On the weekend before last, we loaded up in the car and made our way over to Jim Noyes Hill Road in Landaff, NH to hike NH Audubon’s Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. We didn’t find a lot of good information on NH Audubon’s website, but we did find some great information from fellow hiker and blogger, 1HappyHiker (http://2small2bbig.blogspot.com/2015/02/a-winter-visit-to-scotland-brook.html) The quiet back-country roads to get to the trail head were fun and beautiful, a pleasant close to home drive for an early spring day.
The trailhead is nestled among a country neighborhood, with friendly neighbors who waved when we drove past. We parked and took the short walk up the road to the relocated entrance. There was still a little bit of snow, and lots of wet puddles, but the beginning of the trail has numerous puncheons (or bog bridges) to help you keep your feet dry. Even so, we were glad to be wearing our tall rubber mud boots. There was a small pile of cedar logs ready to be installed this year and as we waded through different wet sections we tried to guess where they would be placed.
The trail first entered a wet evergreen forest but as we continued on the yellow trail the area becomes drier.
There is an Aldo Leopold style bench overlooking a pond/marsh with lots of beaver activity that continued in spots along the outflow of the brook. We looked towards the far corner of the marsh just in time to have a glimpse of three large awkward birds fleeing into another opening after our arrival, no doubt Great Blue Heron who are early nesters in this habitat.
We started to make our way up and around the yellow trail loop when Alden decided he wanted Lindsay to carry him so we opted to turn around at the stonewall boundary. Luckily we convinced Alden to ride in the backpack carrier when we reached the puncheons again.
We heard ruffed grouse drumming in the distance and as we took the short red trail loop, Lindsay saw the grouse flush up and fly between the trees.
This was a great place to take a short hike and a treasured trail for the neighbors. We hiked out after an hour or so, completely refreshed.