More winter camping and hiking in New Hampshire

Camping trip # 2 of 12 for 2021 – Not tenting on this trip, used the Roo19 instead and dragged everyone along. It was cold during the day, never-mind the evening outside temp was around 18F maybe less. The inside of the camper was plenty warm. The below video is about 12 minutes long. Mt. Tecumseh is a NH 4000 footer, and said to be one of the easiest to hike. The snow actually made the hike easier, no roots or stones. Get outdoors!

Plan your outing with a free downloadable checklist.

Before I venture out camping, backpacking, or hiking, especially where risk is higher, I use a checklists. Instead of reinventing the wheel, REI Co-op has great online printable checklists. Additionally, I have also included a link to the Philmont Scout Ranch 10 essentials.

Before a significant trip, I print up the list and start staging gear in a pile. When to start this process depends on the complexity of your outing. Sometimes completing the checklist the night before is okay, while other times will require more plan-ahead actions. I do find that as the number of people involved increases, the more complex the planning becomes.

One more thought – I can say that there is a value to packing some items kinda’ last minute. For example, if you check your tooth brush off the list, then use again and leave it at the sink, you may forget it. This can apply to all types of things you need while outdoors, yet also use on a daily basis at home. My advice is to only check the item off the list once it has actually made it to the packing area. In a future post about a recent NH winter hike, I left my 1 qt. essentials bag in my truck console, in my mind it was packed. I think it comes down to practice and habits. What do you think?

REI Co-op Checklists

Professional writer and scouter Mark Cordeiro details “The 10 essentials for hiking at Philmont“. During a visit to Philmont in July of 2018, I purchased a few of these water proof checklists, they were just inside the store door at the Tooth of Time Trading Post and were about $1.00 each. Although I did not see them for sale in the online store, you may be able to call and order copies. Thanks for reading…get outside. Andrew

Tooth of Time Traders

Get outside to the Douglas S. Westgate Conservation Area in Wareham MA

Couple your next stressful shopping trip to Wareham Crossing with a calming visit to this dormant cranberry bog and beautiful wooded conservation area. The trailhead address is located at 29 Papermill Rd. Wareham, MA 02576. You can learn more about Douglas Westgate’s impressive and important legacy to Wareham conservation by reading the one page article posted on the information kiosk. Also check out the site description and downloadable map from the Buzzard’s Bay Coalition’s website here: Douglas S. Westgate Conservation Area

With many stops for photography, the full loop of about 1.75 miles total took my dog Autumn and myself about 50 minutes to complete. You could easily complete the entire loop in less time and or pick a shorter loop, there are options. I think my favorite part was walking along the flowing Weweantic river. Sorry for the shaky video, I need to invest in a gimbal. As always, get outside.

Eastern white Pine

Get outside to…

The Sawmill in Acushnet MA. This 19 acre site at Mill Pond is part of the Buzzards Bay Coalition, offers easy walking, and there is a nice parking lot adjacent to the trail head. I was looking to try out this BB Coalition site for a while and I am glad I did. Many of the Coalition walks are nestled in a very rural setting and can require some planning like a trail map and walking essentials. This site not far from New Bedford and just North of Main Street is quick to find, easy to walk, and ready to offer you a little peace of mind. Although you may want to wear boots and bring a snack, you will not need a GPS for this one, enjoy.

Get outside…

to Monadnock State Park in Jaffrey, NH. This park is about a 1.5 hour drive North West of Boston. Once clear of stressful city traffic, the remaining and relatively short drive through scenic New Hampshire was a welcome change from stressful highway driving. Depending on the route you take, there are different stores and restaurants along the way, use google maps to see what is around you. Like some other NH State Parks, this campground is open all year, in winter the shared and common water spigots are off and there is no electric at the sites. The comfort station was absolutely top notch, I was pleasantly surprised by how nice it was and actually went inside to warm up around 9pm on a cold winter evening while camping. This building is heated all year, has showers, bathrooms, a dish washing station and a water bottle filling station. As far as camping goes, it is apparently a busy place. There were about 6 parties tent camping in winter, so I can only imaging summer camping is busy. Note: As the NH website specifies, pre register for hiking and camping.

The campground:

The Headquarters campground has 10 tent sites, 10 group sites, and 1 pavilion. Another camping area is Gilson Pond, visit the linked NH State page for more camping details

The Hiking

Before I hiked up to the top of Mt. Monadnock, I spoke to the super friendly store attendant and the on site ranger to gain insight. Additionally, before even leaving home, I looked up the trail maps on the park website. Another resource you can use to ascertain trail conditions is to look at the most recent alltrails app comments. The fastest way up is white dot, and the less steep way up and down is white cross, and yes it was less steep and only 0.2 miles longer. If you are unsure of your abilities, take white cross up and down. There are many other trails around the park with much less elevation gain, so if you are not up for the elevation gain there are other options. With the trail head at around 1400 ft., and the top of Monadnock at 3165 ft., the elevation gain is about 1765 ft. To put things in perspective the top of Mt. Washington at 6288 ft. from Pinkham Notch visitors center 2032 ft. , has an elevation gain of about 4256 difficult feet. It is said Mt Monadnock is one of the most hiked mountains in the world, enjoy – I did.

Find the link to the trail map below.