Roadside stops

I’ve found some fine little places to walk on the spur of the moment, pulling my car over into little parks and waysides. These walks aren’t long. I stop for them impulsively when I’m pressed for time, driving from point A to point B on some kind of business. Some wayside stops are too good to pass up. They help me clear my head for the next business meeting.

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Runnell’s Bridge over Nashua River, Hollis NH.

There’s a little boat launch on the Nashua River just off NH 111 in Hollis. I parked here one day and took an unscheduled quick stroll on a nearby road, ending with a minute or two just enjoying the riverside. That hadn’t been on the day’s agenda, which was half the fun of stopping.

Here’s to quick stops and interrupted schedules. They can make my day.

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First Day Hike 2016: Hollis

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Woodmont Orchard, Hollis NH, New Year’s Day.

The New Hampshire state parks people added Silver Lake State Park to the list of locations for guided First Day hikes, and I think this one’s a keeper. The state park abuts town conservation land with trails maintained by the local snowmobile club. With the area’s first measurable snowfall of the season having fallen just a few days ago, boots were all the equipment I needed to join the fun. I left in the car every accessory except my camera and a map, and spent an hour on trails I’d never visited.

 

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I didn’t even mind the snowmobile that passed me at one point. It would have been churlish of me to object to the exhaust fumes when people like the sled’s cheerful and careful driver maintain the trail I was on.

Days like this remind me why I started this blog. Silver Lake State Park is where I used to take my kids swimming when they were little, and I thought the lake itself was all there was to it. Today, after living in the area for a whole lotta years, I discovered new trails in what I thought was a familiar place.

New Hampshire is really a tiny slice of the republic, and the southern tier is even tinier. Yet here in what looks like an insubstantial part of the map are parks and trails that most New Hampshire visitors and even some residents will never see. Every year, I find something new: a little trail connecting two urban parks, country roads with drivers who don’t mind sharing the pavement with pedestrians, a Hollis trail connecting Silver Lake with Woodmont Orchard. I want to drink it all in and come back for more.