A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Monadnock Rail Trail

May 1, 2021
Emilie Phillips

Continuing on from our last bicycle ride in Peterborough, we decided to try another dirt rail trail in south western NH. This time we went south from Jaffrey to the Massachusetts state line. Tyson was once again stuck at work.

Kent and John repairing Isaac’s bike

First we stopped by Tyson’s brother’s place to fix Isaac’s bicycle. It seemed that more than one incident had happened to Isaac’s bike. The rear tire was bent. The brakes were dragging (even after Kent straightened the rim). The derailleur hanger and the derailleur were bent. Kent tuned it up well enough, though I should buy some new spare parts.

State park description of the rail trail.

The link above says there is a two hour parking limit. We parked at a different gravel parking lot in the same area with no limit.

Bicycling back to Jaffrey

The trail bed, while unpaved, was a lot better maintained than the Peterborough Old Railway Trail from the last weekend. The first bits, passing Lake Contoocook were scenic. And the last bits near the southern border got back out into the woods. But in between there were plenty of roads and houses, and two highway crossings. Overall, I preferred the better scenery of the Old Railway Trail even with it’s bumpy roots.

I noticed a mystery as we rode along. Rail roads around here usually have granite posts marking the mileage. Carved at the top of the pillar on each side is the first letter of the destination city and the miles. For example last week the posts had “C” and “W” which I presume were for Concord going north and Worcester going south. Often the side of the pillar facing the tracks is engraved with the rail company’s initials.

The granite pillars on the Mondadnock Rail Trail were odd. Many of them looked like the mileage and initials had been scoured off. Some other ones looked like newer granite pillars that had never had any engraving at all. And then I spotted some small concrete markers with mileage, but not at an even 1 mile distance from the granite markers. Leave a comment if you know why the original granite posts would have been scrapped off.

All Photos

GPS Track

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Comments (2)

  • Emilie

    The concrete markers with a pair of numbers are used to mark the location of structures that might need periodic or emergency maintenance, such as culverts, switches, etc. The numbers usually are decimal locations along the line: xx.yy. If there is a problem, the engine crew can document the location for follow-up by the right-of-way maintenance crew.

    I have seen granite markers with the scoured areas. I believe they are simply less expensive: a standard marker with paint to designate the appropiate marking.

    • Thanks for the explanation. That makes a lot more sense than either the rail company removing mileage when they decommissioned the rail line, or them having rerouted the rail line and having had to redo the miles on the markers.