Pack it Lunch Box

I was recently looking for a lunch box for work and day trips. I had had a Thirty One Lunch bag for many years. Although it last well (over seven years), it was a little too big and bulky for what I needed and it started to rip. I started asking around and looking to see what my options were. My job requires me to travel between two different locations so having a refrigerator is not always an option. I needed a lunch bag that was light weight, would keep my food cold and had cool designs.

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With the recommendations of some friends I found the lunch bag from a company called Pack-It. Lets just say I found a great lunch box. They come in various sizes and designs. The best thing about them is the ice packs are built into the lunch box. When you are not using the bag you store it in your freezer. As you can see above I chose a design that looks like mountains.

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So far I have had enough room for everything. It stays cold for at least five to six hours. I am able to fit my breakfast and lunch for work in this bag. I store the lunch box on a shelf in my office. You can put it in a fridge if you have access to it for it to stay colder longer.

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We have also used this lunch box for day trips and it has worked well. On a couple really hot days we have put drinks and snacks in it while kayaking and everything stayed cool for the afternoon. The pack gets really dirty when we use it for kayaking, but I am happy to report that it easily wiped clean with a sponge and warm water.

When my daughter needs a new lunch box I will be getting her one as well. I have recommended this lunch box to my friends and co workers as this is the best lunch box I have ever had. If you are looking for a lunch box that will stay cool and you do not have to worry about having ice packs this is great lunch bag.

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Keen Kids Hiking Boots

We recently were looking for new hiking boots for our daughter. We had always bought second hand boots due to her feet growing so quickly and not wanted to spend a lot of money. With us doing more and more hiking I wanted to get her something more durable, easier to get off and on and easier for her to tie. Lets face it parents how many times do we hear on the trail, “there is something in my boot” and it is nice to have a pair of boots that are easy to get on and off.

We started looking around. One day we walked into Alec’s Shoe Store in Nashua. if you have not been into this store you have to go. There have any type of shoe you are looking for, including a good selection of hiking good and there customer service is amazing.

In their clearance section they had a pair of Keen kids hiking boots in her size. I love Keen shoes. Every summer my daughters has a pair of their sandals. She uses them a lot and is not easy on them. They always hold up. She out grows them before she wears them out. Therefore I was happy to try out their boots.

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We have tried them out on a few hikes and so far so good. I love that they do not have traditional laces so they never come untied. If my daughter needs to take her boots off on the trail she can easily do so. They are water resistant. I would not go through streams with them, but so far when walking through mud and puddles on the trail her feet have stayed dry. My daughter says they are comfortable and she likes wearing them. She has good support when going up and down rocks and mountains.

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If you have an active hiker in your life, I would highly recommend these boots.

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Becoming Odyssa

I am always on the look out for new books to read either from social media, the Hike Like a Woman Adventure Book Club or recommendations from friends. I keep a list of books i want to read and luckily my library is able to get most of the books I request. Side note: If you do not want to buy books I highly recommend going to your library and if they do not have the book speak to the librarian as they can usually get them through an interlibrary loan. I’m not one to read a book more than once so I love this option.

I cannot rave enough about my most recent read. I love to read books about the Appalachian Trail for a couple reason. I grew up at the end of the trail so i love reading about my old exploring grounds and I would love to be able to hike the trail some day. I have read a few different books about the trail such as Hiking Through and Grandma Gatewood. Even though I loved both of those books, there was something about this book that made me feel like I was hiking right beside her and she had more realistic description of the trail.

Becoming Odyssa Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail is a story about a women who’s trail name is Odyssa who sets out to hike the Appalachian Trails and talks about there adventure along the way.

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She sets out to hike the trail alone and talks about the people she meets along the way, the friends she makes to help support her through the hike and the ones that just make her feel uncomfortable. She talks about being a female on the trail and hiking alone and the challenges and rewards that come along with it. There are animals encounters and life changing encounters. As I expect with most through hikers there are times where she wanted to give up, but found the courage and strength to keep going. Sometimes I feel that authors can try to sugar coat life on the trail, but I felt this was realistic life on the trail. If you are looking for a book about adventure and finding yourself on the trail this is a must read and now in my top favorites.

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Cider Mill Pond Trail

With a little more than a week until Christmas I was itching to get outside and unwind. This afternoon my family and I took a walk around the Cider Mill Pond Trail in Brookline. I’m not sure if this is part of the Beaver Brook trail system, but some of the trails connect to the Beaver Brook Trails. The parking lot is located on Route 130 in Brookline. There is a decent parking lot, a picnic table and a kiosk.

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There is a series of trails that look like you could do several miles. We did almost a four mile loop with a couple side trails. The trail is pretty well marked. It looks like in the winter they allow snowmobiles so please use caution if you hike this in the winter. We started out on the Cider Mills Trail, which meanders through the forest with almost no elevation gain. The trails turns into the Sargent Trail. There are a few houses near the trail. There are also some pretty large water holes from all the rain we have had.

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Along with some cool rock formations that my daughter enjoyed.

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Off the Sargent Trail is a trail called Stone House Ledge Trail. I was a little curious about this trail due to the name. We started walking up a small incline. A little under a half a mile you come to an area with many larges rocks, some provide nice views of the forest below and other make a great climbing area for older kids.

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Some look like they have caves. My daughter loved climbing in and around the rocks. If you do this trail make sure you take this side trail and check out all the rocks as they are pretty cool.

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We headed back to Sargent Trail and looped back around going by two small ponds. One pond requires you to take small side trail to see it, but its a nice little swamp area where you could get a glance of a bird or a beaver.

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From you here you connect back to to the Cider Mill Trail and then onto the parking lot.

This is a great for beginners, hiking with dogs, hiking with kids or someone who just wants to get out into the woods for a couple hours.

Christmas at Tower Hill

Over the summer my family and I visited Tower Hill Botanical Garden and had an amazing time. When I saw they have a Christmas event, The Night Lights, I had to get tickets. This is an event that you need to buy tickets in advance as they sell out fast.

Over this past weekend we visited the gardens with friends. I was a little worried when we pulled in because the line of traffic was pretty long. After we showed our tickets at the gate and parked there was enough room to spread out and I did not feel too crowded. There is a sign stating they had over 200,000 lights on their property. I felt like I was walking through a winter wonderland.

The inside was decorated beautifully with various Christmas trees and decorations.

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Along with their beautiful plants.

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They handed out a map and the trails are marked with lights so you know where you can and cannot go.

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After we explored the inside and enjoyed some adult beverages and hot chocolate for the kids we ventured outside to enjoy the lights. My husband kept saying, “I can’t believe how many lights there are.”

We enjoyed walking through the the tunnel of lights.

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And into firefly forest. The picture does not show it, but there are lights everywhere in the forest simulating fireflies.

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Off to the side of the garden was a beautiful Christmas tree of lights. From here you are over looking the reservoir.

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We almost missed this section, but thanks to the kids scavenger hunt, the kids noticed they were missing something. These are located in the to the right of the entrance. This garden was very peaceful as there were very few people here.

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At the beginning or the end are these cool “flowers” that you must stop and enjoy.

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There is a lot of hard work that goes into these decorations and lights. We spend about two hours looking around. I was in awe as I did not think it would be this spectacular. This is a must to put on your holiday event list. There is also a small farm to table cafe, s’mores to roast over a fire in one of the gardens and a gift shop.

Darn Tough Socks

When I am hiking, snow shoeing, cross country skiing or any type of outdoor activity I want to be wearing good quality gear. There is no exception when it comes to my feet. I bought good quality boots, therefore I want good quality socks. I have tried various brands of hiking socks, but there is only one brand of socks that I trust due to comfort, quality and keeping my feet warm and dry in all various types of weather and activities.

Darn Tough Socks are made in Vermont and they truly stand behind their product. I brought my first pair of Darn Tough Socks about ten years ago. When you buy a pair the cashier should tell you that these socks are good for life.

Fast forward ten years, these socks have hiked, cross country skied and snowed shoed probably thousands of miles. A couple weeks ago I was putting my socks away and noticed a hole in the bottom of them. I was disappointment for sure. I only have one pair, as I have only needed one pair. My husband reminded me that I could take them to the store I bought them and they would refund them. I am always a little skeptical because it is hard to get things for free or find companies to stand behind their product.

I called EMS where I bought the socks and they told me to go on line and fill out the warranty form and Darn Tough will send me a new pair of socks. Still skeptical I went online, filled out the form and within a day or two I get an email back that I was getting a new pair of socks. They provided me with a coupon code and an address to send the old pair of socks back to them. I ordered my new socks and quickly got to the post office to mail my old ones. Three to four business days later I had my new socks in the mail.

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Now I have a brand new pair of socks for hopefully another ten year. My feet are comfortable and happy. I will continue to only buy Darn Tough socks for my outdoor activities.

Katahdin Area Trail System

We spent Thanksgiving with my side of the family in Millinocket, Maine, where I was fortunate to grown up. Since we are having more snow than normal this time of year we were anxious to get our cross country skis out. The day after Thanksgiving is REI’s #OptOutside Day, since I was finally not working this year I could participate in the “holiday.”

Since the Katahdin Region provides a host of trails and opportunities to cross country ski it was difficulty to figure out where we wanted to go and which ones would be groomed. With the help of someone my friends through social media I learned that the Katahdin Area Trails at New England Outdoors Center on Millinocket Lake were recently groomed so my husband, daughter and I decided to check them out.

Located about ten miles north of Millinocket off the Black Cat Road is New England Outdoors Center which offers an array of outdoor activities throughout the year. The have recently added a trail system that is open to cross country skiers in the snowy months.

There is parking lot across the street from the Lodge with a sign and map to mark the start of the trail system. You can also go inside the Lodge and get a copy to take with you. Rentals are available if needed. I also saw someone giving lessons.

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With it being the beginning of the snow season there were only a few trails open, it was plenty for what we wanted to do. I wanted to do the Katahdin View loop as I heard the views were amazing from that trail, but it looked a little too difficult for our nine year old daughter and the trail was not groomed. Instead we did part of the Twin Pines Loop to the Lake Side Trail Loop.

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The trails are very well groomed. There are no set classic cross country ski tracks, I am not sure if that changes as the season goes on. We did not have any trouble and we able to get a nice glide throughout the trails. The trails that we took provide some glimpses of Mt. Katahdin as well as some beautify forest scenery.

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The two trails that we took were marked as easy, but I would classify them more as moderate as there were some fairly steep hills with turns on them. A couple of them my daughter had to walk down. I was able to do them, but with some challenge, luckily I did not fall.

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The loop we did was a little under four miles. I really enjoyed the ski. The trails were well marked with maps at every intersection. The best part is the trails were free. I would absolutely ski these trails again and recommend others check them out while they are in the area.

After the ski you can either grab some delicious food at the restaurant or walk down to the lake to enjoy the beautiful view. of Mt. Katahdin.

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Widow Gage Town Trail

Located a mile past Rhododendron State Park in Fitzwilliam is a nice two mile hike through the forrest around stone walls, a large cellar whole and around the edge of a pond.

I love when I can find a hiking trail that has a nice parking lot and Widow Gage Town Trail is one of them. The parking lot is large enough to park several cars which is nice when you are planning group hikes.

There is a small kiosk with maps to take with you. You can grab one, but the trail is well marked. There are two loops. The blue loop and the red loop. Both marked with trail markers of the color of the trail. If you do both loops it is about a total of two miles. Which is what I did the day I hiked it.

Like a lot of trails in New Hampshire there is an abundance of stone walls. Some of them seem very large. I always wonder how long it took the builder as I know most of them are very long. There is a book title, Exploring Stone Walls: A Field Guide to New England’s Stone Walls, that talks about the history of New Englands Stone Walls. I have not read the book myself, but have had people tell me they enjoyed the book.

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When you get close to the pond there is a fairly large cellar hole. This was one of the biggest ones I have seen in the area. It make me curious to know what was here. The kids I was hiking with loved the cellar hole. I did notice a lot of beer bottles and cans so be cautious of broken glass if your kids are in the cellar hole. Also remember this is a part of New Hampshires history so make sure they are using caution not to disturb the rocks if they do go into the hole.

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The last part of the loop before you head back to the parking lot is a beautiful views of a pond. I am not sure if this is always a pond or a swamp. It was hard to tell because of all the rain we have had lately.

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There were a couple different view points of the pond.

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Overall, this is a great hike for beginners as the trail is easy to follow. There is minimal incline, more up and down small hills and some beautiful scenery. The kids that I had on the hike enjoyed exploring the various streams along the trail, again I do not know if they were just there because of the large amounts of rain we have had or if they are always there. Put this on your list of trails to check out.

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Pinnacle and Rose Mountain

When I plan for a group hike, I try to plan the route the best that I can. Sometimes it is difficult as some of the trails do not have a lot of information about them. I feel like I am always taking a chance when I am leading a group hike. This past weekend was no different as the trail I wanted to do had very minimal information about it, but that is what makes it an adventure, right.

Pinnacle and Rose Mountain are located in Lyndborough, NH. To access the trailhead you take Route 31 towards the center of Lyndborough to Center Road. Follow Center Road for a couple miles and then turn left onto Mountain Road. I found that if you are coming from Wilton you can put 444 Mountain Road Lyndeborough in your GPS and it will bring you to the trailhead. If you are coming west from Greenfield/Peterborough you cannot type the address into your GPS as it can send you in various directions to roads that are not passable. If you are coming for that direction make sure you follow RT 31 until you hit Center Road.

The trailhead is on the left hand side of the road, across the street from the mailbox marked 444. I did notice that the numbers were fading, but my GPS brought me really close to the trailhead and I was able to find it. There is no marking on the trailhead, but it is pretty wide opening with a stone wall nearby. There is not a lot of parking and you have to park on the side of the road, so make sure you park as far off to the side as you can. This may make it difficult for winter hiking.

I could only find one map on these trails. It is not the best, but it gives you an idea. Unfortunately the trails were not on All Trails either.

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Once you leave the road you follow the trail up a slight incline and then down over a stream. A few hundred feet is a fork in the trail and a picture of the map of the trails, shown above. We chose to bare left. The trail has a good incline to it. It is only about 3/4 of mile to the first mountain top, Pinnacle Mountain.

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From here you are looking towards Manchester and Concord, there are some pretty good views. Behind you is a small sign pointing to Rose Mountain.

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We followed the trail to another lookout point towards Mt. Monadnock. This is where we got turned around. From the lookout we went back the way we came to what I thought was the trail, but I did not see any markers so we ended up turning around again. After wandering around for about ten minutes we finally discovered the trail continued from the look out that we were at.

From here I cannot give clear direction on how to get to Rose Mountain as I am not sure I went the correct way. I kept following the trail and looking at my All Trails Map. Below is the trail I marked. I forgot to turn it on until about a half mile into a our hike.

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We were able to stop at Lyndeborough Mountain, which is a small side trail. There was not a view from here, I would not recommend taking this side trail.

There was a cool old car in the woods, we were a couple miles in the woods, so I wonder how it got there.

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We did finally ended up at Rose Mountain which has many cairns and a beautiful view of Mt Monadnock. It is about two and half miles, therefore roughly a five mile roundtrip hike.

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If you are going to hike this make sure you have a good map with you and have a good sense of directions. I did really enjoy the hike as it is very beautiful with good views. I would like to go back and try it again and hopefully not get turned around.

New England Waterfalls

We live in a day of technology, where most information is online or on an app. Even though I do use internet and various apps for hiking and exploring I still have a couple go to books that an app or internet will never replace. If you have followed by website/blog I hope you would know by now that my favorite outdoor activity is waterfall exploring. In the summer there is nothing like a hike then a dip under a cool waterfall and in the winter enjoying a waterfall after a fresh fallen snow. There is just something so magical about waterfalls throughout the different seasons.

One Christmas my husband gave me the New England Waterfalls book by Greg Parsons and Kate B. Watson. This has turned into one of my favorite resource books. Whenever we go on a road trip around New England this book is with us. You just never know when you have an opportunity to explore a waterfall.

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The book is written well with over 200 waterfalls in New England. It provides good directions on how to get to the waterfalls, trail information and if there are other waterfalls nearby worth visiting. As you can see below I like to include my own trail information after I have visited he waterfall.

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The book has allowed us to explore beautify waterfalls throughout New England like Rattlesnake Pool outside of Bethel Maine.

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My nine year old also likes flipping through this book to find the waterfalls she can swim in. It is nice to be able to allow her to join in on the planning. If you are a waterfall junkie like me or just like to explore the beautiful natural scenery New England has to offer, this book is a must for your bookshelf.

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Hedgehog Mountain

Located in Deering, NH near Hillsborough is a great trail that can be a short hike or if wished, a longer hike. The Hedgehog Mountain Trail is located on Hedgehog Mountain Road off of Old Country Road in Deering. The parking lot was recently redone with more parking and a kiosk with trail information.

From the parking lot walk .10 of a mile up the road to the trailhead.  The trail head is located on the left. Follow the yellow trail blazes through the woods.   

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The trail meanders through the woods on a steady incline.

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Since we have had a lot of rain the trail was like one big stream, making the leaves very slippery. If we have had a lot of rain use caution on the trail with your footing.

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As the trail goes on it gets fairly steep with some spots that flatten out. Close to the top are a lot of loose rocks where you need to continue to use caution with your footing, especially if you have little ones with you.

Right before you summit you will see a sign for the Hedgehog Ridge Trail

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This trail is about four miles to High Five Reservation if you are looking for a longer hike. The map is below and it looks like there are various view points along the way. I have never done this section of the trail.

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From the trail intersection you are just a few hundred feed to the rock outcropping where you have beautiful views of Mt. Monadnock and looking west.

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To this point it is only a mile miles, making it very doable for beginner hikers and children.

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Remember in the fall when the leaves on the ground trails with a lot of rocks can become very slippery.

Dear Bob and Sue Book Review

If you are looking for a light hearted read about exploring some of the National Parks, Dear Bob and Sue is perfect book for you. Bring it with you to the beach or cuddled up by a fire. If you are thinking about exploring some National Parks this is a must read. This book is written a little different then most. In the beginning I was not sure if I would like the format, but I have to say I throughly enjoyed it.  

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It is about a husband and wife, Matt and Karen, who are touring 58 of the National Parks.  During their travels they send emails to their friends Bob and Sue.  The book is broken up into sections by the emails they wrote as they visit the various parks.  It is light and at times funny.  The only thing I wish they put in the book was the state they were in, most of them I could figure out.  Since I am not familiar with a lot of the national parks I had a hard time placing some of them.

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As I was reading the book I found myself getting lost in it and felt like I was hiking with them or enjoying pizza and a beer with them.  I love the humor and honesty within the book I could compare it to how my husband and I interact and behave at times.

I felt like I was right there with them especially when they were in Alaska as it is one of the places of my bucket list to go. While reading I was fearful I was going to get attack by a bear.   

As I read through the book, i kept thinking I want to visit this park and that park. I kept saying to my husband, “in the book this happened and I would love to go visit this.” I was sad when it was over as I felt like out trip was done. I wanted to continue traveling, hiking, exploring and eating pizza with them.

If you are looking for a light hearted book about traveling the majority of the National Parks I highly recommend you check this book out.

I recently found out that there is a second book titled Dear Bob and Sue: Season 2. I can’t wait to read it.

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Hiking the Monadnock Region Book(s)

When we moved to the area I wanted to start hiking again. My first birthday in our new house my husband bought me a hiking backpack and what has turned into my hiking bible for the area, Hiking the Monadnock Region. The next couple year we set out to do the majority of the hikes in the book. This book opened my eyes to the wonderful trails and scenery in the area.

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When people think about the Monadnock Region, they usually think of Mt. Monadnock. While there is nothing wrong with that, it’s a great hike with beautiful scenery, but there is so much more to explore in the region. One of the things I like the most about the book is it talks about trails that are not as popular, like Little Monadnock and Heald Tract. The trail descriptions have been very helpful too. There were many times when we were hiking I would pull the book out and refer to it to ensure we were going the correct way or get more information about the trail.

A few years ago the author updated the book and came out with The New Hiking the Monadnock Region. Of course I had to get it. I did not think I could like a book more than the last one, but I like this one more.

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The reason that I like this book more is there are more trails noted, like Fox Forest. The author also added map drawings of the trails, which I always find helpful.

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If you live in the Monadnock Region or visit frequently and like to hike, I highly recommend getting these books. I have also noticed that the local libraries carry them as well if you want to check them our before buying.

This post contains affiliate links for which I may receive a small amount of compensation at no cost to you.


Gap Mountain

I was scrolling through my website this morning looking for a place to hike with a friend and I was surprised that I did not have Gap Mountain on my website. Even though I only hike Gap once or twice a year, it is one of my favorite hikes because I love the view at the top.

Before more rain set in, a friend, my daughter and I decided to hike Gap Mountain. I always take the wrong turn to get to the trailhead. From Rindge you take Rt 119 towards Fitzwilliam. At the intersection take a right onto Rt 12. There are two Gap Mountain Roads and I always take the first one, which is a dead end. You need to take the second one that has a sign for the Gap Mountain Trailhead. Follow the road and the signs to the trailhead, which is on the left. One of the good things about this trailhead is there is plenty of parking, a porta potty and a kiosk with a map.

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We started out on the trail and as I expected the trail was pretty muddle from all the rain we have had, but we did not find the trail too slippery. The first half of the trail is fairly flat, meandering through the woods and over a couple streams.

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The second half of the trail starts to get a little steeper with the last quarter mile fairly steep climbing up rocks.

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We did see what I assumed was a trail volunteer trying to clear the trail and help the water drain.

My nine year old did great hiking today and actually liked the stairs and climbing over the rocks near the top.

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Even though the last quarter mile is steep, the view from the top was worth it. I love how you get a direct view of Mt. Monadnock. Even on a cloudy day.

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It was around 11am when we got to the top and it looked like the sun was setting.

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The hike is about 1.4 miles to the top. This is a great hike if you want a little challenge with a great view. If you are visiting or live in the Monadnock area, put this hike on your list of must dos.

Betty Arnold Forest/Upper Bicentennial Trail

On Friday I celebrated my birthday. Every year I take the day off from work and pamper myself. This year my husband joined me for the day. After I enjoyed a facial and then a wine tasting I wanted to get a little hike in, because it would not be right if I did not get a hike in on my birthday. Since we were already in Amherst at Labelle Winery and we had a time crunch to pick up our daughter, I chose to explore a new trail in Amherst.

From the winery you head west on Route 101 towards Milford. Turn right onto Horace-Greeley Rd and take an immediate left onto Austin Road. About a half mile down the road, which turns to dirt, one the right is a nice parking area with a kiosk providing trail information.

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This is actually quite an elaborate trail system. With what looks like to be several miles of trails. We did a quick mile and half loop up Cricket Hill and back to our car. The trails are very well marked with various signs at the different intersections.

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There was no view on Cricket Hill, but the walk through the forest was very pretty. If you live in the area or are close by and want to get some time in the woods this is a perfect trail to check out. This trail is good for all abilities with minimal elevation gain with what we did.

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I loved the various views throughout the woods. There is something peaceful about the smell of fresh fallen leaves and walking through them.

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It was also really nice for my husband and I to get out on a hike by ourselves as this rarely happens anymore.

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Monson Village Trails

I love exploring trails that have some history to them. Located on Federal Hill Road in Milford is Monson Village a step back in time.

From the Forest Society’s Website,

“Monson Center is considered by leading archeologists to be one of the most significant archeological sites in New England. Many of the original foundations of the homes that were built in this late 1700s village are preserved.

Visiting Monson Center, a historic gem, is literally a breath of fresh air, and a step back in time. This small portion of history is off the beaten path, but once you find it, you will never forget.”

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I recently led a group hike with my Hike Like a Woman Monadnock Group through the trails at the village.

The parking lot is located on Federal Hill Road on the Milford/Hollis Line . There is only room for less than 10 cars so if you are going with a group please plan accordingly. When you leave the parking lot to walk down an old road to a kiosk with trail information and then you walk into a field with various bird houses. When you reach the house there is a box with trail maps and I highly recommend picking one up as the trails are not well marked. This is where you you have the option to go straight past the house or take a left into the field.

We went straight and were able to loop around the outer trails while exploring various cellar holes and stone walls. There are some plaques that mark where old home were dating back to the 1700’s,

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I heard there is a view point, but I was not able to find it. We did get the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful bog that still had some fall colors. My guess is that there are also various birds that visit here due to the nests in the trees.

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We looped back around to view more cellar holes and popped out at the field. We did about 3 miles through the trails. There are other trails for a longer or shorter hike.

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This hike is as easy hike, great for kids and families. I would saw a little difficult to navigate, I use the All Trails app and the map to figure out the loop I wanted to take. We saw a lot of people walking their dogs through the trails. This is a perfect destination for those looking for some New Hampshire history all while enjoying the great outdoors.

Gramwick Trail at Mountain Brook Reservoir

Located off of Gilmore Pond Road on Peabody Hill Road in Jaffrey is a beautiful trail. The Gramwick Trail managed by the Monadnock Conservancy is a great place to get a short hike in by yourself or with your family. The Conservancy appears to be putting some work into the trail as there is a new parking lot with plenty of parking, a new sign and the start of a new kiosk. The parking lot is located on the left after you cross a small stream on Peabody Hill Road.

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This is a perfect hike if you want something easy and short. The trail follows along the Monadnock Brook Reservoir allowing for many opportunities for beautiful views and bridges over streams, which are always fun this time of year. My daughter loved putting leaves in the water and watching them go down the stream.

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I have an obsession with leaf covered bridges.

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We also saw active signs of a beaver and my guess is there is a lot of wildlife here.

The trail is fairly easy to follow as it is marked with blue diamonds. Do take note on the way back you cannot see all of the trail makers so make sure you pay attention to where you are walking to ensure you stay on the trail.

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The trail meanders along the shore line and into the woods ending at a view point with beautiful views of the Reservoir.

If you have a dog who loves the water, I guarantee they will love this trail, just like my Golden Retriever did.

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It is only a mile to the end on a flat trail, two miles round trip, making this is a perfect trail for beginner hikers or hiking with young children or someone just wanting another beautiful view in the Monadnock Region..

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Spirit Falls


Across the border of New Hampshire into Massachusetts is another great waterfall worth checking out. Located in Royalston Massachusetts is Spirit Falls. This falls is special to me as it was the first hike we took our daughter on at just two weeks old. Of course I can not find any of the pictures, but I can assure you they were cute. Even though this was nine years ago, I can remember it just like yesterday. Putting her in the front carrier, feeling scared and excited to go out on our first hike. Some hikers gave us dirty looks, while others praised us.

Even if you have no special connection to this waterfall it is worth checking out. I had originally found this hike in one of my favorite hiking books, New England Waterfalls. The book helped us find and follow the trail. The trail is a little over a mile long and it is very steep at the end. Many people only go half walk thinking they are at the end, but if you are up to it, it is worth the scramble to the bottom of the falls to get the full effect. Make sure you watch the trail markers and wear appropriate footwear as it can be muddy and slippery.

The waterfall is very long, not what you would expect for this area of Massachusetts. I remember thinking that the waterfall never ended.

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In my notes I have that there is a side trail to a lookout, but I cannot recall where it is on the trail. When looking at All Trails, it looks like it may be towards the beginning of the hike.

Due to the steepness of the trail I would not recommend this hike for young children who walk on their own, I can remember that my husband and I took turns going down to the bottom of the falls because we had our infant daughter and did not want to bring her down the steep section. I also do not recall any opportunity for swimming here. If you love waterfalls like I do, you need to put this one on your list.