Embrace the muck: What to do in mud season in NH

The fifth season, mud season, has arrived in NH. By Andrew Peacock/ Getty

By Stacy Milbouer

February 29, 2024

Break out the rubber boots. Install the tire flaps. New Hampshire mud season has officially arrived. How do we know? Aside from the mess we’re tracking into our house from our shoes, and cleaning off our dogs’ paws, those bright orange signs warning of frost heaves, muddy roads, and limiting heavy vehicles have begun popping up like spring crocuses on local roads and state highways.

The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism defines mud season as the time between winter and spring when the ground is thawing out—roughly from March to May, but this year, it’s  a little bit earlier. The New Hampshire Department of Transportation posted “spring thaw restrictions” load limits for heavy trucks traveling on dirt roads on Feb. 26. But in New Hampshire, we embrace all our seasons. So here are a few suggestions of what to do during this muddy time of year.

See the waterfalls

Drive on the 34.5-mile Kancamagus Highway, in the White Mountain National Forest and view the awesome cataracts which are Sabbaday Falls, Rocky Gorge, and Lower Falls—all short walks from the highway. There are even picnic spots to nosh while taking in the spectacular sights and sounds of the Swift River rushing down the White Mountains. For those who like to hoof it, a mud-season hike on the Champney Falls Trail offers views of a series of 70-foot-long cascades. It’s a moderate-level 2.5-mile hike. The Kanc takes you to an elevation of just under 3,000 feet at its highest point at Kancamagus Pass on the flank of Mt. Kancamagus. 

Go to this mud season party

The Unitarian Universalist Church 274 Pleasant St., Concord, is throwing a family-friendly mud season potluck and dance party, on Friday, March 8, to shake off the winter blahs. The event runs from 6=-9 p.m. and is free. Guests are asked to bring a dish to share and to wear something white, neon, or sparkly to dance under black lights. “Just as our shoes can be covered in mud from melting snow, our spirits can be covered in dreariness from the lingering cold and dampness of winter,” says the invitation.  “So why not shake off those blues and that mud?”

Take a train ride 

Throughout the winter and early spring, the Mount Washington Cog Railway, Breton Woods,  keeps chugging on to Waumbek Station, situated in an alpine meadow, 4,000 feet high with a stunning view that on a clear day stretches as far as Vermont and Quebec. Passengers can leave the train and refuel with complimentary hot refreshments, warming huts, and a fire pit. Roast-your-own hot dogs and s’mores are available for purchase at the Base Station. Round trips to Waumbek are roughly one hour, and there are reduced fares this time of year.

Go on a zip line

If you don’t want to trudge through the mud, how about soaring above it? Alpine Adventures offers a Winter Skyrider Tour comprised of four zip lines from three different courses which range in height, distance, and speed. The adventure begins start at 41 Main St., in Lincoln where zippers are transported to the sky-high start of the tour.

Take advantage of savings

This in-between time of year means some great bargains at the state’s cozy inns and hotels, like the historic Inn at Pleasant Lake, 853 Pleasant St., New London which is offering a free night’s stay if you book two nights between now and April 30. The inn near the shores of Pleasant Lake was built as a Cape-style farmhouse in 1790 by Caleb Segur who cultivated 400 acres of pasture.

Go hiking

If you love to be out in mud season, but don’t relish getting your sneakers or bicycle wheels stuck in a mud mound, consider hitting the state’s many paved rail trails. The NH Rail Trails Coalition lists the state’s over 40 paved and gravel trails. It also offers a guide to the Golden Rules of rail trails including the etiquette that cyclists should “always yield to pedestrians and horses, always keep to the right and pass to the left and stand aside when standing still.”

Swizzle up a Mud Season Mudslide, courtesy of Maine Spirits

Ingredients:
1/2 ounce Chocolate vodka
1/2 ounce Irish Cream
1/2 ounce Kahlua
1/4 ounce Creme De Cacao
1 cup Chocolate Ice Cream
Drizzle Grenadine
Drizzle Chocolate Syrup
2-3 Chopped up cherries
Directions: Mix

 

 

Author

  • Stacy Milbouer

    Stacy Milbouer is an award-winning journalist and has covered New Hampshire for many publications including the Boston Globe, New Hampshire Magazine, and the Nashua Telegraph.

CATEGORIES: COMMUNITY | THINGS TO DO

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