One of the things I love about the hiking community is the excitement to share trail information. Recently, a friend sent me a list of local hiking trails that neither of us had heard of. After reviewing the list, there was one trail that stood out to me. Hiroshi Hayashi Conservation Land Trail, which is part of the Sargent Camps in Hancock, NH. The reason that it stood out to me was because of the pictures of a small pull along skiff that you can pull yourself across a stream on. Of course I had to check it out.
The trail is located on Rt 137 in Dublin, about two miles from Rt 101. There is a decent size parking lot with a trail kiosk with various information and trail maps. When you start out on the trail you walk down a small hill between stone walls, a typical New England landmark. About a quarter of mile the trail splits. To the right goes towards Nubanusit Brook and two very cool attractions. Heading left takes you to a beautiful lookout. The trail does loop around, but if you have older elementary or middle school age kids I would recommend going left first to save the best part of the hike for last. I made the mistake of going to the right first, making the last half of the hike a little difficult because my daughter kept wanting to go back to the “fun part.”
The trail itself is beautiful and very flat, perfect for beginners or young children. The first fun option you come to is a small wooden pull along skiff that you pull yourself across the stream over to more trails connected with the Sargent Camp. I would caution not to bring small children on this as it is not very stable, so you want to make sure your child does not fall in. At age eight, my daughter was perfect for it as she could balance herself my standing or sitting still while my husband or I pulled her across the stream. It was not easy pulling yourself across the stream, but was pretty fun.
The second fun option is a little further up the trail. It is for older kids, late elementary or middle school age or older. It’s a cable tight rope walk across the stream to more trails at the Sargent Camps. My daughter was too short to be able to walk across the whole thing. I tried, but got halfway over and felt too wobbly and turned around. My husband did walk across the whole thing and felt it was easier than the skiff.
After leaving the two fun ways to get over to the trails at Sargent Camp, we came to a beautiful lookout over Dinsmore Pond with views of Thumb and Skatutakee Mountains. After enjoying the views we looped back around to the parking lot. The loop is about two miles and a great way to spend an hour or so outside.
Addendum: As of 8/6/18 the Skiff and cable rope are no longer there due to safety reasons. Even though these fun things are gone, it's still a great trail to explore. Also if you go after a lot of rain the trail along the river tends to flood and can make it difficult to get around, make sure you wear appropriate footwear.