Take a Hike

by on February 22, 2014 in Hikes and Nature, Life in Nelson, Recreation

Join members of the Nelson Trail Group on three hikes exploring some of the beauty of our town.

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Members of the Nelson Trails Committee pose on a newly constructed bridge in this photo from last summer.

Saturday, March 1, 9:00 AM – Kulish Ledge Inaugural Hike – Harris Center hike led by Al Stoops. Meet at Bailey Brook trailhead near #611 Old Stoddard Road. Hike ends by 2 PM. This is the first organized hike on the trail built last year by the Nelson Trail Group. Hikers will enjoy the beautiful views from the ledges on the north side of Osgood Hill. There should be plenty of winter tracks to interpret. Bring snowshoes and a lunch

Saturday, March 8, 10 AM – Tolman Pond Hike – Exploratory hike led by Dave Patek and Tom Murray. Meet at Dave Patek’s high field on Cabot Road just uphill from the junction with Merriconn Road. (not the field on the corner of Tolman Pond Road.) Join the Nelson Trail Group as we explore possible routes for a new trail around Tolman Pond. The brook draining the pond falls through a rocky gorge that should feature beautiful ice formations this season. This hike will be about two hours. Bring snow shoes.

Sunday, April 13, 1:00 PM – Cellar Holes of Nelson – Another hike sponsored by The Harris Center hike led by Rick Church. Explore six cellar holes on the abandoned portion of Log Cabin Road. Most date to 1780. Meet in the Village. Back by 4 PM.

People interested in joining the Nelson Trail group should contact Rick Church at

603- 847-3206

Inaugural Hike on Murdough Hill Meander

by on November 14, 2012 in Hikes and Nature, Recreation

by Kathy Schillemat

Murdough Hill Hike

Harry Flanagan tells the group of hikers the story of the bobcat and the goose.

Saturday, November 10 was a warm November morning.  Folks assembled in Duane and Kathy Schillemat’s driveway to begin the first official hike on the Murdough Hill Meander.  Young and old gathered, including two families who have just moved into the area.  Al Stoops took a count—twenty people!  After a brief introduction, Kathy led the group into the woods.  The hikers stopped at the site of a mill, which Rick Church said had been a grist mill and a saw mill in the early 19th century.  Half of the massive mill stone lay in the raceway of the mill, broken, Rick believes, when the mill was destroyed by fire.

The group moved away from the mill site and followed the stream which flows out of Granite Lake into a wetland abutting Granite Lake Road.  Continue Reading »

Nelson Trails Update

by Rich Church (May 12, 2012)

The Nelson Trails Committee is working to add two to four new trails this year. The two most active projects are on Cobb Hill and in Munsonville.

Pair of Canada Geese

Pair of Canada Geese

At 1900’, Cobb Hill is one of the area’s highest points. It is flanked by two old roads that join Nelson and Harrisville which run on the east and west sides of the hill. The Harris Center already maintains the Jane Greene Trail that comes up from Hancock to a lookout on the east side of the hill with a beautiful view of Mount Monadnock.  We hope to extend the Jane Greene Trail so hikers from all three towns can enjoy visiting the lookout and the high bush blueberries growing on the windy summit and loop back to their starting point.  Further work with the landowners must be complete before a trail can actually be laid out. The trails committees of Nelson and

Eric Sandberg spots proud parents with 5 goslings

Eric Sandberg spots proud parents with 5 goslings

Harrisville are co-operating with the Harris Center for Conservation Education on the project.

Further along is the development of a trail that explores the wetland across Granite Lake Road from the Nelson School.  This opportunity offers a visit to an old gristmill site and bird habitat long of interest to the Audubon Society.  The trail will be laid out so as to afford opportunities to enjoy this important piece of habitat without intruding unnecessarily on bird life.  Troy Tucker has already started to clear the portion of the trail that runs through his property. Kathy and

Julia Lennon and Kathy Schillemat spot spring flowers

Julia Lennon and Kathy Schillemat spot spring flowers

Duane Schillemat have generously offered their driveway as the access point.

The Committee has been learning about trail making from the experts. Tom Duston, chair of the Chesterfield Conservation Commission, has spoken to the group and recently spent a rainy morning walking Cobb hill to share tips on good trail layout and construction.  He’s produced a six-page guide on the subject to help inform our work.  On May 12th, committee members Susan Hansel, Julia Lennon, Kathy Schillemat, Eric Sandberg and I walked the Audubon Society’s Cove Trail at the Sucker Brook Sanctuary to observe good trail making practices in wetland bird habitat.  The views of Mount Monadnock over Silver Lake were beautiful. A pair of Canada Geese announced their landing in the cove with loud honking. Another pair paddled by with their five youngsters.  A plethora of  wildflowers including numerous painted trilliums graced the side of the path.

Painted Trillium

Painted Trillium

I can recommend the Sucker Brook Sanctuary for anyone wanting a comfortable walk through hemlock groves, past boulder strewn landscapes and rock outcrops with beautiful forest flowers, water foul and song birds to add to your enjoyment. Parking is on Breed Pond Road. Directions and a trail guide can be downloaded from New Hampshire Audubon .

Bailey Brook Trail

The Nelson Trails Committee sponsored a hike recently with the Harris Center to the Bailey Brook Trail. The hike drew more than 30 people on a clear and cold Saturday, February 11th.  It was led by Rick Church, of our trails committee, and Ben Haubrich, a Harris Center guide. Meade Cadot, senior naturalist at the Harris Center and Martha Pinello, an archaeologist from Monadnock Archaeological Consulting, were along to explain the natural and cultural items of interest.

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Hikers gathered at the Nelson Common and carpooled to Maury Collin’s.  The group walked up and over the hill behind Maury’s house, the area of a new conservation easement and looked across the valley toward Osgood Hill and more land protected by the Harris Center.  The hike followed a logging road back to the Old Stoddard Road where we turned east. Meade Cadot pointed out black bear markings on most of the telephone poles along the road. These are territorial markings.  Most of the poles showed teeth marks and one had bear hair imbedded in the pole itself.

Continue Reading »

A Hike Up Rollstone Mountain

Editor’s Note: Rollstone Mountain was also the inspiration for a contra dance tune written by Ralph Page. It was recorded in 1975 by Rodney Miller (fiddle), Randy Miller (piano) and Peter O’Brien (harmonica), on one of the first local recordings of dance tunes: “Castles in the Air“. It was arranged for the Nelson Town Band to play in the town’s musical history, The Hotel Nelson, in 1997, and the band continues to include it in their repertoire. You can hear the original recording by clicking on the link below.

by Al Stoops

Three inches of fresh snow greeted us Nelsonites that morning, two days before Christmas. Our weekly Monday hike was on Friday this week, and we looked forward to exploring the extreme northeast corner of town. We hoped to check out some rumored trails around Rollstone Mountain, an intriguing area on USGS maps and Google-Earth satellite views. Rollstone Mountain and Holt Hill make up the uplands in the extreme northeast of Nelson. Strangely, the hill is higher than the mountain. Years ago Sue and I had followed a bobcat here, along logs and across walls, round feline tracks in powder.

Four of us carpooled from the village, skidding up slippery Old Stoddard Rd, barely squeezing by the Hayes wrecker parked mid-street on the straight uphill stretch of road past the town barns. The car on the flatbed was an indication of the driving conditions. So was the greasy road itself.

Two sections of Nelson’s town lines cross Rye Pond: a north-south section of the border abuts Antrim to the east. North of the east-west line sits Stoddard. It’s a wild area—most who drive NH 123 between Hancock village and South Stoddard spend less than a minute in Nelson, but a disproportionate percentage of the town’s moose collisions likely happen in those few rods. We parked on the shoulder and heading into the woods of Antrim. Continue Reading »

Nelson Trails Explores Cobb Hill

by on December 5, 2011 in Hikes and Nature, Recreation
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Nelson and Harrisville Trails Committees and friends at the David Marshal home site.

The Nelson Trails Committee is exploring Cobb Hill on the line between Nelson and Harrisville with the hope of laying out a network of trails. Several ancient roads and a Harris Center trail provide a good starting point.  There are a number of early cellar holes in what was originally the southeast corner of Nelson. There should be circular walking routes available from both towns. The Harrisville and Nelson Trails Committees are working jointly on the project.

The committees have walked the territory on two separate hikes covering about five miles in the process. Sunday, December 4th saw thirteen committee members and friends from both towns assemble at the end of Nelson’s Nubanusit Road for an afternoon’s exploration of Cobb Hill. The temperatures were in the forties; there was a brisk, cold wind on the high ridge and a skim of ice on some of the puddles in the road. Continue Reading »

Nelson Celebrates It’s First Official Walking Trail

Jeanette Baker aka Jaybird

The Trails Committee of Moving in Step and the Conservation Commission celebrated the opening of our first walking trail.

The event featured a talk by Jeanette Baker on her Appalachian Trail Hike last year. The following afternoon was a walk on the Old Road to Dublin, oldest documented road in Nelson.

The Trails Committee has been working to layout and mark trails for the people in Nelson to be able to walk and appreciate the natural and cultural richness of our town. Detailed trail guides and maps will be available for these walks. The Old Road to Dublin is the first trail to be completed by the committee. Continue Reading »

Off the Beaten Path

The Great Meadow, June 13, 2011
by Kathy Schillemat

“Express the heart too full to speak in one exultant hymn.”

Sometimes, words are wholly inadequate to describe the experience or the feelings of a day.  Such was the case with our adventure on the Great Meadow which flows over the border between Nelson and Harrisville.

Al Stoops and I set out in the morning from the outlet of Nubanusit Lake behind Dave Birchenough’s house.    We explored the upstream channels before going with the downstream flow.  In the shallows, we found numerous cone-shaped “nets,” made apparently from some gelatinous material and coated with silt.  These seemed to be some means of catching small aquatic creatures, but we could not look closely at the structures as they flattened out into silty slime when we attempted to take them out of the water.  Our first mystery of the day: what creatures create these “nets” and what is their intended prey? Continue Reading »

Trails in Nelson

The Nelson Trails Group recently explored the old class six road to the “Hart Lot” with its extensive foundations and mill site.  The site was home to a sawmill operated in the early nineteenth century.  The mill location on a falls in Bailey Brook provides habitat for numerous wild flowers; wild ginger graces the Osborne home site and there are numerous day lilies contributed by later summer residents, perhaps the Harts.  The road was closed by the town in 1922.

The old mill site is on the upper falls of Bailey Brook . The falls had a lot of water going over  it from recent rains and downstream the brook ran through its rocky bed with a musical sound.  The banks were lush with ferns. Bailey Brook briefly forms a wetland before entering a cut with steep banks culminating in the waterfall that can be seen from Old Stoddard Road.

The Nelson Trails Group, established under the auspices of Moving in Step, is working to make the beautiful, educational and historic places in town accessible to the walking public.  The nearly twenty-member committee plans to start by identifying Nelson’s abandoned but accessible old roads.  The first project,the town’s first documented road laid out in 1773 and only closed in 1959, is the original road from the Packersfield meeting house to Dublin some call the Klemperer Road.  It features gentle walking on an old road, four old cellar holes, and a number of vernal pools.  Forest types change as you pass stonewalls and are the result of early land use by the settlers there and the date of their final abandonment.

The group is in the process of documenting the natural and historical things of interest along some of our old roads and is seeking abutting landowner co-operation so that more Nelson walkers can enjoy the natural and historical features of Nelson’s abandoned roads. If you ware interested in participating, please call Rick Church at 603-847-3206.