DePierrefeu-Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary – What’s Not to Like?

View of Willard Pond from Bald Mountain

View of Willard Pond from Bald Mountain

Colors were quickly fading further north so I decided to head south to the Audubon’s largest sanctuary in NH, the DePierrefeu-Willard Pond Sanctuary in Antrim, close to Hancock.  Good choice.  Although I’d been disappointed by Audubon properties in the past (compared to Nature Conservancy), this was a wonderful spot.  The air was crisp and clear and the previous night had brought the first snow of the season; a quarter inch or so that quickly melted as I hiked.  The trails are generally short, varied, and in good shape, although finding a current map of the trails was a bit of a challenge as it wasn’t on the Audubon’s website.  I eventually found a pretty good one here.IMG_5885Parking was located a short walk from the pond so I headed there first and was treated to a pair of loons enjoying a quiet morning.20151018_091933Continuing along the pond to Pine Point on the far side gave a terrific view towards my next destination: Bald Mountain.IMG_5915The colors were marvelous and the view from the top (at the top of this page) was well worth the entire trip.IMG_5934Feeling pretty pleased with my choices so far, I decided to give the Spur Trail a visit.  With a name like that I should have known better.  But off I went following the blue trail markers.  The trail quickly deteriorated and maybe it was because of the sparse usage or possibly just the blanket of new-fallen leaves, but it quickly became a kind of “Where’s Waldo” of hiking; stopping at each blue blaze and straining to see if I could find the next one.  The ground cover offered almost no clues as to the location of the trail and the rather zigzag route made it even tougher.  I finally reached a large field with a modest view of Mt. Monadnock where the blazes stopped completely.  The end of the trail?  I tried walking half-way across the field and partway along the edge but wasn’t sure where to go next.  So I headed back.

The parking kiosk's trail map

The parking kiosk’s trail map

Looking at this trail map at the parking kiosk, I figure I got to the “R” of Spur before turning around.  It seems the plan was to cross the field and pick up the trail again on the far side.  Oh well.IMG_5941I was tempted to have a few bad things to say about another Audubon sanctuary when I was greeted by a pair of what I later figured to be Prairie Warblers.  Here’s one of them checking me out.IMG_5948Then I practically tripped over a Yellow-Rumped Warbler hopping around near my feet.  So I figure that’s what an Audubon sanctuary is really about – not me, but the birds.  Considering the loons and warblers, it was a pretty good place to visit.IMG_5897Here’s one last shot of the colors.  Happy travels!

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6 responses to “DePierrefeu-Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary – What’s Not to Like?

  1. We’ve matched each other with exposing the other to interesting natural places! I’ve never heard of this place, yet I live less than an hour from there at the moment! I’ll have to check it out soon.

  2. Thanks for posting this. I work in Hancock now at a place called Nature’s Classroom, so this is just a stone’s throw away.
    I’m not happy about the poor trail blazing but that seems to frequently be the case, especially if there is a Nature Conservancy sign anywhere near the proposed hike.

    • I’m not sure I understand your comment about the trail blazing. I’ve found Nature Conservancy trails to be well maintained but have found NH Audubon trails to be less well maintained, at least the ones I’ve visited. Regarding the trails here, I saw later on their website that they just worked on nearly all their trails…but unfortunately not the Spur Trail that I chose to try. Have you brought your classes here?

      I just looked at the Nature’s Classroom site and it appears that would be a great fit for you – you have so much to offer. Are you enjoying it?

  3. Being outside all day has always been my favorite kind of work but after sitting at a desk for over 20 years it was tough getting started! I’m in the maintenance department so I don’t have anything to do with the class structure, but I sure see plenty of kids!
    The trails in my immediate area that are Nature Conservancy trails are always poorly blazed and are my last choice for hiking. I’m glad the same isn’t true in your area. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been on an Audubon trail but I might visit this one this weekend if I have a chance.

  4. If they’re only using your maintenance skills then they’re missing out on a huge resource Allen. The fact that you’ve got so many online “students” is a testimony to your teaching skills, especially as we do so by choice. If they only knew…
    Thanks for your comments. I’ll look forward to what you have to say if you do visit and write about this place.

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