One of my Green Resolutions for 2022 is to stay local and explore my own state of New Hampshire with a NH State Parks Family Pass. Our plan is to try to work state park visits around our sports schedule, family visits, and other trips to learn more about beautiful New Hampshire. We visited our first park in early January after our son's hockey game in Nashua.
138 Silver Lake Rd Hollis, NH 03049
Our first state park was Silver Lake State Park in Hollis. I read that this park, which has a long beachfront on a lake, is very popular in the summer, so I figured January would be a good time to visit. Sure enough, we were the only ones there.
We spent a good portion of our time at the park throwing rocks through the thin ice, which is still just as fun for adults as it is for kids. We picked up a few huge snail shells and, through the help of iNaturalist, identified them as Chinese Mystery Snails, which has to be the coolest name I've heard in awhile. They had really brittle shells and crunched underfoot if you weren't looking where you were going.
After we had our fill of the beach, we climbed up a stone staircase to the nature trail entrance above the lake and took an hour long "hike". I always put "hike" in quotations these days because we have a two-year-old and because a lot of the time the two older kids spend clambering on big rocks, climbing up trees, looking at random things on the side of the trail, and, yes, whining and saying they want to go home.
Luckily, this trail sported several large boulders, fallen trees, and other obstacles to entertain the kids while my husband and I identified new species using the app and encouraged them to make some progress every now and again.
A few highlights of our trek beside the Chinese Mystery Snails were this huge, aptly named Hoof Fungus and several other cool fungi.
We also saw a few of these Striped Wintergreen plants, which I'd never seen before. When I identified them, I was confused because I always thought an entirely different plant was called Wintergreen and that sent me into an unnecessary spiral of self-doubt....
Until I realized that the plant I'd always called Wintergreen was actually called Teaberry or "American Wintergreen" and I know you're all really feeling as relieved as I was to find that out.
All-in-all, it was a cold, but fun afternoon. We don't go to Nashua much, so I don't see us visiting this park often, but it was a nice chance to be in Nature and see some new species. I love learning and I think it's really good for the kids to see adults being curious and learning new things. In that spirit, look at how big these snails are!