Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Labor Day Hike: Bear Brook State Park Beaver Pond Trail

Waaay back in September, we went on our annual Labor Day weekend camping trip. I came home and edited some photos and then life got really busy. So now that I've gone on several more hikes and have a few more posts to do, I figured I should finish this one!

We camped at Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire. It's just outside of Manchester in Allenstown. It is the largest developed state park in New Hampshire and I definitely can see why it's a favorite for many. There were trails for biking and hiking. Water for swimming, small craft boating, and fishing. There's a museum and archery range too. And of course camping! If you look at the map of the park, we were camping down by Beaver Pond.

We chose our sites at the end of a road and clustered together. With small kids we like to be away from the main camp so we're not disturbing others and so that the kiddos can have a full night sleep. One family had to cancel last minute due to family illness so it actually ended up being only us with Lil' Dude and about 4 friends.

We really tried to relax this trip. I find it a bit more challenging as a mother to relax while camping or hiking. It seems that I worry more and stress about much of the trip. I think I'm getting better at it as each trip get's easier.
Fungi Covered Log- so peaceful!
Now for the important stuff... hiking!

Since we were down by the Beaver Pond, we decided to strike out for a small loop hike. It was a warm sunny day with big fluffy clouds in the sky. My friend offered to take Ansel so that I could take photos while Big Dude carried Lil' Dude in his pack.
Thanks Mel!
The trail was mostly flat terrain that snaked in between Spruce Pond and Beaver Pond. The water on Spruce Pond was so reflective. We all spent some time there taking photos and enjoying the views.

Spruce Pond
Spruce Pond
Photo Taking
The trail gave us plenty of opportunities to look out for water fowl and signs of beaver.
A little push might be fun.... maybe not with their cameras
Beaver Pond
Since we were close to wet land areas, it almost goes without saying that we would have board walks. They were in a bit of disrepair though so you needed to watch your step. It was neat to walk among the cattails that were taller than me. Tons of dragonflies zipped this way and that.  
Board walk
Cat Tails
Board Walk
View from Board Walk towards Beaver Pond
Some of the board walks were worse than others....
Something's missing here
The trail was fairly well traveled so there were only a few times when we worried about getting lost. The trail had several unofficial off shoots and at one point we actually did go off trail and get turned around. Fortunately, we had the map and followed the water back to the trail. 
Trail Sign at the Junction of Beaver Pond Trail and Lynx Trail
At that time, the caterpillar life was very active. I was fascinated by these cocoons where the leaves were rolled up around the caterpillar. I have yet to figure out what type of caterpillar they are.
Cocoons
A Cocoon
Soon after the trail sign we saw this lovely heron just resting in the water. I always get excited when I see them. I know that they aren't that uncommon but they make me think about when I was in the Everglades attempting to learn about different water fowl. I still am terrible at identifying birds. 
Heron
We made it safely back to the swimming beach at the campground. Just before we got there I had to take this picture of Mel's boots. These were boots that she got off of me. They were my first true pair of hiking boots from L.L. Bean. I got them when I was around 12 years old for Girl Scout camp. Teal and purple have always been a favorite color combo for me.  Well needless to say, they have seen many miles and it looks as if Mel might need to invest in a new pair.
Good bye my friends!

The trail was easy to hike though definitely bring a map and pay attention to blazes. I definitely don't  recommend it for strollers or toddlers that are free roaming (easy to fall into the water) but parents with carriers and of course the unencumbered adult will find this a breeze. 

Where: Beaver Brook Trail, Bear Brook State Park, Allenstown, New Hampshire


Directions:  From I-93:New Hampshire Exit 9N onto Route 3/28 North and follow signs to Bear Brook State Park. From I-95: Route 4 West to Route 28 South and follow signs to Bear Brook State Park.                               
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