For our last day in New Hampshire, Kelly and I had another leisurely morning at the hotel. We checked out around 10 and returned to the Red Arrow Diner for breakfast.
After eating another great meal, we hopped in the car and headed north to Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown. Bear Brook is New Hampshire’s largest state park with 10,500 acres. It has over 40 miles of trails and a pond or two. We were looking forward to exploring it.
When we arrived at Allenstown we had a little trouble locating the park. Like 99% of New Hampshire, it seemed to be missing some key signs. What seemed like the park entrance wasn’t the entrance at all but a road that led to the entrance. We encountered three separate fee stations, none of which were occupied nor told how much the entrance fee was. And when we drove up to the first set of park facilities we were told they were closed for the season. Very confusing!
Instead, we got directed to go up the road another four miles to the campground area. So we hopped in the car and did just that, winding over mile after mile of twisty forest road. When it got to the point that we expected to see the Canadian border at any moment (in actuality 100 miles away) we finally arrived at the campground.
The campground was essentially deserted. Out of 93 campsites only two were rented, their guests nowhere to be seen. On the door of the store a sign told us the storekeeper was out making the rounds. We decided to find the restroom and begin our hike.
Entering the ladies room, Kelly was surprised to find the storekeeper, who was cleaning it at the time. He gave us a map and directed us to a trail that could be hiked within an hour – perfect timing for us. He also told us that the park was days away from closing for the winter. We thought that was strange as the leaves hadn’t begun to change quite yet and it was still very beautiful. We thanked the man and headed on our way.
The trail began at the edge of the pond. We hiked it clockwise through the New England woods. The woods were thick and very quiet, save for the clucking of an occasional chipmunk. We enjoyed walking on the soft path and stealing occasional glimpses of the pond through the trees.
After doing this circuit we headed back to the lower trail area and gave them a try. The scenery wasn’t nearly as good as the pond’s but we enjoyed the hike nonetheless, actually crossing paths with a young mother, her kid, and her two dogs. Then after 15 minutes down the path, we turned around and headed back to our car.
The trip back to the airport was largely uneventful, except for that one portion of I-93 where the lanes merge and there’s no frickin’ sign to warn you about it (New Hampshire’s motto: “Signs? Who needs signs?”). We made it back to the airport with plenty of time before our flight so we grabbed lunch and popped open our laptops for some Facebook hijinks. After a thorough screening for me from TSA (hand check and everything) we relaxed until our flight was ready to board.
It was great to visit the state and see so much of it in a short time. Kelly and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!