Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway: Trail 8 Wilmot Center to New Canada Road

The Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway is a 75-mile “emerald necklace” of fourteen hiking trails surrounding Lake Sunapee, crossing Sunapee, Ragged and Kearsarge mountains, and maintained by Greenway volunteers.  I am proud to be a member of the SRK Greenway.

Today we are hiking Trail 8: Wilmont Center to New Canada Road (Upper right corner - Red Arrow.)

First, let me give full credit to the SRK Greenway Trail Guide (srkg.com.)  It is an excellent detail resource for locating and hiking the 14 trails designated as the 75-mile Sunapee, Ragged, Kearsarge Greenway Trail.  To date, I have hiked five of these trails, and all clearly marked with a trapezoidal white and green blaze, the “trademark” of the SRK Greenway Trail.  Living and hiking in this area gives me a nice feeling whenever I spot this friendly trail blaze.

Using the SRK Greenway Trail Guide

We carried the Guide with us on the Trail. Once we had to refer to it when we came to a fork in the trail, and the Guide quickly solved this predicament for us.  Most of the time, we used the Guide for information about the Beaver Pond, cellar holes, and ancient stone walls.  Reading the Guide before we went made conversation when it warned us, “…the trail crosses a brook…  The brook may be difficult to cross when swollen.”  This caution did not bother us, but indeed brought back many memories of spring hiking in the White Mountains where the crossing of streams and brooks, sometimes meant looking further upstream or downstream for a safe crossing, or removing one’s clothing and wading in ankle to waist high freezing ice thawed water.  As you will see in the below video, we readily crossed this ten-foot-wide stream jumping from exposed rock to rock – all done safely.

We took a short off-the-trail Beaver Pond spur at the Pond/Trail sign. I highly recommend this small beautiful Beaver Pond with a beaver dam at one end, and a beaver lodge at the other. There was also a dedicated granite bench overlooking the pond. We continued on Beaver Pond Trail over boardwalks and logs. We reach the sign indicating the junction of the Beaver Pond Trail and the Patterson Farm Trail. Keep left on the Patterson Farm Trail go down a long hill, and then up to where we stop and look at cellar holes of a barn and house, and stone gateposts leading to a neighboring farm.

The Patterson Farm Trail joins the gravel Eagle Pond Road, and we are about 2 miles into our hike.  The remaining hike is on Eagle Pond Road where we view Eagle Pond. We also have a nice view of Ragged Mountain, just before we take a left on the Northern Rail Trail. We to cross US Route 4 we can see the home of former United States Poet Laureate, Donald Hall. We also see Mt Kearsarge in the distance. We quickly reach New Canada Road, and hike today ends at the SRK Greenway Trail 9 sign for New Canada Road to Proctor Academy.  

 We used two vehicles for this point-to-point hike. I picked up my hiking partner, appropriately named Steve, where he parked at the eastern trailhead on New Canada Road, .9 miles from its corner on US Route 4, two miles north of the US Route 4 junction with NH Route 11.  We then rode together to the western trailhead located by taking NH Route 11 west, then a right on NH Route 4A for 3 miles northwest,  and turned right onto North Wilmot Road and parked my car at the Wilmot Town Hall.

" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

Steve's 6th book is now available. Outdoor Play "Fun 4 Seniors" Volume III has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are also available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle and Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH.

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