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.