Spring is the best time for a bushwack through the open woods. The leaves in northern NH have yet to come out of their winter dormancy so seeing into the wood is easy. Plus, only a few mosquitos have woken up. The late fall is also a good time to bushwack but you have to worry about getting accidentally shot by a hunter. So, spring is our favorite time to wander off trail.
We were curious to follow a branch of Crescent Brook within the Gorham Town Forest in Randolph, NH. We started at the Paul Doherty Memorial Forest at the end of Jimtown Road and hiked up the “Middle Trail” (the trail behind the sign) and soon abandoned it to follow the brook. We reconnected with the Jimtown Logging Road for a short while, but quickly jumped back into the woods to stay close to the water.
This part of the forest was logged this winter but we stayed clear of the cut over areas by hugging the brook. Andrew walked effortlessly weaving through and under the branches, walking faster than if he was on a trail. Lindsay followed behind perfecting the art of not getting whipped in the face by beech branches.
Following streams and brooks can be very exciting. You never know what kind of waterfalls you might encounter. We found several scenic falls. One in particular even had several seats and we wished it was 20 degrees warmer so we would be tempted to take our boots off to cool our feet. The woods surrounding the brook so far had been dominated by hardwood: beech, ash, maple and the occasionally patch of hemlock. As we continued to climb in elevation, the forest shifted to softwood dominated. The brook split and grew wider creating a glen with tall walls growing on either side. Andrew chose to continue following the brook through the middle, while Lindsay decided to start climbing up the side of the canyon walls.
We approached another series of cascades and as we were deciding our path when we popped out on the Ice Gulch Path. We followed the Ice Gulch Path to Peboamauk Falls (winter’s home) and found snow and ice (read another adventure to this very spot: Winter, are you home?) The view of the falls at Peboamauk continues to get better and better. Every severe storm we have seems to help push out the fallen trees that block the view of the waterfalls.
We hiked back up out of Peboamauk’s glen and took the Neighborhood Trail back down to Jimtown Road.