Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Hiking in the Monadnock Region of NH

This weekend, three sets of guests all included some winter hiking in their Valentine's Day weekend plans.  One couple went for serious vertical and climbed Mt. Monadnock, another hiked in Milford, and the third hiked at MacDowell Dam here in Peterborough.  Although we've typically done most of our hiking around here in the warmer weather, we were inspired to do some of our own research and do a little winter hiking ourselves.

After a quick trip up to the dam and a short walk on the East side of the lake, we decided to head over to the Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock.  Although we are familiar with the Harris Center and many of the wonderful programs they offer, we hadn't had the chance to do any hiking there yet... until now.  We weren't equipped for hiking the Skatutakee or Thumb Mountain trails, so we picked the Dandelyon Trail which starts beyond the meadow, just behind the Harris Center building.  At about 0.5 miles long, this out-and-back trail was a really nice walk through the woods, ending at "huge glacial boulders".  There's also the Boulder Loop trail which intersects the Dandelyon Trail in two spots, so we added part of that trail onto our walk as well.  Since it is winter, the glacial boulders were the primary features on the trails, but we also saw lots and lots of signs of wildlife from animal tracks in the snow to bits of seeds and nut coatings that must have been part of some critter's lunch.  Here are a few photos...

Did you notice Rob in one of the photos?  (No, those are not his webbed feet.)

There is an interpretive trail guide that goes with the Dandelyon Trail, so next time we may try to do that... or maybe we can join in one of their guided hikes.  The Harris Center's Calendar of Events includes day and evening hikes and other special events throughout the region.  Some events require pre-registration, but most events are free.

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