I recently went on a field trip with my oldest son, and his 3rd grade class, to Northwood Meadows State Park in Northwood, NH. Northwood Meadows State Park is a free, unstaffed, 674.5 acre facility, which is open year-round. There are trails for hiking, biking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing and many can be used for snowmobiling. There are also service roads for bringing non-motorized boats to the dammed pond, but make sure it is a light boat or have a wheeled dolly for transporting because you have to walk in. The pond is also a popular fishing spot.
The park is located on Route 4 in Northwood about 2.8 miles west of the intersection of Route 4 and Route 9 and 43, and about 0.3 miles east of the Northwood Town Office. There was ample parking in two areas for the multiple school buses and chaperone’s vehicles.
I enjoy being a chaperon on the hiking field trips, and I feel with my surveying experience that I have a lot to offer the kids. This field trip the kids just finished a mapping program, and they had to make a map of the pond area and locate items for a scavenger hunt. I had two boys in my group…..tough job. We started walking down the access road and stopped to see a stream making waterfalls as it made its way around and over rocks. We then had to choose which trail to take. Our choices were the longer Huckins Orchard Trail, a newer shorter trail, which was well manicured for easier walking or to stay on the access road. We chose the longer trail through the woods. The recent drop of leaves made tracking the trail more difficult, but it was a good lesson for the kids to watch for trail markings. I took the opportunity to teach the kids about the stone walls we saw; how they were made and there common uses.
After the walk through the woods, we met up with other classmates and chaperons, at the pond, for snack time. Here we found some stick structures like a tee-pee and a fort. We started to notice how cold it was outside since we were now out of the woods. After our short break, I encouraged my group to keep moving so we could stay warm. We proceeded around the pond stopping at various spots. One of our favorite spots was the dam. One of the boys was concerned about a fish possibly going into the outflow pipe. How would it get back to the pond? Once we crossed the dam and reentered the woods, we came to an overlook out onto “Betty’s Meadows”. Here was another good educational opportunity for explaining the importance of wetlands. We also saw a Beaver hut in the distance. Continuing along the trail, we came back along the westerly side of the pond and eventually back to the access road.
Most of the kids did very well, and overall I was very pleased with the trails. Northwood Meadows State Park is also dog friendly, so don’t forget to bring Rover.