Last fall, in September, Lylah and I went for a short hike in Henderson-Swasey Town Forest in Exeter, NH. I meant to do a trip report back then but got caught up with other things and then forgot about it all together. I figure late is better than never!
Going anywhere for the first time by yourself with a two year old is little intimidating, in my humble opinion. You never know how the little one will react to the environment and if you’ll be able to handle them easily enough without your counterpart. Bringing Lylah into the woods for the first time by myself, was no exception to this.
I decided on something short which was the previously mentioned Henderson-Swasey Town Forest in Exeter, just off from Route 85. There’s a nice granite sign at the parking area, which is pretty large and there is a kiosk with a map to reference. You can also get a map / brochure here. From what I gathered on the website, the trails are also used for mountain biking.
We started off as we always do when going into the woods, getting sunscreen on and applying bug spray. At the truck, I asked Lylah if she wanted to walk or get carried in the backpack. She of course said she wanted to walk, but changed her mind after 50 feet. This continued the entire hike…in the pack, out of the pack, in the pack, out of the pack!!!
The trails are nice and wide. There are few bridges over what I’d call some wet areas as they didn’t really seem like stream crossings. The footing on the short loop we did was level for the most part, but there were some larger rocks and roots to take care on to ensure you didn't trip. We also saw one mountain biker who was very courteous and slowed down as he passed.
We eventually made it back to the truck and both lived to tell about it. Lylah had a great time and I think this area of land and trails lends itself to small children very well. After the "in and out of the backpack" cycle was over, Lylah occupied herself by hunting for rocks, seeing a mountain bike (which she was very excited about) and crossing the bridges (which she continues to call the Troll Bridge from Dora). The short loop we hiked is shown below.