A Winding Path

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One advantage of the winter without snow, is the opportunity to hike local trails on relatively dry paths. I liked finding this winding path at Cider Mill Pond in Brookline, NH.

Cider Mill Pond Trail by John Poltrack on 500px.com
Winding Path in the woods
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Cider Mill Pond Trail

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The weather was quite nice on March 19th, 2016 and I decided to explore the trail at Cider Mill Pond in Brookline, NH after driving past it many times. Foolishly I didn’t bring water and had no idea about how extensive it is.

It became apparent that this is primarily a snow mobile trail. It is as wide as a logging road and the stones in the trail showed fresh scratches. There was a curious lack of trail markers and I became a little bit confused by finding other logging roads that criss crossed  what I assumed to be the trail. I did find some nice sections with large granite ledges. Next time I’ll be better prepared.

Cider Mill Pond Trail by John Poltrack on 500px.com
Wear hiking boots, a bit wet

Feeding birds at the Ipswich River Sanctuary

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Little darling of the snow,
Careless how the winds may blow,
Happy as a bird can be,
Singing, oh, so cheerily,
Chickadee-dee! Chickadee-dee!

When the skies are cold and gray,
When he trills his happiest lay,
Through the clouds he seems to see
Hidden things to you and me.
Chickadee-dee! chickadee-dee!

Very likely little birds
Have their thoughts too deep for word,
But we know, and all agree,
That the world would dreary be
Without birds, dear chickadee!

– Author Unknown

The Ipswich River Sanctuary in Topsfield is the largest Audubon Society Preserve in Massachusetts encompassing 2,800 acres. There are 12 miles of interconnected trails winding through a landscape shaped by glacial activity 15,000 years ago.

A co-worker told me that the smaller birds were so used to visitors that they would eat from your hand, something that I had to experience. For years I’ve fed birds at the feeder and only occasionally would have a brave chickadee alight on my hand to grab a sunflower seed. It was quite thrilling to have chickadees, thufted titmouse and nuthatches gather as we walked the trail.

We walked along the Rockery Trail which features a grotto constructed in 1905 of large boulders. It was originally part of an arboretum at Bradshaw Farm which featured exotic trees. The land was donated by the owner Thomas Emerson Proctor (1873 -1949) to the Audobon Society. A staff member mentioned that the Society had removed the non-native trees but on the trail I noticed several varieties that I have never seen before in the Northeast.

The weather was ideal for our visit, unseasonably warm for the last day of January with no ice or snow to negotiate on the board walks. There were many families with young children, all with their hands outstretched with bird seed and feathered diners. This venue is highly recommended. We plan to return.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
A brave chickadee grabs a seed from my hand
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
Ginny feeds a chickadee
Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary
A Tufted titmouse gives me a look

Along the Ridge

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When I was in the Navy, I didn’t own a car until the last year of my 4 year stint. I was dependent on buses and friends for transportation.  I had friends in California who gave me a ride for a day in the mountains outside of San Diego. I cannot remember the exact location but the landscapes were stunning.

I was intrigued watching the clouds pour over the ridge line and vaporize when they hit the warmer air. This is one of the few photos I have of the day.

Along the Ridge by John Poltrack on 500px.com
Along the Ridge