Trains and Waterfalls

Last weekend we headed over to Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  We wanted to go on a short hike to Ripley Falls, which is reported to be the second highest waterfall in NH.  The trailhead is easy to find within Crawford Notch State Park off of Route 302.  A large sign lets us know that this is a short 20 minutes hike to the falls.  We parked at the bottom of the road, but there is additional parking just a short distance up the road where the kiosk and trail begins.

At the start of the hike.  The boys said they were smiling.

At the start of the hike. The boys said they were smiling.

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First Boat Ride

A few weeks ago we decided to take our canoe out for its’ first float of the season.  It was also Alden’s first ride in a boat on water, (he has been sitting and playing in our boats in the yard for a while now).  We loaded up two vehicles.  We will have to figure out a better routine, but right now it’s easier to put the boat on the truck and with Alden’s car seat we don’t all quite fit, so we took Lindsay’s car too.

Streeter Pond

Streeter Pond

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Puncheon Place

On the weekend before last, we loaded up in the car and made our way over to Jim Noyes Hill Road in Landaff, NH to hike NH Audubon’s Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.  We didn’t find a lot of good information on NH Audubon’s website, but we did find some great information from fellow hiker and blogger, 1HappyHiker (http://2small2bbig.blogspot.com/2015/02/a-winter-visit-to-scotland-brook.html)  The quiet back-country roads to get to the trail head were fun and beautiful, a pleasant close to home drive for an early spring day.

Andrew checks out the information on the kiosk before we hike.

We're ready for our hike!

We’re ready for our hike!

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In Our Woods

A couple of weekends ago we didn’t travel far to get outside.  We just headed into our woods for a short stroll.  Prior to this, Lindsay and Andrew put on snowshoes for a short walk in our woods and Alden got upset that he didn’t have a pair of his own.  So after several inquiries to friends about hand-me-downs, we ended up buying a pair from LLBean.  They are a little big and Alden can’t really walk in them, but he gets excited to put on his own snowshoes.  They will be perfect for next winter and maybe the following one too.

Alden and Andrew with their snowshoes.

Alden and Andrew with their snowshoes.

We immediately found deer tracks criss-crossing throughout the woods.  It looks like a lot of tracks, but we think it’s really just one deer.  Alden really liked looking at the deer scat we found and even asked to look at it again and again.  We also found several sheltered evergreen areas where the deer has bedded down for the night.

After the snowshoes proved too difficult for Alden, Andrew walked him into the woods.

After the snowshoes proved too difficult for Alden, Andrew walked him into the woods.

In addition to finding sign of red squirrel, deer, and mouse, the coolest sign was multiple ruffed grouse nocturnal snow roosts.  You can see in the photos below how the grouse tunneled under the snow to keep warm overnight and with a flap of the wings took off in the morning.  A couple of the roost sites we also could see walking tracks and scat.

Ruffed grouse will dive into deep snow to roost for the night, staying warm under the snow insulation.

Ruffed grouse will dive into deep snow to roost for the night, staying warm under the snow insulation.

We walked to the back perimeter of our property and followed an old logging road through the neighbors woods.  We found some trees that porcupines had been chewing on and ambled our way down toward the road.  All of sudden Andrew’s snowshoes, which were holding together with just a few strings, snapped.  Lindsay joked that we were now in an episode of “Dual Survival” and picked out a shelter spot.  Andrew managed to hang on to part of his shoe and we quickly made our way out of the woods to the road so Andrew could pull off both snowshoes.  I guess it’s time for Andrew to get a new pair too!

While we were out there we didn’t see any wildlife, but we sure saw lots of sign all within a 5 minute walk from home.

A nice walk!

A nice walk!

Valentine’s Ski

The temps might be cold, but if you bundle up, keep active, and stay in the woods, you can stay very comfortable.  For this adventure, Andrew and I went to explore the newest cross-country ski center in the White Mountains of New Hampshire: Ski Hearth Farm in Sugar Hill.  We learned about this place from an article in a local paper which mentioned that the ski touring center was open for its’ first season this year, and no fees would be collected until they had a chance to amend a conservation easement.  It is also an active growing farm with a CSA that we plan to join for fresh veggies all summer long.

The wonderful view of the mountains and the farm from the Red Trail Loop.

The wonderful view of the Franconia Range and the farm from the Red Trail Loop.

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Sno-Mo Walk

The other day we were desperate to get outside for a short walk so we headed down to one of the closer snowmobile trails.  The snow wasn’t too deep and we knew that snowmobiles wouldn’t be on the trail, and we were excited to explore a new area in our hometown of Bethlehem.  We parked at the corner of Trudeau Road and Route 3, put Alden in the backpack and headed out on the trail.

Andrew carries Alden at the beginning of the walk.

Andrew carries Alden at the beginning of the walk.

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Littleton Dells

A couple of weeks ago, before the pre-Thanksgiving storm dumped a foot of snow in our area, we went out for short walk at The Dells Conservation and Picnic Area, maintained by the Littleton Conservation Commission.  We have driven by this several times now (Dells Road in Littleton, NH) and we were curious about what we might find, so we bundled up on a Sunday morning and headed over.  We also just bought a new backpack carrier for Alden to sit in and we were anxious to try it out.  He had outgrown all the other carriers that we had, you might have seen pictures of them in posts over the past year.  He helped pick out this new one himself, and seemed to really enjoy taking a ride in it.  More

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