Pop-Up October Hikes Series

Checking off a few destinations on the "5 Hikes Challenge" list

Dave Anderson | October 24, 2022
hikers on woods road beneath golden yellow canopy of autumn leaves

A pause along Old County Road near the Rollins Cellar after kicking through the freshly fallen maple leaves

Not a bad way to spend an early afternoon in late autumn.

On  friday afternoon October 21, shared a group hike on Sunset Hill Trail and Old County Road on the Forest Society's 712 acre Hay Reservation in Newbury to reach the open summit of Sunset Hill with its views of Lake Sunapee.  Along the way, we discussed cultural history of the property and natural history and ecology of the local forests, mushrooms, wildlife.   At the summit, shared a few passages from Cape Cod Naturalist, John Hay whose family donated the property to the Forest Society in 1960 and where John spent summers at "The Fells" on Lake Sunapee. 

Open sky over granite summit with hikers and view of Lake Sunapee
View to Lake Sunapee from Summit of Sunset Hill. Photo Michelle Lowe

Warm, bright sunshine following a frosty chilly morning made for ideal hiking conditions.  The unique sound and scent of kicking through the newly fallen leaves conjured childhood memories for some participants.

Group poses at Monson Village property sign
Hiking Group poses at Monson Village entrance October 18.

Earlier in the week on Tuesday October 18th a group of hikers toured the Monson Village in Hollis and Milford with Forest Society staff.  The group visited the historic Thomas Gould Clock Shop and met long-time caretaker, Russ Dickerman.  Russ opens the house for visitors to learn about Monson and has worked to provide interpretive signs at some of the historic cellars of the settlers of the earliest inland settlment in pre-Colonial New Hampshire.     

The British Union Jack flies at what would have been "Dunstable" part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1737 to 1770 when the settlers came to Monson.  The short-lived settlement lasted only 33 years and disbanded over disagreements regarding property taxes and a location for the construction of a Meetinghouse.   Its fortunate (?)that municipal property taxes no longer create controversies and debate in local communities today! Or at least, the "tradition" has deep historical roots at the location of the earliest inland settlement of Monson.

Historic reproduction of Cape Style house with British flag
Russ Dickerman greets visitors to Thomas Gould Clockshop at Monson

Hiking along the East and West "Main Streets" of the former Monson Village brought the group to a scenic overlook of a wetland heron rookery in the dead snags of an abandoned beaver pond.    

The group of hikers were in good spirits as the sun emerged and the afternoon warmed as we visited several cellars and read the interpretive sign text about the early settlers.  Its compelling to think about a landscape of nearly 300 years ago that greeted the settlers to what is now Milford and Hollis, New Hampshire.