NH – Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge

Nestled beneath the mountains north of the Presidential Range, the Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge has natural communities of flowers, shrubs, and fauna among its ponds, bogs/wetlands, and spruce-fir forests. It’s a beautiful spot just to flat walk and enjoy being in nature. There are so many different shrubs and plants. We did not really see birds this time around, other than a gull and a duck in the distance, but at the right time of day and season, apparently the area is well-known for birding.

Directions from Lincoln: From the junction of Rte. 3 and Rte. 115 in Twin Mountain, go 4.3 miles east on Rte. 115. Turn left (west) on Airport Rd and go about 1.5 miles to a small parking lot on the right. This map gives you an idea of where it is with respect to Lincoln.

The walk consists of walking a railroad bed and visiting two ponds on opposite sides of the railroad bed.

From the trailhead, we walked northeast 1.5 miles on the old Main Central railroad bed, arriving at Waumbek Junction, just a clearing, a former railroad station where three rail lines converged.

At the junction, we veered right to reach the Tudor Richards Viewing Platform (with built-in benches) on the south side of Cherry Pond.

Starr King and Waumbek peaks in the distance.

We walked back to the junction and walked northeast, crossed the Johns River on a wood bridge, walked along the (still in service) railroad tracks.

This picture of the tracks is borrowed from the web. Didn’t think to take a picture.

In a short distance, we turned right onto the Shore Path that took as to the west side of Cherry Pond. There was a nice bench to just sit and look out over the water.

The path led back to the tracks to pick up the Little Cherry Pond Trail on the left side of the tracks. The trail diverges and then converges a little before the viewing platform on Little Cherry Pond, the suggestion is to take the left trail and come back on the other trail.

We then went across the tracks and followed some of the Rampart Path, the prettier part turning right at the pond, rather than left.

The northern part of the Presidentials.

After the path, we headed back down the tracks to the rail trail and back to the car.

Total mileage: 3 miles for the rail trail roundtrip plus another 2 miles for the two ponds — 5.2 miles total. We took our time at the viewing platforms and stopped a lot for pictures, taking about 3:20 hours for the day.

Some flora and fauna:

Aphrodite Fritillary Butterfly

Blue-eyed Damselfly

Sheep laurel with bee.

Pickerel Weed

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