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 Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16 
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 Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
Another short but pretty sweet hike yesterday after lunch. This is a great one with kids too and I'll thank hiker0200 for posting on it a while ago or I never would have known about it.

But before we get to that we started the afternoon by visiting the Amoskeag Fishways in Manchester, which is an environmental education center on the Merrimack River. It has exhibits to learn about the river's watershed, games to play, animals to see and in season (which starts in May) an underwater viewing room of the fish ladder where you can watch the fish make their way around the hydro-electric dam up close like a big aquarium. The kids had a great time and it's free to visit.

Right on the shores of the Merrimack River
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Which was raging with all the rain and melting lately
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In season you have a window into the fish ladder
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Out of season there's still a lot to do and see including fish, frogs, eels, turtles and even a timber rattlesnake
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Next up was the Massabesic Audobon Center 10 minutes away from that in Auburn. Another nice little spot where they can learn more about NH's wildlife, focused on birds but plenty on other animals too. More live animal exhibits as well as a library full of books on animals and a viewing room filled with binoculars and spotting scopes to watch the birds out at the feeders and in the fields. Another fun little stop for them and again it's free.

The center in Auburn
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Apparently this little snapper was hungry
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Wall of animals
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Nice collection of NH birds on display
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Other animals too
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After that it was time for a little hike. It was a little cold/windy and late in the afternoon to head out to Battery Point directly from the Audubon center so instead we circled around the lake to tackle the Massabesic Ledges. There is parking for a handful of cars on the side of the road (if the first one there doesn't park like they own the place :evil: ) but even if they do you can still squeeze in one or two more. I found directions online and conveniently all the fire roads around Lake Massabesic are displayed on both Google Earth and the USGS topos, so you can make a nice little trail map or at least figure out exactly where you want to go.

The half mile trek on fire roads and a herd path is easy to figure out on Google Earth
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We started up Fire Road 54 which is wide, flat and made of crushed stone and at the first junction took a left onto Fire Road 53 which started the easy climb up the hill. Halfway up we took a well beaten foot path on the right that would take us the rest of the way to the ledges. It was unmarked but heavily used and easy to follow, gradually going up the narrow ridge that ends at the top of the ledges. I think you could also take the road farther and come up from the other side of the ledges but this seemed like the more scenic option with nice ledgey trail and views through the trees of the late afternoon sun reflecting of the frozen lake. Views from the top were surprisingly nice, looking over the lake and Battery Point 110 feet below with the mountains of SW NH on the horizon stretching from Temple Mountain to the Pack Monadnocks, Joe English Hill and the Uncanoonucs.

Pleasant woods with tall pines along FR54
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Take a right onto FR53 and head uphill
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When you get to this little mound take the herd path on the right
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From there follow the ledgey goodness 1/4 mile or so to the top of the ledges for a nice view
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Looking out at Battery Point
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Mountains on the horizon from Temple to the Uncs
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The mountains of SW NH
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The big picture from up there
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My troops marching out the way we came
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It was 4:30 and the sunset looked like it was going to to be great from up there, but it was also breezy and cool so we didn't stick around for it. Clearly it would be a great spot to return to for just such a thing however and probably other interesting views and spots exist if I had time to poke around, but with the fading daylight we were on our way and back to the car an hour after we started. Round trip was one mile according to Google Earth, elevation gain was just over 100 feet! :D Great little spot 5 minutes off Route 101. Adults could bang this out in 20 minutes, or take all afternoon soaking in the great view from the ledges or wandering more of the nice looking fire road/trails all around the lake. Thanks again Spencer for pointing this one out a while back!


Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:53 am
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
Ahhhhhhh.....my old stomping grounds. I grew up about a 1/4 mile from the lake, around the low service pumping station. Nothing like have that for your playground to set the stage for a lifelong love for the woods. Glad you got to enjoy the day. Never knew the roads were on google earth. We had to learn them all the old way - My brother and I: "hmmmm.....where does this come out?" "I dunno, let's find out."
Mom, later at dinner: "Where were you kids today?" Us: "Uhm, we don't know. Not sure exactly." Mom: "Honestly. You kids. You should be more careful, you could get lost."

Uhm.....yeah. But as the old adage points out: Not all who wander are lost.

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Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:34 am
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
Granite Guy wrote:
Thanks again Spencer for pointing this one out a while back!


No problem! It's a neat little place, and definitely one of the hidden gems of the area. There is also a trail (not a fire road) that hugs the shoreline all the way to a little cape/peninsula type thing. Some very cool rock outcrops along the way, right on the water. The parking area is not far from that of the Massabesic Ledges; it's at a fire road gate near a bridge on NH 121.

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Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:51 am
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
Kathy wrote:
Not all who wander are lost.


I have t-shirt somewhere that says that. 8) Sure would be a fun place to grow up exploring. We got kayaks for Christmas and I hope to take them here this summer. Looks like a great place for it. Lots of options here and just 25 minutes from me. Spencer's little shoreline trail sounds like another my kids would enjoy. Throwing rocks in the water is a favorite pastime of theirs for some reason.


Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:17 pm
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
Granite Guy wrote:
Kathy wrote:
Not all who wander are lost.


I have t-shirt somewhere that says that. 8) Sure would be a fun place to grow up exploring. We got kayaks for Christmas and I hope to take them here this summer. Looks like a great place for it. Lots of options here and just 25 minutes from me. Spencer's little shoreline trail sounds like another my kids would enjoy. Throwing rocks in the water is a favorite pastime of theirs for some reason.



Did you teach them to skip yet? Mine always loved that. The record stands at 11 (actually done by a friend who was showing Prema how to do it).

I liked the pink sky (late afternoons are good!). We haven't been tp that place (audobon) in ages! The other place looked good as well.


Sun Feb 28, 2016 11:42 pm
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
Next thing you know they will be rocking suspension bridges!


Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:48 am
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
They don't quite seem to have the arm strength to skip rocks yet, but I've shown them. The mid-coast islands have great rocks for that when the ocean is flat. I grew up vacationing there and skipping rocks for a week or two every summer. I'll keep trying to teach them the art. My personal best is well over 11. 8)


Mon Feb 29, 2016 12:41 pm
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
Exactly where is the trail head you parked at? I can follow the rest of your hike ok.

Terry


Mon Feb 29, 2016 1:40 pm
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
pgwido wrote:
Exactly where is the trail head you parked at? I can follow the rest of your hike ok.

Terry


There's a cleared out area and black/yellow/orange gate on the side of 121 almost directly across from Massabesic Drive in Auburn. Nice looking neighborhood and a fairly busy road so I'd guess the car is pretty safe their too.

A few pics of the parking/gate area, although none show the whole thing
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Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:26 pm
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
That's what I needed, thanks!

Terry


Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:12 pm
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 Re: Massabesic Ledges & More - 2/27/16
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Herring

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