Nature Notes

I just got back from scouting for flowering plants along the trails near Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. The area has been greening up nicely in the last week; shrubs and deciduous trees are leafing out and understory plants are emerging through layers of decaying leaves, moss, and moist soil across the forest floor. I was…

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It’s fiddlehead season! To most New Englanders this gets the mouth salivating. To those from away it brings a wrinkle to their brow. They wonder if we who gather and eat fiddleheads are really sane or are we suffering from cabin fever. To those who do in fact taste fiddleheads for the first time it…

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Maple syrup has always been a staple in our house. It was brought out on Sundays when Mom made pancakes or waffles. Every once in a while we would buy a small container of real maple syrup while on vacation. My brother would then slowly ration the precious liquid and could make a seemingly small…

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Winter is winding down here in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. There are still areas of deep snow, but with the increasingly variable temperatures, sometimes frigid, sometimes creeping towards balmy, spring is definitely on its way. Rising temperatures will eventually lead to snowmelt; while hiking on trails around the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center, you…

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Our glacial history began about 2 million years ago during the Late Pliocene. The earth entered into a cyclical period of warming and cooling periods. The cooling events resulted in ice ages while the warming periods experienced a Greenhouse Effect. The climate cooled, glaciers formed high in the mountains and then flowed into the valleys…

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SNOWSHOE HARE (Lepus americanus) Any one who has come across snowshoe hare tracks deep in the woods in late winter can appreciate the expression, “Mad as a March Hare.” The expression usually refers to one who is completely insane. And if you are trying to figure out what these snowshoe hares are up to, you…

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When visitors come to the AMC’s Pinkham Notch Visitor Center in the White Mountain National Forest, there are a handful of questions that are often asked, again and again. There are the usual questions about trails and conditions, the location of bathrooms and potable water. A favorite question for a Naturalist Guide is any dealing…

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As I wrote earlier the Appalachians have a very complex geologic history that built major mountain chains which formed and then eroded over vast periods of time. I will begin the history around 500 million years ago during the Late Cambrian/ Early Ordovician periods. Since the rock record covers such vast quantities of time geologists…

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Chickadees are cheerful little birds that keep us company through the long White Mountain winters. They are known by site with their familiar black cap and bib and their white cheeks. When you are out in the woods, listen for the familiar “chickadee-dee-dee” call and the two note “fee-bee” call. Closely related are the Boreal…

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Our History

January 11, 2009

The White Mountains of New Hampshire are renowned for outdoor adventure and their fascinating ecosystems. Each season brings exciting changes in weather, plant life, recreational opportunities, and wildlife activity. But there is something that is often overlooked when visiting such beautiful, natural areas: the complex and interesting cultural history of the northern forests. Pinkham Notch,…

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