Saturday I co-led an AMC ski trip to some local conservation areas in Wilton NH. Actually, Darrell, the primary leader did all the work. I just volunteered to co-lead because it’s ten miles from home. Darrell scouted the trails in the summer. He apparently helped maintain some of the trails in the Heald Tract back when Phil Heald was still around and active. Saturday morning Darrell showed up an hour early and shoveled out the parking area for the rest of us. We got really lucky compared to recent years, and had a decent amount of snow.
Sheldrick Forest is a Nature Conservancy property. The Heald Tract is owned by SPNHF. The trails are designed as hiking trails. Darrell picked the most skiable ones around the ponds, and through old farm fields. Some of the trip participants still found the route quite challenging. We skied the Camp Pond Trail and the Castor Pond Loop Trail. By the time we got to the southern end of the Camp Pond Trail, it was time to turn around. So we missed out on the Heald Pond Trail. Darrell says the Fisk Hill Trail is not skiable.
Some notable moments:
The bridge is out at the southern junction of the Castor Pond trail and the Camp trail. Some people took their skis off to cross. Another group tried a tangle of logs that looked like the beginning of a beaver dam. I opted for a straight, long tree trunk that appeared to have been flattened on top. It was too narrow for my bindings to pass each other, but I could easily shuffle across.
Joel, who has skied with us a bunch before, managed to loose his phone and his pole, all near the southern end of Camp Pond. I picked up the pole almost immediately, but no one could find the phone. He used Apple’s “find my phone” feature at home, and was able to retrieve it the next day.
We stopped for lunch at a clearing next to Camp Pond. The clearing had a bench, at least one fire pit, and a pit toilet. None of this shows up on the SPNHF map, or in open street maps. Nor do the maps show a road for the snowmobile tracks we saw. Farther south, open street maps shows one dirt road that we saw the snowmobiles using. The SPNHF Heald Tract map that Darrell sent out, doesn’t show it at all. We might have taken a different shortcut back if we had known about the extra snowmobile trails.
- Nature Conservancy page for Sheldrick Forest
- SPNHF page for the Heald Tract including a map, trail descriptions, and history.