Spring 2009
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Crotched Mt. - May 24, 2009
Activity, photos, and report by Ken L.

The original plan for Your Webmaster and Kris was to try to check out some of the changed trails on Crotched Mt., which is a hill in southern New Hampshire.  The updated trail map comes from the Francestown, NH Conservation Commission.

It was cloudy out, and it looked like rain.  In fact, there were thunderstorms not far away in Concord, NH according to the radar picture.  But that didn't stop us.  What did stop us were the mosquitoes, which were unbearable.  We made the executive decision to buzz (ha ha!) up Shannon's Trail to the overlook and then head back out instead of exploring the additional trails in the more buggy areas.

Along the way we encountered tons of lady slippers, but taking a picture involved losing more blood, so Your Webmaster got one good shot:

At the overlook near the summit of Crotched Mt. we got a great view of the Monadnock area, and, thankfully, a bit of a breeze kept the bugs away for a little while.  We got a little bit of rain, but it soon cleared out and became quite sunny.

Actually we found some bugs we didn't mind all that much.

Yep, a quick hike!  We'll have to do more of the trail system at a later time.

Mt. Cardigan - May 16, 2009
Activity by Louise C.
Photos and report by Ken L.

Just getting to the trailhead for this one was an adventure!  The AMC lodge at the trailhead is miles away from the main road.  The road leading to the lodge leads you up and over a large hill, then my GPS gave up during a long section of dirt road.  Eventually you do get to the lodge where there are tons of other hikers anxious to try hiking in the AMC Cardigan Reservation and the associated NH State Park.

Depending on what source you have, Mt. Cardigan is anywhere from 3118' to 3155'.  It's in central New Hampshire west of I-93.  In the area there are two other peaks - Firescrew (3064') and Orange Mtn./Mt. Gilman (2684').  In addition to hiking trails, there are ski trails, which the AMC lodge services in the winter--although how you'd get all the way in to the lodge during snow season is anyone's guess!

I met Louise, John, and Magic at the parking lot, and then Warren and Buzz, Warren's dog, popped in.  Sandy from Vermont soon showed--her GPS brought her to the end of a dirt road at the top of a hill somewhere...she still has no idea how she found the lodge.  We decided to split the group, and Louise, John, and Magic disappeared up the trail, and we never did see them again.  Sandy, Warren, Buzz, and I got our gear together and set out.

We came up with a route to take from the AMC lodge up the Manning Trail to Firescrew, over the Mowglis Trail to Cardigan, then down the Clark Trail to the Holt and back to the lodge.  The trails are wonderful.  Having come down recently from the Crawford Path, Your Webmaster was pleasantly surprised at seeing some flat dirt along the trails.  Yes there are plenty of rocks and roots, but you do get a bit of a respite now and then, and Your Webmaster's knees certainly appreciated that.


Along the way we spotted a snake, hobblebush viburnum, and plenty of trillium.  It seemed odd that the Manning Trail had the painted trillium but the Clark/Holt Trails had the purple trillium (with only a few of the lighter colored ones thrown in for good measure).  Unfortunately as part of the fauna we also encountered many black flies, some of which were biting.  Ouch!  So we kept moving while in the woods.

While on the Manning Trail, Mt. Cardigan seems a long way away!

Your Webmaster and Sandy made it to the top of Firescrew for a sit down and a snack or two while we waited for Warren and Buzz who were taking their time along the Manning Trail.

After a rest and some minor first aid for Warren at the top of Firescrew, we took off for Cardigan along the Mowglis Trail.

It isn't too long of a hike from Firescrew to Cardigan...


...some pretty dark clouds were looming, especially to the north, and they were starting to overspread the area.  The warm sun disappeared, and the wind was really kicking up.

But, no problem, we made it to the summit of Mt. Cardigan and settled in for some lunch...

...and a snooze!

A look back at Firescrew

We found our way to the Clark Trail, but getting down off the summit of Cardigan is tricky because it's steep exposed rock.

It's a good thing it didn't rain while we were up there, as that would have made our footing very slippery!

Fire Lookout Cabin, just off the summit

Our journey down sent us from the Clark to the Holt trails and on out.  Along the way we passed two groups who were going up to stay at the AMC cabin.  That place was going to be busy!

Finally back at the cars, Buzz seemed to have the right idea:

He couldn't wait to get back to his snoozin'!

Although somewhat challenging to get to, the Firescrew/Cardigan hike is a decent dayhike that's not overly taxing but offers nice views.  I imagine that it gets rather busy, considering one can climb it from the NH State Park or the AMC sides.  The Clark Trail is the one recommended more for families with kids, with the Holt Trail being the nasty trail (reportedly very steep in sections).  We did a moderate loop that I look forward to doing again.

Beaver Brook - May 10, 2009
Activity, photos, and report by Ken L.
Additional photos from Kris J.

Kris, Your Webmaster, DJ, and Warren with his dog Buzz made it over to Beaver Brook for a walk.  If you don't live too far from the Nashua, NH area, please head over to Hollis to check this place out.


<-- Almost immediately Buzz got himself into trouble by sending a groundhog up a tree.  We got Buzz settled down and wandered over to see the flower garden.

DJ and Buzz scoped out the garden.  The white flower is a Mayapple.  The red flowers below are "Bleeding Hearts".  They had chives, too, so Your Webmaster had a snack.  Shhhh!  Don't tell them!  :-)


Not far from the garden is the trail to the big beaver dam...

...which creates the big pond.

A bridge crosses the outflow from the pond.

Our journey was roughly "around" the property of the Beaver Brook Association, arriving at the old Schoen field for some snacks.

Kris found a few lilacs.

Warren and Buzz departed soon after our lunch break to do other things for the day, but DJ, Kris, and I continued on to the Wildlife Pond.  The route does lead across a road, and it's a bit tricky to find the trail which crosses a large log between an old farm building and a fence.  The trail was also affected by the ice storms, so we had to pick our way through some fallen trees.

The Wildlife Pond is worth a visit, though.

On the way back to the car we encountered some people checking out something on the ground just off the trail:

A Northern Water Snake.  These are not poisonous, but they can be a little on the aggressive side and will bite.  This guy just seemed to like the bank near the water.  Maybe he was looking for some sun.  Or maybe he just liked all the attention he was getting!

Another nice day at Beaver Brook.

Bartlett Inn Weekend - May 1-3, 2009
Activity, photos, and report by Ken L.
Additional photos from Kris J.

Another fine weekend at The Bartlett Inn, which as undergone many changes over the past few years.  Those who haven't been there in a while will recognize the outsides, but the inn rooms have been completely changed, some of the cottages have been upgraded, and a swimming pool will be going in.

Bemis Brook

Your Webmaster, Sandy, Kris, and DJ made it to Bartlett, NH for some time away and some nice hikes...including a first 4000-footer for Sandy and Kris...in the snow!

Click here for the YouTube video of our visit, or watch it below.  You'll see some nice shots of Arethusa Falls going at full bore, a hike up Mt. Pierce in the snow, and a quiet day at Elephant Head, The Red Bench, and the small lake behind the AMC center.

Photos and movie clips by Ken L. and Kris J.
Video and music by Ken L. with guitar by Jimmy Moore...and Kris J. lending an ear or two.
Soundtrack inspired by the sound of the spring of the door to our cabin...:-)
Check out Improvised Waves, a CD of improvised electronic music by Ken Leonard and Jimmy Moore.

Ted's Trail - North Pack - April 19, 2009
Activity, photos, and report by Ken L.


What started out as a little light damage in the beech forest...

...really got nasty!

As with many trails in the area, Ted's and Carolyn's Trails (North Pack, southern NH) sustained damage during the ice storm in December.  At around 1400' or so was the worst with lots of bushwhacking around fallen trees and branches.  Somehow Kris and Yer Ol' Webmaster made it through, though, and we had a great hike, taking Ted's Trail up and Carolyn's Trail down.

<-- The funky tree was still there

<-- As was the waterfall

<-- And Ted's Trees are still standing!

The lower sections of the trails weren't so bad, but as we climbed, the damage got worse, then not so bad near the summit.

Ted, Stella, and Liz

About halfway up we ran into Ted, Liz, and their dog Stella on the trail heading down.  They said that the tree damage was too extensive and they lost the trail.  Your Webmaster helped them find the trail again, and the four of us continued on for a while.

As we neared the summit, we saw a bit of snow here and there...

...not to mention some nice views on what was a bright, sunny day.


Your Webmaster and Kris paused for lunch at the traditional spot on the South Cliffs.  What a great spot to stop!

At the summit Kris went searching for a nearby geocache...and she was able to find it quickly.  Good job!

Mt. Monadnock

Our return was down Carolyn's Trail, which breaks off from Ted's Trail a short way from the summit.  Watch for a narrow section with a cairn on the right just before the granny stopper.  There's a little break in the trees leading to a really nice view--this is the trail, and it heads down to the left a bit then swings right.  Right now it's not marked, except by the cairn.  Carolyn's Trail joins Ted's Trail again a short distance from the trailhead.

<-- Click the thumbnail to see our journey down Carolyn's Trail as tracked by Kris's GPSr

Ted's/Carolyn's is a nice loop, five miles or so total (give or take), not all that difficult except for the ice storm debris at this time.  A perennial favorite!