Monday, June 6, 2011

Moose Mountains Reservation 6/3 & 5/11

"Bowser Pond" (pictures)
(Moose Mountains Facebook Group)

Difficulty: Easy

Directions: From downtown Farmington, NH take Rt. 153 North into Middleton about 5 miles. Continue onto King's Highway for .9 miles. Turn right at the police station onto Ridge Road. At 1.6 miles turn left onto New Portsmouth Road. Bear left onto New Portsmouth Road Exd. The trail head and kiosk will be seen ahead.

Stats (Round Trip): Mileage> About 4 - Elevation Gain> About 200' - Our Time> 2hrs.  

Report: Having a short time before work Friday night Scott and I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and make a short trip to Moose Mountains. We parked at the kiosk happy to see the "no wheeled vehicle" signs still up and the gate still closed. We walked up New Portsmouth Road and after crossing the river we took a right, crossing a landing area. Thousands of dragon flies were covering the road and flying every which way as we passed through.

We continued up the hill and at the next landing took a right down a smaller woods road. The road drops into a pine area laden with a multitude of pink moccasin flowers. It curves left and drops more steeply and continues to turn left. I spotted a small bunch of Pointed Blue Eyed Grass, something I hadn't yet seen in the wild. And we also found a Northern Leopard Frog crossing the road. They usually don't sit still for anything but this one allowed me to take some pictures of it :)

Soon we saw a glimpse of Bowser Pond which I had been wanting to check out for some time now. Scott spotted a Heron, and before I had a chance to pull out a camera or even focus my sights on it, it took off into the woods. We took a right onto an overgrown woods road and then climbed down the banking to the pond shore. We noticed a female mallard in the water that I took some pics of, only to realize it wasn't moving the slightest bit. Turns out it was a decoy, LOL! Got me! We took in the view then headed back up to the road. A tick check revealed two wood ticks on Scott.

We retraced our steps back to the truck and along the way I heard "Fee B" ... "Fee B". Ah hah! It was a Phoebe! I had just done some searches into why Phoebes Nable mountain was called what it was. Carrie with the Forest Society popped the question. After doing some google searches I determined the mountain was named for the Eastern Phoebe who likes farm land and open woods which is what this area was. And 'Nable" was a Greek word for music. Thus the meaning I got was "Phoebes Song". Hearing the Phoebe sing here made me all the more confident that I was correct!

"South Ridge Point" (pictures)

Difficulty: Easy

Directions: From downtown Farmington, NH take Rt. 153 North into Middleton about 5 miles. Continue onto King's Highway for .9 miles. Turn right at the police station onto Ridge Road. At about .7 miles there will be a yellow gate (snow mobile trail) on your left. Park here.

Stats (Round Trip): Mileage> About 2.5 - Elevation Gain> About 229' - Our Time> 2hrs.  

Report: Today instead of getting up early for a long hike in the Whites we slept in a bit and decided to check out more of Moose Mountains. Hope your all not sick of hearing about this property but there is so much for us to explore and we are trying to find, and learn the trails so that they can be marked! We pass by a gated snow mobile trail I have been wanting to check out for some time now. According to my studying of the maps and satellite this road should take us to a view point on Moose Mountains South Ridge.

We parked and headed up the trail. After swatting at some mosquito's we grudgingly applied the bug spray. The road passes by a marsh and climbs very gradually. There are grown in skid roads along the way so just be sure to stay on the main road that is more open. Pink moccasin flowers were still in bloom along the sunny road side. Dragon Flies were also scattered about and Red Spotted Newts were here-and-there along the trail.

A little ways in we were startled when a ruffed grouse came booking down the trail! It's head was down and it had it's body crouched to the ground as it squawked right on by us and into the woods. "OK then!" We passed through a small grassy landing and then were really startled by another grouse that jumped out of the woods at us squawking! It went back in the woods and Scott noticed it had babies with it! It jumped back out at us, puffed up, and spun around kicking up dirt and spreading it's wings out at us. It was quite the spectacle! I managed to get some great pics of this display!

Continuing on we passed through a couple more landings, mud ruts (from off road vehicles) and passed the red blazed property line into the Forest Society Land. We came to a three way intersection and took a right here. The trail continues a gradual climb up to a larger landing where a mud pond was present. The trail then becomes more overgrown and steep from here up to the next intersection. Here you want to take a left but we went right just to check things out. We came out to a large landing with a restricted view North to the Moose Mountains. 

Back at the intersection we continued down to a fork in the road. Taking a right the road climbs moderately. Views begin to open up to the East and the road then makes a tiny loop around the high point all of which has become overgrown. There is a partial view to Moose Mountain to the North and various mountains and hills to the South and East including Prospect, Nubble and Hussey Mountains. Perhaps we can clear some of the small trees here to open the view back up to the North.

Our goal achieved we headed back down the way we came. And no, it wasn't a boring trip back! The grouse jumped back out at us again scaring the crap out of us! This time it came right up close to us, squawked and flapped it's wings. Then it ran back into the woods. This was such a neat experience! As we reached the start point we were met by a lady hiking up. We introduced ourselves and told her about the "killer" grouse. This was a great trip! Plenty of wildlife to enjoy and saw deer and moose tracks too! We hope to blaze this trail this summer!!

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