Continuing our quest to improve open street maps, we returned to a SPNHF property in Stoddard NH — the Peirce Wildlife and Forest Reservation. This time we picked trails on open street maps which were crudely drawn. We expected to see a few people.
There was snow on the ground when we arrived. Not much, but enough to have a small snowball fight. The red trillium are blooming, as were small bell shaped yellow flowers. The viburnum flowers were still green. They should be showy in a week or two. Tyson spotted a garter snake on the trail. We stood still until it decided we weren’t threatening. Then it moseyed around, bobbing its head back and forth, and poking its nose under leaves. Tyson thought it was hunting for bugs.
The highlights of the trip were the views from Bacon Ledge near the south end, and Trout Pond in the middle. It was so windy that Trout Pond had whitecaps splashing against the beaver dam at its east end.
The trails were easy to follow. The hiking trails had too many blazes, but there were only a few trees down across the trail. The loop around Nancy Mountain and Trout Pond were snowmobile trails on old roads. The snowmobile clubs keep them completely cleared. We found plenty of cellar holes along the old roads.
There is a big mowed clearing next to Trout Pond. Bits of it have grown up with birch since the reservation photo. I assume it is intended as a wildlife clearing. It’s mowed shorter than most wildlife clearings I have seen.
We had brought several maps with us. Open Street maps on a phone, print outs of the 1930 and 1984 USGS topo maps, and a print out of the Stoddard Rocks map. Oddly, we found the trail marked on the 1930 topo map matched the real trail better than the 1984 topo map. On the first leg up to Bacon Ledge, we saw an old road turning left about where the USGS topos and Stoddard Rocks map disagreed, so we assumed the trail had been rerouted. On the way back down, we explored the old fork. The trail junction actually had wooden arrows pointing both ways. We found some peeling blazes and cairns made from an old stone wall. But both the blazes and the road got harder and harder to find. Finally at a stone wall just past another cellar hole, and at the beginning of a birch forest, we lost the trail for good. It didn’t match the alternate route on the USGS topo maps. The road is mystery.
We found two groups of people in the woods looking for historic relics with metal detectors. We met one guy at the last cellar hole where we lost the trail. He said the cellar hole was from the 18th century. He gave Isaac one of the antique buttons he had found.
- USGS 1930
- USGS 1984
- Stoddard Rocks
- Trout Pond bathymetry
- (found after the hike) Charles Peirce maps of Stoddard that show the last trail/road we explored.