On August 7th, 2017 after a rainy evening I decided to take the Boscawen Town Forest Interpretive Nature Trail. This still fits into the Hike Concord, NH theme since the park spans both Concord and Boscawen. A map can be downloaded here. I started at the parking area at the end of Weir Road, off of Queen Street in Boscawen.
In the mailbox next to the sign you hopefully will find the printed guide produced by the Boscawen Conservation Commission and begin your 1.4 mile, hour long walk. In August the mosquitos and deer flys were quite bad requiring a good bug repellent. I also wore tall rubber boots since it had just rained. Footing is some areas is rocky and slippery so be careful. The Paths this time of year are very overgrown and a little hard to find at times. Item 1 is a vernal pool (a water pool that dries up in summer). It is not where it is shown on the map. Turn left onto the Dogady Hill trail and you will see the pool directly in front of you. Return to the main path to proceed to item 2, the old leather dump. As you leave the clearing and continue down the path, notice the many test wells all around the dump site. These are used to monitor water quality since Chromium was a major part of the tanning process.
You will eventually arrive at the sign that tells you to take a left for the nature loop. Yes, there really is a trail there. It becomes clearer after a a few hundred feet. Items 3 (snags),4 (Stone Walls) and 5 (Beaver Pond) are clearly marked. Look for signs of beavers at work.
The sign for item 6(old Field) has been vandalized, and I never did find the sign for item 7 (Apple Trees). You will now come out at the old Weir family homestead, which has been totally overtaken by Asian Bittersweet.
Eradication has begun, but as you can see, the vines are huge. You have now gone about 0.8 miles. Continue to the back of the cellar hole (item 8) and you will see the beginning of the Colby loop that returns to the parking lot.
This section is very rocky and slippery. It is also the prettiest. Item 9 (Bull Pine) is on this trail past another cellar hole. Enjoy your hike!
It was a cold March 3rd and I wanted to find some Skunk Cabbage, which melt through the snow with their own heat. I knew there were Skunk Cabbage next to the bridge in Upton – Morgan State Forest so off I went.
Skunk Cabbage put out their flowers before they put out leaves.
The flowers are inside the covering, and the smell is supposed to be like rotting flesh but to be honest I didn’t smell it to find out. They grow in the very wet soggy soil right next to the water.
I accidentally broke off a small flower and, since it was already broken, I opened it up.
You can see the yellow flower as well as the strange insect that was hiding inside. While hiking I thought someone was pounding in a stake in the forest from the sound but what I found was a large woodpecker.
All in all, it was an interesting half hour, quarter mile walk. See other Upton-Morgan posts for maps and more on Skunk Cabbage.
The Jim Hill River Walk is still used in winter. I found fresh cross-country ski trails but I made the first snow shoe tracks. I was actually passes by a mountain bike with those huge wide tires!
The winter makes it easy to see animal tracks, the top being Whitetail Deer and the bottom a mystery to me.
The frozen Contoocook River is not safe in my opinion, but this ice fisherman didn’t see it that way. Snow shoeing is harder work than I remembered, and I fell once. Getting up in deep snow it very difficult. Plan a shorter loop than you usually walk until you have been out a few times.
The Silk Farm Audubon Center and Wildlife Sanctuary Trails (click on link for map) click here for map text, is an easy hike when it comes to elevation, it is fairly flat, but the paths are boulder and root covered. The area has been recently forested so there are lots of semi cleared areas with branches lying around.
I planned to walk to Turkey Pond on the “Great Turkey Pond Trail” and come back the “Old Orchard Trail”, but the “Old Orchard Trail” was closed. There are more trails than show on the map, and updated maps are posted at the trail junctions.
This was a good day for finding mushrooms.
As well as a recently fallen tree that happened recent enough to leave the hole clearly visible.
The water level in Turkey Pond is low, and I saw no ducks or geese, who will soon be using the pond as they head south for the winter. The longer loop took me about an hour and a half and I would say was about two miles. I didn’t use bug spray and a nice breeze off the pond kept me cool and bug free. The trails have some small areas of poison ivy near the pond, but not a great amount.
The SPNHF trail (click link for map) runs along the Merrimack river’s west bank. The back of the map text is found by clicking here. In the hot summer months like now, several people will be found swimming on it’s steep sandy banks. It is also a favorite place for people to walk their dogs. The flat trails are easy walking, but the trails are often bordered by poison ivy. The Swenson Granite Works can be seen on the distant hill.
The park is a peninsula, and the back side a march like area. The tip of the peninsula is under water in the spring floods, but is quite dry now due to our extended drought. This is a heavily used park, so expect to come across people while walking (and occasionally being startled when you thought you were alone).
Marshy areas are not my favorite places to hike due to bugs and wet feet but the 1.5 mile trail is easy walking, and usually you will find some wildlife (but not today due to heat and low water).
I decided to take a summer walk to the first place I blogged about earlier this year. While very beautiful, and of course changed with the seasons, I would almost change the name from River Walk to Poison Ivy and Tick Walk.
The field from the parking lot is filled with Milkweed which are important to Monarch Butterflies. I only saw this one in the whole field. Possibly it is still too early since the milkweed is only starting to flower. Interestingly most Monarch Butterflies only live a few weeks. Only the last hatching of the season migrates to Mexico, and there will live for about eight months. I managed to flush out a mother wild turkey with her young from the field quite by accident.
The trails are quite narrow, and Poison Ivy is totally unavoidable.
This bridge is the first picture in my earlier blog about the Jim Hill River Walk. See how much has grown in such a short amount of time!
Finally, in my first blog I talked about Partridge Berries. Here is a berry and some flowers for Partridge Berries. I would avoid this walk is you are susceptible to Poison Ivy at this time. Also, I left the trail with a Dog Tick and a Deer Tick I picked up along the way.
The Sewalls Falls Park Trail (click link for map) (Click here for map text) is an easy walking trail of just under a mile, one way, that follows the west bank of the Merrimack River.
The access from the Sewalls Falls Road bridge is under construction, so you will want to go to the end of Second St. and take a left into the parking lot for Rotary Park. This trail is generally easy walking and wide, with several places to view the river. Children should be cautioned to stay away from the steep drop offs to the water.
The memorial bench is an indication that the Merrimack River can be dangerous. If you walk to the construction site you can see what, to us nearby residence owners, is the building of a much welcomed bridge.
On the opposite end of the trail, examine the old dam site and the canal gates.
This area is also the entrance to Rotary Park, and a short distance from the Morono Park Trail, to be see in future blogs. This trail makes for a perfect early evening hike with a friend or a dog or the whole “Fam Danmaly” (thanks to Mary P for that).