Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsarge Greenway Trail 6 – Wolf Trees and Many Trails

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.  Today, friends Steve, Craig, Ellen and myself, are hiking Trail 6: Great Brook Bridge in New London to Route 4A in Wilmot, located with the Red Arrow below.

Two items make SRKG Trail 6 special to me. 

Wolf Trees
Let’s start with Wolf trees.  Frankly, until today's hike, I had never heard of a Wolf Tree.  “Look! Wolf trees!”  My fellow hiker pointed at a tall tree with substantial girth and spreading dead branches, higher than the trees surrounding it with live springtime buds at the top. At first glimpse I thought they were dead trees.

If you have ever seen a tree in the forest that seems out of place because it is much larger than the trees surrounding it, signifying that the tree was once the only tree in the area, you may have experienced a wolf treeMany wolf trees are over 150 years old and are different than their smaller neighbors. A wolf tree is not a specific species of tree.  It may be oak, pine, birch, whatever ... simply a tall old tree. 

The quote on the sign on the below Wolf Tree Trail reads: “Along this path are several large old trees, probably left to shade cattle when the Bunkers cleared this hillside in the 1800s. They grew rapidly “WOLFING” sunlight and water from any seedlings nearby.  LOOK FOR THEM"

Click the below video and hike with Steve and friends.

Many Trails
The second feature I found special in Trail 6 was the many trails. Our SRKG trail today included following Wolf Tree Trail, Webb Forest Interpretive Trail, and the White Pine Trail. Most of the trails in this section are well developed paths and logging roads on former farms with stonewall confined forests that were once fields for cattle, sheep, hayfields, and gardens.

Our Goal today was to hike the SRKG Trail 6, marked by the SRKG white and green trapezoids, starting at the western trailhead at the northern end of Pleasant Lake in New London, NH, and ending at the eastern trailhead at Route 4A in Wilmot, NH. We began at Great Brook Bridge, an elevation of 800 feet with the SRKG trail rising along an old logging and farm road to 1500 feet and then dropping to 1200 feet at Route 4A.

Below is the MapMyRun Google map of our hike.

All the trails of Section 6 are readily marked with SRKG trapezoid signs/blazes. Most junctions included a map with “You are here” in red.

SRKG Completion Medal

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