Smarts Brook Loop

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

Before I get back to retracing my steps through Montana and California, I thought I’d do a little sharing on my place now; my home, New Hampshire.

A lesser known secret about hiking in New Hampshire is that it’s about A SKABILLION times better when done in the Fall and Winter. Why, might you ask?

New Hampshire’s climate and ecology is such that our landscape is basically a temperate, deciduous RAIN FOREST. You have to really enjoy hiking in the woods for 90% of your time in order to really enjoy hiking in New Hampshire. We live in a land rich in water resources; something I heartily appreciate, especially after spending some significant time where water is a scarcity at the moment. As many of us know, however, water breeds life and one of these forms of life is insects.

I’ve gone on hikes during New Hampshire summers when I literally spent the entire five to six hours brushing the mosquitoes off my legs as I walked. It was a manifestation one of my personal rings of hell.

This is why I prefer hiking in dry Montana during the summer months, and beautiful, lush New Hampshire in the Fall and Winter months.

I digress.

My parents have a winter hiking group based out of my hometown that hikes every Sunday after it gets too cold and dark for people to really want to do anything but drink. We try to reinforce healthy behavior by getting out and moving our bodies in the sun (while its out) and appreciating the season (Winter literally half of the year, so we don’t really have a choice in the matter.).

It was rainy and misty today, but we decided to head out anyway. We chose an easy going, well-known hike in the woods on the way to Waterville Valley that follows Smarts Brook along its many waterfalls and gorges. No big deal, but it looks something like this:

(Please excuse the blurry picture. I blame the need for a camera upgrade and the cloudy light!)

The loop is just about five gentle miles around, many people run it!Smarts Brook

And just to illustrate, once again, just HOW forested New Hampshire is, here’s the same picture with an aerial view:

Smarts Brook 2

Hiking in New Hampshire is not always as spectacular as places with higher peaks, but it’s really a naturalist’s fever dream:

Hiking and walking in New Hampshire is a much more subtle experience, but it can be profoundly enriching with the help of some naturalist friends, or even a simple field guide book. Adventure is more than huge views and awesome challenges. Get out there, and get to know your ecosystem!









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