Piscassic Greenway with Mizpah

New England is truly beautiful this time of year. After many days of rain, the fields and forests in this area are so lush and green! The rainy days can be tough, but now on the nicer days we can see the beautiful scenery as a result. We entered the Piscassic Greenway trails from Bald Hill Road in Newfields, NH. The Mraz trail starts there through a beautiful field and then enters the wooded area. There is a community garden that might have a charitable purpose at that entrance as well. In these photos I am five months pregnant (eep!) and I managed these trails really well.

IMG_0359
Mizpah on the grassy path before we entered the woods
IMG_0366
Action shot! Happiest dog 🙂
IMG_0368
Shorts from J.Crew Factory // tshirt from J.Crew Factory // hat from Vineyard Vines // bracelet not available anymore at KJP, click link to see others!
IMG_0407
Love the lilly pads and how the sky/clouds reflected off the water

The greenway is a part of the Southeast Land Trust of NH (SELT) and the rules in general (although you should check the site for each individual property) are that dogs should be on a leash OR under owner voice control. We went on a Sunday before lunch and had the place to ourselves. We kept Mizpah on a least until we passed the community garden and then let her go! We only ended up doing the Mraz Loop and we did the Byrne Trail/Spur to the scenic outlook. There is more Byrne Trail to see and the Otis Hill Trail.

IMG_0386
Part of the cellar hole for a large building out in the woods. I wish I knew exactly what was here!
IMG_0388
A little Americana here in the woods
IMG_0394
We saw so many pink/purple lady slippers! In New Hampshire, lady slippers, loons, and lupine are held sacred.
IMG_0398
I don’t know about you, but my baseball cap collection saves my skin in the summer! Sometimes its nice to see my back because I still look normal aka not pregnant from the back haha!
IMG_0405
One last shot on the way back to the car!

This property has an interesting history. We saw many cellar holes and rock walls indicating that it was most likely a few family farms long ago. In 2005, it almost became a 102 unit subdivision called “Mill Woods”, but thankfully SELT stepped in and made a deal with developers to protect this land. The property has fields, wooded areas, and wetlands that are important habitats for NH wildlife, so I am really happy they found a way to keep it undeveloped!!

Signature 2

Advertisements

Off leash fun at Wagon Hill Farm

The end of the school year is fast approaching and I am looking forward to summer days! We have been in southeast NH for almost a year now, and we are still finding great new off leash places to take Mizpah. I have been missing hiking the 4000 footers something fierce lately, but finding new trails to walk on with Mizpah and my growing baby bump has been keeping me moving. As I write this I am just starting week 24 of my pregnancy…..crazy how time is flying. The exercise benefits for momma and baby are huge, so walking with Mizpah will be important this summer. I am also keeping up with spin classes at a gym in my town- trying to do 2–3 classes a week.

Wagon Hill Farm is a property owned by the town of Durham, NH, same town where UNH is located. The 139 acre property was acquired by the town back in 1989 to be preserved for many generations to enjoy. There are old orchards, picnic areas, a beachy area where Oyster River meets Little Bay, mowed trails through fields of grass and flowers, as well as wooded paths. Probably one of Mizpah’s favorite features is a point that juts out into the bay, perfect for puppy fetch and play in the water.

IMG_0158
Mizpah frolicking in the grass, I swear she’s part deer sometimes
IMG_0161
Leaving the meadows, entering the woods
IMG_0164
Swimming with some friends at the point! Saltwater pups 🙂
IMG_0167
Beautiful views where Oyster River meets Little Bay
IMG_0194
The time struck 10 AM and we were responsible dog owners and put baby girl back on the leash. Many dogs owners didn’t :/
IMG_0275
Perfect summer phone case! Find them under travel bags here (psst..affiliate link). Hat is from Harding Lane and bracelet is from Lemon & Line
IMG_0188
Views
IMG_0210
The wagon on wagon hill!! Not the original wagon, there have been a few!

The rules of the property are dogs allowed, but off leash only between the hours of 8 AM and 10 AM, on leash the rest of the time. Its a terrific compromise, as long as people follow the rules. Off leash properties are great, but I recognize that there are people out there that would like to enjoy being outdoors without running into off leash dogs. I wish more places would compromise like this. Many beaches in Maine allow dogs before 9 AM, after 5 PM, Gloucester beaches allow dogs off leash every other day in the offseason.

Wagon Hill Farm will definitely be added to the rotation of places to bring Mizpah. I love that it is right on Little Bay, so beautiful. Next up will be the Piscassic Greenway, a property in the Southeast Land Trust of NH.

Signature 2

Hike up Mt. Hale’s Firewarden Trail

Mt. Hale during the summer can be accessed by a trail head off Zealand Road for the Hale Brook Trail. It makes for a quick hike up 2.3 miles, down 2.3 miles. I did it in June a couple years ago and its steep, but fast. In the winter, Zealand Road is closed to traffic and becomes a snowmobile super highway! Another route becomes popular in the winter, an unofficial unmarked trail off the North Twin Trail. In the winter, there is an area to park at the end of Little River Road in Bethelehem and you take a herd path for a mile to the North Twin Trail for about a mile before you come to “the mightiest tree in the middle of the trail”. Its actually a small tree but the trail is so nice and tracked out right now, we didn’t have to search for it. Someone did knife a blaze into the little tree which is nooooo good, but in any case, it was easy to find.

IMG_9481

IMG_9483
Little River is beautiful right now, looks more like a series of small alpine pools with the rest covered in snow

Turning left at the tree takes you up the old Mt. Hale Trail, aka the Firewarden’s Trail. It is more gradual than the trail on the other side of the mountain, but takes longer at 4.7 miles. There are some switchbacks on the trail through these beautiful birch glades. I got a good picture of Mizpah in the glades. A group of backcountry skiers were on the trail too to ski through the glades which looked a bit scary, but fun. There was probably 4-6″ of new snow on the trails, so we used snowshoes the whole time to preserve and maintain the tracks.

IMG_9471
I call this, ‘Mizpah in the Birch Glades’

IMG_9480

There was a nice view area on the trail but no views with the cloud cover. The summit of Mt. Hale is wide and flat without views. There is a very large stone cairn that was barely showing above the snow, and of course the remnants of the fire tower were buried too. The fire tower on Mt. Hale was built in 1929 and removed in 1972. To see pics, head here. I wish I could have seen the tower when it was in use because the little cab on the top is unique.

IMG_9482
Old Man’s Beard on the trees right before the summit!
IMG_9467
No views on the summit, but the snow covered evergreens are so pretty
IMG_9470
And of course, hanging with the pups on the summit is a huge plus. This cairn is usually so tall! SO much of it is under the snow.

The fire warden’s trail is used in the summer because even though its a longer trail, it is more gradual. Its not as easy to follow though I am assuming in the summer when there aren’t snowshoe tracks. In the summer you can park right at the North Twin Trail head too so you can cut off that one mile herd path. It was a really nice day, over freezing and no wind, so I was nice and warm. I wish there were views, but there is always next time. Mizpah was great, got to hang with a golden retriever up on the summit. I hadn’t hiked since my birthday, so I definitely felt out of shape, but it was such a nice gradual hike, I lived through it haha.

Signature 2

Birthday Hike up Mt. Cabot

As part of our MLK weekend away in Jackson NH, we hiked up Mt Cabot on my birthday! Mt. Cabot is the 4000 footer that is farthest north, so having the opportunity to start the drive a couple hours closer was a huge reason to do that one. The hike itself is a gradual easier hike; the hardest thing about hiking Cabot is getting there.

We wore snowshoes for the entire hike, all 9 miles of it. The trail was so nice and tracked out, it would have been a shame to ruin it with post holes. The trail begins at the trout hatchery in Berlin on York Pond Road, which was nicely maintained for this time of year. You start out on the York Pond Trail, and then turn onto the Bunnell Notch Trail, and then finally the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the summit. In the interest of time, we did an in and out hike, you can do a loop from the summit down over the bulge and horn from the Kilkenny Ridge Trail to the Unknown Pond Trail, but its a longer hike.

img_8760
Mountain Views
img_8758
Another gorgeous view!

Some features as you get up near the summit include an outlook with a beautiful view, a cabin, a false summit where a fire tower used to be, and then finally the wooded summit which is past a Mt. Cabot sign which again looks like the summit. The fire warden cabin is available for public use. It’s free, first come first serve, and it sleeps 8. There used to be a wood stove in it that has been removed, and there is a picnic table inside. They keep a drum outside that collects rainwater in the summer. It’s a very primitive cabin that I believe is still maintained by the Jefferson boy scouts. Not a bad place to have a snack away from the wind, but I would only stay in there overnight if it was an emergency! The first firetower was built up there in 1911, it was rebuilt in 1924, and then taken down in 1965. It was a cold hike, the wind chill was down between -9 and -18. The sun was out though, and I had my warmest gear, so we made a great day out of it. On the way up to Jackson we actually stopped at IME in North Conway and I purchased some Black Diamond mercury mitts for myself and honestly, it made my hike so much more pleasant. They were $109.95 and worth every cent.

img_8756
The Cabot Cabin
img_8764
Had to take a pic of this fat little gray jay that followed us from the cabin to the summit!

Mt. Cabot was my 14th winter peak, and it really is one of my favorite mountains. It was a great way to spend my birthday. On the way back to the Eagle Mountain House we grabbed sandwiches at my favorite deli, J-Town. Then that night we did dinner at The Red Fox and drinks at Wildcat Tavern. All my favorites 🙂

Other posts from our MLK weekend trip up to Jackson:

Winter Weekend at The Eagle Mountain House, Jackson NH

Mountain Town Charm- Jackson, NH

Signature 2

Snowy hike up Mt. Liberty & Mt. Flume

It may not technically be winter, but it seems no one has discussed this with the White Mountains of New Hampshire. They are already quite white! This past weekend we headed up the Liberty Spring Trail to Mt. Liberty and then over to Mt. Flume and back. You can do a loop going up the Flume Slide Trail to Flume over to Liberty and then down the Liberty Spring Trail but at this time of year, the slide is a slippery treacherous mess.

We left Mizpah at home because it was a seven hour hike, 10 miles, which is just too much for Mizpah in the cold and snow. On the ridge between the peaks, we used snowshoes, and then descending from Mt. Liberty, we wore microspikes. It was beautiful up there- the snow and the rime ice were so pretty. It almost looks like another planet up there.

img_7823
Rime ice on the rocks in the cloud on Mt. Liberty
img_7833
Those are trees on the slope there, trees frozen in ice from precipitation and freezing fog.
img_7837
On top of Mt. Flume, the clouds finally parted!
img_7847
The evergreens are magical covered in snow
img_7865
Up on Mt. Liberty the second time looking back at Mt. Flume
img_7871
Looking out to Mt. Lincoln from Mt. Liberty. This might be my favorite shot of the day….all the snow covered evergreens.

The last time I did Liberty and Flume was September of 2014 and it was wet and foggy. I was so happy to see some views this time. Liberty and Flume are a part of the Franconia Ridge which is probably some of the most picturesque mountains in the Whites.

Signature 2

Black Friday Mt. Tecumseh Hike

A tradition that my husband and I started a couple years back was going hiking on Black Friday after Thanksgiving instead of going shopping. Last year REI even did a campaign for heading outdoors on Black Friday called #optoutside. They gave all of their employees a paid day off and the stores closed to all them to go out and enjoy nature with families and friends instead of in crazy lines at stores.

Sadly this year Jon had to work, but Mizpah and I hit the trails and did a little girls hike. This was my third time doing Mt. Tecumseh. It is a great 4000 footer because its so short, just took me three hours. We had to be back in the afternoon to go out with Jon’s family that night so I had to pick a quick mountain!

Usually the views from Mt. Tecumseh are lovely. Here are the views from an outlook over one of the Waterville Valley Ski trails and a view from the summit. These pics are from September 2015.

img_0957
View from outlook on Mt. Tecumseh trail, not sure which trail this is at Waterville Valley?
img_0977
View from the summit. The summit for this one is small, just a cairn up there and some views!

The weather on Friday was drastically different. Driving up, it was rainy and sleety, and just past exit 19 on 93 there was snow on the ground and trees. The hike was literally in a foggy cloud the whole way. It wasn’t raining or snowing but my jacket and pack were soaked just because the air was soggy and wet. The snow on the trails was beautiful. It was definitely fresh because literally only one person had been on the trails that morning on the snow. There were no views, it’s just white. Honestly it was almost a little disorienting.

img_7694
No views at the outlook on the ski trail, huge difference huh?
img_7701
Snowy white summit!

I wore my waterproof Marmot pants which are dead now….I put another hole in them slipping down a snow covered rock. My Marmot shell jacket is still awesomely waterproof and my pack held up with the moisture. Mizpah had her Ruffwear jacket on too which was good and kept her dry and warm!

img_7698
Its a winter wonderland in the White Mountains!
img_7695
One of the best hiking dogs you will ever meet ❤

Noone would say the conditions were optimal, but it was still a nice hike. I bare-booted the whole way up, and then threw my microspikes on for the trek down so I could go a little faster. The only thing I purchased during the holiday sales was actually a pair of Tory Burch boots. They were on sale from almost $500 to $208! I have been needing a new pair of black boots and I think these will fit the bill nicely 🙂 I know I am a little late, but I do hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family! Anyone snag anything good during the sales??

Signature 2

October Hike up Galehead Mtn

Last Sunday, despite some cloudy conditions, we hiked up Galehead Mountain in the White Mountains. This is a mountain that I have already done in July last year, but my sister and a friend needed it for their 48. Our friend brought his dog, Marshall, and this was his first hike! Its a great hike- nothing too technical, just 6 hours. There is a hut on the way to the summit with some views, the Galehead Hut, and the summit itself is in the trees. The Galehead Hut is a nice one because its just one building- so the lodge, bunks, and bathrooms are all together. Some of the huts are multiple buildings so you have to find the one with the bathrooms in it.

The trail we took in an out was called the Gale River Trail  and then Garfield Ridge Trail to the hut, and finally the Frost Trail to the summit. All together round trip the distance is about 10 miles.

p1040180
Foliage starting to turn
img_7051
Foliage on the left!

img_7050

p1040219
Mountain hat from Harding Lane here 🙂

p1040194

p1040232
Leaving the hut to head up the Frost Trail to the summit
p1040228
Four people, two dogs at the summit cairn- 16 legs in all 🙂
img_7056
Sisters ❤ LLBean packs can be found here and here.

Its always fun to hike with a group because the constant conversation makes the hike fly by. After we hiked we hit up Truant’s Tavern in Woodstock NH for some dinner. It was a cool & damp day, so having some chili really warmed me up. The trail was actually dry despite the conditions and the crossings were very manageable. The dogs were great, it was fun to see Mizpah hike with another pup.

p1040250

Signature 2

Mt. Isolation Hike

This past weekend we finally got some fall weather! My husband, Jon, and I celebrated the fantastic weather by heading up north to hike Mt. Isolation. This particular peak is just over 4000 feet at 4003 feet and is technically in the Presidential Range. I never considered it a part of the Presidential Range because it isn’t named after a president, but it is. Its also in the Dry River Wilderness, which means a couple things- any existing structures will be removed when maintenance is needed and not replaced, no bridges, some planks that are logs not lumber, signs aren’t painted, and not many blazes between signs. There was a shelter built on the trail that has been removed. There are some primitive camp sites up there though. Most people are not huge fans of the hike because it is very long, the river crossings can be treacherous, and the trail is usually muddy and gross. Right now, New Hampshire is in a drought though! So I guess the only good thing that can come from the drought is the pleasant trail I got to hike on?

We took the Rocky Branch Trail to the Isolation Trail to Davis Path up to the summit. That made a 14.5 mi, 9 hour trip. There is a shorter route in both time and mileage but it is harder up and down the Glen Boulder Trail. You gain elevation, lose it, and then gain it again. The crossings over the Rocky Branch were beautiful. Some foliage is starting to turn, mostly the leaves are green and yellow, very few red leaves.

img_6975

img_6974
Rocky Branch. These crossings can be tough in the spring and winter depending on the amount of precip the mountains get!
img_6969
My pack and fleece are both from LLBean
img_6972
The peak just to the left of center is Mt. Monroe. That ravine you can see there is Oak’s Gulf. Mt. Washington is hidden in the cloud in the right center.
img_6973
Our boots are La Sportiva Pamirs. These are the boots I would grab if I had to take one pair of shoes for a zombie apocalypse. 
img_6968
In this pic you can kinda tell how windy it was, it was crazy up there.

img_6967

Mizpah stayed home for this hike because it was just soo long. Now I only have 4 peaks left to have hiked all 48 4000 footers in NH. I need to do the three Bonds and Owls Head. We want to do both of those hikes as overnights, so I probably won’t finish until next summer. It was cold up there, and the winds were gusting up to ~50 mph. The views were so worth is though. I was just a little bummed that Mt. Washington was in a cloud. From Mt. Isolation you can take trails over to Mt. Washington, Mt. Monroe, and to the Mizpah Spring Hut just below Mt. Pierce. I am looking forward to more fall hiking, bring on the leaf peepers!

Signature 2

Carter Dome hike to finish the Carter’s!

A while back we hiked Middle & South Carter in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire but couldn’t do Carter Dome because my pup hurt her little paw pads. This past weekend we took a break from house stuff to finish the Carters. I now only have five mountains left to finish the 48 4000 footers in the Whites!! Woo! I have to hike the Bonds which is 3 peaks, Isolation, and Owls Head to finish up.

IMG_6335
Mizpah playing in the 19 Mile Brook
IMG_6337
The main building at the Carter Notch Hut
IMG_6336
Carter Pond…check out that cloud creeping up
IMG_6339
Another Carter Pond shot
IMG_6341
Looking down into the notch at the Carter Notch Hut. Those rocks down there look small, but they are the size of buildings!
IMG_6342
Looking out into the Wild River Wilderness from a view before the summit
IMG_6344
Mizpah ascending into the cloud

We went up 19 Mile Brook Trail to the Carter-Moriah Trail which has some steep parts to the summit. The Carter Notch Hut is off the Carter-Moriah Trail. This particular hut has different buildings for the bathroom, bunks, and dining area whereas a hut like the Mizpah Spring Hut has everything in just one building. The summit has the remnants of a tower which is cool even though it doesn’t have great views. We were in a cloud the day I hiked though so there were no views no matter what.

IMG_6345
We thought this was a geocache in the rocks of this cairn near the summit, but the note inside was actually a very sweet memorial tribute 🙂
IMG_6346
My trusty La Sportiva Pamirs….these are my zombie apocalypse footwear….yes we have discussed what footwear we would grab for a zombie apocalypse.
IMG_6354
Summit!
IMG_6367
In a cloud on the summit!
IMG_6366
Mizpah investigating one of the old anchors for the tower that is no longer up there

We took the Carter Dome Trail back down to the 19 Mile Brook Trail which is a little longer, but not as steep. I would MUCH rather go up something steep and come down something more gradual for my knees’s sake. It’s better for Mizpah’s joints too!!

IMG_6374
Yep, we handfeed Mizpah her food out on the trail. She never eats breakfast before we leave for a hike, so anytime we take a break, we offer her food to keep up her energy!
IMG_6385
Mizpah lounging trailside
IMG_6380
Love the scenery on the 19 Mile Brook Trail!

It was a really great hike to do after taking a little time off. We even ran into one of my favorite instagrammers out on the trail- @munjoyboy. He was coming down Carter-Moriah as we were heading up. He has AMAZING photos of many of my favorite places.

Signature 2

Southernmost Presidentials Hike

Last week, I got to do a midweek hike with my sister who is just starting out doing the 4,000 footers in NH. We did Mt. Jackson and Mt. Pierce, which are the most southern 4,000 footers in the Presidential Range. This was actually my third time hiking these two, but first time in the summer!

We took the Webster-Jackson Trail from Rt. 302 to Mt. Jackson, and then the Webster Cliff Trail over to Mt. Pierce, and finally the Crawford Path back down to Rt. 302. It was my first 4000 footer hike without my husband, and so I felt a little pressure to make sure we were on the correct trails, going the right way and so on. Mt. Webster is up there too, named after Daniel Webster, but it’s not a 4000 footer so we had to make sure we avoided that trail.

Mt. Jackson is actually not named after Andrew Jackson, our 7th president. It is named after Charles Jackson who was a physician and the state’s geologist! On the way to Mt. Pierce, named for Franklin Pierce, is the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) run Mizpah Spring Hut. It was a really nice one. It made me miss my pup, Mizpah, but her paw pads were still healing.

IMG_5889
View down from Mt. Jackson. You can just barely see the Mt. Washington Hotel down there! Just to the right of center with that red roof!
IMG_5892
Sisters at the summit!
IMG_5890
The rest of the Presidentials from Jackson, you can see Washington perfectly high up on the right!
IMG_5896
Mizpah Spring Hut, just below the summit of Mt. Pierce
IMG_5898
The Mizpah bell in the hut, reminded me of my pup!
IMG_5900
Matching Merrell boots up on top of Mt. Pierce! Mine on the left are just really old haha. Mt. Pierce was originally named Mt. Clinton after DeWitt Clinton, a governor of NH.
IMG_5904
Just starting out on the Crawford Path, beautiful views of the Presis
IMG_5905
Someone on the trail got really excited about my mountain hat, said he was friends with one of the Harding Lane guys! We probably could have had a nice convo if I wasn’t so awkward and unable to speak more than “hi, how are you, have a nice hike” haha

IMG_5906

The Crawford family….you really can’t discuss the history of the White Mountains without talking about a few families, and the Crawford’s are definitely one. Abel and Ethan were father and son. They cleared a path up from Rt 302 to Mt. Pierce (Clinton then) over to Mt. Washington and guided hikers up. Abel at 75 years old in 1840 ascended this trail to Mt. Washington on horseback!! The path is just over 8 miles and goes over Mt. Eisenhower, Mt. Monroe, past the Lake in the Clouds, and ends up at Mt. Washington’s summit.

It was a really hot day which meant drinking lots of water. Having the hut was nice to fill up and not have to worry about running out of water. When we finished our hike, we headed to the Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery for a beer and some food. So delicious. I got the chicken salad melt which is an open faced sandwich on their spent grain bread, and my sister got a bison bacon bbq burger. We both got their summer beer which is deliciously light and refreshing. It was just a great day with my sister, so thankful to be able to hike with her!

Signature 2