Hiking Trail · New Hampshire · Roadside Attractions · ruins

Yale Toumey Forest – Swanzey NH

DSC_0248Yet again Keene beckoned me to come over and slog through some bureaucratic business, my least favorite thing to do in the world, so I made sure to give myself some time to reward this endeavor with a trip to the fabric store and then an excursion into the middle of nowhere… I guess my intention was to complete my covered bridge tour in the area but that didn’t really go as planned. Instead I found myself yelling at the GPS to shut up as I parked aside the road to explore something unusual I had found near a covered bridge I had already blogged. I wasn’t sure if it was a trailhead or someone’s private property.  I was up on Sawyer’s Crossing Road in Swanzy and there was what looked like a turn around where parking was available and stickers in all the surrounding trees reading “Yale Forest.” A closed gate seemed to have a path going around it and another sign read something about no motor vehicles, camping, or fires. I parked Daisy and headed in.

DSC_0254This place was a neat little find! It looked like it had been a road at some point, a paved one, and then it was abandoned and forest took over. I love seeing these sites where civilization gets turned back into wilderness. We always think that progress is a one way street, forever marching forward, but I find time and history have a way of swinging like a pendulum. Clearly this road must have had farms and houses on it on at some point. What happened to them? Why were they now a forest? I had no answers.

DSC_0286Off the road path a little ways there was another turn off and what could have been considered another path. I was feeling a bit brazen and marched into the woods. Eventually I found two yellow dots on various trees, denoting I was in fact on someone’s path, though where it led I had no idea, and it was clear the only people using it were probably deer. It was so quiet and sweet! I walked for quite a ways but it was already getting late in the day and forests have a way of getting dark a lot quicker than the rest of the world, I decided if this were to happen I should at least have the brains to be on the road path – even in the dark I could find my way back to the car from there, so after munching on some delectable wild black berries I turned myself around and walked back to the old decaying pavement.

DSC_0388The forest was awash with life – ferns, mushrooms, trees, odd flowers, lined every side. I was delighted to spend time photographing a great deal of them. I walked and walked until the pavement stopped and then I wondered if I should continue on… I could hear cars so I must be near the end… I continued on and ended up on West Swanzey Road. Of course that was useless to me but it was interesting to see where it came out, just at the Cheshire Horse, a nice equestrian based feed store. I headed back, smiling, laughing, and enjoying the brisk new weather. I came across the first red and orange leaves of the year and noted to myself summer was over. Part of me already started mourning as I was just getting used to the heat and was still loving the sun, but another part of me recognized this summer was amazing and to wish for it to continue might be just a smidge greedy. So instead I opened my arms and yelled, “Welcome Autumn of 2017! Show me what you’ve got!” And I can’t wait. It’s going to be bonkers and so much fun as the world around me turns into a dazzling array of colors. It’s going to be even more amazing to be surrounded by such beauty and weather. I have found I have fallen head over heals in love with New England and cannot wait to make a proper home here some day. As I chase my passions like the wind chases me I have absolute faith good things are coming.

DSC_0401It’s in these small reflective moments I realize just how stagnated the rest of my life was. Now I am out and about, adventuring, mingling, talking to people, pursuing my art, I realize it’s taking more and more to keep me intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally satisfied. It’s been a rush and I wonder if anyone will ever be able to keep up with me now.

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