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19 February 2014

Cross-Country Skiing along Hayes Copp Trail System (near Gorham, NH)


Conditions over the past few weeks of 2014 have been terrific for cross-country skiing in most New England locations, including areas that are nearby to my home in Bethlhem, NH.  I've taken full advantage of this situation by spending many enjoyable days enjoying this wintertime sport.

Like many of the oddball hikes that I've recently come to enjoy, my ski adventures usually result in very little that can be said or photographed that would be of general interest.  And so, there are many times when I opt to forego doing a blog posting.  But there are exceptions to everything.  I decided to post this brief report about a recent ski trek since it was felt that it might have a smidgen of mass appeal.


Hayes Copp Ski Trails.  This trail system is managed by the U.S. Forest Service and is located about 5 miles south of Gorham, NH off Rt. 16.


_  A portion of the trail system runs through a parcel of land that was settled by Hayes Copp in 1827. The trail system bears his namesake.

_ Also at this site is the Dolly Copp Campground (summer use only), which is named after Hayes's wife Dolly.

_ During the winter months, the entire Great Gulf Link and a portion of the Great Gulf Trail (both are summertime hiking trails) become components of the Hayes Copp Ski Trail system.  The loop that is most commonly done is a little over 5 miles. It consists of the Great Gulf Link; Great Gulf Trail; Leavitt's Link. There is another more difficult trail in the system called Ricks Run which I've never done.

_ Just so you're not taken by surprise if you should decide to ski at this location, the USFS does minimal grooming of the Hayes-Copp trails, and only on an infrequent basis.  Depending upon how many skiers have been on the trail before you after a snow dump, it can sometimes be sort of like a backcountry ski experience!  I don't mind this, but others might!

_ In the 2001 edition of the book "Vermont and New Hampshire: The Best Cross-Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails" by Marty Basch, there is a nice descriptive write up about the Hayes Copp Ski Trail system.  (I don't know if this description is contained in newer editions of this book.)


Shown above are informational placards about Hayes and his wife Dolly. These are located near the segment of the ski trail that goes through the summer campground.

Collage showing a few of the trail signs seen along the route
CLICK TO ENLARGE: This zoomed photo features the profile of the "Imp Face" on Imp Face Mountain. It's difficult to see at first glance, but if you look closely, then it will likely become apparent.  As early as mid 1850's, travelers stopped by the Copp Farm to view the profile of The Imp.
Trailside view of peaks in the Carter-Wildcat Range. Carter Dome is particularly prominent just slightly left of center.
Long stretches of trail take you along the banks of the Peabody River. This snapshot shows the river frozen over by Old Man Winter.
Picturesque collection of icicles just a few feet off the trail
Hayes Copp Ski Trail Map


As the saying goes, the only thing constant in life is change.  I'm currently considering changes to my blog that range from giving it up entirely, to posting each of my adventures in a short and snappy format, and then give interested readers the option to obtain more detailed information by contacting me directly via e-mail (randonneur8 AT yahoo DOT com).

My deliberations about the future of my blog has been prompted by a significant decrease in my readership statistics over the past few months.  This decrease is likely attributable to the non-mainstream types of adventures that I've recently come to enjoy.  I totally understand that such exploits would be of little interest to most folks.

There are authors such as Anne Lamott who proclaim that the act of writing is its own reward.  Although that concept might work for some, I like to think that my blog provides something of value to others, rather than merely being a self-rewarding exercise.

And so, to sum it up, there are times in life when thorny decisions must be made.  As is stated in the lyrics to the song "The Gambler" (popularized by Kenny Rogers), there comes a time when "You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."


Ellen Snyder said...

Hi John,

I was glad to see your post today and to hear that you've been enjoying the snowy winter. We too, mostly on snowshoes. I also feel that fewer people are reading blogs generally and also noticed fewer postings on VFTT. I'm still blogging but have also taken up Twitter. I used to scoff at such things, but I actually quite like Twitter. I get some of my news feed through it and I use it as a mini blog. You might find something useful there can check out my Twitter feed just as one example: @ellen_tsnne :-)
Hope to still read about your adventures going forward.


1HappyHiker said...

Thank you Ellen so much for providing your thoughts, as well as the suggestion to give Twitter a try. Since I'm always quite eager to try new things in every aspect of my life, I'll definitely look into Twitter. And, of course, I'll let you know if I opt to pursue that route.


Kevin said...


I enjoy reading your reports. I do understand the effort it takes to maintain a blog though. I have blogged a lot less over the last few years, even though I get out on just as many fun adventures as before.

1HappyHiker said...

Thanks Kevin for letting me know that you enjoy reading my reports, and also for letting me know that you can empathize with the effort it takes to maintain a blog. And yes, like you, the number of adventures I’ve undertaken has remained the same, but I do far less blogging about these treks. I truly don’t think the decreased blogging activity is the result of laziness, but rather due to a belief that there has to be a better way! That elusive “better way” is what I’m currently striving to discover. :-)


Unknown said...

John, I would certainly be sad to see your blog go, but I understand how much work it takes to keep up. I have also seen reader numbers decline quite a bit with mine, which I think is partially because of Twitter and Tumblr and similar sites taking over the Internet (and people generally seem to be more interested in pictures with few words these days), but partially because I haven't been updating as often. It may just be a sort of vicious cycle-- fewer readers, so I update less, which means even fewer readers.

On the other hand, I've also been updating less because my site has been more devoted to business, and I've been enjoying a more private hiking life :) Either way, I'll keep updating from time to time. Whatever you decide, I'll definitely be happy to follow any new adventures you decide to share, as well! Happy trails!

Earlyx said...

John - I love all your pictures. I grew in the Great North Woods region of NH and seem to miss it dearly these days ~ not sure if someday I will be able to get back or not. I hope you keep up your BLOG. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I also enjoy your hiking reports.

1HappyHiker said...

Thank you for your kind words! I’m still very undecided what path to follow. However, encouraging comments such as yours provides incentive to give thoughtful consideration to continuing my Blog in one form or another.


1HappyHiker said...

Thank you . . . very much appreciated!

1HappyHiker said...

Ryan, your thoughtful comments are greatly appreciated! I think you might be on to something about the ‘vicious cycle’ you described. I can relate that!

And, I also feel there is definite merit to your conjecture about the Internet being taken over by sites such as Twitter, etc. Like it or not, I think we have become a part of a cyber generation with a short attention span where ‘less is more’! But, as I said in my remarks in the Footnote to this blog, “the only thing constant in life is change”. To avoid being left in the dust, sometimes one needs to change with the times. And that’s not always a bad thing!

And finally, it’s terrific to learn that you will continue to update your blog from time to time. You consistently present well-written material with insightful commentary that is a joy for me to read.

Happy trails to you as well!


Michael said...

I only get to hike the White Mountains on vacation. So as a substiture, I enjoy the "eye candy" of your photos and I also get hike ideas from some of your posts.

Unknown said...

You hit the nail right on the head-- short attention spans. I think it has something to do with the immense amount of stuff out there on the web, competing for our precious time.

I'm trying to spend a little more time updating my facebook page, but I still like using the blog for longer posts. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for you, too. The blogs have definitely opened up some wonderful opportunities, and of course I never would have met you without them, so it's been pretty great!

1HappyHiker said...

Michael, I’m appreciative not only for your nice words, but also because your reply led me to your Blog ( which has a format that I find appealing. I might consider doing something similar for future postings to my own blog.


Bill Robichaud said...


It would a shame to see your blog go, as I thoroughly enjoy your reports, especially the ones to out of the way locations. I've noticed a marked drop in traffic on my own blog as well, and due to that and other factors, my reports have been fewer and further between. I'm also in the process of deliberations over my blog, as I know very well how time consuming it can be. Definitely keep it up, whether in its present form, or in another. I, for one, glean many ideas and much inspiration from your posts.

Thanks for doing what you do.



JimmyO said...

I'll keep this brief but it is no reflection of my attention span. I read EVERY SINGLE one of your posts and enjoy them immensely. I read 3 blogs ( Mountain Wanderer, yours and White mountain sojourner) and each have their own character and nuances. I would miss any one of them If they were to disappear. Please keep posting. Anyone that wishes to direct other blogs to my attention please email Tx!

One Day in America said...

Hi John,

I thoroughly enjoy your blog! And I'm so happy that you discovered my blog on Outdoor Blogger and became a follower, which enabled me to check out your blog and start following you! So it's been a happy, symbiotic relationship.
That being said, I understand how hard it is to maintain enthusiasm for blogging when readership is down. I've gone through something similar with my blog. For now, I keep blogging as a way to document my adventures, and to know that they're being "published" somewhere!

Have you ever thought of compiling all your blogs into a New Hampshire/New England adventure guidebook? I think it would have widespread appeal.

And now, for my comments about this post: Looks like great fun on a great day. I did see the "imp" on the mountain! And, Hayes and Dolly seem like an interesting couple… You're lucky to have such a good base for cross-country skiing this winter. We are still anticipating our first big snowstorm of the season, which may never come!

1HappyHiker said...

Bill, thanks for your encouragement and kind words.

It seems clear to me that blogging is undergoing a change. People are now doing blog-like things at other online places (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). This is understandable since it's easier to go to a single source site such as those. Going to an individual blog is sort of an out-of-the-way destination on the Internet. It requires leaving the group and going to someone's virtual living room! That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it might require more “travel time” to get there than many folks are willing to spend. So, to sway ‘guests’ to drop by your ‘living room’ on a frequent basis, perhaps one needs to make the space as inviting and comfortable as possible, and maybe serve up some “virtual freshly baked treats”! :-)


1HappyHiker said...

Thank you so much for reading my Blog on a consistent basis and for your words of encouragement to continue with my Blog. Also, I’m truly humbled that you include my blog in such a select group as the Mountain Wanderer ( and White Mountain Sojourn (


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

Perhaps it can be said that we belong to an ‘Mutual Admiration Society’! :-) You enjoy my Blog, and I truly get pleasure from your One Day in America blog (!

From what I gather, blogging in its traditional sense seems to be waning. However, if you are willing to expand the definition of the word, then blogging is more prevalent than ever. Popular websites (Facebook, Twitter, etc) that enable users to publish personal news items could be considered as a form of blogging. So, whereas blogging itself is nowhere near peaking, it is definitely changing.

Regarding your thought about compiling all my blog postings into a book, I sincerely appreciate your confidence that such a book would have widespread appeal. However, such an undertaking would be more suited to someone for whom being a writer is a deeply felt passion. I don’t think that my level of passion would be up to such a task! :-)

And last, but certainly not least, thanks for your comments about my adventure at the Hayes Copp Ski Trails. It was indeed a fun day. I sincerely hope that before this winter season ends, you will get enough snow in your area for some enjoyable cross-country skiing!


Jim said...

John, do the stats pick up RSS feeds? That's how I receive your feed; not to mention Steve, Ryan and Bill. In the interest of full disclosure, I do pay more attention when the posts align with my redlining efforts but they are all read regardless. Perhaps it's that time of year? I've also noticed fewer posts in VFTT and NETC. Twitter, Instagram and the like are great but they're a lousy medium for presenting excursions into the Whites and similar areas.


1HappyHiker said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your input . . . much appreciated.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know precisely what ‘voodoo’ is behind the stats that are provided to me. But regardless of what is being counted, I periodically review the numbers to get a general idea of increases/decreases in my blog’s readership.

I agree that Facebook, Twitter and the like have their place, but they are less than ideal for creating a more permanent and searchable record of any activity, be it hiking, or whatever.


JToll said...


I have always enjoyed your blog. After hiking the 48 4K's, my wife and are are always looking for interesting hikes. Your blog, along with Steve Smith have proven to be very valuable. I hope you find some way to continue.


1HappyHiker said...

Job, it is very encouraging to receive such positive feedback about my blog. Thank you!

I have decided to continue with my blog, but will likely be making some sort of changes. Perhaps my postings might be less frequent, and/or shorter, etc. Still very undecided about those aspects of my blog going forward.

Thanks again, and happy trails to you and your wife!


Summerset said...

Boy, am I ever late to the party! I'll be the first to admit that keeping up a blog is work of a sort. I've had several over the years. I, too, haven't posted much recently. I promise this week there will be two new reports, since finishing the W48 merits at least a few words! Life other than hiking has been busy, although I have been out hiking quite a bit, too. Strange how life ebbs and flows, as does our creativity and passions. I certainly enjoy your blog, and your trips to different and less explored corners of the Whites. It helps me to remember that there is a lot to do out there rather than just tagging a summit.

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Summerset!

First and foremost, congratulations on finishing the W48! As you undoubtedly know, that is quite an accomplishment!!

You statement is so insightful about “life ebbs and flows, as does our creativity and passions”. I can definitely feel changes stirring within me regarding creativity and passions. It’s not that these attributes are diminishing, but rather just seem to be headed in different directions, at least for the moment.

Thank you for taking time to read my blog and post your comments.