to 101 and picking up the trail right across the road from the Miller State Park entrance. That worked. A couple of hours later, on my way back to my car, I figured out the very simple (but unmarked) way to get from the parking lot to the trail without resorting to walking on the highway: from the parking lot for the old ski area, on the south side of 101,walk just past the gate (actually a cable strung between a post & a tree), turn right, and walk on the broad dirt road for less than five minutes. Those nice yellow blazes will soon be in sight.

The walk south to Temple Ledges was pleasant enough. There are few vistas on this stretch, so all the folks wanting to see the countryside ought to go to just about any other peak on the northern part of the Wapack except this one. Lots of birds — including what I think was a bobwhite, which I had seen before only in books! A bird’s a little thing, but I was delighted anyway. I encountered about ten other folks enjoying the day, all (even their dogs) sensibly dressed with something orange in this hunting season. Woods, stone walls, a group of cairns that could pass for a living room grouping, plenty of birdsong: not a bad way to spend two hours. This is not the place to wear sneakers, by the way. The approach to the ledges isn’t all that steep, but within a few days of any kind of rain, there is mud. You’ll get fair warning of that as you splash your way through the parking lot.