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 Little River Conservation Area - Exeter 
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
 Little River Conservation Area - Exeter
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The 2 mile route. Only 1.7 if you do it right :oops:

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With a 69 degree beautiful spring pre-bug season afternoon off my in-laws asked if we could all go on a little hike somewhere. As the ring leader when it comes to this activity I decided to try out one of the local areas I've been eyeing for a while that is right in town so we wouldn't waste much time driving. We went to the Little River Conservation Area right here in Exeter.

The trail starts out across the street from someones house with a sign and parking in a small field. It then crosses the road and starts in their driveway. For the first few hundred yards you follow the path through their property passing lots of old tires, junk and even a rusting old car in the woods before reaching the actual conservation area. There are several side trails, one of which willl bring you to a small bridge at an old mill site where the river flows through a stone lines channel where the water wheel must have been a long time ago, int a beautiful shady glen where the water pools up before moving along the slow moving Dudley Brook.

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Crossing the old mill site bridge

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What the main trail does is go right just before the bridge, although on the map, which is actually rather good, it appeared the trail crossed the brook before splitting. We therefore (I'm throwng my father in law under the bus here) followed him down a couple side trails that dead ended before we realized this was the wrong way and went back to find the right one, which if you ever do this loop is well blazed in white and easy to follow the entire way. We didn't get far before figuring it out so no big deal but we did end up in a brushy swampy area that was full of ticks! We all, except him starngely, had a couple of them crawling on us which made none of us too happy, especially my wife. We tried to make sure they were all off our clothes and almost called it a day, but once we regrouped and realized the main trail was wide, clear and not in prime tick territory we decided to continue with the original plan and walk the main loop.

Another view of the mill site from where the trail actually goes just downstream of it

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From there it was a very enjoyable walk along the brook/river. I believe it's always the same waterway but somewhere along the trail turns from Dudley Brook into the Little River, although I'm not exactly sure where. At any rate it's one of the nicer little walks I've done in the area. The woods are mature with with large pines and hemlocks. The river is small, slow moving and scenic. I don't know if there's fish in it but it seems there certainly should be. There were beaver felled trees, lots of mussell shells from raccoons feasting I'm guessing, salamanders and turtles in the lazy little river.

Fresh cut beaver trees

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Trail following the riverbanks

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Somewhere around here it turns from the Dudley Brook into the Little River

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After a half mile or so of the river you come to the Little River Footbridge, where a side trail goes elsewhere ( to a NH Fish & Game conservation area I think) but the loop trail heads away from the river and into the Dolloff Easement. It heads back through more of a hardwood dominated forest, passing a few more side trails along the way which you'd want to be careful not to take or you'll have a bit of a walk back to your car. Along that way at a small stream crossing there was a deer spine and leg bones hanging in a tree. At least I'm assuming that's what it was. Kind of interesting but a bit unexpected to just stumble across out in the woods like that.

Little River reflection

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Little River Footbridge you don't want to cross, but your kids may want to play on

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Deer (??) skeleton

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The trail rejoined itself shortly after that back by the brook and heads back out the way you came in past the nice little shaded pool at the old mill site. Then it's back past the house, across 111A and you're back at your car. Other than the ticks and wrong turns it was a great way to spend a few hours in the warm sunshine. There was a mosquito or two but for the most part bugs were not around yet and the riverside walk was shaded well by big evergreens. If the mosquitos aren't bad in summer it's probably a nice cool spot to go for a stroll. There was only 250 feet of ups and downs so nothing hard and overall very enjoyable for a little local town spot. As usual it's not a destination spot, but if you're close by or in the area for some reason it's definitely worth the time.

A few more pics...

https://picasaweb.google.com/107457015580599787070/LittleRiver#

If you want any more info or the maps/guide to the area you can find it here

http://www.town.exeter.nh.us/sites/default/files/fileattachments/little_river_conservation_area_brochure.pdf


Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:59 am
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:52 pm
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Location: Beyond the black
 
Ticks: :(
Deer skeleton: :shock:

That looks like a pleasant walk, and nice job throwing your FIL under the bus. :)


Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:14 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
 
Yeah. Sometimes the real world smacks you in the face when dealing with mother nature. Like the shows on Discovery where a cute little baby caribou is grazing care free for a bit, only to be taken down by a pack of wolves minutes later. Or this scene from one of my kids favorite movies, Madagascar. :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CF3zDhm6EC8

Very enjoyable spot otherwise.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:13 am
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Location: Lakes Region, NH
 
Eww ticks=southeastern nh=LYME DISEASE. Hmmm....brave souls! Sounds sketchy with the whole walk thru someone's driveway thing, it always feels weird doesn't it! Certainly sounds like an interesting hike! The weather was gorgeous!


Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:59 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Location: Exeter, NH
 
hiking lady wrote:
Eww ticks=southeastern nh=LYME DISEASE. Hmmm....brave souls! Sounds sketchy with the whole walk thru someone's driveway thing, it always feels weird doesn't it! Certainly sounds like an interesting hike! The weather was gorgeous!


More like lost souls.

Yes sketchy is a good way to put it. Always afraid they're going to shoot first and ask questions later! My father in law jokingly said send the youngest one first, we haven't known her that long. :D

And ticks around here are a big downfall to hiking in the area. Of course on the trail we'd probably have been fine. Bushwhacking is not reccomended around these parts for sure. The damn things are always around the yards and parks too. Everyone got double and triple checked for the little bastards after.


Thu Apr 25, 2013 11:07 am
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Location: Boston's North Shore
 
Little River really is a nice spot. I've been many times with the kids and we've never had a tick problem. Perhaps it was just the bushwhacking? That said, I never consider ticks when choosing a spot to hike. We're just diligent about checking ourselves when we're done.

Granite Guy- You might know this better, but I believe it's a great spot for Jack-in-the-Pulpits (my favorites) and (a few) Lady Slippers during the last week of April.

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Fri Apr 26, 2013 6:19 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
 
I do think the ticks were definitely the result of the off trail wandering. I wouldn't want to scare anyone away from it. Beautiful little mile and a half walk for the area. The main trail has next to no brush or undergrowth and shouldn't be any more of a tick issue than anywhere else.

As for the flowers I didn't see much of anything except skunk cabbage or whatever the bright green things are. Ill probably go back soon to check it out a bit more without the family and ill keep my eyes open for them for sure.


Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:21 am
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