We’re back! It’s been 5 months since this blog has seen any action. While I had intentions of having some winter adventures with Alex my winter guiding season left little free time to get outside with him. But Spring is here, and Adventure With Alex is going to see some revival. Expect lots of trip reports, gear reviews, and occasional musings. If that’s something you’re into, please subscribe. It only takes a second, and Alex likes seeing how many people follow his adventures!
For our first hike of the season I wanted something mellow and new. Skimming over the map I found a small loop hike off of Route 113a in nearby Tamworth, NH. Within the small Hemenway State Forest is Big Pines Natural Area, maintained by the Tamworth Conservation Commission. My AMC map showed only two trails here, the Betty Steele Loop Trail and the Peg King Spur Trail that climbs Great Hill (elev. 1300ft). I figured we could tick those two off in under two hours.
As soon as we entered the forest we came across a mailbox labeled “maps”, which the TCC had stocked with trail maps and a single page nature guide with 12 natural sites to explore on the “Easy Walkers’ Nature Trail”. After a rock split by freeze thaw, some impressively huge Hemlocks and White Pines, we crossed the Swift River on a nice looking foot bridge.
After a few minutes of gentle incline I almost missed a small brook crossing but corrected myself within 50 feet. A false path is worn where many have missed the blaze here but fades quickly. We reached the turn-off for the Peg King Spur Trail and started the moderate climb up to the tower.
Alex had been asking “down?” for the last few minutes so I was glad to see a great grassy spot he could hang out on under the tower.
We climbed up the 4 flights of stairs into the very well maintained fire tower. It was nice to see a minimum of graffiti in the top of the tower and the views in all directions were pretty good for such a low lying hill. Landmark plaques labeled nearby peaks and villages.
After a quick snack we reversed direction and headed back to finish the other half of the Betty Steele Trail. It was a fast walk down and within 25 minutes we saw the Swift River through the trees. I stopped for two more pics by the water.
So the 2013 Alex season has officially begun. We had gotten out for a 12 mile bike ride last week, and I expect we’ll be spending a lot of time on the bikes this summer, and perhaps in the kayak. I also have a lot of products related to these sports to review and will get them posted over the next couple weeks, so please subscribe or leave comments if you enjoyed the read! See you on the trail.