Trail notes from the Creek Farm Reservation
"We're glad to know about this place," said one hiker.
"This is a great spot!" said several others, in one form or another.
I heard lots of enthusiasm for the Little Harbor Trail and the 36-acre Creek Farm Reservation in Portsmouth on the day of our first hike in our series of summertime "5 Easy Hikes in 5 Weeks" last week. It was fun stopping to chat with people who live nearby but hadn't known about the Creek Farm trails and to others who had made the drive from other towns after hearing about the hike on TV.
Weatherman Mike Haddad on WMUR broadcasted a segment from Creek Farm in advance of the hike, helping to pique people's curiosity. He did promise excellent weather and was, ummmm, a little overly optimistic.
A torrential downpour hit right at the 3 p.m. start time. Some of us scurried under the Forest Society's welcome tent, some (the planners among us) simply put up the umbrellas they thought to bring, others of us waited it out in the car.
It was a short wait, and after the shower we all enjoyed the refreshing air and after-the-rain brightening of the sky.
The Little Harbor Loop Trail is about a mile and a half long, and it must be among the flattest trails in New Hampshire. Joggers enjoy that flatness and the relative lack of roots and rocks to trip over.
It's also a diverse trail. One minute you're walking along tidal Sagamore Creek and Little Harbor, exploring the mud flats at low tide, and the next minute you're surrounded by leafy splendor in the woods. You can stop by the Wentworth Coolidge Historic Site on adjoining state land, or sit on a rock and watch kayaks and small boats pass in the deeper channels.
You can walk over to Goose Island when the tide is out and watch seagulls and find shells. Then you can look for wildlflowers and listen to a hermit thrush singing amidst the trees.
There's one tree along the trail that is perfect for climbing, with low, sturdy limbs stretching out toward the water. Consider yourself challenged to climb it, no matter what your age.
Many of the kids on last week's hike took us up on our scavenger hunt challenge.
So close to downtown Portsmouth yet so peaceful -- this is a trail to come back to again and again. If you'd like to visit, you can download the trail map here.
Many thanks to volunteer Kate Wilcox, who took many beautiful photos during the hike!