July 14, 2018 – New Hampshire – Ammonoosuc Lake Trail and the Red Bench Trail

Yesterday we went for a hike on the Ammonoosuc Lake Trail (officially referred to as the Around-The-Lake Trail) and the Red Bench trail in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire.  These trails begin behind the AMC Highland Center on Route 302.  The Ammonoosuc Lake trail is a less then two mile hike that goes around the Ammonoosuc Lake, and at mid-point you can choose to branch onto the Red Bench Trail.  The Ammonoosuc Lake is small, approximately two acres in size, and has views of the mountains from the shore.

It was a little dreary, and cool on this summer day, but we were quite pleased to not get caught in a downpour.  This is a trail I attempted to find before, but never was able to locate it.  However, I decided to email the AMC Highland Center, who quickly responded, allowing me to easily locate the trail.  I immediately fell in love with this gorgeous trail.  Although close to society with an occasional sound of traffic, it really provided a remote feel.  There were several areas where Shadow could swim, and we were able to view picturesque views of the mountains.  The trail ran slightly above the Lake in most sections.  It was maintained well, and perfectly gorgeous.  We traversed the loop twice, and on the second round decided to check out the Red Bench trail.  We followed this trail uphill for a bit, crossing the railroad tracks, before finding an actual Red Bench at the little overlook.  I was disappointed not to see a view (likely from the lush summer landscape), however was quite pleased and surprised to find a real Red Bench.  Quite an amusing and exclusive aspect to this trail.

I am guessing this is not a well known trail as our first loop we had the entire Lake to ourselves.  On the second lap we saw a young family, and also what appeared to be an AMC guided tour for families and their pre-school children.  Definitely a hike that is perfect for young children, and of course others who enjoy a charming, and scenic walk.  I expect to be back at this trail again in the future.  (Rating:  4)



July 6, 2018 – New Hampshire – Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest

Today we visited the Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest in Center Harbor, New Hampshire.  Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest is a 157-acre forest with over four miles of hiking. The Forest includes a mile of waterfront views and beaches on gorgeous Squam Lake.  The area even has camping sites, and docks for boat access.  The Squam Lake Association manages the shorefront areas and trails within.

We spent about two hours exploring the trails at Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest.  I was impressed at how well marked the trails were, with printed maps posted throughout the Forest.  The trails went from the forest, to waterfront, to even a “Swamp Walk” trail with a boardwalk surrounded by blueberries!  Mid-hike I was awed to spot a gigantic hawk with a fish in his mouth, just feet above our head.  Although I was not quick enough to take a photo, it was quite the spectacular moment.

If you are one of our followers you know that Shadow ran straight for the water upon site, while Wilma jumped onto the rocks along the trails.  I was humored watching Wilma’s uneasiness with the small waves, but that of course did not stop Shadow from just sitting and enjoying a cool down in the Lake.  These two are the perfect balance of calm and experienced, and wild and curious.  We definitely had a pleasant visit to this lakeside forest (Rating:  3).


June 30, 2018 – Lake Saco Trail – New Hampshire

Today one of our adventures was to the Lake Saco Trail in Carroll, New Hampshire.  This was our second time visiting the Lake Saco Trail.  The Lake Saco trail is a short trail, bordering Lake Saco, and is located in the White Mountain National Forest.

When we arrived at the Trail we found that flowing water had overtaken the beginning of the Trail, appearing like a shallow stream.  Apparently I did not have my water proof hiking boots, but we sure did not let that stop us on our adventure.  We continued on, and journeyed to the dry portion of the trail, which included large boulders, fun little bridges, and gorgeous mountain views.  I observed the mountains reflecting onto the water, just so picturesque.  One of the bridges we encountered had actually collapsed, but I humored myself in still trying to traverse it.  After a little wobbling, and a lot of encouragement for Shadow, we made it across.  The trail mostly followed the water’s edge before merging into the forest.  Simple, short, yet just so beautiful.  The only thing that I do not like about this trail is that is sits just off the road, so the sounds of the highway slightly dampen the true nature experience.  I will include photos from both of our journey’s below (Rating:  4).

June 2018:



October 2017:



Throwback Adventure – Echo Lake (Fraconia Notch State Park)

I will have sections of my blog that I will title “Throwback Adventure”, and will plan on posting them every Thursday.  These are journeys we have taken before I started the blog, but are well worth sharing.

Echo Lake is a beautiful lake in Fraconia Notch State Park in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  It is 38.2 acres and sits at 1,931 feet elevation.  It is on the northern side of the Fraconia Notch and offers breathtaking views of the Lafayette and Cannon Mountains.  The water of the lake flows toward the Connecticut River.  There is a swimming beach, and a trail around the Lake.

We have frequented Echo Lake many times over the years.  It is an absolutely gorgeous location, especially in Fall.  Often we have stopped just to relax and take photos, while on one journey my Mom enjoyed some time painting, while Shadow, Wilma, and I traversed the Lake trail.  We mostly have visited the Lake during Fall, but just this past Winter we traveled to view the scenery.  A much duller scene in the Winter, but yet I was humored as the Lake appeared no where in site, covered in snow.   It is quite magical to view the changes of season, unique to our beautiful New England.  I would highly recommend exploring Echo Lake.  I will include photos from three of our adventures below (Rating:  5).


October 2016:



I had to include this amazing photo that my Mother took of Shadow, Buster, and I.  It is one I will treasure ALWAYS!  Little did I know that less then a week later Buster would leave our word, at just seven years old.  He was an amazing love in our life, and I miss him so much!  A wonderful memory forever graved in our hearts!


Buster card 2


October 2017:

Echo Lake Oct 2017 4




March 2018:


June 16, 2018 – Connecticut – Mansfield Hollow State Park

Today we visited Mansfield Hollow State Park in Mansfield, Connecticut.  The Mansfield Hollow State Park is a State Park in Connecticut, and is considered a “recreation area”. The Mansfield Hollow Lake is approximately 500 acres, and there are 251 acres of recreation area on the western edge of the Lake.  Popular recreational opportunities include:  hiking, dog walking, fishing, boating, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.  There is no fee to enter the Park, quite the perk for a social work budget.

Immediately on arrival our eyes were drawn to the beautiful blue, sparkling water of the Mansfield Hollow Lake, as a refreshing cool breeze lightened the air.  Gazing over the Lake we viewed many canoes, kayaks, and fisherman.  We found a trail near the boat launch, and began wandering the trails, many parallel to the Lake.  The scenery varied from beautiful lake views, raised trails, footpaths winding throughout the woods, to even fields with bright colored, tiny, wild flowers .  There were many families enjoying an afternoon picnic, and dogs strolling down the trails.  Throughout the day we stopped several times to sit in the shade and relax.  Shadow and Wilma enjoyed rolls, and naps in the bright green grass.  The Park appeared quite immense, providing many quiet, uninterrupted spots to lounge and enjoy.

We spent about three hours exploring the Mansfield Hollow State Park.  The dog rules were not clear, nor stated, but we did our best to observe those around us.  However, on our second stop at the park (which appeared to be the main parking lot), we noted a sign indicating dogs must be leashed.  We then” leashed-up” and continued exploring (so we do apologize for this overlook.)  It was a warm, yet relaxing day at Mansfield Hollow State Park (Rating:  4).