A recap of my first hiking experiences in the state.
I moved to Merrimack in June of 2022, and short road trips within the state and up the Main coast consumed most of my weekends. My boyfriend and I started off the summer season with a mild hiking trip to Pulpit Rock Conservation Area in Hillsborough County, NH. I highly HIGHLY recommend the app, AllTrails if you enjoy the outdoors. It shows numerous hiking and walking trails in your area, and you can track which trails you’ve completed in real time as well as add your own photos. It’s also helpful to read the reviews of other hikers on the app before heading out on the trail unprepared.
We decided to complete one of the shorter hikes because, let’s face it, I am NOT the most athletically inclined. It was unfortunately rainy that afternoon, but altogether a lovely hike. We spotted some chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms on a log beside the trail and promptly packed them away to prepare once we reached home. Mushroom Safety 101: always be 100% sure of the mushroom type before consuming! There are plenty of websites and guides for that sort of thing, as well as advice on when and where the best conditions for foraging are.
I am a big fan of finding small local trails to explore, but it is also worth checking out the White Mountains of the Appalachian Trail. The range covers portions of both New Hampshire and Main and is a huge tourist attraction as it is a national forest. There are 733 peaks, with the highest being Mount Washington standing at a whopping 6,288 feet. I have yet to try many of the hikes this forest has to offer, as it is considered the most rugged terrain of New England. I successfully completed half (yes half) of the climb up Franconia Notch this summer. My boyfriend went back alone and finished the entire trail weeks later, stating the view was spectacular and well worth the exhaustion. If you endure the notch, don’t forget to stop in the gift shop and snap a selfie with the giant wooden moose! Franconia also supplies the Basin, where water from melting ice thousands of years ago is said to have smoothed and hollowed out this bathtub-like formation. It’s a very short hike from Tramway Drive off 93. The best way to end the evening is with a cold beer and a pulled pork waffle from Red Parka Pub in Glen, NH.
Christmas eve, we took a 3.3 mile trek around the Flume trails between Bedford and Amhearst. Roughly 16 wild turkeys and several deer were able to be spotted on our hike. A couple apps I recommend, specifically for bird tracking, are eBird and Merlin Bird ID. Merlin helps identify your species through sound and photos, and eBird allows you to share your logs with the world. It’s pretty neat for those slower, more lazy trips in the woods. The winter weather and freshly fallen snow allowed us to catch some incredible tracks as well.
The last two photos appear to be squirrel tracks and male wild turkey tracks (notice the spur holes).
Hiking in New Hampshire is doable in any season, as long as you are well prepared. I encourage everyone to check out their local hiking and walking trails if boredom arises for a fun and free outdoor activity. If there is a hike you’d like to see me test out and mention on my blog, message me on Instagram @dancinggibby. I will definitely be adding to my trail experiences in the coming year once the weather becomes more tolerable. Thanks for reading and happy hiking!
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