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The mysterious yet alluring Great North Woods also referred to as “North Country” by the locals, encompasses much of northern New Hampshire. The residents in this region very nearly seceded from the United States in 1835 over a dispute that was started by a debt owed to a hardware store. The rebellion was brought to their knees by British officials, who essentially forced the leaders to sign a treaty at gunpoint. Though it has been a few generations since that event, the old-timers are still disgruntled about it even to this day.
The town of Colebrook, just about 12 miles west, has a variety of restaurants, shops, and a small hospital with an emergency health center. The town is best known as the “hub” for northern New Hampshire because all of the main roads from Vermont, Maine, southern New Hampshire, and Canada converge here in Colebrook.
Though Coleman State Park is a small state park with only a few acres to its name, it’s surrounded by several natural areas, state parks, and state forests. Trails from Coleman State Park link up with over 1,000 miles of multi-use hiking trails that are shared with off-road vehicles and ATVs. One could easily hike or ride from Pittsburg, all the way to Berlin. In wintertime, as soon as snow transforms the landscape like magic, these trails are turned over to snowmobiles and cross-country skiing.
Fishing in New Hampshire is a popular activity, and locals regard Little Diamond Pond and the neighboring streams as one of the best trout-fishing hollows in the area. A small boat ramp makes launching small-craft boats like kayaks, canoes, and other small-craft boats. As soon as the temperature drops and the ice coats the surface, stubborn - or perhaps insane - fishermen set up on the ice. They drill small holes with augurs in hopes of catching a coldwater fish for supper.
Wildlife in these woods is robust and not particularly shy. Though Coleman State Park and the neighboring parks can get a little crowded during the summer months, it’s still easy to find wildlife to photograph or to enjoy, particularly if an outdoor lover sets out in the early mornings. White-tailed deer, foxes, and other small-game are common sightings. However, black bears, lured in by the scent of tantalizing food, have been known to go rummaging in campers’ food
Stores, and it’s highly recommended that all campers and hikers practice basic food safety. Moose and elk are known to frequent the woods, and it’s hard to miss their calls in late autumns when they are in a rut.
Waterfall hunting is a practice enjoyed by many. Though there are a few dozen named waterfalls, such as the Beaver Brook Falls near Colebrook, NH, there are thousands more that have yet to be discovered because they are smaller and often disappear quickly during the dry years.
RV camp in the Great North Woods surrounded by untamed wilderness. The long commute from the closest town is otherwise a risky prospect. One potentially misses out on The trophy-sized fish or The Photograph that could win a landscape photography contest. It’s only logical to rent an Airstream and RV camp right on the doorstep of the outdoors.
Coleman State Park RV campground has 25 sites and being largely primitive; there are no hookups. The campground, however, does have coin-op showers and flush toilets that are open between May and September. During the off-season, there is no running water. Campers can use the vault toilets, however. Leashed pets are allowed. One thing to be aware of: this campground is cash-only. Be sure to stop at a bank before arrival.
Alternatively, consider Rudy’s Cabins and Campground, which is close to Clarksville, and has full hookups, bathrooms with coin-op showers, and a laundromat. All RV sites have a fire ring, which is terrific for roasting s’ mores a travel trailer rental at the end of a long day.
Though the towns are small and far apart, they have plenty of charm and attractions for visitors to explore as they drive through in a motorhome rental. Nearby Clarksville, NH, has a roadside marker indicating denoting the 45th Parallax, which is the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole.
Chock full of history, many towns have buildings and homes that date back to the late 1700s, and driving through in a rental RV is akin to stepping back into time. There are still a handful of covered bridges that are a bygone example of bridge-building techniques in the area. North Stratford, NH, has three picturesque ones that are open to pedestrians. Against the backdrop of lush mountains, the bridges crossing babbling streams have the potential for a lovely landscape photograph or painting.
At the end of a long day of exploring and adventure, kick up your heels outside a camper rental, and look skyward. In this far-flung corner of the United States, light pollution is minimal, and it’s easy to spot the Milky Way and several other celestial bodies.
Find your perfect adventure in northern New Hampshire when you book an RV in Coos County.