On a blustery February 6th morning, a group of fourteen 4-H youth, volunteers and staff headed up Pitcher Mountain guided by Stoddard, NH Conservation Commission Chair and Forester Geoff Jones. It was a perfect day for a winter hike with temperatures in the low 20’s and the sun shining.
Since the start of the pandemic, the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension has continued to provide safe youth and family programming through various outdoor educational programs. Program Manager Kristen Landau chose to create a program pathway that builds on outdoor education in our own backyards with six planned hikes, the first three of which also weaved into the NH 4-H Winter Hiking Challenge. Pitcher Mountain is a local favorite that also met one of the hiking challenge requirements, a fire tower at the summit. Folks came from Hillsborough, Rockingham and Cheshire County to enjoy the winter morning together.
Hikers knew there would be a big payoff at the fire tower summit, as it offers a view of three states, New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts. But for this hike in particular the trek up was the real gem. Hikers offered encouraging words, especially when an ill-timed step led to a knee-length dunk in fresh snow. Mr. Jones imparted his knowledge of the land and the Town of Stoddard like any wise storyteller, with planned stops to enjoy the vistas, maps and photographs blown up so all could see from their own vantage point. Nearing the top, we all were drawn to the countless blueberry bushes while hearing the infamous story of the fire that allowed for the bushes to thrive.
We look forward to other adventures with Geoff Jones at Stoddard Rocks, Bacon Ledge, or Trout Pond in the coming months. But do not wait for us, go explore and report back at https://www.facebook.com/CheshireCounty4H/!