The Cohos Trail


Kim Nilsen

August 18, 2022  7pm

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The origin of the 170-mile Cohos Trail in New Hampshire’s Great North Woods and White Mountains has its roots in a disaster. In 1969, a log crib and stone dam high in the Nash Stream Forest failed after several days of heavy rain. The floodwaters from big Nash Bog utterly destroyed the valley below, flooded the Groveton Paper mill and streets of Groveton, and dissipated among the broad intervals of the Connecticut River at Lancaster and south.


Several years later, Kim Nilsen, the founder of the Cohos Trail, scrambled up the Nash Stream Valley to visit the site of the destroyed dam. Wandering about in the Nash Stream Forest, he was struck by the rugged beauty of the environment and began to explore the remote backcountry of central and northern Coos County.


What evolved from many jaunts into this wilderness was an idea. Somehow,  there ought to be a long-distance foot trail created over the central spine of narrow Coos County, hemmed in as it is between the Connecticut River and Androscoggin/Magalloway River valley system.


Twenty-five years later, folks have a chance to see something of this long trail system in Coos County in some 300 slides in a fast-paced slideshow at Weeks State Park. The Cohos Trail is a product of hundreds of volunteers working untold thousands of hours to create what is quite literally the longest hiking thru-trail in existence within the boundaries of the Granite State, ever so slightly longer than the wonderful Appalachian Trail within the state’s boundaries. 


Nilsen loves to tell the tale of the Cohos Trail. It will be an animated and lively presentation, no doubt about it.

 

Event Report

The Cohos Trail


Kim Nilsen

August 18, 2022  7pm

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A large and enthusiastic crowd was on hand at the Park to welcome Cohos Trail founder, Kim Nilsen.

 
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It was a bit hazy at the top of Mt. Prospect.

 
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Using slides, Kim took us on a hike through all the regions of the 170 mile long Cohos Trail.

 
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Kim began at the Montalban ridge and had beautiful scenes from peaks such as Mt. Crawford, Stairs Mountain and Mt. Isolation.  The highest point on the trail is Mt. Eisenhower which leads to the famous Edmands Path.  He had some nice slides of waterfalls on this section such as the Upper Ammonoosuc and Dry River Falls.

 
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The next area of the White Mountains is the Jefferson Dome which includes Cherry Mountain with Owl's Head and our own Pondicherry area. Kim covered a large range of topics such as the Cherry Mountain Slide, the Ice Ramparts and 100 foot deep Lake Cohos as well as resting and stocking up places such as the Applebrook and the Jefferson Corner Store.

 
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After taking us through a tour of the Kilkenny region with amazing photos of Mt. Cabot, the Horn and Rodgers Ledge, we descended to the Devil's Hopyard and South Pond into Stark.

In this view of Christine Lake in Stark, the Percy Peaks hover in the background.

 
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When Kim talked about the Nash Stream region his passion for this wild place was evident because this was where he had his inspirational idea back in 1978 for establishing a hiking trail through this unique and beautiful area.

His slides of Nash bog, Sugarloaf shelter, Pond Brook falls, Gadwah Notch, Cathedral Meadow and more were as captivating as was his story about the beginnings of the trail itself.

 
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Then it was on to Dixville Notch, Table Rock, Wilderness Ski area, the Balsams and the Sanguinary Mountains.

After Dixville came the Deadwater region and Coleman State Park with the Diamond Ponds. Some of the trails in this area are along roads and are in the process of being relocated into forests. 

The Connecticut Lakes region with Lake Francis and lakes numbered 1-4, Mt. Magalloway and Boundary Pond were the last sections of the trail.  This is remote and wild country home to moose, marten, bear and many other wildlife.

Kim talked about Deer Mountain near the Third CT Lake, and another of his dreams - restore the former fire tower.

 
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After taking us to the 4th Connecticut Lake and what we thought was the end of the trail...no, Kim talked about a connection with trails across the border into Québec - Les Sentiers Frontaliers. You can actually keep on hiking, to Mont Mégantic shown in this slide or along the border to Mont Gosford.

 
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Thank you so much Kim for taking us along on a 170 mile plus adventure. Your presentation was wonderful - full of intriguing stories and inspiring photos. 

One of the points that Kim made was that although it was a good idea to establish this fantastic hiking trail, it could never have been accomplished and now maintained without the dedication of many, many people. In recent years the Cohos Trail membership has grown at an almost exponential rate - now almost 4,000 members.  Congratulations to Kim and his dedicated members and thanks so much for sharing your passion and knowledge with us at Weeks State Park.