Jeeping in New Hampshire Rocks

Jeepers Peepers

Melissa HowardPhotographer, Writer

There’s no better time to hit northern New England than in the early part of October. The birch and maple trees have erupted in fiery colors of scarlet and gold, and the chill of the post-dawn air has sent the blood-sucking black flies back to hell where they belong. Nothing compares to a day of taking on some of the most challenging obstacles in the Northeast as falling leaves bid farewell to sweet summer and beckon the autumn in with breathtaking beauty.

Often while we are enjoying an off-road park, we forget it wasn’t always there, and it most definitely didn’t start out as a well-defined trail of obstacles. We were blown away by the challenge Marc Pouliot faced when taking on the task of getting the course open at Jericho Mountain State Park, in Berlin, New Hampshire. You might think all you need is a vision, lots of time, and money to get the idea started—find the perfect property, design the route, and then open up for business. Not even close! Marc started this journey back in 2013 when he went before Congress to get a bill passed to create a trail in the park. After the third year of attempting to get the bill passed, they were finally granted a three-year trial. The three years would include mapping out trails, cutting them, and testing them—the fun part! He only had a crew of twelve volunteers who gave their spare time to create this 2 1/2-mile trail called “Run To The Hills.” Thanks to a small group of like-minded Jeepers, we were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The trail may be short, but to our surprise we spent the entire day climbing, crawling and turning tired Jeeps back on all four tires.

Not only does the park offer fun and challenging trails, it also is home to a beautiful, tranquil lake where you can easily toss your kayaks in for a little peace and quiet on the water. There’s also an abundance of campsites, whether you’re roughing it with a tent or luxury-living in an RV, if that’s what tickles your fancy. After spending the day getting dirty, the hot showers revived us enough to enjoy the campfire and tales of the day.