Clough State Park – June 10, 2011
Whether you like to hike, bike, paddle or swim, Clough State Park is your place to explore. The park lies along the 150-acre Everett Lake that was formed in 1963 by the construction of the Everett Dam. The 900-foot sandy beach and picnic area is the centerpiece to an area absolutely filled with trails, secluded beaches, and wildlife.
Starting on top of the Everett Dam, I got a panoramic view of the lake and some of the trails that make up the park below. After getting my bearings, I crossed the huge concrete dam on my bike and descended a trail that led along the banks of the west side of Everett Lake. The trail, an old logging road, was immediately flanked by water on both sides and gave a really cool feeling of almost riding on water.
Following the logging road away from the dam I found a peninsula that jutted out into the lake. Exploring the point, I found walking paths that descended on either side of the peninsula to remote sandy beaches where I took my first dip of the day. The water was warmer than I expected for early June, but still crystal clear. On the beach I dried off, had a snack and watched as waterfowl swooped down to the lake for their own afternoon snacks.
Back on my bike the logging road led away from the lake and towards a series of single-track trails following the Piscataquog River. Cruising beside the riverbank a well-placed rope swing, hanging out over the river caught my eye. My trunks still wet from my first stop, I swung out over the river and plunged into the cool swift water. What a rush! The water was running much colder here, so I hurried to warm up back on the trail.
Following the single-track trail a bit longer I came to a water crossing that would allow me to cycle back around to the east of Everett Lake. Tossing my bike on my shoulders I waded across the river to meet the other side of the trail. Twisting through a vast marsh and then over sandy hills with hidden picnic tables I emerged back at the long sandy beach at the foot of Everett Lake.
Worn out from a long bike ride I set up under the beach side pavilion to relax and refuel. I watched the afternoon sunset off the water, as two teenagers catch and release tiny little fish at the far end of the beach. Before it got too dark I reluctantly packed up my things and rode up the path towards the parking area atop Everett Dam.
New Hampshire State Park Disclaimer: There are no lifeguards on duty at Clough State Park or Everett Lake. Swim at your own Risk.