Granite State Walker

dayhikes on the trails of southern New Hampshire, with occasional extended journeys


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Pack Monadnock via Raymond Trail

The view from Pack Monadnock’s summit was a treat even on this cloudy day. I hiked up via the Raymond Trail for the first time. The score is Ledge 1, Hiker 0 after a slight slip on the way down, and I keep a first aid kit in my back for just such occasions. The hike was otherwise uneventful. Rocky stretches, but not as ledgy as the Wapack Trail up the mountain. Unlike the Wapack and Marion Davis trails, Raymond Trail doesn’t start from the Miller State Park parking lot. It goes up the west side of the mountain from a trailhead on East Mountain Road that has parking for three cars (maybe four in a pinch).

Coming from Manchester via NH 101: drive west through Milford, Wilton, and Temple. Take a right at Mountain Road, about 0.2 mile past the Miller State Park entrance. Mountain Road becomes East Mountain Road. The trailhead is on the right, about a mile off of 101.


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Over the Merrimack River

I was early for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats game a few days ago (that’s baseball, for all you out-of-towners). It’s been too long since my last stroll over the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge, part of the rail trail that begins behind the baseball stadium and extends a couple of miles west along the Piscataquog river, clear over to West Side Arena.

The Hands Across the Merrimack bridge over the Merrimack River, seen from the trail behind Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

The Hands Across the Merrimack bridge over the Merrimack River, seen from the trail behind Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.

The bridge should be a good spot for seeing eagles. There’s a nesting pair about a mile south along the river. I’m always driving when I see one, so I’ve never gotten a photo of a bald eagle – but I’ll be in the right place at the right time someday.

Looking south toward the Queen City Avenue bridge.

Looking south toward the Queen City Avenue bridge.

The odd bit of graffiti aside, the bridge is in good shape structurally and aesthetically. And for crossing the Merrimack river, it sure beats dodging the auto traffic on the nearby Granite Street bridge.

Manchester, New Hampshire

Manchester, New Hampshire

View from the west end.

View from the west end.

It's good to see this acknowledgment of one of the people who made the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge project happen.

It’s good to see this acknowledgment of one of the people who made the Hands Across the Merrimack bridge project happen.


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Mark your calendar: October event to benefit New Boston rail trail

The New Boston Rail Trail has an event on October 5th: Walk-Run-Bike, New Boston to help raise money to complete the rail trail project to resurface all 4.795 miles of trail. The event includes a 1 mile Kid’s Fun Run, 4 or 8 mile Walk-A-Thon, 25 mile Bike-A-Thon and 5K Adult Obstacle Course. You can register at http://www.nbrailtrail.com and check out the video about the rail trail on YouTube


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August at Odiorne Point

Odiorne Point State Park never gets old for me, in any season.

I had planned a one-day “grand tour,” with a stop at Pawtuckaway for the fire tower then Odiorne Point for the beach and then Stratham Park for the observation tower. (Whew.) Eight hours, with three of them in the car. I’m glad I reconsidered. Odiorne Point was all I needed.


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Groton, MA on Nashua River Rail Trail

I headed south of the border into Massachusetts on the Nashua River Rail Trail for a walk through the Groton stretch. Of the four towns along the trail, Groton is where the history of the rail line is most evident. The town is also home to the most park-like section of the trail, situated within the J. Harry Rich State Forest.

The harsh shadows in the photos are from the full midday sun, cheerfully blazing away on a summer day.

The trail crosses over Rt. 119 in Groton on a nicely rehabbed bridge.

The trail crosses over Rt. 119 in Groton on a nicely rehabbed bridge.

There are three trailheads in Groton, with the most parking available off of Broadmeadow Street. Smaller unpaved lots are at Sand Hill Road and Common Street.

Local students painted the walls of the trail's underpass at Rt. 225 with scenes of area history.

Local students painted the walls of the trail’s underpass at Rt. 225 with scenes of area history.

There are no “facilities” along the way, so to speak, but near the trailhead at Broadmeadow Road are a couple of benches and an informational kiosk. The posted information and illustrations are worth a look.

The best-maintained and most informative kiosk along the NRRT.

The best-maintained and most informative kiosk along the NRRT.

Groton is one of those genteel places with strict zoning laws that keep commercial signs tiny. How am I supposed to find the nearest place to buy a large iced beverage? That kiosk near Broadmeadow has a bonus: a map of Main Street and the roads connecting it to the trail, with nearby businesses listed. That large iced beverage is only a short walk away.

Marker on Main Street in Groton, a short distance from the trail.

Marker on Main Street in Groton, a short distance from the trail.

Some of the old rail line’s granite mile markers are still in place, and they’re kept painted by area volunteers. “P” is for Portland, Maine, and “W” is for Worcester, Massachusetts – once upon a time, the two ends of a line of the Boston and Maine Railroad. Of the 120 or so miles of that old line, twelve miles now make up the Nashua River Rail Trail.

"P" is for Portland, Maine, 114 miles from Groton by way of the old Boston & Maine rail line.

“P” is for Portland, Maine, 114 miles from Groton by way of the old Boston & Maine rail line.

Crowning the day was an abundance of Queen Anne’s Lace all along the trail.

Queen Anne's Lace is at full strength in July.

Queen Anne’s Lace is at full strength in July.

 


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Mt. Pemigewasset

This is what a perfect summer day in New Hampshire looks like. I joined two friends for a drive to Franconia Notch and a hike up forested Mt. Pemigewasset to its summit ledges, where there was nothing to do but enjoy the view. The Franconia Ridge is more than I can handle at this point. Mt. Pemigewasset, while still a challenge for me, has manageable trails. A wonderful daytrip!

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Looking south from the Indian Head ledge on Mt. Pemigewasset: I-93 snakes away from the Notch

Mt. Pemi seen from U.S. 3 in Lincoln. Trailhead is off of I-93 in Franconia Notch; follow signs for The Flume.

Mt. Pemi seen from U.S. 3 in Lincoln. Trailhead is off of I-93 in Franconia Notch; follow signs for The Flume.

 


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Little Monadnock

So few free weekends this summer! This was a mountaintop day, though, with clear dry air that guaranteed good views. I dropped everything and drove to Fitzwilliam to visit New Hampshire’s Rhododendron State Park and its trail to Little Monadnock.

In early July, Rhododendron State Park's famous blooms are still a couple of weeks away.

In early July, Rhododendron State Park’s famous blooms are still a couple of weeks away.

Alas, the rhododendron grove is still a week or two from being in bloom. The loop trail makes for a pleasant shady walk nonetheless. That’s a short walk, and the well-prepared visitor will bring bug repellent (and for once, I remembered to pack it). Then I headed uphill, following the yellow blazes over rocks and roots to the summit ridge of Little Monadnock. Once I reached the ridge, I turned east-northeast and followed the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail a short distance to get a fine view of Grand Monadnock.

The trailhead at the state park's parking area leads to a junction with the Little Monadnock trail.

The trailhead at the state park’s parking area leads to a junction with the Little Monadnock trail.

Mt. Monadnock, seen from Little Monadnock's summit ridge.

Mt. Monadnock, seen from Little Monadnock’s summit ridge.

The sign at the summit ridge could use a little attention, but it gets its job done.

The sign at the summit ridge could use a little attention, but it gets its job done.

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