We hiked the Lovewell Mountain loop on the Monadnock Sunapee Greenway. Tyson and I think we section hiked the Greenway before, but neither of us could remember Lovewell Mountain. So either we didn’t finish section hiking, or we have just forgotten. In either case, we should do the whole trail with Isaac.
Lovewell Mountain is a pretty easy loop. The Monadnock Sunapee Creenway Trail Club maintains a view at the top. It looks east towards flatter central NH. We picked out Pat’s Peak and not much else. Another group ate lunch back in a sunny clearing in the woods. With sun and no wind, they had a more pleasant lunch than us with a breezy shady view.
On the other side, the trail started down through a boreal forest which the trail guide likened to forests in the Whites. There weren’t, however, nearly as many rocks as the Whites. I was really looking forward to was the old apple orchard listed in the guidebook. Unfortunately when we got there I couldn’t find any apples. I know it’s late for ripe apples, but I expected remnants on the ground. Nothing. There was an old sign saying the area was thinned for wildlife habitat. The apple trees did have some space around them. This late in the year the trees didn’t have leaves so I couldn’t tell which ones were healthy. Tyson was more puzzled by the double cellar holes with the trail crossing the ridge in the middle.
We learned about a new type of backcountry toilet at the Max Israel Shelter — a moldering privy. It looks like a hardware cloth enclosed compost bin with a toilet seat on top. The sign said to minimize liquids (urine) and throw in some forest duff after using it. I went looking for more information when we got home. The Green Mountain Club says moldering privies actually need liquid. And that link says you should use bark or wood chips for more aeration. The MA DEP (in a really long winded document), says that pathogens in anaerobic pit toilets and cat holes can live up to two years. Moldering toilets kill the pathogens sooner, if used sparingly. The open air composting process does not get hot enough to kill pathogens. Instead, the worms and beneficial bacteria out-compete the pathogens.
The final part of the loop follows 2 miles on a dead-end dirt road. Isaac was dreading the boring road walk. Once he struck up a conversation about astronomy, the miles passed without him noticing. He was quite surprised when we climbed the last rise and found the car.