Blog

30Mar 2020

How Do We Build a Hiker Hostel, Eh?

By Kim Nilsen

Everyone is familiar with the AMC’s high huts in the White Mountains and many have dropped in on the Randolph Mountain Club’s huts 3,000-plus vertical feet above Route 2 in the northern Presis. In Colorado, the 10th Mountain Division hut system stretches across the state. In Europe, of course, high mountain huts and hostels are a continental treasure.

And the Cohos Trail? Could there be a hiker hut in the mighty CT’s future? If so, what stones would we have to look under to raise the dollars, formalize a plan, galvanize volunteers, and tell the world?

Let’s drop back 25 years, when the concept of the Cohos Trail was little more than a few maps on a floor and pipe dream smoke…


An early hiker hostel concept, by Kim Nilsen

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30Mar 2020

Maps with Mileage

By Kim Nilsen

The new 2020 Cohos Trail maps will feature mileage between points. There, we said it, and in one stroke of the computer key we will have remedied one substantial problem that has bedeviled us and hikers on the Cohos Trail.

Former president Ken Vallery has been championing the cause to upgrade the maps so that they feature mileage designations between points along the entire length of the CT system from southern Crawford Notch to Canada. He has been working closely with AMC cartographer Larry Garland to add mileage.

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29Mar 2020

Plans on State Lands for 2020

By Kim Nilsen

Each year now, The Cohos Trail Association (TCTA) has to produce an Annual Work Plan for the State of New Hampshire. In the paragraphs below, we shed light on what we have introduced to the state for possible projects on state lands and state easements in 2020. Here’s a breakdown.

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29Mar 2020

That Volcano on the Horizon

By Kim Nilsen

When hiking uphill along the international border swath path that is Fourth Connecticut Lake Trail to the little wet fen of the same name, turn to look north into Quebec Province periodically. Some 20 miles to the north (30 road miles) is a hulking mountain with several broad summits. The height of it is not so impressive, but the girth of it is. It is huge. That mass of creation filling the horizon is beautiful Mont Megantic, home to Canada’s largest astronomical observatory.


Mont Megantic. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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12Mar 2020

Trash on Trails: Pick Me Up!

By Kim Nilsen

Over the course of 20 years of work on establishing the Cohos Trail, volunteers have come across a few things, well, many things in the woods and on the new pathways that shouldn’t be there. Items accidentally left behind by trekkers or simply tossed to one side as trash. Getting the trash out of the woods should be everyone’s concern.

Here’s a list of some items that we’ve come across in the great Coos forests:

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10Mar 2020

Jay Talking

By Kim Nilsen

What is a Whiskey Jack? If you were raised and live in the North Country, you know. No, it is not alcohol. A whiskey jack is a Canada Jay, a member of the Corvidae family of aves (jay, crows, ravens) that, unlike blue jays, inhabit high elevation boreal and subarctic forests. Winter and summer hikers know them well, for Canada jays very much love to see humans on high, particularly on summits. We are walking supermarkets to the birds, and they know it full well.


A Canada Jay. Photo courtesy of David Albeck

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5Mar 2020

Cohos Trail Feature Story: Coming Soon

By Kim Nilsen

2019 solo thru-hiker Willow Nilsen, daughter of the founder of the Cohos Trail, recently queried the editor of Northern Woodlands magazine with a pitch to write a feature about her trek on the trail. To her delight, the query got a thumbs up, so Willow has hunkered down at the computer to hammer out a story about her 13-days in the Coos County backcountry.


Willow Nilsen finishes her thru-hike of the Cohos Trail. Photo courtesy of Allan Frolisch

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4Mar 2020

Don’t You Just Love a Disaster

By Kim Nilsen

We posted a little dramatic story about the Nash Stream Bog Dam breach disaster of 1969 on Facebook more than a month ago. Folks just loved that flood, apparently. As of today, more than 280 people have “liked” the article and an astonishing 231 people have shared it with their Facebook friends and family. So the great flood has washed into hundreds of computers across the land and inundated thousands of innocent folks on laptops, tablets and cellphones everywhere.

Here’s a tip. When you motor north on the Nash Stream Road, within a few miles a huge sand bank appears on the right. Well, fine. But it is what is across the road there that is telltale evidence of the erosive power of that flood.

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29Feb 2020

Arctic Blasts No Hiking Deterrent

By Kim Nilsen

If Facebook is any guide, it’s apparent that the winter months are no longer an obstacle to those who wish to climb the mountains. Snow and ice, high wind and arctic cold be damned, trekkers are out day hiking in force on Cohos Trail paths and summits.

From little Mt. Covill in northern Pittsburg, with its view over First Connecticut Lake to Mt. Magalloway, to the remote topknot of 4,000-footer Mt. Isolation, the winter warriors are stomping around in the white stuff out there.


Percy Peaks. Photo courtesy of Tom Adams

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27Jan 2020

The Nash Bog Dam Disaster

By Kim Nilsen

The Cohos Trail had its origins in a disaster. In 1969, the great earthen and timber crib dam that held back beautiful 223-acre Nash Bog failed utterly high in what is now the Nash Stream Forest. Several years later, the late Arthur Muise, a much revered NH Fish and Game officer and the man for whom Mt. Muise is named, spun a yarn to me about the dam breach and the great flood that destroyed the Nash Stream valley and swamped the streets and the paper mill in Groveton village. His tale was so compelling, I jumped in my tin-can Datsun as soon as I could and drove up to the old dam site.

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