Even though it’s late April, it isn’t unusual for snow to fall in Northern New Hampshire. We woke up to a fresh dusting of snow and the winds blowing. So what do we do? We jump in the truck and head north of course! We wanted to check out Hurlbert Swamp in Stewartstown, NH, owned by The Nature Conservancy (info here).
The trail begins on a snowmobile trail and is need of some maintenance to get the water off the trail. At the trail register we noticed that not that many people know about this wonderland. Soon the marked trail veers off the roadway to log bridges. We stopped to smell the cedar logs and quickly found ourselves in awe while walking through this wonderful swamp.
We walked through a balsam fir, black spruce, and red spruce forest. The snow covered the mossy ground, but the sun promised to melt it away. Soon the trail opened up into an alder swamp and we listened to pine siskins overhead.
Just as suddenly as we entered the alder swamp, we were suddenly out and into the cedar swamp. We searched all around, but we could only see cedars of all ages. The walk was too short for us and we peered into the swamp wishing the trail would continue on. We tried to guess the ages of the trees and imagined how a tip-up mound created drier ground for new cedars to grow. The cedar forest was logged once upon a time, yet long enough for new hummocks to grow 150 year old trees.
Instead of hiking out right away, we continued down the snowmobile trail to a beaver dam. We walked in the floor of the ancient pond, filled with grasses and cattails now, to another beaver dam. On the other side of the beaver dam we found open water filled with wood frog eggs.
We walked back to the truck and drove back to Colebrook for lunch. But we weren’t ready to go home yet, so we took route 26 east through dixville notch and stopped at Huntington Falls. We stop at this short walking area often, but many times the brook is flowing so high or it’s too icy to try to cross to the other side. This time we made it across and hiked up to the upper falls area.
The snow made the steep hike very slippery and we warned each other from getting too close to the edge. On the way down however, Lindsay slipped on a rock and fell hard on her butt. After a few minutes waiting for the blood to return to her brain we made it back to the brook crossing. Andrew leaped effortlessly, while Lindsay fretted the jump. After a little coaxing she jumped the four foot stretch, which didn’t help her already aching backside.