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.
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|
|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."