The Conservation Commission in my town, Tamworth, NH, maintains a number of short trails on various pieces of property that are under their auspices. Last year the commissioners instituted the Hikin’ Heron program. If you hike all the trails in the system, you earn the patch. A really ambitious, in condition, hiker could probably do them all in a weekend, maybe even in one of summer’s long days. As I write I’m looking at the Commission’s website an I see that twenty-seven humans and one dog (one we know – a sweet little poodle name Napoleon) have completed the walks and received the patch.
For me and Chico, hiking all the trails was a way to get out and see new places (or smell new smells, as the case may be), to explore places close to home – parts of the town where I’ve lived for nine years and never seen, and a way to set and achieve a goal.
To do the Hikin’ Herons walks, you pick up a card at the store, or download and print one from the commission’s website, look at the website for maps, and then off ya go.
The trails are pretty well marked, with signs like these:
at the beginning of the trail and yellow blazes along the way. In places where the markings are not clear, the trails are pretty well worn and pretty easy to follow.
The Black Spruce Bog walk is one of the few that isn’t really a loop and we had the devil’s own time finding the sign pictured above – finally we started at the other end of the trail (which comes off a trail we know well). That strategy worked well.
And the bogs (there are two) were small and peaceful:
Chico loves exploring these new spots. He runs ahead, periodically stopping to sniff, which puts me ahead of him, and then gallops to catch up.
There are three different trails that lead to the fire tower on Great Hill where there is an amazing 360 degree view of the White and Ossipee mountains. A pair of trails circle Jackman Pond, another trail in the system is a short interpretive walk through some woods. At the eastern edge of town, in the village of Chocorua, you visit a waterfowl haven. There’s a network of trails at Big Pines, one of which is one of the three trails that lead to the fire tower; and there’s the Spruce Bogs trail, near White Lake.
I’ve filled out Chico’s card (listing myself in the spots for recording hiking partners) and sent it in, when the patch arrives I’ll post a picture and figure out how he’s going to wear it.