Tuesday, March 11, 2014

11 Great Hikes for Kids Part 2

Continued from Page 1

West Rattlesnake Mountain, Holderness, where children are the only thing we have ever seen crawling on their bellies, rises easily over the north end of Squam Lake. This is a great location for a picnic lunch, using the mountain’s ledge as a picnic table and the broad expanse of the lake for the perfect view. Most people hike up the Old Bridle Path of Rte. 113, a well-worn trail with an easy grade.

Artist’s Bluff is a very short hike at the top of Franconia Notch. Now that the Old Man has fallen, this may be the best view in the area. From the ledge perch you can see Route 93 winding through the notch, with Mount Lafayette and Franconia Ridge to the left and Cannon Mountain and its downhill ski area to the right. The hike up is steep and rocky, but quite short. After enjoying the view, you can extend your hike if you wish by hiking over to nearby Bald Mountain and returning via a loop trail.

Artists Bluff

Pack Monadnock Mountain is located in southern NH near the town of Peterborough. There are actually two mountains here: Pack Monadnock and North Pack Monadnock. Either mountain is a pleasurable hike in itself, or you can leave a car at the far end and traverse over both peaks via the northernmost segment of the Wapack Trail. Pack Monadnock has a road to the summit – which originates within Miller State Park – as well as foot trails. You have to pay a fee to park at the base or to drive up the road. On top is a fire tower, shelter and picnic tables. North Pack Monadnock is roadless and therefore has more of a “wilderness” feel. It also has a magnificent ledge lookout with a scary drop-off – not recommended for those who fear heights.

Mount Osceola is the most difficult hike mentioned in this article. But if you are up for a little more strenuous workout, this is a popular hike in the Waterville Valley area with a rewarding big-mountain view on top. On a good day looking out from the old fire tower site (now only the cement foundations remain), you might imagine being an airplane pilot surveying the surrounding mountains and the land far below.

Osceola From Kancamagus Highway

Enjoying the View from Osceola

Blueberry Mountain is a sweet, meandering and beautiful two-mile hike in the township of Glenncliff, in Warren, NH. Before the actual summit – which is somewhat anti-climactic - you’ll find a peaceful little spot where other hikers have created a stone bench facing the majestic Mount Moosilaukee. You can actually make this your final stop before descending on the same trail. The Blueberry Mountain trail begins at a parking area along the Long Pond Road in Glenncliff. If you have time after your hike, take the drive to Long Pond, a beautiful protected mountain lake in the town of Benton.

Hand made bench on Bluebarry Gazes to Moosilaukee

Madame Sherri’s Castle in Chesterfield, NH can be found in the Connecticut River Valley section of Cheshire CountyThis hike offers great views and natural experiences coupled with compelling ruins that stir the imagination. The 488-acre Madame Sherri Forest was donated to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests by one of NH's great conservationists and philanthropists, Anne Stokes. Named for the eccentric costume designer Madame Antoinette Sherri, who worked for the Zigfield Follies in the 1920s it was on this property that Madame Sherri built the home that came to be known as her country "Castle". She became famous (or infamous) for the parties she threw for visitors from the city, and was said to have driven about the town during the summer wearing a fur coat and nothing else.  The home was destroyed by fire in 1962 and Madame Sherri died in 1965 at the age of 84. Today, the foundation, chimneys and a grand stone staircase from the once-magnificent house alone survive and can be seen adjacent to the Madame Sherri Forest on a side trail close to the entrance off the Gulf Road.

SidebarHike like a Child
Some advice for adults seeking their inner child.

The summit is not the goal. Don’t hike like a peak-bagger!
This is not a race or a forced march. Hiking is most likely to become a life-long love when it is a Zen-like experience. Your children will come to love hiking if the summit of the mountain is simply one awesome stop along the journey. Well-planned hikes, under normal circumstances, should have plenty of time for child-like lollygagging. There’s no hurry. Take the guidebook time and double it!

Don’t hoard the water
Bring plenty of water and don’t hoard it. For health reasons and for the pure joy of the experience there should be plenty of water and snacks.

Stop and smell the balsam.
Take the time to truly enjoy the experience. If you know the plants and trees of the forest and alpine zone, share your knowledge with a child. If you don’t, bring along a few guidebooks and learn together.

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