Frank G. Dwyer
October 12, 2002
Saltwater fishing around the port is still active, with reports of abundant schoolie bass in the river and along the beaches. The late season fishing has been much better this year than season’s past, but the migration south has begun, and it’s time to find other activities to fill the fishing void.
Some of the leaves have begun to turn in my backyard, which means farther north the leaves are getting towards their peak brilliance. Our location gives us excellent access to some terrific day hikes to enjoy the colors of the season.
Mount Kearsarge, located in Warren and Wilmot, NH--not far from my alma mater, New England College—has always been one of my favorite mountains to hike. It is the home of both Winslow and Rollins state parks and this 2,937-foot peak is a popular family destination as the trails afford both challenging and less rigorous ascents. For the hiker that reaches the summit there are sweeping views of Sunapee, Ragged and Cardigan Mountains, as well as Mt. Monadnock and Mt. Ascutney. If it is a very clear day, views can extend to the White Mountains, the Green Mountains in Vermont, The Atlantic Ocean and even Boston!
Beyond the views from the top, it is also quite interesting that the summit is quite “bald”, apparently the work of a large glacier that swept over most of New Hampshire over 25,000 years ago. An added bonus is the Fire Lookout tower that is at the summit. In years past, visitors were allowed in the tower, which was quite enjoyable however I’m not sure if this is still the case. I’ve enjoyed hikes in the spring, summer and fall, and all offer tremendous views.
One of the reasons that Kearsarge is so popular with families is the fact that there is a 3-½ mile scenic auto road up the southern slope that is accessed from Rollins State Park in Warner. The ride is quite fabulous, with many “lookouts” along the way. A small parking lot and picnic area greets those who make the drive and it’s a mere ½-mile hike up the Warner trail to the summit from the lot.
While you’re in the area, you may want to stop by the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner. The museum has an abundance of Indian artifacts and history, mostly from the Abnaki tribe, and will interest both children and adults. The museum is situated at the foot of Mt. Kearsarge in Rollins State Park and is open through Thanksgiving.
There is also an auto road from Winslow State Park in Wilmot that ascends the northwest slope of Mount Kearsarge. Once again, there is a parking and picnic area at the end of the road, and in this case, a bit more challenging 1-mile hike to the summit. The most popular route seems to be to ascend via the Wilmot trail, and to return via the gentler Barlow trail. The trails are well marked and maps are available at the Park.
To get to Rollins State Park, take Route 93 North to Route 89 North. Take exit 8 off of Route 89 and follow the signs to Warner and the Park. If you prefer the longer, more challenging hike that Winslow State Park offers, stay on Route 89 North for another 10 miles or so to exit 10 and follow the signs to the Park.
Archery season for deer this year is October 14-November 23 and muzzleloader season is from December 16- December 31. Shotgun season for deer runs from December 2-December 14 in Zones 1-11 and 14. In Zones 12 and 13, the season is from December 2- December 7.
Duck season for the Coastal Zone is October 15-October 26 and November 23-January 18. The fall turkey season runs from October 28-November 2 this year.
There is no hunting on Sunday and all hunting seasons except waterfowl are closed during shotgun deer season. There are many additional regulations required before hunting in Massachusetts, and one should request the MassWildlife Abstracts from the State or by visiting the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife web site at: http://www.state.ma.us/dfwele/dfw/dfwrec.htm#LAWS
Trout fishing is picking up again with many area ponds having been recently stocked or in the process of being stocked. Locally, only Stiles and Baldpate Ponds in Boxboro and Saltonstall (Plug) Pond in Haverhill are on the fall stocking schedule.
Many area waters were stocked in the spring, including the Parker and Mill Rivers in Newbury, Pentucket Pond in Georgetown and the Ipswich River in Ipswich.
Don’t forget; you need a fishing license for freshwater fishing. The standard license fee is $27.50 with lower fees available for seniors and children