Balch Hill

My outing for today was to re-visit Balch Hill, a bald round-topped hill in the middle of Hanover. I’d been there only once before, when the kids and I followed the mysterious Valley Quest instructions to find a hidden quest box near the summit. Today, a blustery and gray November day, I was the only person on the hill, it seemed. The lone maple tree that proudly guards the hill-top meadow seemed silent in its leafless state, awaiting a proper blanket of snow. Although I ascended by the Maple Trail (1.0 mile from car to summit) I found a map and decided to loop down via the Hemlock Trail and some residential streets. The summit kiosk mentioned a huge old oak tree to be seen along that path, and how they’d left in place the massive branch that “lost its battle with gravity”.

A huge fallen oak branch forms an arch over the Hemlock Trail on Balch Hill.

Indeed, the trail now passes under the natural arch formed by this decaying branch, adding a little novelty to today’s walk in the woods.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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