The Off Season Merry-go-Round!

Wild River
The Highwater Trail and lack thereof!

     I am just the queen of itty bitty hikes!  Perhaps you can relate?  I have two jobs, one being a home based business and two teenage boys. This translates currently to Saturday afternoons after work and mainly before it gets dark which gives me about 2 hours time in both the car and on foot.  I can do a lot with that time frame however!  In the last few weeks I've done several hikes on the Highwater Trail in Evans Notch, The Cascades in Waterville Valley, and the Forest Discovery Trail on the Kancamagus! 
Forest Discovery Trail
I began my bits and pieces when the boys were very small.  I needed to get out back then too so had to cater my excursions to their size.  Several times per week we went out for 1/2 mile and I think we managed every place in the Whites you could actually GET somewhere in 1/2 mile total.  As they grew so did our mileage, 1/2 to 1 mile per year.  1-1 1/2 when they were 2 years.  2-2 1/2 when they were 3 years and so on.  Of course now they are 14 and 15 and can do circles around me and when we get a chance we take the whole day to do 10-12 miles but those are just few and far between!

Osceola and East Osceola from Forest Discovery
     This past week I did 1 1/2 miles on the Highwater Trail with my husband and the Forest Discovery Trail on my own.  The Highwater Trail continues to be an adventure in the legacy of Hurricane Irene.  There were several places along the banks of the Wild River where we knew we weren't really standing on anything and there were a lot of trees down and in the water!  The Forest Discovery Trail was a wonderful little hike...much wilder than I expected for a nature trail!  It was graveled and graded the whole way...excellent for dog walkers and runners and those working out specifically with a goal!  The woods were predominantly open; there were some views of the Osceolas; and the spur path over to the brook and the Pine Trees was gorgeous!  And the displays on the forest were excellent...great for kids and newbies!  If you need to stretch your legs outside of Lincoln, keep this little jewel in mind!!!                                                                       
     And if you are in need of itty bitty hikes to get you out in the woods, be sure to call here to Pinkham (603-466-2721 ex. 8116) and I'm sure we can find a half dozen anywhere in the Whites you may wish to go...and I've probably hiked most of them!
   We are on a merry go round with weather and conditions at the moment and the tag word of the hour is preparedness!  Definitely have your light traction devices and plenty of warm and wind resistant clothing along!  There is currently 4 inches of snow,ice and rime on the summit of Washington and 1 inch of snow at Pinkham Notch.  We had snow and ice accumulating a week ago to several inches but then we got a rain and wind storm and the majority of it went away! This past weekend with the freezing temperatures and snow the trails are icy and snowy, so make sure to bring light traction. 
     Your best bet for the next few weeks is  to call here or to the Highland Center the morning of your hike (we open at 6:30am; 603-466-2721 ex. 8116) and keep tabs on the OBS and our local weather channels.  Also at this time of year VFTT and NE Trail Conditions can be invaluable resources!  I stongly recommend you check them out to see if someone has been where you would like to go!  Be prepared for late fall/early winter conditions.  Be aware of wind issues and potential icing as you make your plans!  Remember sooner or later the forest roads are going to close!  Be flexible and have fun!!!  It's only going to take one good snow storm to change everything!
For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk.  We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 10:00 PM or by email at To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm.

Happy Hiking!

Joyce S.
Backcountry Information Specialist
AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
(603) 466-8116 

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