Nice to see that the proposed rail trail link connecting Goffstown and Manchester is moving forward. My afternoon walk on Manchester’s west side included a stop at the end of Bremer Street to see how construction is going. The old rail trestle is gone, moving us closer to the day when we’ll have a bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists to cross the Piscataquog River. In the meantime, the Piscataquog trail on the Manchester side is in fine summer form, with plenty of shade.
I paid my first visit to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming recently. Impressions, beyond the obvious “wow”:
- A week isn’t nearly enough for either park, never mind both. I spent a week in Yosemite a few years back and came to the same conclusion.
- I had to choose between hiking and driving within Yellowstone. It’s vast. My husband and I wanted to see as much of the parks as we could, so we wound up driving a lot and stopping for short hikes. My week was filled with bike paths, boardwalks and easy strolls.
- The beauty of the west is so different from that of my familiar beloved New England that it’s hard to take in. Now I now what “Big Sky Country” means.
- The summer crowds must be oppressive. I was in Yellowstone as Memorial Day weekend approached, which marks the beginning of the summer season. Things were already hoppin’.
- Pelicans in Yellowstone? How did I not know about this?!
I felt very keenly that I was a mere tourist, not an adventurer. Adventurers spend more time away from their cars. But there was so much to see …!
Workday or not, an 80-degree spring day calls for some trail time. Decked out in business clothes and dress shoes, I spent midday on a tame but worthwhile path: the Rockingham Recreational Trail from its Lake Massabesic trailhead in Auburn.
The trail extends more than twenty miles east to Newfields, which would make an interesting bike ride some other day. Pressed for time today, I walked only about a mile and a half before retracing my steps back to my car. I took my time to enjoy the birds (quite a variety near the lake) and take a few pictures from a boat launch. The trail is unpaved but wide and well-trodden. It was popular this midday: moms with kids, a guy fishing in a trailside pond, lots of dog walkers, even one dirt biker in defiance of the no-motorized-vehicle rule. (The operator’s trail manners were impeccable, aside from the motorized part.)
Clough State Park with its little beach on Everett Lake in Weare is still awaiting its opening day, but walkers are welcome on the nearby Everett Dam. This would have been a mountaintop day if I’d had the time; the air was amazingly clear. I settled for a half-hour walk along the dam and the quiet roads nearby.
Conditions on the Nashua River Rail Trail are pretty good for the second week of April, especially in view of the exceptionally cold and snowy winter we had here in New England. I scouted a couple of parking areas and then walked the stretch between MA 113 in Pepperell and Sand Hill Road in Groton.
The trees aren’t yet in bud, so the river was the star of the show today.
- Gilson Road, Nashua: gate is open; ice and snow cover half the lot but about 20 parking spaces are clear and open.
- NH Route 111-A at Nashua/Hollis line: plenty of roadside parking.
- State line at Dracut: lots of snow was plowed into the far side of the lot, leaving room for three or four cars.
- MA Route 113 in East Pepperell: clear and open.
- Sand Hill Road, Groton: a snow pile covers about half the lot, but there’s still room for about ten cars.
- Pepperell: some patches of ice and snow, which should be gone soon with a few more 50-degree days.
- Groton: mostly snow-covered between town line and Sand Hill Road. About three inches of well-trodden soft snow make for an uneven surface, but it’s certainly passable on foot.
It’s the beginning of another beautiful season on the NRRT. I’m looking forward to it.
The Cohos Trail is about 160 miles long, winding through New Hampshire’s North Country from Crawford Notch to the Canadian border. The northernmost section is a favorite of mine, and I’ve recounted my longest hike there at my blog Cohos to Canada.
The official web site for the trail has just gone live after a complete re-design. Check it out, and I hope you’ll share it with your friends. If you’re a New Hampshire hiker and you’ve never been north of the Whites, the site will inspire you. If you’re from more distant parts, the Cohos Trail just might tempt you to this little corner of New England.
I made my customary New Year’s Day drive out to the Monadnock region, deciding at the last minute not to do the fun little 5k race (walk, in my case) in Temple that would have set me back $20. Instead, I continued to the Wapack trailhead in Sharon. No trails or uphill work for me this day – lazy, out-of-shape, call me what you will. I did my 5k on local roads, blessedly free of traffic and ice.
It wasn’t a brisk walk. I kept stopping to take pictures. Most of the photos are unusable thanks to midday’s harsh lighting. I like this one, though. My route today was flat, except for the gentlest rise on Temple Road where I got a glimpse of Mount Monadnock.
Have a wonderful new year, with plenty of Granite State walks.