Friday, April 6, 2018

SRK Greenway Trail 4 Protectworth Trail, Springfield, NH


Prologue

Learning, opportunities, and fun can often come in threes.  First was when my wife and I joined the Outdoor Recreation for Seniors (ORFS) group and its emphasis on weekly year-round hiking and paddling in the Lake Sunapee-Dartmouth region. Through ORFS hikes, I recognized my second opportunity, discussed in my January 2018 Blog post titled, New London, NH Conservation Commission web site .  The Conservation Commission web sited listed 29 trail hikes in the New London area.  This ORFS connection further led to my third opportunity, learning more about, the Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition  (SRKG) and the 14 trails listed in its guide.   And yes, there is an overlap of trails between these two organizations.  Wow!  Maybe I should create a list of those hikes I have done, and those I need to do?

Enough said, let me start with my latest hike and blog post, and that is the 4.3-mile Protectworth Trail in Springfield, NH.  Go to the SKRG site and see Trail Map 4 for a topographical map of the Trail. 

The ORFS group introduced me to the Protectworth Trail as one of their Tuesday winter hikes.  On that day the ORFS hiked one mile of it (actually 2 miles as we snowshoed in one mile, and then backtracked to our starting trailhead).  See my Blog post of April 2,2018 for more on this ORFS trip. 

I was thrilled with this trail because of the snow, blue sky, crisp teen temperatures, no wind, snow-covered tree canopy, and my ORFS friends.  So much so that a few days after the hike, I asked my son Tim and friend Mike to join me in hiking the 4.3-mile Protectworth Trail from its start on Route 114 in Springfield, NH, and finishing at its western trailhead on Baptist Pond at the intersection of Stoneybrook Road (also known as Baptist Pond Road) and Deer Road.

The Springfield section of the SKRG is named the Protectworth Trail in honor of the original name given to the land by the Portsmouth proprietors in 1778.  This section of the SKRG is a combination of gravel and wood roads.  It has a few short steep hills on the class VI roads.

We took two cars – Tim drove to the Deer Road-Stoneybrook Trailhead and parked in an area off Deer Road.  Mike and I met Tim there, and we drove in my Jeep to the eastern trailhead on Route 114 to start our trek.

Do we wear snowshoes, microspikes or just our winter hiking boots?

For the ORFS hike, due to deep snow on the trail, we all wore snowshoes and gaiters.  They were a necessity because we did some bushwhacking on ungroomed side trails off this class VI trail.

When Tim, Mike and I arrived at the Route 114 trailhead we first checked the trail, and the snow was now packed plus had ice spots.  We elected to wear our microspikes.

Scouting the Trail

A few days before the hike, my wife and I scouted the Deer Road/Stoney Road western terminus of the Protectworth Trail by driving to where it ended on Stoney Brook Road, locating the Protectworth trail sign, and driving a ways down the dirt Deer Road.

This would be my first time doing the entire Protectworth Trail, so for safety reasons (do not get lost!) I brought my compass along with the SRKG topo map.


SooNipi Magazine Fall 2015 by Ron Garceau

Ron Garceau, a friend and the editor of SooNipi Magazine, had written a very nice article in the Fall 2015 issue. The person who had planned the ORFS hike of Protectworth Trail had shared with me the below two pages from the SooNipi article.  I do believe if you enlarge the images, you can clearly read these two pages.  I share these pages with permission from Ron Garceau.  Indeed, Ron’s hike was in the fall, whereas our hike was in the winter …covering the same delightful Protectworth Trail.


References


1.      New London, NH Conservation Commission web site http://outdooradventurers.blogspot.com/2018/01/a-friend-just-shared-below-new-london.html
2.      Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Coalition http://www.srkg.com/alltrailsguide.htm
3.      Chapin Center Council on Aging http://coachapincenter.org/index.htmlhttp://coachapincenter.org/index.html


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