“Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts.” ― Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
The Northern Rail Trail in New Hampshire runs 58 miles, from Boscawen (north of Concord) to Lebanon. It’s a mostly flat walk on a mostly wide path of pavement, gravel, and dirt, shared by bikes, horses, walkers and runners, snowmobiles (but not ATVs), snowshoers, skiers, sled dogs, and probably others. Landscape is variable: some of it runs next to the state roads, some alongside ponds, lakes, and wetlands, some alongside or over rivers and brooks on metal or wooden bridges, some near houses or even in towns. You’ll come across mile markers, historic markers, historic sites, and an array of flora and fauna depending on season and location.
In April this year, I walked roughly the same section twice, once in mid-April when most of the path was still covered in ice (high temp of 56F, low of 35F) , and once at the end of the month, when the ice had all but melted, though it was a cooler day (high of 52F, low of 32F).
I didn’t take many pictures the first trip, walking with a friend, because I was focused on not slipping on the ice. But we did see this interesting birdhouse near a memorial monument off the trail —
— and this mossy stump with stones nearby
We walked to a pond that was still partially frozen.
More photos the second trip, including the trail and the high water around it.
Someone had left a child’s bike along the trail. I came up with all kinds of scenarios in my head.
A bit of trail covered with last year’s fallen leaves —
— some railroad ties and hardware —
— some red maple tree buds —
— and a mile-marker: Boston is only 100 miles away!
Featured image: another bit of trail
This is one in a series of posts revisiting field trips taken from January to June 2019, as described here.