New Hampshire Trip

I just got back from 5 beautiful days spent in Piermont, New Hampshire. Nothing much to talk about since this was mostly a family “R and R”, but I wanted to share with you some pics and a few thoughts.

We stayed on a dairy farm managed by a friend, on the edge of the Connecticut River . Here’s the view from my hammock on the first morning, overlooking the river.

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Canoeing it was even better – placid waters with wisps of mist spiraling into the air like water sprites, cradled by the branches of bushy Canada Hemlocks and stately Eastern White Pines along the banks.

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I also had the chance to do a bit of foraging, and the farmer was happy to show me around where the good spots were. I fixed myself some fried Day-Lily flowers and buds, Common Chickweed seasoned with Wild Basil and Field Mustard, and a delightful tea of Pineapple-weed and Canada Hemlock. The woods by the farmer’s cabin were filled with Paper Birch, Bunchberry, and Beaked Hazel.

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I’m really liking the Olicamp kettle and Emberlit stove combo ;) .

Here’s my shelter set-up, a DD 3×3 meter tarp in coyote brown with a Frontline hammock made by the same company.

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For insulation I have an olive-drab Grabber Outdoor space blanket (without the hood) as a top quilt, with a Thermarest Trail Pro mat. I find it to be a great, lightweight summer sleep system…and it takes up little space in the rucksack.

Sunset was the best part of each day…well, second to the sunrise ;) .

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The top photo was taken from the canoe at around 20:30 (8:30 pm) in the evening. On the bottom is a view by the farmhouse.

And on the morning of the fifth day, we stopped at the farm store before departure to purchase a few goodies :) .

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Here’s the inside of the store, an icon of old-fashioned Americana. The wooden beams on the ceiling are original to the property, and you can see the hewn marks left by a broad-axe. Fresh food, great people, and a gorgeous landscape…it doesn’t get any better than that ;) .

And this brings me to briefly touch on an issue important to novices, as well as seasoned-outdoorsmen/women (including Bushcrafters), who are new to an area. It is often difficult to find places to practice skills these days. Open fires are banned in many wilderness areas, overnight stays are sometimes costly (Connecticut state parks, for example, charge an average of $10 a night per-person), foraging is frowned upon or restricted, and often campsites are crowded, noisy, and not at all comfortable. Of course, some places will not be as restrictive as others, and you may even find a location with lenient rules. But my point is that unless you own a good chunk of land or have a relative or friend who does and is willing to let you practice skills, it may be hard finding a suitable place where you aren’t tripping over all kinds of regulations.

Fortunately, you can inquire with private landowners and farmers. You may not receive a “yes” the first time you ask, but it is definitely worth it. Sometimes you can do a little compromise, such as helping to manage the property by picking up litter, reporting trespassers to the authorities, some minor trail maintenance, giving a helping hand with the farm work, etc. When you inquire, don’t forget to mention ‘Leave No Trace’ and stress that point. If you get a “yes”, there may be some rules the landowner will expect you to follow – after all, you are a guest on their land. If they answer “no”, don’t be discouraged. Thank them for their time and move on to another location. Inquiring opens you up to many opportunities, perhaps even meeting like-minded people who wish to learn and share wilderness skills.

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