A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Black fly forecast: high danger

April 30, 2016
Emilie Phillips

Tyson found a new conservation area north of Lake Nubanusit with 6 miles of trails, a pond, and a kid friendly summit. What could go wrong?

Black fly season and I had forgotten all about it so we had neither bug nets nor bug spray. For those of you not from New England, Minnesota, or Canada, black flies are a small innocuous looking fly slightly larger than a gnat. They all hatch first thing in the spring and disappear once the weather turns hot. For all their tiny size, they have a huge bite that swells up and itches.

Willard Pond
Willard Pond

We planned our trip using the New Hiking the Monadnock Region guide. It suggested an out and back along Willard Pond and up to scenic ledges on Bald Mountain. It mentioned several other trail options. The Audubon Society has more trail descriptions on their page for the dePierrefeu-Willard Pond Sanctuary. However, none of the trails were on Open Street maps, so Tyson brought his cell phone to fix that.


We saw some folks headed out to fish Willard Pond in canoes and kayaks. Isaac “fished” from shore while I tried to take pictures of salamanders in the water. Along the lake, the viburnum were just starting to bloom. I found some small yellow bell shaped flowers that I don’t recognize. Way out in the water, we spotted a loon and occasionally heard it’s call.

Rock climbing
Rock climbing

One of the features of the hike was piles of large glacial boulders. We paused to scramble around a few of these. When we tucked under the rocks, Isaac declared we were hiding from the bugs.

The inconsistent breeze along the pond blew enough of the black flies away to be tolerable. Once we turned off the Tudor trail onto the Bald Mountain trail, the flies got worse, much much worse. The breeze disappeared and Isaac slowed to a fly’s pace climbing up the hill.

Tyson's black flies
Tyson’s black flies

The views from the ledges were beautiful. There were lady slippers and trillium poking up. But we were all too harried from the flies to enjoy it. We stopped for a brief snack in the limited breeze at the ledges. Then we took the shortest trail back to the car. We didn’t eat lunch until we were all hiding in the car, safely protected from the swarming flies by a thick pane of glass.

We’ll be back again. It looked like a really nice undeveloped area. Next time we’ll come better prepared.

All Photos


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