I recently discovered a new local hiking spot while covering another story for this newspaper. Pickering Ponds in the Gonic is maintained by the city of Rochester and offers just over two miles of walking trails along the Cocheco River.
The trailhead is located across from 374 Pickering Road. Slow down when you get close if you’re using a GPS because it’s not marked and you can easily miss it. The road down to the trailhead is paved and there’s plenty of parking along both sides.
I found out about this trail when I was invited by Traci Bisson of “It Takes a Village Pet Care” to meet with a group that was taking part in their regular walks every month with their dogs. It’s a great way to meet other dog owners, and to socialize your dog with other pups.
This is the perfect hike to take the kids and your dogs because the trails are easy to moderate and cross between two ponds as well as the Cocheco. Make sure you bring a bug spray for everyone as the mosquitos and ticks are plentiful. It seems that’s a problem for almost every place you can hike this summer. The long, wet spring was a perfect for mosquito breeding.
On these trails you’ll spot many different species of birds like blue herons, and wildflowers are plentiful this time of year. From what I heard, this is a popular cross country skiing and snowshoeing trail. Dogs are welcome, but they need to be on a leash at all times because of the city ordinance.
I always like to find hiking spots within minutes from the house because with the heat this time of year, I still want to get Finn — my Cogi/Jack Russell mix— exercise but with the heat I know he wouldn’t be able to go for a long, two-hour hike.
From the mailbag: Thanks to Rachel Templar from Gunstock Mountain who emailed me about a really fun event happening at the resort today called the Muddy Puppy: Obstacle Course and Night Howl. It’s an obstacle course for your dog where prizes are awarded for time and style. On-site professionals will teach you and your pup the ins and outs of “dog-powered” sports, perfect for when you’re cross country skiing, biking, or hiking.
At 9 p.m. you can take part in a 4K race through a trail on the mountain, and then stay overnight at the campground on the resort grounds. The cost for the day is $50 and only $10 to camp with your tent.
I also got an email from Krissy Fraser at the Mount Washington Observatory. This whole month, MWOBS is raising funds for their metrological station high atop the northeast’s tallest peak.
On July 19 and 20, they hosting “Seek the Peak”, which is one of their biggest fundraisers for the year. Register and after raising only $200, you can take part in the weekend of activities after making the hike up the mountain that includes a kick-off party, prizes, an outdoor expo, and a private tour of the weather station.
I do want to make a plug for the Mount Washington Observatory’s Facebook page. It’s full of breathtaking photos of the summit, information about what they do, and video forecasts from the meteorologists themselves. If you have plans to head to the White’s, it a “must see."
Dave Andreesen is an avid hiker, paddler and fisherman who will be writing on the outdoors for Seacoast Sunday. Send Dave feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.