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  • Writer's pictureIzzy Risitano

Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge | 4/21/23

About when my “test review” for macroeconomics began, I was driving west over Route 2 towards Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge. Though Ryan and I had intended to hike in Vermont on Friday afternoon, lots of muddy reports pushed us back home to the Granite State where we’d follow Liz’s GPX tracks over the path & rails of Pondicherry.

Beginning from Airport Road, the Pondicherry Rail Trail (aka Presidential Rail Trail) casually travels 1.7 miles along a gravel path, passing 3 pleasant outlooks, to a split that continues right towards the rest of the Presidential RT, and straight along the train tracks granting access to the Cohos Trail, north. At the split, we took a right 0.1 miles toward the observation deck and I was blown away.

Oh my Pliny!

When I read “pond,” I’m expecting a glorified puddle… but Cherry Pond was no puddle. It was a magnificent body, full of ducks and displaying a reflection of the Pliny Range. Better yet- this outlook is remarkably accessible, climbing no elevation, stairs, or anything tricky for wheels. Instantly, I understood why not one but two trails in the wildlife refuge had been named National Recreation Trails (NH Audubon).

From the deck, we crossed back to the rail trail on the quick Waumbek Link, where we walked the tracks until we jumped back on the Cohos Trail with Shore Path, soon followed by Rampart Path, traveling 0.1 and 0.4 miles respectively. Both of these short paths again gave way to sweeping views of Cherry Pond, but with better views of the Northern Presidentials and Cherry Mountain, ever so notable for its Owl’s Head feature.

Another view over Cherry Pond

After the paths, the Cohos Trail follows Colonel Whipple, which we also did for a short time before bushwhacking back out to the tracks because of the bug swaths. But before we turned around, it was great to see chicken-wired bog bridges for the first time! They were phenomenal for traction and highly reminiscent of all the care that has gone into improving the Cohos Trail in recent years. A short walk beside the tracks brought us back over to the Little Cherry Pond loop, one of the two National Recreation Trails mentioned earlier. This loop is comprised of a small loop and a spur at the end out to the pond, totaling just a mile. The loop itself was absent of views but followed a mellow path with good footing. However, Little Cherry Pond looked to be a wildlife-watching haven, plentiful with air and water birds doing their thing about the picturesque, remote-feeling pond.

Colonel Whipple bog bridges

Little Cherry Pond

The trails were completely dry all day, easy to follow, and very rewarding. Still, I recommend downloading the map ahead of time to avoid any wrong turns along the rail trail or actual rails!

& back on the rail trail

For more information about the Pondicherry Wildlife Sanctuary:

I’ll also mention we hit the Kilburn Crag trail in Littleton on our way back for ice cream- but there isn’t much to write. All I have to say is expect a nice view of Washington behind downtown Littleton as a reward for walking up what felt like a moderately steep Class 6 road for 0.9 miles.

Kilburn Crag

Oh, and by the way, I got a 100 on the midterm we were reviewing in macroeconomics. Good thing I skipped! Wink wink.

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