Little Creek Maple Farm

Our adventures around the homestead.

Oak Hill Fire Tower

Last weekend when we were camping at Bear Brook Campground we decided to drive to a nearby fire tower in Concord, NH and hike to the top of the hill and see the fire tower.  After our great experience at Pitcher Mountain we had high expectations.  The hike to the Oak Hill Fire Tower is one of several hikes on the New Hampshire Mountain Hiking Website’s hike for kids.  I downloaded the PDF hiking map from the Town of Concord’s website and we were off to the parking area on Shaker Road.  The parking area was good sized and the trail was well marked.  When you download the trail map you can see there are endless loops on which to wander.

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Since our mission was to get to the fire tower, we stuck to the Tower Trail.  From the parking area to the tower suing the scale provided on the map is approximately 1.75 miles, one way.  This was our longest hike for the kids.  The trail was well marked and clear, but it had a bunch of rocks and exposed roots, which my youngest had some trouble with if he was not paying attention to where he was walking.

The tower trail is pretty boring, you are essentially walking through the woods and some swampy areas. The bugs were pretty thick so make sure you bring something with DEET in it!  It was almost like the mosquitos hadn’t seen anything to feed on in months.

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Once you hit the power line the trail makes a hard left turn and becomes steep as you make your way to the fire tower.  We did see some blueberry bushes and the trail was a little muddy.  When you reach the top there is the fire tower and a taller communications tower.  There were some abandoned pieces of farm equipment and even a picnic table.  The summit was an open grassy area completely surrounded by trees where the kids could run around and explore.

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Unfortunately, there were no views to be had at all from the ground which was a big disappointment compared to our previous hike at Pitcher Mountain.  The towers did provide a neat destination for the kids and there were some blackberry bushes over by the communication tower that had a handful of blackberries that were ripe for the picking.

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On the way out about half way back to the parking area my youngest was pooped out.  So I had a sleepy passenger for the rest of the way down the trail to the car.  Luckily the trail was cut back enough that I could do this without having to worry about hitting him in the head with low branches.

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The next hike in the 3 mile range I may have to bring the backpack he can ride in…

August 3, 2013 Posted by | Hiking | , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Tips for Hiking with Toddlers

1)  Select an easy hike – something less than a mile round trip, with no vertical rock faces to climb, after all they are toddlers!  A recent hike to Pitcher Mountain was perfect for us.

 

2)  Make sure to choose a hike that has an interesting and exciting final destination – a fire tower, water fall, or a cave add to the excitement of plain old walking in the woods.

 

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3)  Proper footwear and clothing that is weather appropriate is a good place to start before heading to the trails.

 

4)  Let them carry their own backpacks – this is huge and really reinforces the adventure aspect of the hike.

 

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5)  Allow them to choose their own snacks and drinks and have them pack them into their backpacks.

 

6)  Let them pack up something cool and be sure to tell them how important it is that they are carrying that specific item – a pair of binoculars, a compass, or even a trail map you downloaded of the internet helps them feel important.

 

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7)  Pack a simple first aid kit, complete with Cars, or Looney Tunes Band-Aids and some Anti-itch ointment for any bug bites that develop on the car ride home.

 

8)  At the trail head, a good kid friendly bug repellent and sunscreen will help keep the bugs and sun from ruining a good time.

 

9)  Make a game of having them find and point out trail markers as you make your way up the trail.

 

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10)  Be sure to stop frequently to point out local flora and fauna – like wild blueberry or blackberry bushes.

 

11)  At the summit, or exciting destination half way though your trip, stop for a picnic lunch or snack and admire the view.

 

View from the summit

12)  Have fun, relax, and enjoy the moment!

July 30, 2013 Posted by | Hiking | , , | 4 Comments

Pitcher Mountain

Before the last heat wave we had decided to go on an easy hike that we had done a couple years ago with the boys.  This would be our first hike with both of them walking, so I was looking for something easy that also had a cool destination at the end of the hike.  Pitcher mountain has both!  For those not familiar with Pitcher Mountain, it is located in Stoddard, NH, has an elevation of 2,153’ with a fire tower at the top of the trail.   The hike is maybe all of a mile round trip and only has a 300’ elevation change, so it’s pretty easy.

We always head down the gated Woods Road to the left of the trail head.  After a short distance you will encounter the sign below, which marks a trail up to the fire tower.

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The trail is well worn and well marked with white blazes.  The kids had a good time looking for and pointing the trail markers out as they occur both on the trees and on the rocks as you get towards the top of the trail.

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As you get closer to the top the trail is crowded with blueberry bushes.  Unfortunately we were a little too early for some of these tasty treats.

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As you make your way through the blueberry bushes the fire tower starts to emerge.

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The trail becomes a little rockier, and the kids enjoy scrambling up on the rocks as they continue to close in on the tower.

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At the summit you have a great 360-degree view of the surrounding area, so bring some binoculars.  Just make sure you know which end to look through…

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The fire tower provides shade and a great conversation piece for the little ones.

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There are plenty of places to pull up a seat and eat a quick picnic lunch.

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On the way out we leave via the trail in the direction opposite of where we came.  This trail has seen some new additions including a generator and a wider trail than what I remember from just a couple years ago.  All in all a successful outing.

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July 29, 2013 Posted by | Hiking | , , , | 9 Comments

   

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