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5 Short Walks in the ‘Boros

The Laker - June 21, 2017





Story & Photos by Barbara Neville Wilson

Short on time? Short on stamina? But want a gorgeous view? Here are five short walks in the ‘Boros—Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro and Moultonboro—that fit the bill. None have to take longer than an hour, all are easily found, but each one makes you forget the hustle and bustle of normal life.

McKinney Park, Wolfeboro: located at the Lake Winnipesaukee end of Clark Road in Wolfeboro, McKinney Park is Wolfeboro’s smallest and least visited park. On a pretty, wooded .3 acres of land, it edges right down to Winnipesaukee. Picnic, bird watch, or swim in the deep waters. It’s a favorite spot for scuba divers, and was given to the Town of Wolfeboro by Charles Edward McKinney, Jr., who bought the land from Greenleaf Clark (for whom Clark Road and the Clark House are named) in 1905 for $200! Please contact Wolfeboro Parks and Rec about handicapped accessibility. You can spend five minutes or all day at McKinney Park.

Moody Mountain Forest, Wolfeboro: located off Beach Pond Road in Wolfeboro, almost at the Tuftonboro/Ossipee line, the 250-acre parcel of land was granted to the Society for Preservation of NH Forests by Cecily Clark and is located on Wolfeboro’s highest mountain at 1420 feet. A looping 1.5 mile trail system takes you along rutted logging roads to less-travelled trails, and finally to a charming cabin at the tippy-top. The land is named for Abner Moody who was granted 320 acres for service during the Revolutionary War. Be sure to sign the journal that has been kept for decades and offers charming glimpses of other lives, starting with the first signers on June 26, 1988, when Abner’s 8th generation descendants Perrin and Judy Long started the guest log. The trail is a great place to see moose, bear, deer and wild turkeys, but it is not wheelchair accessible. Allow at least 45 minutes for a quick jaunt up and down Moody Mountain.

Abenaki Tower, Tuftonboro is located off Route 109 going north in Tuftonboro. It is an 80-ft. tall wooden tower built to take in broad views of Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap Mountains. This writer counted a total of 350 gently uphill steps on the well-maintained, wide path from the parking lot to the first stairs of the Tower. However, the Tower, built in 1923, is comprised of several sets of ladder-like stairs not recommended for climbing by anyone with balance issues or overwhelming fear of heights. From the top, sunset brings fresh breezes and breathtaking views of treetops and rolling hills, Lake Winnipesaukeee and a glimpse of Castle in the Clouds. Allow at least 30 minutes to really enjoy the Abenaki Tower experience.

The Loon Center, Moultonboro is located on Lee’s Mills Road in Moultonboro. Two trails are offered in the 200-acre Frederick and Paula Anna Markus Wildlife Sanctuary. The 1/4-mile Forest Walk is an especial favorite of families with small children. Its short, flat path winds through the cool woods, offering a chance to observe a variety of birds and wildflowers in early summer. The longer, 1.7 mile Loon Nest Trail goes through a remarkable diversity of forest, marshlands, streams, ponds and 5,000 ft. of Lake Winnipesaukee shore. There are giant granite rocks to climb; benches placed for relaxation while wildlife watching. Summer is prime loon viewing season, and the trail passes near the nest of the Center’s resident loon family. The Frederick and Paula Anna Markus Wildlife Sanctuary was donated to promote protection, biomonitoring, appreciation and understanding of the natural environment. The Forest Loop can be walked in less than 10 minutes; allow at least 45 minutes for the Loon Nest Trail. Call the Loon Preservation Center at 603-476-5666 for information about handicap accessibility.

Castle in the Clouds, Moultonboro is located off Route 171 in Moultonboro, and offers 30 miles of trails ranging from “Easy” to “Difficult.” Owned by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust, the paths are well marked and maintained. Perched on the top of the Ossipee Mountains, even the views from the parking lot are breathtaking as you look toward Lake Winnipesaukee. Picnic tables and a snack bar are open in season and allow for a very leisurely and handicap accessible sojourn in the acres between the water bottling plant, Riding Stables and the Carriage House/Visitor Center.

Wander beyond Shannon Pond and you’ll find some trails groomed sufficiently for wheelchair access. A favorite trail among young families is the 1.8-mile Oak Ridge Trail. Built largely on wide carriage trails more than a century ago, it is wooded enough to make children feel that they’re bushwhacking and banked and maintained sufficiently for caretakers to let the children enjoy the area. It isn’t too steep and the landscape is varied so new hikers don’t get bored. The top opens on sunny ledges and a wide view of Castle in the Clouds and Lake Winnipesaukee in the distance. Call the Castle at 603-476-5900.

 

 

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