(Kenzie) As the snow melts and winter wears off, the soon to be warming weather will serve as an outlet to get outside and take advantage of all that the college town of Keene and it’s surrounding area have to offer.
This past summer, I was living in Keene by myself in a new apartment, attempting to be active and preoccupied in new, scenic places.
Scrolling through TripAdvisor and NewHampshire.com, I began to realize how much fun I could be having with nature to fill my empty Summer afternoons.
Besides the infamous Main Street strip of local food restaurants and boutique shops, the outskirts of Keene are more than willing to offer outdoor activities for the upcoming nicer weather of Spring semester.
As many students who have migrated from the frisbee-filled Fiske Quad during the warmer days may already know, there is a trail for leisurely walks and running that branch out throughout Ashuelot River Park, located next to the Starbucks on West Street.
One of the main trails is the Jonathan Daniels Trail, where you usually find people walking their dogs or bike riders cruising by. The trail gets to be narrow, but offers a serene and woodsy run beside the water.
Another popular place is commonly known as Sunset Rock, which is located off Chapman Road in Keene and a short walk through a gated driveway. The rocky cliff provides a pretty neat view of Main Street and the Keene State College campus, as well as a view of the sunset.
(Jennica) Many students have probably been told one time or another that they must climb Mt. Monadnock. Located in Jaffrey, N.H. and with a 3,165-foot elevation, this hike is a day trip which requires transportation from Keene. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is— if the weather is reasonable, the hike will be well worth the effort it takes to get to the top.
My first time hiking Mt. Monadnock was in the sixth grade. My whole class took a field trip and allowed ourselves the day to make the climb.
It is absolutely hard work and shouldn’t be treated like a casual walk in the woods. This is some great cardio. The summit is windy and cold and the end of the hike towards the top is mainly rocks. When I go nowadays, I usually stop about halfway up the mountain to break for lunch and just stay at the top long enough to take a few pictures. Some have said that you can even see Boston.
If you are looking for a short but scenic hike, head further east until you reach Miller State Park, where the trails for Pack Monadnock begin. There are two hiking trails that go up to the 2,290-foot summit. The Marion Davis Trail is a slower and gradual incline perfect for bringing little ones or leashed animals.
Pack Monadnock’s Wapack trail is a single leg of the 21-mile trail that stretches from Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, to North Pack Monadnock in Greenfield, New Hampshire.
The short leg of the Wapack trail also requires some arm work during the hike, as it is littered with tall rocks that are difficult to get over unless you get down and dirty.
Right across the highway is Temple Mountain. It was formerly used as a small ski area. Now, it is a beautiful hiking trail. Temple Mountain as well at Pack Monandnock have great summits.
Mt. Monadnock includes a fire tower to climb up, picnic tables and composting toilets. Temple Mountain doesn’t have much at the top besides gorgeous stone furniture. It is a great spot to sit and have lunch.
Temple Mountain has blazes that are stacked stones. It is difficult to see them during the winter. Although the views are go spectacular along the way, it’s hard to find one’s way with snow covering the trail blazes. Pack Monadnock has painted blazes on trees along those trails.
So it’s a little easier to find one’s way to the summit of Pack during the winter months.
(Kenzie) After going for a drive one day, I passed Cheshire Medical Center and followed Court Street to W Surry Road. W Surry Road turns into Alstead Center Rd and from there, I followed the road to Cobb Hill Road in Harrisville, NH.
The drive features bumpy roads, vast land and log cabins. Once you turn onto Cobb Hill Rd, you lose reception and are pretty much in no-man’s land. The third left turn brings you to a “No Trespassing” sign and gate which leads to a gorgeous quarry.
The hike is more than I had anticipated, but I think I was a little out of shape. Okay—a lot.
A spot that does not include as much strenuous activity is Surry Mountain Lake, which is barely ten minutes from the college. This spot includes a sandy shoreline and a peaceful, shallow water stretching out to the woods.
A similar spot closer to Keene is the Otterbrook Dam, which has picnic tables and a wide stretch of land. It’s a great place to relax and go fishing rather than staying in the stuffy dorms for the day.
Kenzie Travers can be contacted at email@example.com
Jennica Martin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org