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 Lost And Found On The Bellamy River (WMA & Refuge) - Dov 
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 Lost And Found On The Bellamy River (WMA & Refuge) - Dov
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Bellamy River Wildlife Management Area route and map*

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Disclaimer: This report is a little lengthy. I don't know how else to explain this one, so if you have a few minutes to spare and want to see what a dumba** I am feel free to read on. :D

Have you ever been lost on a hike before? Not really lost, or maybe really lost, depending on how you look at this. Yesterday I had a couple hours free so I printed up a map of the Bellamy River Refuge, a place I've read good things about in the newspaper and online, and headed over there in the afternoon. I followed the directions and came in from the dover side and found the sign and parking area for the Bellamy River Wildlife Management Area and off I went. The trail passed through some fields and brushy woods that are home to the endangered New England Cottontail Rabbit. Then they curved around a pond, just like on the map, before splitting and heading into the woods.

Heron waiting for lunch

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Some flowers mark the first trail junction as it goes from fields to woods

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Cove on the Bellamy River

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The cove trail went left first so I followed that. It took me to the riverbanks along a cove with views up and down the river. Nothing special, but not a bad spot. From there I finished that loop and rejoined the main trail, where the Clement Point trail makes another loop out on a narrow finger of land. At the tip of the point there are some nice views across Royall's Cove but not much else, so I snapped a picture and went on my way, finishing that loop, past a swampy little inlet and through some woods until I rejoined the main trail and retraces your steps from there back to the parking area.

Trail out to Clements Point *

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Royall's Cove from Clement's Point *

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Main trail headed back through the woods

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I met my wife and kids for dinner down the beach and she asked how the trail was. I told her it wasn't bad, but not quite what I expected and was overhyped. Good for walking dogs and apparently riding horses based on what they've left behind (funny you have to clean up after a dog but a horse can leave a small hill behind in the middle of the trail). After the kids were in bed I sat down to write it up and actually titled it Bellamy River Waste of My Afternoon, at which point I went onto google earth to check it out more. Hmmm. The tree that marks the sanctuary was a little off the mark. It was on the next point of land down. But everything else looked right, the trail made a figure 8 loop, along the river and onto the point, but something still wasn't right. The tracks didn't match up exactly, and where was the bridge I thought I was going to see?? :? WTF!? I was on the wrong point of land all afternoon and never even knew it!! I thought I knew exactly where I was and in truth things never quite felt right when I was out there but they were very close, so close that the map of the loop trails even had all the features in the right spots. Pond, cove, point of land, all there, but the wrong point of land apparently. Oops. :oops:

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Bellamy River Wildlife Sanctuary route and map

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So that brings me to part two of this long report. After realizing what I did I decided to head back this morning to catch a sunrise and see the place I was actually looking for in the first place. I got to the trailhead for the Bellamy River Wildlife Sanctuary at 5:30 and started out on the trail. there was a mailbox, complete with maps, near the start of the trail. I grabbed one and headed into the woods. About 30 seconds in 4 or 5 deer went crashing off through the woods away from me. Look at that, wildlife already! From there I followed the well blazed trail to the split and again took the red blazed Cove Trail, which went just like the day before to a small cove. Nothing really of note but a nice shady tidal cove lined with trees on both sides and a few hunded yards long.

Dawn along the cove

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Sunrising along the Cove Trail

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Once I joined up with the main yellow blazed Clement's Point Trail I followed it as it hugged the edge of the peninsula and wandered along the quiet backwater of the river. There were some nice viewpoints and I walked it at a leisurly pace, looking around and enjoying the sunrise as the world woke up for the day.

Sunrise through the trees

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Easy to follow path runs through woods and along the rivers edge

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The mouth of the cove that the Cove Trail follows

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The trail is just about level it's entire length and easily wanders along a few feet from and above the river with a few paths down to the waters edge. At the tip of the point you come to a rivergrass/mud shore where there are views across the mouth of the river where it joins Little Bay near the route 4 bridge (Scamman??) and across Royall's Cove to the right. A very nice spot, and other than the noise from traffic quite peaceful. Some herons flew right overhead, ducks, geese and seagulls swam and flew by also as the world lit up over the still reflective water.

Route 4 bridge where the river meets the bay from Clement's Point

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Royall's Cove

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From there it was a quick trip back on a muddy rooty branch of the trail. The whole loop was only 1.5 miles and would probably take an hour or less at a normal pace but did provide some nice views of the river and had some nice spots you could pass some time watching for birds, boats or whatever else you like to watch go by. It was a much nicer, more scenic trail than the one at the WMA. Both are strikingly similar, although the other one is almost twice as long, but this one is better. It would make a good trail for kids or anyone in the area who just wants to find a quiet spot to walk in the woods. There's only room at the parking lot for 3 or 4 cars at most so I can't imagine it's ever busy.

Clements Point on the Bellamy River from the route 4 bridge

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So that's my story, on having no clue where I was but not actually ever being lost either. I had known beforehand that there were multiple segments to the WMA including the two I went to, I just didn't know that there were trails at more than one of them. Truely one of the more absentminded things I've ever done in my hiking career. If you end up going make sure you get the good one, the sanctuary, or both, but I wouldn't waste your time or gas just to get to the WMA unless you're riding a horse or walking a dog.

For more info on the WMA you can click here

http://www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Wildlife/WMAs/WMA_Bellamy_River.htm

For the Audubon Sanctuary click here

http://www.nhaudubon.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/sanctuary-bellamy_river.pdf

And if you're interested in more pictures you can click here

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


Thu May 02, 2013 11:11 pm
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Nice report. Sounds like you managed to get two decent hikes in, even if the first one wasn't too exciting. Not so dumb after all. 8)

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Fri May 03, 2013 5:42 am
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Heron? Sold!


Fri May 03, 2013 9:22 am
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Very confusing to say the least! Looks neat. My sister-n-law lives nearby in a condo and my husband says he walked down there once when he was visiting on an overnight years ago. Its still on my list, maybe I can grab agamentus or stratham hill u've mentioned to make it worth my while. Are u getting sick of these little hikes yet? I imagine u must be yearning for some big mtns soon!


Fri May 03, 2013 1:33 pm
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Grindboy wrote:
Heron? Sold!


Stick with Great Bay and tributaries then. The trails seem to average a couple a mile.

And for whatever it's worth, the Herons are nesting all over Durham Point right now. If you want to see a few nows a good time to catch them.

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Fri May 03, 2013 3:40 pm
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hiking lady wrote:
Very confusing to say the least! Looks neat. My sister-n-law lives nearby in a condo and my husband says he walked down there once when he was visiting on an overnight years ago. Its still on my list, maybe I can grab agamentus or stratham hill u've mentioned to make it worth my while. Are u getting sick of these little hikes yet? I imagine u must be yearning for some big mtns soon!


Hmm. Somehow deleted my response to this earlier. :? But yes, longing for some big mountain trips. The moonlight hike up Major last Thursday was the biggest hike I've done in a month or so :( . I wouldn't say I'm sick of these little trips exactly, as they serve a purpose, mainly getting me out somewhere when I don't have time to get where I'd really like to be. If I didn't do them I wouldn't do anything in those few hours. There's worse things than a moonlight hike up a little mountain or a sunrise hike on a nature trail, and I like the smell of the salty air as much as the balsam firs, but while some of the small stuff is very nice a big hike sometime soon would be awesome.


Fri May 03, 2013 8:12 pm
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Wow, incidentally, before seeing your reply here, I ended up on the spur of the moment having a free evening to myself, and headed to the Bay indeed, and took in the GB Wildlife Refuge Trails/sights. I didn't have a lot of time or daylight and the wildlife were minimal, although the bay was certainly beautiful blue under the cloudless sky, and the evening was perfectly crisp and a sensational night to be out of doors really anywhere.

I did manage to see a Heron near the Bay on the Sweet Trail a few weeks ago. Highlight of the trip for me! We don't have anything like THAT where I come from!

Your pics of course are ridiculous though. Perhaps I'll have another chance to get out locally soon -- apparently there are better times of year to see them then others?


Fri May 03, 2013 9:36 pm
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Grindboy wrote:
Wow, incidentally, before seeing your reply here, I ended up on the spur of the moment having a free evening to myself, and headed to the Bay indeed, and took in the GB Wildlife Refuge Trails/sights. I didn't have a lot of time or daylight and the wildlife were minimal, although the bay was certainly beautiful blue under the cloudless sky, and the evening was perfectly crisp and a sensational night to be out of doors really anywhere.

I did manage to see a Heron near the Bay on the Sweet Trail a few weeks ago. Highlight of the trip for me! We don't have anything like THAT where I come from!

Your pics of course are ridiculous though. Perhaps I'll have another chance to get out locally soon -- apparently there are better times of year to see them then others?


This time of year is great for many birds. Nesting all along the bay, rivers, marshes etc. All those pics were taken in the last few days so they're definitely around.

Great bay is a good trail. Minimal time on the bay but a nice walk in the woods. Have you been to Adams Point yet? I know you'd mentioned it. Plenty of wildlife/waterfowl to see there. Might be the best spot for it on the whole bay. Those herons are at a marsh near the durham end of the road. Long marsh has a lot too and ospreys. I'm hoping to catch them sometime soon.


Fri May 03, 2013 9:44 pm
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On your recommendation, I've been "saving" Adam's Point for when my wife and kid can come. Not that I couldn't go back if course, but there are still many small local spots that I haven't seen that if I can hit the decent spots in my own and the really good ones with them, that's what I'd choose. Also, at sunset I thought the GBNWL on the East side would be the win. If things fall right maybe we can get out tomorrow afternoon? If those 5 heron are recent, that really puts some spring in my step!


Sat May 04, 2013 8:48 am
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Wicked funny. Good for you for going back and trying it again. I've wondered what the Rt4 bridge crosses over there. Cool.

Yes, I've been sorta lost plenty of times. Most notably, while looking for blue blazes on Falling Waters' crossings. But I'd never admit that. :wink:

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Sat May 04, 2013 9:03 am
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