A Country Road and a Fine New Book

After an all-day hard rain yesterday that delayed the Red Sox opener and left my local trails even muddier than before, I decided to take my walk on a road this morning. After doing some business in Amherst, I parked on Chestnut Hill Road, in the little pull-off that connects to the Joe English Reservation’s Highland Trail. One glance at the trail confirmed my guess that it was not a day for slogging through the woods in my sneakers. I headed up the road towards New Boston.

It’s a treat to have an hour in the middle of a weekday to spend on a country road in early spring. Next to no traffic passed me. The trees haven’t leafed out yet, so I got a good look at all the songbirds making music. Overcast was lifting, giving me a different view on the way back than I got on the way out of the Uncanoonucs in Goffstown and the hills out past Milford. Forsythia is about a week away from bloom, and daylily shoots are popping up all along the roadside.

Tree damage was obvious in the woods. I expect some of the houses & yards I passed needed quick action the week after the ice storm, but they look fine.

I gave a halfhearted effort at making this a workout, to compensate for my sluggish winter, but I abandoned that plan about five minutes into the walk. It was uphill, and that’s workout enough. I turned around at the New Boston town line & enjoyed going downhill on my way back to the car. Not a bad way to spend an hour — closer to 50 minutes, actually. I went back to the day’s “serious” work in a good frame of mind.

To change the subject, I found a great new book while I was browsing the table from Bondcliff Bookstore (Littleton, NH) at the recent Made In NH Expo. New Hampshire Rail Trails (there’s an easy title to remember) is by Charles F. Martin, and it’s published by Branch Line Press in Pepperell, MA. It’s going right on my shelf full of guidebooks, and will probably be in my backpack on several trips this year. He covers trails all over the state, offering the history of the various rail lines and the prospects for development of more trails. It’s not an encyclopedia, but he manages to cover quite a bit in 300 pages, including maps and a long list of organizations supporting these trails. Development of some trails is proceeding so quickly that even some of Martin’s 2008 information is outdated, but that’s hardly bad news and Martin notes which trails are likely to see extension or upgrading in the near future.

I’m delighted with this book. I’ve already made note of a trail he describes up in Bethlehem. I have a racewalk in that pleasant town next weekend, and I’ll head for the trail as soon as the race is over.

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