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2021 Pillsbury State Park - Fall


"Pillsbury State Park is one of the more primitive and lesser known gems of the New Hampshire State Park system. Heavily wooded and sprinkled with several ponds and wetlands, its diversity of habitats makes it home to a great variety of wildlife, including moose and loons." This is according to the New Hampshire State Park's website.

We typically stay on North Pond, the most secluded of the camping options at Pillsbury. But this time, since it was so late in the autumn season, we decided to try something different and chose a campsite on the big pond - May Pond - reachable via water or hiking trail.

Following are a few selected photos that depict the beauty of the place, even in the late fall season.

A chorus of purple pitcher plants sing to the sky


The tent platform provides a dry, level surface on which to pitch the tent

Site 40 provides a lovely view of May Pond to the south

Camping on May Pond provided a whole different view of the park. This pond,  twice as big as the more familiar North Pond, was subject to more wind and waves. Despite that, we were able to explore the entire pond, appreciating the nearly bare branches of trees in the ridgeline to the south.

Our campsite had a wood deck on which we picked our tent, making for a nice, even sleeping surface. And the picnic table allowed us views of the pond, though it was a bit chilly for sitting around.

Mary paddles along the rocky shore of may pond

A smudgy afternoon sun shines through clouds over May Pond

It was good weather for hiking - brisk and clear. We explored Balance Rock Trail on Bryant Mountain, along with other trails in Pillsbury Park. With the leaves off many of the trees, views from Balance Rock were better than in summertime.


From Bryant Mountain, there's a bit of a view onto North Pond


Thank goodness Mary is able to hold up Balance Rock to protect the dogs!

Glen and Nyssa relish time in the great outdoors


As is often the case at Pillsbury State Park, there were no other folks to be seen on the trails, making for a relaxing hike


Mediola virginiana - or Indian cucumber - is one of the prettiest plants in any season


Streams flow from one pond to the next throughout Pillsbury


A gravel road connects the ranger station with other areas of the park - and makes for an enjoyable walk

Though we came to Pillsbury this time to try something different - camping on the big pond - we just had to go visit our favorite North Pond while we were at Pillsbury. 

The bogs were all golds and burgundies, accented with the pale yellows of the tamarack trees (Larix laricina) and the deep greens of the evergreen trees.

We paddled our favorite routes, circumnavigating the pond and then heading up the channel toward the woods. Lo and behold, the same dang beaver dam stopped us from going further along on the channel.

Cloud cover moves in as we explore the autumn bog

A tamarack grows in the floating bog

Damn! Not a dam!

We can never get enough of looking at pitcher plants! According to Native Plant Trust, the purple pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) is the only pitcher plant native to New England. Their website says, "Its green and purple leaves (the pitchers) are recumbant, filling with water into which the plant secretes digestive enzymes to digest trapped insects, which supply much-needed nitrogen for a plant adapted to nutrient-poor bog conditions."

How cool is that?!

We wrapped up our trip feeling rejuventated and re-connected to nature. The only way humankind can hope to survive is to resuscitate our relationship with the natural world - and to recognize we are but one of the myriad other plant and animal species.

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