Great Bay Estuary Hike
Hiking/Walk DATE: 10/05/2013 - 10/05/2013
Trip/Event Location: Durham, NH
Max # People: 15
Trip Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money
Difficulty Level: Easy
Easy hike along a remarkable array of upland forests, freshwater wetlands and tidal salt marshes to the Great Bay! The landscape and terrain of this area is on par with the White Mountain National...
We'll be meeting at the Nature Conservancy's Lubberland Creek Preserve in Newmarket.
The Sweet Trail runs across Durham Point from the Longmarsh Preserve in Durham to the Lubberland Creek Preserve in Newmarket. Definitely a local hike. If you're in the area and looking for a hike I think it's worth checking out. One of the longer trails around the New Hampshire’s seacoast if not the longest. Fourteen of us met at the ending point and then carpooled to the start at Longmarsh Preserve. There's no loop so if you don't have a car spot it's 4.3 miles each way.
The trail started off following what could only have been an old road at one point in time. It quickly gets to Colby Marsh where there are views from a gigantic beaver dam that we were standing on. Nearby was a giant beaver lodge. Evidence of their work around the marsh.
After that we got back on the trail. At one point we saw a bunch of purple asters. Pretty interesting we thought and worth the few minutes of observation.
Continuing on, maybe half a mile later, we looped around and popped out on the far shore of Long Marsh that we had seen at the very beginning. From there it goes through some rolling mixed hard and soft wood forests, with maybe 20 foot ups and downs along the way and passes a couple more beaver ponds.
About two miles in we came to an access point where you could start if you didn't want to hike the entire trail. There's a little rock garden of sorts that we joked about being Stonehenge. There is a sign explaining the trail and what could have been if Aristotle Onassis had gotten his way and built the worlds largest oil refinery there in the 70's. After that brief stop the trail continues back into the woods and surprise more beaver ponds until it joins a road for a 1/4 mile or so. One of them had a cool green coating that I we have never seen before.
Once it leaves the road it heads into more of a hardwood forest with larger swamps every half mile or so. In between ponds there were some nice woods, a handful of erratics and the occasional rocky knoll. It was nice and dry this time of year and all the variety of mushrooms made for an interesting hike.
Finally after climbing the backside of Jeff’s Hill we continued on the main trail. Bruce found a kayak paddle at the last large marsh and decided to take it home with him. We then came across a couple cellar holes and shortly after that crossed Bay Road in Newmarket. In another 1/4 mile or we reached Great Bay. At the end of the trail there's a little granite set of benches and a table dedicated to the Sweets for their conservation efforts to preserve the bay over the years. After enjoying the spot for a few minutes we walked back to the Lubberland Creek Preserve trail head where we carpooled back to the start of the trail. Four guys decided to head home but the rest of were up for a late lunch at BG’s Boathouse in Newcastle.
The trail one way is 4.3 miles, passed some nice ponds and marshes and meandered through some nice woodland. Except for Jeff's Hill there isn't much elevation change and except for a couple rocky knolls footing is usually either old dirt road/pathway or soft forest floor. The signs say it's a great trail for viewing wildlife so I in the summer, you could probably see turtles, herons, wood ducks, geese, woodpeckers, and hundreds of frogs. I'm not sure I'd want to be in there during peak hunting season or mosquito season, but this time of year there were no issues. Being foliage season, it was a very scenic hike with great camaraderie!
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What Members Are Saying About This Trip/Event
- Thanks to Mike for leading a really nice hike and to all you guys for welcoming a newcomer. Weather was beautiful, and the trees and mushrooms were at peak. And, good food and companionship at BJ's in Portsmouth afterward. I made an effort to post a few photos, but no luck thus far. - Tri-coastal