Cherry Pond – April 16, 2015

Pano of  Cherry Pond and Presidentials
Pano of Cherry Pond and Presidentials

We made our pilgrimage out to Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge and Cherry Pond today.   This is the start of hiking season for us and we like to begin with this one.  A great warm up hike  with amazing views of peaks we hope to summit this season, a great motivator for our summer hikes in the White Mountains.

The first 1/8 mile was ice-covered on the rail trail, the snowmobiles had really packed it down this year. After that the trail was damp, muddy in spots and some areas were dotted with mushy snow.

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sliding along the trail

The best part of the trail it is so not technical you can actually stare up at the blue sky or notice the crazy ice formations on the side, without having to be focused on foot placement.

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I always get excited when we come across this trail sign.  I just adore the Cohos Trail, because it truly is the trail less traveled.

Cohos Trail
Cohos Trail

We hit the railbed, followed it for a bit and this time just sat down, admiring the view, the warmth of the sun and the rat a tat tat of the woodpeckers.

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Closeup of Mt. Washington
Closeup of Mt. Washington

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After admiring the view, we headed over the viewing platform.  We took the shore trail over to the platform.  I was excited to see the little bench had been put back.  In October, when we last walked here the bench was gone and I was very sad to think someone might have taken it.

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The walk through this section was spring muddy and I can see it getting muddier over the next few weeks.  On the way over to the platform, I noticed dried mullins and decided to call them “New England Cacti”.

Ann's New England Cactus
Ann’s New England Cactus

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After a brief snack, we headed back to the car. Along the way we meet two birders and were “interviewed” for an upcoming birding radio show in New Hampshire.  Sadly we didn’t have much to offer, as we didn’t see any birds that stood out to us.  Oh well, adds to the adventure.

On the way back, Mike captured a few more photos of the stunning mountains.

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We spent about 2 hours out in the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge area. The weather was perfect, little wind, no bugs and clear skies.  I hope this is a great start to amazing hiking season.

I alway

Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge – Grounded (Oct. 6, 2012)

Forest Lake, NH

Our morning began sipping coffee, listening to the loons and watching the light play on Forest Lake.  I have recently been grounded by my two cardiologists, after the little stint my heart pulled while we were on Willard.  This was a great view, but I needed more.  The doctors said no hiking, but they didn’t say no walking. So we quickly chugged the coffee (and it was decafe)  and headed out to Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge.

We started the “walk” on Pondicherry Rail Trail off of Airport/Hazen Road in Whitefield.  We were pleasantly surprised to see such a nice parking area and informative kiosk. We were in the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge that reaches all the way down to Connecticut.

Trails in this area
Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge

This was a simple trail for 1.5 miles. A straight line with a mountain view beckoning us to get closer.

Pondicherry Rail Trail

Before we reached the viewing platform on Cherry Pond, we followed the arrow, it told us to turn. But we turned to soon and ended here, oops not the right place.

Oops we turned to soon

We backtracked, continued straight for a bit and found the spot to turn.

The correct turn

At this turn we headed out for 800  feet to the viewing platform.

Cherry Pond Viewing Platform

It was an overcast day, causing the mountains to have a blueish hue.  The platform was a splendid place to sit, bird watch, sip coffee and consume the views.

Coffee and a view

 

views

After picture taking and deciding to come back here again when the mountains are snow-capped, we walked the rail line to the sign that pointed the way to Little Cherry Pond.

Rail line views
Views from the Rail Line

This was a nice little foresty lollipop loop. The terrain was easy to negotiate, the aroma of pine filled our noses, the colors overwhelmed our eyes and I found that marshmallow peeps do grow in the forest.

Marshmallow Peeps do grow in the forest
forest floor is carpeted with color

There were numerous marshy areas to cross over on the way to the small platform.

Once at the pond we sat for a bit enjoying the views.

Color plays peak a boo

 

pano view of Little Cherry Pond

We continued our “walk” and we both enjoyed this trail for all the beauty we found in it.

we have a bit of sun!!

We ended this trail at the rail line and headed back on the tracks until we reached Cherry Pond and walked on the shore path for a short distance.

The path even had a bench to sit on
looking towards the viewing platform

This little path then joined back to the Pondicherry Rail Trail.  We hiked out, as dark clouds took over the sky.  We were a bit hungry after our hike so we headed out to the R Place Deli and Bagel Shoppe in Whitefield to grab some breakfast.  What a great little place.  The best part they make their own bagels.  Homemade bagels, after a hike? WOW!!  We both ordered breakfast sandwiches and in 10 minutes were back at the cottage, eating breakfast and enjoying the view.

bagels and a view

All in all being grounded isn’t so bad.  We had an amazing “walk” and we both agree this will be a repeat hike, umm walk for us.

The Details: Park at the trailhead located off of Hazen/Airport Road.  Minimal elevation gain.  Follow  Pondicherry Rail Trail, to Cherry Pond Viewing platform, continue to Little Cherry Pond via the rail way, to Little Cherry Pond Trail, to platform then return the way you came.  We figured we did approximately 4.5 miles.

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