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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Phoebes Nable Trail Work 7-4-16

"Oh Deer!" (pictures)

Having had a crazy Spring and not getting out to do any hiking up North or even at Moose Mountains we finally had the chance and the gumption to get up to MMR. We grabbed the loppers and sickle and off we went. As always this time of year, the deer flies were swarming like hungry vampires with wings. But a hat with the convertible snap on piece that covers the neck kept them from snacking on us!

We began on the Phoebes Nable Mountain Trail. Branches needed to be cut back and some weeds needed to be cut back as well. But all-in-all the trail is getting used and there was a definable path. The first junction trail signs had been grown in so we moved them onto the trail where they could be seen. We continued up the steep skid roads working our way almost to the summit.

As I was cutting the weeds I stopped briefly and looked up. "Well hello there" I exclaimed. There, stood a doe just looking at me, licking her lips as she was foraging along the hiking trail. She just stood there staring as I got my phone out and began video taping the encounter. She didn't move until I started walking towards her. Yet another wonderful experience at MMR!

We made it to the summit and plopped down for a much needed lunch! A cardinal sang in the tree nearby and the view was clear out to the horizon. Beautiful day with perfect temperatures for trail work! Wood Lilies could be seen just below the summit ledges, a small population of 3 plants that come back each year. You don't see these often so it is exciting that they grow here.

We now continued our work on the Phoebes Nable Loop trail. Just opened a year earlier on the same date. We started at the first junction where I put a couple arrow signs up leading hikers off the old trail that is now closed. We will at some point be getting trail signs up. Not a whole lot had to be done on the rest of the trail. Branches above the head that were reachable needed to be cut. Mostly for a better sight down the trail but also for winter hiking when the snow pack raises the hiking level and also snow weighing branches down.

I re-wrote the trail info. on the plastic sign at the trail head and we headed out to the Burrows Field. Wild flowers are in full bloom in the field and along the woods road. Further down the Burrows Farm trail we ran into a porcupine, a regular sighting here at MMR. He waddled down the road ahead of us before be-lining into the woods and up a tree.

Was a wonderful day at a property we love. Bug season should be winding down soon so get up there and enjoy the trails!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Moose Mountains Group Hike 3/5/16

"Snow Shoe Hike Minus the Snow Shoes" (pictures)

We scheduled our annual snow shoe hike a week later this year in "hopes" of some snow. We got a dusting! So the snow shoe hike would be a bare boot/micro spike hike instead...and that's fine with me! We had a good turn out, there were 7 participants this year.

We met at the parking lot and began our hike. We hiked up Beauty Ledge trail to the ledge where we enjoyed a snack and a crystal clear view. We then hiked down Beauty Knob trail where we got to see a big porcupine climbing a tree. We continued on hiking down North trail to loop around back to Burrows Farm trail where we hiked up to the field. Then it was an easy hike up Phoebes Nable Loop trail to the summit where we were all ready to eat lunch! After we relaxed, ate and took in another great view we headed to Phoebes Nable Mt. trail back down to the parking lot.

Trails were a little icy here-and-there and is very likely to be all clear now as I write this a week later.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Phoebes Nable Mt. Loop 2/17/16

"Another Winter 2016 Spring-Like Day" (pictures)

In looking at the weather for Wednesday (upper 30's and sunny) and feeling the need to get out in the woods solo, I decided the night before I would go hiking at MMR. Was a late night at work and I got up later than I had wanted, but still had time to get out. The parking lot had been plowed, one swipe up to the kiosk so it is still accessible with a 4x4 or all-wheel drive.

Snow shoes and backpack strapped on I headed up Burrows Farm trail at about 1:15pm. Despite the recent snow we had the rain and warm temps that followed melted the snow pack back down to just a few inches leaving just enough for snow shoes. I stopped at the lower Burrows Falls just after the bridge for a picture. The brooks and streams were all flowing like it was Spring thaw. I climbed back up the bank and paused at the North trail junction to decide on what I wanted to hike.

I continued on Burrows Farm trail and thought I might hike up the Moose Mountains trail to the rocky-ridge pitch pine forest. But by the time I got there I was getting tired and it was too late. So after stopping at the cascade at the trail junction I hiked up to the Burrows Field. Grass was showing through the tiny amount of snow left. The warm sun felt great, interrupted now-and-then by a burst of cold air.

Continuing on to the Phoebes Nable Loop trail I began the gradual ascent of the mountain. This trail is so enjoyable to snow shoe, nice gradual climb and plenty to look at. Pretty trees, large rocks and ledges. A moose had been here recently and was also enjoying the new trail system! Further up a porcupine had been through and had chewed up a couple of his favorite spruce trees leaving them almost baren and twigs scattered all around their trucks.

I made the final push to the summit and sat down on a rock seat and enjoyed the view and solitude for a little while. So beautiful and quite it was, the world below can look so serene and peaceful from a mountain top. After a snack I headed down the Phoebes Nable Mt. trail. Along the way I spotted more moose tracks, another porcupine track and twig mess at another's favorite tree and came across what looked like a galloping fox track. I ended back at the parking lot at 3:15pm.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Beauty Ledge Loop 2/7/16

"Not Enough Snow for Snow Mobiles, Just Enough for Snowshoes" (pictures)

It was one of those beautiful days post-snow storm! After a warm couple weeks and rain there was little if any snow left on the trails. We then received about 6" of wet snow Friday and by the weekend the weather was pretty nice for February. We were able to make it into the unplowed parking lot without trouble. No one had yet been here since the snow.

We began our snow shoe hike on the Burrows Farm trail up to the North trail. This sections had not yet been open to snow mobiles not had the groomer been through yet. Up past the gate and at the Piper Mt. trail junction was where we met the groomed section of trail. While there was not yet enough base for snow mobiles the groomer did roll this section of trail out in hopes of compacting a base layer. With off-and-on snow this coming week the trails should finally be passable.

It was certainly nice to have the groomed trail to our selves. The sun had already been working on heating up the rocks under the snow pack and they were poking up through the snow. We past the Beauty Ledge junction and decided to loop counterclockwise continuing on North trail to the Beauty Knob trail. We followed this trail (which we need to open up more this summer) to the junction with Beauty Ledge trail.

We made our way up over the knob and down to the ledge. We had lunch and hung out making a snow man, taking pics and enjoying the quite. Once we had our fill and had begun to cool down we headed back down, staying on the ledge trail. We dropped back down to North trail and down to the parking lot where a car had made it into the parking lot. They had headed up Phoebes Nable Mt. trail as evidence of the bare-boot tracks going up the trail.

A great day, hiking in just a long sleeve shirt for most of the hike. Rodent tracks were visible along the top of the snow in many parts of our hike and there were a lot of porcupine trails all over the forest and along/across the hiking trails. We cleared a small tree that had fallen across a section of Beauty Ledge trail, otherwise trails were clear.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Phoebes Nable Loop Trail Opening July 2015

Rock Steps

Final work days last Wednesday and this past Friday to get Phoebes Nable Loop trail completed (to a passable state) was done. This trail has been a year-and-a-half in the making! It was first laid out and cut under the direction of Nate Preisendorfer of North Star Trails in September 2013. 500+ back-breaking work hours with 2 dozen volunteers later we are near completion! We fixed some sections along the treadway and opened up the trailhead and top of the trail. Roots, rocks and stumps had to be removed along with some more duff layer on the treadway. We also got a rock work project done Friday placing 3 large steps on the upper portion of the trail.

Our Trail Opening hikers
Saturday July 4th, 2015 we had our trail opening hike. Our friends Joann and Tony who abbutt theproperty were in attendance as well as my brother Jeremy and his girlfriend Cate and fellow land steward Kate W. After meeting at the parking lot we headed out 10:15am up Burrows Farm trail. It is a gentle woods road walk past Hall Spring and along the Burrows Brook which you cross over a couple times (bridges). We entered the Burrows Field where once the 1800's farm sat and entered the woods to the trailhead for the new trail.

Tony paints first blaze (by: Joann Coskie)
Tony had the honors of putting up the first trail blaze (blue). It was this day in 2011 we put up our first blaze on this property so it was fitting to open this trail on the same day 4 years later! The new trail replaces the more direct trail to the summit of Phoebes Nable Mt. The old trail is severely washed out and not a pleasant hike especially for kids or elderly. 

Stone Staircase
The new Phoebes Nable Loop trail is a sustainable trail approximately 1/2 mile long, with gentle grades, good footing, stone steps and long gentle switchbacks. Along the way enjoy rock erratics, ledges, a pine grove and an impressive stone staircase built by volunteers. In winter partial views are seen to the North side of the property.

Phoebes Nable Summit
We blazed the trail all the way up to the summit where we took a break for lunch. It was such a beautiful day! Mt. Agamenticus was visible in York, ME as was the nearby Blue Hills Range of Blue Job, Hussey and Parker to name the trailed peeks. Also many marshes were visible in this, the largest non-developed forest in South Eastern NH which is also the main watershed for the Salmon Falls River.

Trail Section along ledge
After lunch we blazed our way back down the way we came (a loop can be done from the summit using the Phoebes Nable Mt. trail - which is steep - that follows woods roads directly to the parking lot). I believe it was 1:30 when we arrived back to the parking lot. The trail is now open (temporary signs in place) and the old trail section is brushed-in at the junction points with the new trail. There is still some work to be done so watch out for the occasional stump, root or hole in the trail! We plan on getting it to 100% this summer and host another hike for a Grand Opening in September :) Look for this and other trail descriptions for Moose Mountains Reservation in this years 4th Edition AMC Southern NH Trail Guide Book!

Thanks to all who have given their time and effort to get this trail done! Hope to see you on the trails, and be sure to post pictures and reports if you visit on our Facebook Page>

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Phoebes Nable Loop Trail Opening Hike

- PLEASE email me to sign-up for this event!

* All hiking abilities are welcome as well as children who are comfortable and able to hike.

* Bring/wear appropriate clothing, food/lunch and water.

*We will meet at the parking area at the end of New Portsmouth Road in Middleton, NH. We will hike out and back to Phoebes Nable Mt. summit via Burrows Farm trail and Phoebes Nable Loop trail. We will break for lunch on the 180 degree open summit.

*When: July 4th, 2015 at 10:00am to 3:00pm

The time has finally come! This project at Moose Mountains Reservation began with the desire to cut out a side-path to by-pass an extremely washed out, slippery section of the North side of Phoebes Nable Mt. Trail. We wrote a grant to get funds so the Forest Society could hire a trail builder to help and train us and volunteers on trail building.

A grant was awarded (if I remember right by the September 2013 we began the lay-out of a 1/2 mile new trail that would completely replace the old one! Guided by Nate Preisendorfer of North Star Trails, we scouted, flagged and cut the corridor and began a 2-month long construction of a stone staircase. The year-and-a-half to follow Scott and I spent dozens of hours a week building the trail and leading work days that saw nearly 2-dozen volunteers putting in approximately 500 hours of trail work!

This will be the first sustainable hiking trail built on Forest Society property and perhaps the first in decades in all of NH. (what is a sustainable trail? It was with great excitement that Steve Smith of White Mountain Book Store thought it would be great to include this and our other trails in the 2015 AMC Southern NH trail guide book. The timing was perfect! And now as we make finishing touches to the trail the book is released and we want to get it open for everyone to enjoy.

July 4th is a special time for us at MMR. It was the day we put our first trail blaze on this neglected property in our first year as land stewards in 2011. So much has changed here to make MMR a family friendly, wonderful place to hike and enjoy the natural beauty of this area! We hope you join us, and if not, hope you can hike it on your own soon!