Monson Center, New Hampshire – A Hiking and Geocaching Adventure

Yesterday I decided to visit Monson Center. The area has five geocaches on it, and one in particular I needed to fill in a square on my Fizzy Grid (see my post on Geocaching Statistics). This area looked very interesting.

Monson Center was a colonial settlement covering about 17,000 acres from 1737-1770. In the beginning, it was part of Massachusetts. That changed in 1741 when Colonial border lines were adjusted and now it’s considered to be one of the first inland settlements in New Hampshire. The town’s charter was relinquished when residents disagreed about the subject of taxes and where the meeting house would be built. Prior to the Revolutionary War, there was a major conflict with the Royal Governor, Benning Wentworth, over the taxation of the land and the improvements the residents wanted to make.

In 1998, this area of pristine land was threatened by a housing development. The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and local residents rallied to come up with $350,000 in just a few months to save the property.

The first geocache – which happened to be the one I needed, was in the woods separating the parking area from the rolling fields of Monson Center. I found the cache pretty easily and then continued on the same roads that people once walked and rode horses on 250+ years ago.

The Gould House is the one remaining structure on the property. It was restored by the property’s previous owners, Russ and Geri Dickerman. It wasn’t open today, likely due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the time of year. When it is open, it’s a clockmaker shop as well as a museum.

There are markers with signs around to tell the background of the people who lived here and some of the structures. All that’s left of the other buildings are the clearings and some cellar holes.

Walking past here, I made my way to Bayley Lane to walk to the Bayley House foundation. There was a geocache near this location.

I found the geocache – in this case an ammo can – easily enough. It was pretty much out in the open, but I don’t think many people travel back this way.

I doubled back on Bayley Way and made my way to East Monson Road. This gave me a number of locations where there were cellar holes and cleared areas as I walked towards the marsh at the end of the road.

The original Monson Town marker was at the corner of Adams Road and East Monson Road. Near the Nevins House was another geocache, a small container tucked into the center of a clump of trees. Further down, near the Monson Pound, was another ammo can.

Town pounds are all over New Hampshire. In those days, they housed any livestock that had gotten loose so the owners could come and collect them.

You can see most of the trail is covered with leaves. While I was there, a crew was working clearing the leaves from the main path (Adams Road) and the fields. On these side trails, though, they were still covered and the leaves were very slippery. Going down East Monson Road was a little scary for someone who loses her balance easily. It was a bit steep as it graded to the marsh.

The picture on the right is a pine tree. These are frequently called “mast pines” as these big, straight trees were initially harvested to build the tall masts for British sailing ships.

This view of the marsh at the end of the trail was nice. There were several benches around to rest on. I sat and had some water and a hard-boiled egg I’d brought with me. I watched the mallards on one side of the water. In the distance, I could hear the occasional gunshot. I wondered if it was hunters or if it was a game club. A couple of ladies came walking down the trail and they said it was hunters, which surprised me because of the number of shots we were hearing. It wasn’t rapid, like target practice, but there were one or two every few minutes. This is one reason I don’t generally hike in the woods this time of year. I had on bright yellow today and when I was walking I would try to talk out loud or sing.

West Monson Road sloped up back towards the fields I came in on initially. I never did find the marker for the Doctor’s house, but I did see a few more spots that likely had houses at one time.

I checked my activity log when I got back to my Trax. I walked a total of four miles and found the five geocaches here. It was a nice day to be out – not too cool yet. The trails here are a nice, easy walk with no steep hills to worry about, except when they are covered with slippery leaves. People had their dogs with them and were throwing balls on these large fields. It’s really a nice place to explore.

4 replies »

  1. I went geocaching today. We found 8 caches in a nature preserve. No hunting and the place was completely deserted. Probably because of the dangerously strong winds! The trees were really dancing and singing!!

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