Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge – Grounded (Oct. 6, 2012)

Forest Lake, NH

Our morning began sipping coffee, listening to the loons and watching the light play on Forest Lake.  I have recently been grounded by my two cardiologists, after the little stint my heart pulled while we were on Willard.  This was a great view, but I needed more.  The doctors said no hiking, but they didn’t say no walking. So we quickly chugged the coffee (and it was decafe)  and headed out to Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge.

We started the “walk” on Pondicherry Rail Trail off of Airport/Hazen Road in Whitefield.  We were pleasantly surprised to see such a nice parking area and informative kiosk. We were in the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge that reaches all the way down to Connecticut.

Trails in this area

Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge

This was a simple trail for 1.5 miles. A straight line with a mountain view beckoning us to get closer.

Pondicherry Rail Trail

Before we reached the viewing platform on Cherry Pond, we followed the arrow, it told us to turn. But we turned to soon and ended here, oops not the right place.

Oops we turned to soon

We backtracked, continued straight for a bit and found the spot to turn.

The correct turn

At this turn we headed out for 800  feet to the viewing platform.

Cherry Pond Viewing Platform

It was an overcast day, causing the mountains to have a blueish hue.  The platform was a splendid place to sit, bird watch, sip coffee and consume the views.

Coffee and a view

 

views

After picture taking and deciding to come back here again when the mountains are snow-capped, we walked the rail line to the sign that pointed the way to Little Cherry Pond.

Rail line views

Views from the Rail Line

This was a nice little foresty lollipop loop. The terrain was easy to negotiate, the aroma of pine filled our noses, the colors overwhelmed our eyes and I found that marshmallow peeps do grow in the forest.

Marshmallow Peeps do grow in the forest

forest floor is carpeted with color

There were numerous marshy areas to cross over on the way to the small platform.

Once at the pond we sat for a bit enjoying the views.

Color plays peak a boo

 

pano view of Little Cherry Pond

We continued our “walk” and we both enjoyed this trail for all the beauty we found in it.

we have a bit of sun!!

We ended this trail at the rail line and headed back on the tracks until we reached Cherry Pond and walked on the shore path for a short distance.

The path even had a bench to sit on

looking towards the viewing platform

This little path then joined back to the Pondicherry Rail Trail.  We hiked out, as dark clouds took over the sky.  We were a bit hungry after our hike so we headed out to the R Place Deli and Bagel Shoppe in Whitefield to grab some breakfast.  What a great little place.  The best part they make their own bagels.  Homemade bagels, after a hike? WOW!!  We both ordered breakfast sandwiches and in 10 minutes were back at the cottage, eating breakfast and enjoying the view.

bagels and a view

All in all being grounded isn’t so bad.  We had an amazing “walk” and we both agree this will be a repeat hike, umm walk for us.

The Details: Park at the trailhead located off of Hazen/Airport Road.  Minimal elevation gain.  Follow  Pondicherry Rail Trail, to Cherry Pond Viewing platform, continue to Little Cherry Pond via the rail way, to Little Cherry Pond Trail, to platform then return the way you came.  We figured we did approximately 4.5 miles.

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