Greeley Pond trail was recommended to me as a beginner’s hike. The trail was relatively flat and brought travelers to Upper and Lower Greeley Ponds. My friend and I decided to see for ourselves what this trail had to offer.
Although spring has finally sprung in Plymouth, it is still winter in the mountains. Dawned with snowshoes, we drove down the Kancamagus highway to the Greeley Ponds Trailhead. We began our trek through the boreal forest to find a few stream crossings. There was still a decent amount of snow in this area.
We had begun our journey later in the day but we didn’t seem to even think about the time. We gossiped and had deep conversations while making our way down the trail. We came to the first pond as we descended a slippery slope towards the shore. It was then that we noticed how low the sun was. While at the pond, we witnessed the sun begin to set and decided it was time to head back.
With the sun behind the mountains, the temperature dropped quickly as we hurried our way out the woods. By the time we had reached the car, it was almost completely dark. Overall, the hike didn’t prove too difficult but did prove that conditions in the mountains are much different than that of the valley.
Plymouth Mountain was a spontaneous choice for my friend Mary and I. It doesn’t live on any hiking lists and I heard the views weren’t great, but we went for it anyways. The total distance was around 3 miles out and back. We began in the morning and Mary dawned snowshoes while I just went with microspikes. There was still a decent amount of snow around. We crossed a small stream and quickly came to a logging road junction. We continue up in elevation. It was a beautiful, clear day and I hoped we’d see some kind of view.
Time dragged on as the forest played tricks on us. After every small hill, we’d feel like we were near the summit only to find another hill behind the last. After what seemed like hours, we found a small spur trail that felt like it may have a view and boy did it. The view was not a large opening but showed the White Mountains to the north still capped with snow. We sat there for a while and enjoyed it. To feel as though we had actually completed the hike, we had to go searching for a summit. I was on the lookout for a cairn, geological reference, or sign. All we had found was a small cairn and I deemed that was enough. It was only after the hike that I discovered through some extra research there was a sign up there.
In the rare occasion that I go home to Rhode Island, I try and find my way outside. This trip into the outdoors took my younger sister and I to Rocky Point, in Warwick, Rhode Island. The weather was mild for a late-winter, early-spring day, even with the gloomy overcast skies. My sister and I rarely see each other so it was a nice chance to get out and hangout like we did while we were children.
Rocky Point used to be an amusement park in the 50’s but currently is a park with trails and a small beach. This park is unique since it still has pieces of rides lingering and a large parking lot that shows how nature will always find its way back when left untouched. The trails are relatively flat but still had some snow lingering. We skirted down the trails towards the ocean and sat on the rocks. We chatted and looked back on our childhood memories. We trudged through snow and ice to make our way around. The trail system is relatively short and in comparison of other “hikes”, I’m not sure this would compare. Although shorter and smaller, this adventure still proved to be a great day and allowed me to sit and reflect with family.
Some friends came up to visit from Rhode Island and of course, I had to take them for a little hike. We ventured east through Ashland to Bald Ledge Scenic Area. We parked in a small, muddy lot and began our trek. The topographical map showed a relatively flat hike with a distance of approximately a mile round trip. When I told my friends this, they took it upon themselves to dress up for “cute pics”. My friend Nicole wore fishnet tights and a leather skirt. I knew this would make for an interesting hike!
The trail was a huge mud pool, marking the beginning of the infamous New Hampshire “mud season”. My friends groaned about their shoes and outfits, while I was perfectly content in my jeans, flannel, and water-proof hiking boots. Our largest obstacle faced with this trail was one stream crossing. The water was a decent depth and was flowing quickly. I decided to walk right through it and came to the other side unharmed and dry. Nicole and the others didn’t want to go through the stream and were determined to find another way across. They walked through snow along the stream bank and found some rocks to cross on. The rocks were slippery and I watched with anxiety as each of them crossed. Nicole was last and as her Doc Martens hit the rocks, I prayed that she wouldn’t fall in. I couldn’t imagine the rest of the hike if she got wet, we wouldn’t hear the end of it. She made it safely across and I took a breath of relief as we continued on.
We can to the end of the trail and a beautiful lookout. The view opened up to see Winona Lake and Lake Winnipesaukee and the mountains of the Sandwich Range. I pointed out a few peaks that I had hiked before to my friends. They got their cute pictures and we began to head back. I always enjoy bringing friends out to see what a beautiful area I get to live in. I also find it quite humorous to bring them out into nature since they are definitely city kids at heart 🙂
This is a little detour from my usual New Hampshire hiking content. A few friends and I spontaneously drove down to Nashville, TN for a long weekend trip. On the way down, we decided to make a few stops to break up the eighteen hour commute. In Kentucky, we pulled off of the highway to go and check another national park off of my list.
We pulled into Mammoth Caves National Park and drove down a long winding road through the forest. We came to a stop at a visitor center and noticed that for a Friday morning there seemed to be a large amount of people there. The sky was clear and the temperature hung around 65, my definition of a perfect day. We bought tickets to access the caves and went into the park. We walked through a small valley which was coated with daffodils as far as the eye could see. It was odd to feel as if we were already in late spring in Kentucky but back in NH it was snowing.
We walked down a large metal staircase into a large cave opening which had a small waterfall falling over it. We walked towards the dark opening and I began to feel excited and anxious, not knowing what we were going to see. The cave opening had shallow ceilings and close walls, luckily my short stature was helpful in this moment. Once we were further in, the cave quickly expanded into large cavernous rooms. My friends and I walked in awe through rooms and rooms of this cave and even got to see a bat asleep on a wall.
Once out of the cave, we walked through the park to a small lookout to view the rest of the forest valley. This detour on our trip was the perfect break from the car. I soaked up the sun and embraced the warmer temperatures before we loaded back into the car to continue our journey. I’m always grateful for spontaneity and the company of good friends in nature.
This hike was a disaster from the start. My friends and I decided to head out on a hike since the weather was sunny with temperatures in the 50’s, a rarity in late winter and a sign that spring was on it’s way. We loaded up the car and drove through the lakes region while singing at the top of our lungs. The time was around 2:00PM and I didn’t worry at all. There was still snow on the ground but it had been so warm that we didn’t worry about ice. We arrived at the trailhead parking lot and walked by fenced in pastures. The trail started with no snow and streams of water flowing in all directions. At one point, the trail resembled a waterfall. We quickly made our way up to the first lookout and began to notice more and more snow. We hopped to avoid some stray ice and found ourselves on a rocky outcropping on the side of the mountain. We took a few breaks but continued on our way slowly.
Time flew by as we fell continuously through the snow (post-holing) up to our knees and sometimes our thighs. We laughed at our pain and continued on covered in scratches and bruises. Near the summit, we walked through a small pine forest with a shallow layer of fog rolling in between the trees. This is my favorite moment of any hike, walking through a small forest that seems to have been handcrafted for me and my small stature. As we continued, we noticed some large feline-like paw prints fresh in the partially melted snow, this was a little worrisome. We finally summited and found a limited view with a small wooden sign. I noticed some large clouds moving in as the sun began to set. This is where I began to get a little more nervous. I had a cheap headlamp on me and a flashlight but my other friends lacked the proper gear. I immediately urged my friends that we should begin our descent.
As we began to head down, the sun was gone as we had found ourselves in a cloud. It began to drizzle and we were off trail, trying to find our way. After what seemed like forever we found our footprints and moved quickly to avoid getting hypothermia, as the temperature dropped very quickly while the rain picked up. It pitch black by the time we were back at the first lookout. With the small light of my headlamp, I guided us down the trail waterfall and through the rest of the streams back to the trailhead. We were greeted by a man with a flashlight asking if we were the last ones out. He then proceeded to tell us that there is a pack of bobcats living in the area and have been seen on the mountain. We walked back to the car in silence as everyone let their exhaustion sink in. This hike is not one of my favorites, but makes for a great story.
This hike is one of the earliest ones I’ve ever been on. For some strange reason, my friend and I decided to attempt a sunrise hike in winter. We left around 5:00AM and some small snowflakes began to fall as we made our way north. The trailhead for Mt. Pemigewasset (sometimes referred to as “Indian Head”) began at the Flume Gorge Visitors center. The parking lot was bare as we began our hike. The first step to the hike included trying to find the trail in the dark at 5:30 in the morning. With my $1 Walmart headlamp and microspikes on, we began our ascent. The trail began flat as we passed under I-93 and then began a gradual ascent through a dark and mysterious forest. I was too tired to think about the creatures that could be roaming the woods at this hour, instead I focused on the arduous task of moving my feet, one in front of the other.
The trail contained a few switchbacks and stream crossings while we made our way up. As we moved up in elevation, I observed the sky move from pitch black to lighter shades of gray. We summited before the sunrise and waited on the ice encrusted ledge that viewed south. I already knew that the gloomy shades of gray we were viewing were going to be our “sunrise”. The sky was overcast and the temperatures hung around freezing. I was sweating through my coat about halfway through our ascent, so now I dawned just my Led Zeppelin t-shirt. I sat and dangled my boots over the edge of the cliff and gazed out at the snow-covered trees below. It’s views like this that I love to send to my parents to give them a good scare.
Feeling a little disappointed with our lack of sunrise, we began our descent down. It took us only half of the time that it took us to make it up. We were back at the car around 8:00AM and began the drive home. I have a love/hate relationship with hikes this early. I love sleeping but I also love the fact that we had finished our hike before some people even began their day.
I was nervous for this hike. I usually hike with the same friends because we have a groove. I am not a quick hiker, I am more of a laid-back, enjoy every view type. I was nervous for this hike because I was going with a new friend who seemed very experienced in the outdoors. I was worried that she would be a fast hiker and that I would feel pressured to push my physical limits on the trip. I quickly found out that I was wrong and that once again, my mind built up unneeded anxiety.
My friend Emily and I ventured north to Franconia Notch State Park. We were set to hike up the lonesome lake trail. Starting in the Lafayette campground parking lot, we dove under a steel barricade and began our trek. The trail was packed powder which was helpful because we were lacking microspikes or snowshoes (a winter hiking faux pas). In my head, I imagined a generally flat trail but it proved to be the opposite. The trail rose quickly and wound through the forest, with peek-a-boo views of Franconia Ridge behind us.
We came to a junction and the lake laid before us. We could either take the trail around the lake to the AMC hut or bravely walk across the lake. In the distance we saw a few people standing in the middle of the lake and decided to go right across. Once in the middle, we turned and behind us were the beautiful snow-covered peaks of Franconia Ridge. It’s hard to believe I have been up there, when from this vantage point it seemed so high and far away.
We walked over to the AMC hut and warmed up while enjoying the decor of the wooden-clad interior. After regaining feeling in our fingers, we decided that it was time to brave the cold again and head back. We started back on the trail and found that the best method of getting down was slowly sliding from tree to tree since we didn’t have proper traction. We laughed, fell, and got back to car with some snow still stuck to us. I had a great day and found that I misjudged my friendship with Emily. She didn’t care about my hiking physicality and was actually just as experienced as I was. Overall, this day helped strengthen our friendship on and off of the trail.
The sky was gray and I was lacking any motivation to go and climb a mountain. My friend Maria picked me up in her Jeep and we began our hour trek north to the trailhead. We traveled down winding backroads which quickly turned from pavement to a mixture of dirt and rocks. As the car jolted over every bump, I couldn’t help but feel thankful that we didn’t take my small sedan on this trip. We arrived at the Mt. Israel trailhead in Sandwich, NH by 8:00AM. I don’t prefer to wake up early on the weekends, but when it comes to hiking, I’d rather go in the morning.
The trail quickly rose in elevation as we made our way. We gossiped as we crossed streams and found that it became hard to continue our conversation with our lack of breath. The trail was littered with boulders that required help from my arms to get my 5’2″ body up and over them. As we gained elevation, it was obvious that this area received a decent amount of snow. We were lacking snow shoes and spikes, so I was hoping that we would still be able to summit. We made it past a few icy areas that took precise maneuvering and we finally got a view.
As we gazed out into the Sandwich Wilderness, we noticed that the trail we had been following stopped. The tracks in the snow did not continue and there were no blazes or cairns in sight. Being the more experienced hiker, Maria looked to me for the decision making. Were we at the summit? Do we continue? I was unsure if this was the summit because there was no sign and if there was a geological marker, it was buried under feet of snow. I decided that since we were lacking gear that we should not continue and head back down.
Although we may have not summited, that’s not what’s important to me. The most important factor in a hike for me is our safety and if overall we got something out of it. I got to spend quality time with a friend in the outdoors instead of sitting in my room watching netflix. Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation and I constantly have to battle with my mind, but in the end I find it’s always worth it, even if I’m exhausted.
Today’s adventure was more of a walk than a hike, but it still served as a brilliant day. With fresh powder on the ground, Teresa and I spontaneously decided to have a post-class adventure. With daylight fleeting, our options were limited. We settled on a quick jaunt around Quincy Bog, a local Plymouth gem.
I grabbed a couple of pairs of snowshoes from the Outdoor Center and we hit the road. Upon arrival, we saw that the fresh snow was untouched. We strapped in and started to break trail. Although the terrain was relatively flat, the going was slow. The straps on my snowshoes were coming undone every few minutes, making the experience slightly less enjoyable. But the peak of it all was the complete and utter silence.
One of my favorite things about the woods is the stillness. Besides the slight whisper of wind, I enjoyed the sound of silence that surrounded me. We only made it a quarter of the way around the bog before turning back. Although the trip was short, it was still worthwhile.