February 14th, 2016
It was another Sunday adventure with the Monte Alto Hikers , only this time we headed South rather than North to find the Hamlin-Eames-Smyth Recreation area.
This conserved piece of land is tucked under the South end of Lake Wicwas in Meredith, NH (one of the many many lakes we have in NH, and a lake which, I, as a local, had no idea existed until February the 14th, 2016).
The land is located 25 minutes south of Plymouth. It’s pretty easy to get to, although there are a few little back roads you need to be able to navigate to find the parking area. Google maps, once again, saves the day.
The land is actually a conglomerate of easements named after the various people who donated the land for conservation. That’s about all I can really tell you about the history of the land, but it was clear while walking through that it used to belong to some settlers/homesteaders of the 1800s as evidenced by the amazing cemetery that sits just feet off one of the trails.
The gravestone reads: “Eliza, wife of Richard S. Stanton Died Nov. 7, 1861, Age 58. Carrie S. Daughter of R.S. & E. Stanton Died May 10, 1872, Age 27.” The tragedy of these deaths aside, how amazing that these gravestones still exist? I always wonder about the history of New Hampshire and the people who used to live here. It usually seems as if most of our history has been lost, but clearly there are little pockets of it everywhere that I simply do not know about.
As for the trails, there are many that wind in and around the area. There is a lovely map available online HERE with pretty detailed descriptions of each of the trails. The trails cross many times and are very well marked, so it’s super easy to tailer your own trip.
The CMA Hikers always have a pack of dogs along for the trip. I believe that from the parking area we took the yellow trail to meet the red trail at the top of a ledge. We then descended the ledge on the red trail to take the shorter loop from Maple Grove along the base of the ledge and then back up to the yellow trail until we reached Crockett’s Ledge from which there is a lovely view of Lake Wicwas and the bigger hills to the North East, beyond Lake Winnepesaukee.
On a naturalist note, we found animal sign that I have never before found in NH, although I know that this animal live here. Can you guess what animal left this scat?
The pelleted nature of the scat means that the animal is most likely a ruminant like a rabbit or deer that needs to digest its food twice. Fun fact: instead of regurgitating and re-chewing there food the way cows do, rabbits poop out their food and then EAT IT AGAIN before pooping it out in the form of what we recognized as rabbit pellets. Nature, am I right?
ANYWHOOOO the pellets pictured above are easy to recognize because of their unique macaroni shape as belonging to a Porcupine. So, I can definitely say that there is at least one pocupine living in the Hamlin Eames area, which is so cool.
Additionally, I found this cool fungus/slime mold thing on a birch tree. I have no idea what it is and if someone does know, speak up!
Shortly after this nature discovery, we made it back to the parking area. If you cannot access the map online before you check out the Hamlin-Eames recreation area, there is a lovely kiosk at the parking lot with a nice big map and some history of the land.