Hiking in late Autumn in NH demands preparation and creativity! Convincing myself to leave my cozy slippers for a walk in the woods is hard enough, convincing the family to come along can be a challenge. Thankfully, Autumn weekends provide eclectic opportunities for adventure to add incentive. Temple Mountain State Reservation lies in one of New Hampshire’s most interesting regions, the Peterborough area, so our family planned a hike around local interests.
We began at the trailhead on Rt. 101, just past the Temple border. This area once was the Temple Mountain Ski Resort, so we chose one of the minor trails rather than the wide section for the hike uphill. The Temple Mountain stretch is section two of a three part system called the Wapack Trail, starting in Massachusetts and finishing at Miller State Park, across the street from Temple Mountain.
Hiking up to the summit of Temple Mountain was fairly easy, even with small stretches of icy rocks to maneuver. The day was just at the freezing point, so we were prepared with layers. Our group included my brother and niece, added to my husband and three of our own kids.
The walk took about 45 minutes using our ‘creative’ route, and could easily be managed with much younger children. We saw a few families enjoying the cold Saturday, and met a few very happy dogs with their companions as well. The summit provides views directly toward the North and Pack Monadnock/Miller State Park. Another half-hour on the well-marked trail brings you to a series of rock cairns and views toward Mount Monadnock.
Taking the Wapack trail back down to the parking area allowed us to focus on the elusive beauty of late fall in New Hampshire. The following are some images I like from the trip…
The next piece of our adventure is featured directly beside Temple Mountain State Reservation on Rt 101. A few years ago, an 11-acre section of the mountain was bought by local Vietnamese Buddhists to create the Temple Mountain Buddhist Meditation Center. On Saturdays they open the center for free meditation at 2pm. We arrived a few minutes before their session and received permission to photograph their grounds. Some of our kids are currently studying Asian history in school, and we all welcomed this introduction to a fascinating culture.
We explored the beautiful grounds, appreciating the authentic statuary and thoughtfully managed gardens. They created a space that fit beautifully in NH woods. Toy trucks on the paths and a few artfully placed pink flamingo’s invited us to slow down and wander.
With one more stop before hitting the slippers back home, we drove away from Temple Mountain and the respite of the hike and the Center, heading into downtown Peterborough. Our last stop was at the Broke Arts Fair. The Peterborough area is well known for its contributions to creative arts, with MacDowell Colony providing resident inspiration. This fair fills the Town House with juried craftsmen offering wares for under $50. The place was still crowded toward the end of the day when we arrived.
Each of these adventures took place in a three mile radius, the hike, the temple and the fair. We started the day with a general idea of what we all wanted to see, and incredibly managed to see it all! As the holidays engulf our calendars, I hope you’ll take some time to explore outside with someone you love. The slippers will be there waiting when you return.
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