It's a Dog's Life at Pisgah State Park!Last week, I went to the Monadnock region of New Hampshire to visit my friend from school, Molly, and to explore Pisgah State Park. You might recognize Molly from the Pawtuckaway State Park post! Weeks ago, while planning my visit, we had dreamt of days spent snow shoeing and nordic skiing. However, a conspicuous lack of snow has rudely interrupted my dreams of frolicking in a winter wonderland. Although I’m still dreaming of a white winter, the unseasonably warm temperatures have extended the regular hiking season. Without giant snow drifts and ice, it’s easier to get outside and play! A few months ago, I was introduced to a cool new hobby that’s gaining more popularity by the day: geocaching. A combination of hiking, treasure hunting, and cool technology, geocaching is a fun, accessible way to get outside. After an embarrassing amount of time spent trying to figure out my Dad’s Garmin Handheld GPS, Molly and I decided to try out geocaching. On their website, you can look for caches by state or zip code. I found their map feature especially useful; while checking it out, I saw there was a cache only a few streets over from Molly’s house! We plugged in the coordinates and followed the direction the arrow pointed us in. However, when we got to the endpoint, we were confused. We were in downtown Keene, with businesses, homes, and cars all around us. The clue that came with the coordinates of the cache was to “go ahead and make like a bunny.” I spotted a hole in a tree in front of a real estate office. Feeling absolutely ridiculous, I knelt down and reached in... ...and I was rewarded with my very first geocache find! Now that I know about all of the hidden treasures in New Hampshire (and the world!), I’m hooked on geocaching. We picked up Tucker, Molly’s adorable dog, and headed to Pisgah to try some less suburban geocaching.
GPS-Check. Tucker-Check. Ready to hunt for some treasure!Pisgah State Park has more than 13,300 acres of wooded wilderness. It is the largest property in the New Hampshire state park system, with 21 square miles available for public use. For our visit, Molly, Tucker, and I parked at the Kilburn Road parking area on the west side of the park. We hiked a rolling trail through the woods to beautiful Kilburn Pond. While on our walk, we had the GPS out looking for geocaches. Sadly, this was proving harder than our triumphant Keene experience. The clue was “birch tree down,” and in a forest, there are a lot of birch trees. Frustrated, we continued past the area the cache was in and walked closer to Kilburn Pond. Much to our excitement, it started to snow!
I swear it was snowing...Ice skaters were out on the pond, so Tucker, Molly, and I took a break and watched them. After a while, we decided to give geocaching another try. After a lot of bushwacking and sticking our hands into decaying birch trees, we found it! The excitement of geocaching is all about the search, not the actual treasure. The tradition is to bring little trinkets along with you, like pocket-sized toys or stickers, to leave in the cache when you find it. Your reward is to take an item that someone else left. Molly and I ended the day with a shiny bandaid and some dental floss. Well-earned treasure! There are geocaches all over NH State Parks. Where will you go treasure hunting first?