I was up in North Chatham on Route 113 below Evans Notch the other day on my way to do a hike and decided to stop by Notch View Farm. This is the big white house and fields on the left, across the street from the Stone House Road, about 6.9 miles north of the Stow Corner Store.
I stopped for a reason. My friend, the prospector Peter Samuelson, had told me about the place in a phone call in the spring after one of his frequent visits to Evans Notch.
“They have made a trail system there on their property that is really something. There is parking and a kiosk with maps. You ought to go check it out.”
It sounded unique. So this Wednesday, I pulled into the driveway by the house. I checked out the well-stocked farm stand. Stepping back out, a tractor with a mower attachment driven by a woman and a pickup driven by a man pulled into the yard from the big field just to the south. The owners of the property, Becky Knowles and Jim Coogan, greeted me.
They said I was welcome to check out their trails, which are open to the public. They gave me a map, and I was interested in one called Moose Alley, which was just under a mile and was steeper than the others in the flats.
They suggested I park at the winter trailhead out by the road near the house. The summer trailhead was at the south end of the big field visible in the distance.
I started in on a grassy road called the Loop Trail and bore right on Moose Alley, their newest trail that was once a skidder road. It wound up through the forest, crossed a brook where a new bridge is being built and passed Moose Bog on the left at the high point of the trail.
Just after that, at a junction with a new trail called the Bog Bypass, there was an attractive wide board bridge over a stream with a “Leopold Bench” placed on it facing downstream.
The famous conservationist Aldo Leopold, author of the “Sand County Almanac,” developed this simple bench for one or two people sitting out in nature.
At Notch View Farm, there are probably 10 of these …….