New England did one of its 70 degrees to single digit drops this week and left about three inches of snow. I chose a flat hike on what I knew was sandy soil hoping that the melting snow would simply sink into the sand instead of creating mud (I was correct). The Jim Hill River Walk (click for map) (click here for text accompanying map) or Lehtinen Park Trail as the map is labeled is a popular place in the summer due to Daisy Beach, a sandy point on a sharp bent in the Contoocook river seen below.
I walked taking a left turn at the “shortcut” sign soon after the bridge, past Daisy beach, and up the river until the the second trail comes in on the right labeled “Runnell’s Road”
(You come up to the back of the sign) and followed the Runnell’s road trail back to the starting point. The total distance was 2.3 miles and an hour of walking time.
The top picture is of Partridge Berry and the bottom picture is Checkerberry. They both get red berries but if you break off the leaf of a Checkerberry and crush it in your fingers you will smell wintergreen. The Checkerberrys are edible, feeling waxy, and the leaves can be brewed to make a weak wintergreen tea. Partridge berry plants have a distinct yellowish stripe up the center of the leaves and to not smell of wintergreen when crushed.
They often grow side by side as seen above.
The opposite side of the river once you turn north from Daisy beach is Mast Yard State Forest, a favorite place for mountain biking if flat and easy riding is your style (like me.) This means there are no houses on the far bank of the river as you head north. The Contoocook river here is a good place to canoe and canoes can be rented at Contoocook River Canoe Company about a mile downriver from the river walk.