Today’s Mondate began with the ritual PB&J creation at home. Our destination was a hiking trail in New Hampshire, but on the way, we realized the need for gas. So . . . a jig here and a jag there over the bumpy backroads and we landed at Center Lovell Market. While my guy was inside paying for the gas and chatting with a friend who works there, he was handed a slice of blueberry cake just out of the oven. He brought it out to share with me–and I sent him back in, hoping he’d buy the whole thing. Such self-restraint. He only purchased one piece–a good decision, certainly. But really?
We made our way back to Harbor Road in North Fryeburg, where something in the landscape caught my eye.
Always an impressive sight.
A mature Bald Eagle checking out the area around Charles River, near the old course of the Saco River.
Our destination–Province Brook Trail. This hike is for my friend, P.K., who first introduced me to this trail in her summer backyard a few years ago. While she winters in Florida, I hope she’ll enjoy today’s view.
We had to park on South Chatham Road, in South ChatHAM, New Hampshire. I once interviewed Frank Eastman, a South Chatham native, who informed me that it’s pronounced ChatHAM, not Chat’em, because H-A-M spells ham. A lesson I’ll never forget.
While we walked along the snowmobile trail, aka 2.5-mile Peaked Hill Road or Forest Service Road 450, two members of the White Mountain National Forest trail crew came along to close gates–a sure sign of spring.
Seeing a few potholes like this one, we could understand why.
We opened our eagle eyes and things began to appear.
Criss-crossing the trail, through snow and mud, moose prints.
Our eyes are forever scanning beech trees–on the lookout for bear claw marks. We weren’t disappointed.
On the trail, we saw several old scat samples. Coyote or bobcat. This one is all hair. I’m leaning toward bobcat–but am open to other conclusions. There were no obvious tracks to make a certain id.
And here–one very large Yellow Birch growing on granite.
Yellow Birch seeds find optimum growing conditions on moss-covered rocks, stumps and logs. Once the tree establishes itself, it clings to the rock and sends its roots in search of the soil below. Hemlocks do the same.
Finally, we reached the trail head. Oops, I lopped off the head of the hiker on the sign.
Province Brook Trail is currently closed to snowmobiles and ATVs, but we walked around the gate and continued on.
Still plenty of ice in the streams beside the trail.
And lots of snow.
Polypody Fern peeking out from under a snow-covered rock.
And Hobblebush preparing to bloom.
Lots of glacial erratics along the way. This one supports an entire community.
The tree in the center invited a closer look.
Fan-shaped Artist’s Conks.
Their white pore surface.
And a sense of perspective.
At last, we reached Province Pond.
Shaw Mountain is in the background–we’re saving it for another day.
On our way to a forest service shelter that was built in the 1930s (I know this because I read it in Hikes & Woodland Walks in and around Maine’s LAKES REGION written by my friend, Marita Wiser), the deep snow caught us a few times. My guy is knee-deep.
It pays to let him go first. I can then figure out where not to step. Here, he’s contemplating the brook crossing to the shelter. It was actually quite easy.
A sheltered lunch locale–just right for those PB&J sandwiches.
Best view in the house.
I’ve a feeling these walls could tell many tales.
It was snowing as we headed back down the trail. Yet another wintery-spring day.
Eight miles later, we were thankful for the opportunity to stretch our legs and use our eagle eyes.
Thanks for wandering by to wonder.