On Sunday, May 26, our family chose to spend the afternoon hiking a small portion of New Hampshire’s largest state park, Pisgah State Park. We took the Old Chesterfield Road route from the east near Route 10, in Winchester. From the trail, we saw a wetland with beaver lodge and dam.
Old Chesterfield Road is very popular with off-road enthusiasts. It was more quiet once we left the road. We explored this beaver pond, enclosed with the longest beaver dam I have ever seen – easily 30 feet across.
I confess that I was dragging my family along on a selfish quest. Being May, I love scouring forested areas for my favorite, and very elusive, wildflower Trillium. It is only in bloom in mid-May, and I knew my chances of seeing it were slim, especially with the week of rain that just came through.
There are markers for the historic homestead of the Doolittle family who operated a Cider Mill in the 1800’s. The road here is lined with ancient apple trees from their orchard. It was an easy choice for all of us to follow the Doolittle Trail.
Our walk took us toward Broad Brook passing many wildflowers including lady slippers, Solomon Seal, Indian Cucumber, Bluebead Lily, and to my great delight…..
Beautiful specimens of both Painted Trillium still in bloom and Purple Trillium just past its prime!
The walk was fairly strenuous as the trail is wide but filled with roots and rocks. After almost a mile we came to Broad Brook Meadow filled with songbirds and the Brook itself, swollen from the week of spring rain.
Pisgah State Park covers 21 square miles. It includes Mount Pisgah which is just a few hundred feet shorter in altitude than Mount Monadnock. We could have approach the summit on this trip, the reservoir, and the many ponds encompassed by this park. My family’s walk took two hours comfortably with many stops to photograph or simply listen.
We mostly used a map of Pisgah State Park offered here by New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation. This trip quickly turned from sharing the road with ATVs to exploring one of the most pristine forests I’ve ever encountered. It was untamed and awe-inspiring.
In my co-blogger Andrew’s last post of Miller State Park, he brilliantly offered a list of essentials to bring on a hike. I am going to add to his list a must have for any of my future adventures, a wildflower field guide! What item would you add, reader?