Carol and I spent the morning and early afternoon of Thanksgiving Day visiting some beautiful spots on the southeast side of the mountains while logging 11 geocaches. This brought Carol's total to the milestone of 900 caches found!
Our first stop was the recently opened trail system in the Albany Town Forest, where we found this view of the wide-open Swift River and South Moat Mountain.
This fine spot is only 0.2 mile from the trailhead parking area via the Crossover Trail.
We walked out and back along the western half of the Swift River Trail, enjoying more watery vistas.
New signage at a trail junction.
This map of trails in the town forest is on a kiosk at the trailhead, on the Kancamagus Highway about 0.7 mile west of the Saco Ranger Station.
Our next walk was a short one down a woods road to the shore of mostly undeveloped Whitton Pond in Albany, where we found this geocache.
Our longest and best walk of the day was at the wonderful Frank Bolles Preserve, starting at the Hammond Trail trailhead on the south side of Mount Chocorua.
Nice signage provided by the Nature Conservancy and the Chocorua Lake Conservancy.
Descending off an esker (a narrow ridge deposited by glacial meltwater) en route to Heron Pond.
The lovely Heron Pond, also called Lonely Lake. It was the subject of a chapter in the 1893 book, At the North of Bearcamp Water, by the naturalist Frank Bolles. The low ridge of Bickford Heights can be seen in the back.
The water level in this glacial kettle pond fluctuates dramatically. Today it was very low....
...making it easy to explore along the exposed shoreline.
We used a temporary land bridge to access a geocache uniquely placed on what is usually a small island.
For the last geocache of the day, and Carol's 900th, we headed south along the Heron Pond Trail. These trails provide easy and exceptionally pleasant walking.
We headed down the Lake Trail with a new friend.
The milestone cache was near this giant white pine.
As reported by hiking columnist Ed Parsons in the Conway Daily Sun, this has been measured as the second tallest white pine in New Hampshire, 144 feet tall with a circumference of 165 inches at chest height.
The Lake Trail continues to a spot on the NW side of Chocorua Lake.
Looking south across the water.
On the way back I paid another quick visit to Heron Pond. From this spot I could see the southern spurs of Mount Chocorua; the summit was in the clouds.
Pine tree reflections.
Gnarled oaks along the shore. A special place.