December 30th, 2015
The Walter Newton Natural Area is one of Plymouth, NH’s proudest and longest-standing conservation areas thanks to the Plymouth Conservation Commission. It came into my awareness as a chubby sixth grader when we did a naturalism field trip to discover and catalog different plant species growing in the woods.
I remember very distinctly being on the north west side of the bog, just below the water fall (Rainbow Falls, they’re called) when I grabbed a little plant that smelled like gum. That plant, my friends, was wintergreen, and has remained an important part of my life ever since. Thanks, sixth grade teachers!
I can honestly say that this experience alone was the best part of the hell that was sixth grade, apart from Fibonacci numbers and Island of the Blue Dolphins, and field trips to the ocean….you know what? I think sixth grade maybe wasn’t so bad after all. I did get sick in a science rooms sink that one time that I had the stomach flu, but at least it was after most of the class was gone. Also, this one time we had to create alphabet books for a book we were reading independently, and I learned the word xenophobia, which has gone on to serve me really very well.
It’s my understanding that the conservation area has greatly changed since my first discovery of it in 2002. More trails have been created, it is used much more widely by the community, and there are fancy new maps that lead deeper into the woods than before!
Usually the walk in Walter Newton goes out along the southern side of a wetland, following the streams that feeds said wetland until it reaches a pretty magnificent waterfall that looks thusly in the wintertime:
The photo, unfortunately does not do the waterfall justice, but that baby can ROLL during Spring thaw.
This is the new map of the trails available for use at the WNNA. I followed the creamy colored trail (the southern side) until it met up the the falls. I then took the white trail up and beyond the falls, following the stream until I reached the junction of the blue trails. I went up and around the loop of the blue trails to a giant glacial erratic that stands as somewhat of a summit of something.
I know, it sounds a little….disappointing.
But this is New Hampshire hiking! We walk in the woods. And the woods in WNNA is very rewarding.
As much as I love the snow and hiking in the woods, I very easily forgot just how much harder walking becomes when breaking trail, even in five inches of snow. I think this was a pretty even keeled three mile walk, but I was sweaty and exhausted by the end of it.
Dear Readers, if you are interested in directions to any of the hikes I blog about here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be happy to help you out!