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Trains and Loons

October 13, 2012

New Hampshire – Thursday, Oct. 11

Once we were packed up, I drove the short distance to North Conway, which I knew would be a good walking town, since I’d made a short visit to the town last night. I parked at the edge of town, and Tula and I set off for what I thought was going to be a long walk. But we soon came to the train station, and a train engine was chugging, attached to historic-looking cars, and there were a bunch of people around, and I looked at the schedule and saw that an hour long train ride was going to be leaving in about 25 minutes. I couldn’t resist a short train ride through the New Hampshire countryside, especially since I had just about enough time to walk Tula back to the van. I got my ticket and even paid the extra $3.50 for a “first class” seat in the restored parlor car. Having the first class seats in that car meant everyone had a comfy wicker chair facing the train window instead of the usual bench style seats. The hour went fast, and I enjoyed being able to ride in a train again. Tula just napped in the van while I was gone – didn’t have to worry about overly warm temperatures today! Then we resumed our walk and covered 2 1/2 miles in North Conway.

I was heading south toward my destination of the day – The Loon Center in Moultonborough. I stopped in Conway for another 2 miles of walking, then munched on some trail mix as I drove to The Loon Center which was a bit off the beaten path! My visit there was really interesting. They had a very good video with a lot of close-up footage of a nesting pair and their 2 offspring. I didn’t really know much about loons before I arrived, and knew a whole lot more about them after I left! I still don’t think I’ve ever heard or seen one in the wild, and hope to some day. I didn’t realize how low they ride in the water, and in Maine I saw some black-headed “ducks” that made me think of the anhingas I saw in Florida since I couldn’t really see their bodies, so maybe those were loons, but I’m not positive. Someday I will hear one calling! Like so many people, I am intrigued by them. I made my donation-of-the-day to the Loon Preservation Committee – which works to protect the species through education and understanding of loons and their habitats. The Loon Center had nearly 2 miles of trails that wound through the forest and along a large pond. There were lots of rocks and boulders from the last glacial age, and Tula was able to come along on those trails. In the late spring, people can sometimes see a pair of nesting loons who often come back to the same place. I didn’t see any loons – soon they’ll all be heading to the Atlantic coast where they spend the winter. The was a bench partway through the walk that overlooked the pond in the distance, along with big boulders and lots of trees. I took some time in that peaceful spot to sit down and have my own little memorial and special thoughts of my late Uncle Norm. I couldn’t be at the memorial service in South Dakota today, but I was there in spirit! Tula and I also walked another mile along the dirt road by the Loon Center.

From there we headed toward Lake Winnipesaukee, and finished off the days’ walking along the paths, boardwalks and docks by the lake in Meredith – another summer resort area that is now quiet so late in the season. I stopped at the store for some sandwich fixings and then started the search for a place to stay. It was in the low 40s by the time the sun set, and again temperatures were going to fall too low for camping (for me!). Even though my sleeping bag is good in temps down to 20 degrees, I have no desire to sleep in an unheated van when there would be frost on the windows! It took some time to find a pet-friendly place – I stopped at a good half dozen places before finding one that Tula and I could stay at. But, I knew that would happen now and then, and although it began to get a bit discouraging, I can certainly understand that not everyone wants a dog around!

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One Comment
  1. Jan permalink

    We love hearing the loons on the lake in the mornings during the summer. They have such a unique sound and are especially vocal in May and early June. I kept hoping you’d see a moose too, just not on your walks! Mom says “Hi”, she’s enjoying your blog too

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