A couple of weeks ago there was an article in the Berlin Daily Sun about a cable car being installed to cross Austin Brook over in Shelburne, NH. In some years, the Brook flows high and fast, blowing out bridges and making crossing the water dangerous, so a local family donated the cable car to provide better access to the trails on either side of the river. There wasn’t a lot of details about the whereabouts of the car in the article and they indicated that they still had some work to do on it, but we thought we’d go over to those trails and see what we could find.
We parked at the Austin Brook Trail parking area, off North Road and took the trail along Austin Brook that is familiar to us as far as the Yellow Trail junction, and beyond which was new territory. We didn’t know exactly where we’d find the cable car so we walked along the very pleasant and interesting trail until it reached the junction of Mill Brook Road. Along the way Andrew complained that all our pictures appeared “blue”, and Lindsay finally discovered an improper setting for the images; enjoy our improved pictures! No sign of a cable car so we looked at our map and thought maybe the cable car was further up the trail at the next water crossing.
We continued on the trail/Mill Brook Road until we reached another water crossing with no sign of a cable car. At this point the water crossings were getting smaller so it wasn’t making sense that they would need a cable car. Andrew went ahead to see if it was at the next crossing while Lindsay and Alden had a snack and rest. Then we thought, maybe if we walk back down Mill Brook Road we will find the cable car, or at least we can take the Yellow Trail back over to the Austin Brook Trail and make a loop of our walk.
So we walked down the road, past Alden’s first hike (we did a blog about it here: First Hike). We were busy talking and hiking when out of the corner of her eye, Lindsay noticed a change in the woods to her right. When she looked, there was the cable car! It isn’t marked yet so we would’ve walked right past it if not for a glance over.
It looked sturdy enough and Lindsay jumped on the car and pulled herself to the other side of the river. Andrew and Alden came second. It does take some effort to pull yourself across, especially at the far end when the rope goes slightly up hill. There is also a need for some sort of platform to help get down off the car from that end too.
The trail turns sharply to the left down a faded old logging road and eventually pops out onto the Yellow Trail. The Shelburne Trails Club will need to do a little bit of work to mark and trim this section of the trail. We were a little hesitant to write a blog about this cable car since it didn’t seem ready to invite visitors, but we figured that it was already advertised in the local paper and it’s now been several weeks since we lucked out and found it, so maybe some work has been done to get it more ready for hikers.
We are excited to come back again to see it in its’ finished stage and maybe Alden will be awake for car ride across too.