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Sunday, October 30, 2011

MMR Burrows Field 10/30/11

"The October Snow Storm!" (pictures)

It was one for the record books! Snow accumulations all over the state of 4, 8, 12, even 24 inches of snow! Sunday after the storm had passed we decided to take a walk at Moose Mountains and check the scene. When we arrived a vehicle/s had driven through the snow bank. We parked in the snow filled lot, about 10 inches of snow had fallen in this area! We then walked up the truck tracks rather thankful not having to trudge through the snow! The bright foliage against the snow was awesome! The weather was nice and the crisp air woke us up quick!

Up the trail Scott spotted a large hornet hive hanging from a tree just off trail past the Hall Spring. Funny how this nest so close to the road was not visible during the summer! We continued across the bridge and up the hill. We got to the road junction where the Burrows property is located on the left. We figured that was who the tire tracks belonged to as they have a hunting camp there. It was past this we wished we had brought our snow shoes. No more tire tracks to follow!

We passed the trail junction sign, the new orange posts we installed a few days earlier showing up awesome against the white snow as hoped. We then made the climb up to the Burrows Field. The wind picked up here a bit as we trudged through the deep snow. Up at the sign post we took pics and took in the contrasting colorful foliage, white snow and blue sky. Beautiful! From here we headed back down taking the Burrows road as a short cut!

Marking the Sign Posts for Winter 10/25/11

"Orange Sticks, in Case of Snow" (pictures)

Wendy (Forester SPNHF) had mentioned to us that our sign posts should be marked with some sort of marker just in case the winter snow accumulated enough to cover the signs. The problem being that they are right along snow mobile trails. So we need to make sure they are visible so as not to get damaged by snow mobiles or groomers and of course we don't want anyone hurt hitting one of these posts! So I spray painted some wood poles with Fluorescent orange and affixed some reflectors to them. We screwed these into the sign posts so that they rise about 4 feet above them. Hopefully this works out fine and should show up really good against white snow! Bring on the winter....well, not yet!

We first drove up to the Piper Mt. trail junction sign and got the first pole in. We picked up beer cans up here...a never ending battle unfortunately. Then we drove up and parked on Burrows Farm trail. Along the way up Burrows Farm trail we ran into a hiker. We small talked and he mentioned that him and a lady were taking pics of a porcupine in an apple tree up at the field. Cool! We got the 2nd pole in and headed for the field. We found the porcupine still in the tree just below the old farm site. This is the 3rd porcupine I have seen on this property, or possibly the 2nd sighting of the same one! We took some pics of this cute guy who apparently just wanted to snack on some apples and probably wasn't expecting all this unwanted attention!

We made our way up to the Burrows Field sign post and got our last post up. I got some foliage pictures that I had been wanting from this area and we headed down. Always something up here to keep you coming back for more! Such a beautiful, wild property that has really captured my soul!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

SPNHF Moose Mountain Hike 10/22/11

"A one-of-a-kind Pitch Pine Community" (pictures)

Since Scott and I became volunteer land stewards for Moose Mountains Reservation in Middleton, NH we had only made the steep hike up to the pitch pine forest a couple times. We were spending all of our time on the lower trails and getting them blazed and trimmed first. And so, this Forest Society field trip sparked my interest and I had hoped to learn about it, including why exactly it is considered "one-of-a-kind in NH"! We hadn't been up to this area from the old Ski area yet and that is where the trip began.

There was a large turn-out! I was rather surprised to see two dozen people bundled up in the windy, overcast morning ready to do some exploring. This trip was led by Forest Society's Mike Speltz along with some staff from Moose Mountains Regional Greenway's whom have worked closely with SPNHF on Moose Mountains. Today we would be viewing acreage that flanks the ski area and continues above it along the pitch pine hill tops covering several summit areas.

The purpose; to get public support for the purchase/easement of this property which would add 500 acres to Moose Mountains Reservation's which already sits at 2300! This would also permanently protect this rare pitch pine community. *Picture to left: The proposed property is in RED. It flanks the Moose Mountain Recreation area and includes all of the property from half-way up the old ski lift and up to the Moose Mountains Reservation property. The trails we used are marked in YELLOW

The trip began at 10am. As the land stewards for MMR we wanted to join this trip so we could help out in any way we could and so we could lend any knowledge we had obtained of the property in our short 5 months of exploring it. We set out for the left side of the ski area (Moose Mountain Recreation) and headed up an old skid road which I believe was also a ski trail when it was in operation. Mike took the lead while we kept the rear of the group with an MMRG lady (whose name I can't recall...sorry!) The hike was steep as it climbed nearly 800 feet in about a mile! Along the way Mike introduced us to the group and let them know some of what we do and to chat with us if they wanted to learn more. He also talked about the different hardwood and pine tree's as we got more and more glances of colorful views as we climbed.

When we arrived at the flat area at the top of the ski area we gathered around the old ski lift and looked out at the wonderful view of foliage. Wentworth and Kingswood lakes were in view. We could also see Chocorua, which seemed to be hogging the sunlight all day as it's rocky summit and ledgy ridges glowed against the cloudy sky's. To the left the Sandwich range was in view as well as the Ossipee range. To the right, Carter notch was barely visible.

After a short break we continued the hike over more easier elevation and finally emerged into the "rocky-ridge pitch pine forest". The bright red and orange blueberry bushes were a sharp contrast to the gray ledge and scruffy barked green pines. Mike stopped to tell us about this area. Namely that the pitch pine should not be growing here. It is one-of-a-kind in NH that a pitch pine forest of this size is growing at such relatively low elevation.

At the 3 way intersection at the height-of-land we went right and followed the road to a flat shelf-like ledge. Scott and I had been in this area before! Mike led a bush-whack down further and onto another ledge area. Here we stopped and had our lunch. Mike talked more about the forest we were in and we enjoyed some laughs and small talk. Once lunch was done I asked if Mike new there was a road just through the woods that leads down to the South side into the reservation. There is more pitch pine and a nice view not far that I wanted the group to see. He told us to lead the way!

We made a short whack to the road and out into a ledgy area with partial views. I informed the group that the road we were on connects down to the reservation and let everyone know about my MMR blog in hopes to get more people interested and hiking in the reservation. After some talking and photo shots we headed up the road. Back at the three way intersection the group stopped ahead. I figured Mike new where he was going or at least recognized this junction but he began to head left. He looked down at us and I signaled right. We all got a good laugh out of it!

The trip down was a bit tricky with the steep, loose and wet rock but we descended quickly. Back at the ski lift Mike decided we'd try the other ski trail on the opposite side of the ski area. And so we descended down the steep trail. We had two guys (from what I saw) slip on the way down, but nothing major. We all arrived back down at the parking lot from what was an enjoyable hike and not to bad of a day for weather. Could have been better, but could have been worse too. At least we had some views and it didn't rain! And we got to talk with friends we had already met at MMR and got to talk with others interested in what a volunteer land steward does.

MMR Burrows Farm 8/30/11

"Cleaning Up From Irene" (pictures)

We did a quick walk of Moose Mountains Reservation's Burrows Farm trail Tuesday to see if there was any trail/road damage or trees to remove from Tropical Storm Irene. Power was out all the way through and there was extensive damage to the log home that sits just before the MMR Kiosk. A large tree landed in front of the house taking out the front porch and damaging the front face of the home. Yikes! We cleared some small branches from the start of the road/trail and continued driving up the road. We stopped now and then to clear small branches and such and moved on. We passed the North trail junction and up the hill where we found a large section of tree across the road. Scott began to clip the branches off of it as I tempted to axe the top section off. Once this was done we rolled it into the drainage ditch until it can be cut with a chainsaw and moved easier.

We parked at the river crossing and continued the "limb hunt" on foot. The road looked pretty good on this section. Some minor wash-out here-and-there. Just before the Moose Mountain trail junction a porcupine ran across the road 10 feet in front of us! It took us by surprise! He found the closest tree and climbed it, stopping every 10 feet to look at us as I snapped pictures as quick as I could! We continued on to the field and had to head back down to eat a quick dinner before heading off to work!

Bowser Pond 8/17/11

"More Scouting for a Bowser Pond Route" (pictures)

Trip Report Coming Soon!