Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tallest White Pine Trees in New Hampshire

Overheard at a party last winter: "The tallest White Pines in NH are in Bradford."

Since we would be driving past Bradford, we decided to try to find them!

We found some clues from the NH Big Tree Team about the exact location of the tallest white pines in NH. (Who knew that there were people keeping track of things like that?)

White Pines are the tallest trees in the eastern US. They are valuable to the timber industry, and were prized during the tall ship era as masts. In 1761, England claimed all white pines in the colonies greater than 24 inches in diameter for masts for the royal navy. There are still many roads in New Hampshire called "Mast Road".

There has been a lot of lumbering activity in New Hampshire in the last 300 years, and most of the land has been cleared at various times.

The tallest white pines in NH now are just over 200 years old and over 150 feet tall.

The Bradford stand of white pines is marked by a roadside pullout, sign and trail marker on Route 103 in Bradford. The GPS coordinates of the parking area are: N 43.26758 W 71.95798. The trail leaves from Route 103 in Bradford, east of the intersection with Main Street.

View Larger Map

We had trouble finding it, so I hope that this information will make it easier for other people to find.

Parking area, information sign, and trail sign in distance

Across the street

Bailey confidently heading down the wrong trail

Even though the sign clearly says that the pines are on a trail 50 yards away, we headed down a trail that left at the end of the parking area. Bailey seemed so sure of himself.

Mossy log where trail disintegrates

The trail fizzled out near this old foundation so we turned back to see if we could find the trees. (The fact that they're very tall doesn't help when you're walking among other tall trees!)

Old foundation at end of wrong trail

Back at the parking area we could see a trail marker a bit farther down the side of Route 103. (That small white dot in this picture!)

Trail sign 50 yards northwest of parking area

Now Bailey's on the right trail!

He always loves to wade

Shortly after we entered the woods, there was a bridge over a stream. Before we reached the tallest white pines in NH, several social trails branched out from the main trail. But most of them lead to the same place. One trail does lead to a small family cemetery from the 1800's in the woods.

Cemetery marker in the woods
Finally, we find the pines!

One of the tall pines

Bailey and Sue for scale

200 year old white pine

Looking up

Glad we found those white pines!! In another hundred years they'll be even more spectacular!


Theresa said...

Great tree and such well done pictures! So, did Bailey get to leave a message on that tree? :-)

Life Looms Large said...

It is hard to take pictures of a very tall tree with a very little camera!

Bailey must not have been in a communicative mood at that point because he left no messages!


sheilabythebeach said...

Yep, you found some big ones, nice story too!
Oh, and to find a cemetary out in the woods! I'd probably get side tracked reading the inscriptions and never find the trees. Sounds like the kind of adventure I'd like.

Leigh said...

What absolutely wonderful photos. Looks like just the kind of place I would love too.

Hopefully I've fixed the comment problem on my house blog. Please give it a try to test it out for me!

Thanks too for telling me about the Skinny Mini. Looks like a great solution!

Jennifer said...

WOW! We spent a couple weeks in Zimbabwe where the pine is an exotic tree. In that tropic, it is said that what takes the pines here to grow in 20 years it only takes 5 there. I wonder what a white pine would do there!!!
Thanks for sharing!

Janet said...

Great photos. My "2nd home" is in Milford - I think you weren't too far away.

Janet in Dublin, moving to Seattle

Life Looms Large said...

Jennifer - how cool that you visited Zimbabwe! Will I find anything about the trip on your blog??

Janet - compared to Dublin and Seattle I'm always fairly close to your place in Milford!!


Susan Langle said...

I visited the trees today with Lucy, my border collie, who loved the trails and the waters! thanks for the great pictures - susan langle

Life Looms Large said...

I'm glad that you were able to visit the pine trees with your dog!! It's always great to feel like people find some of my obscure blog posts helpful!