Trip Report: In the last few days of the semester at LSC one of my suite mates and I decided we needed to go on some sort of short hike before school was done for the summer. I originally found this hike while surfing Google Earth in the middle of the night and after some further research my interest was peaked enough to make the 2 hour trip from school to the top of NH. The Fourth Connecticut Lake is the source of the Connecticut River (for those of you who didn't know that), and is actually more of a pond than a lake.
Starting from the parking lot across from the US Customs House cross the beginning of US Route 3 to the trail sign at the edge of "the swath" uphill from the Customs House. The Swath is a 30 foot wide transcontinental cut through the woods that follows the border from Maine to Washington. Because my friend Tim and I have a supreme fascination with borders, this hike was awesome. We began to follow the trail up the swath as it criss-crosses the international boundary and climbs steeply. Our obsession of borders also caused us to pause at every corner of the swath to take pictures of the boundary line benchmarks. The trail was muddy in spots, but every so often there were small wood bridges to traverse some of the worst patches of mud. After about .4 of a mile the trail went into the woods and we immediately found ourselves negotiating a monorail of snow off and on all the way to lake.
At this point the trail forks into a loop around the lake. Heading right the trail became pretty narrow, but nothing too bad. Remembering what some of trail descriptions said our ultimate goal was the satisfaction of being able to hop over the beginning of the Connecticut River, which at this point is nothing more than a small brook. Probably about .3 of a mile around the lake (the second water crossing) we found what we were looking for. Two rock jumps and that was it! The river is literally 3.5 feet wide here and about 6" deep. Finishing up the loop and heading back to trail head we made good time.
Overall the hike was about 2 hours round trip with a short stop where the trail enters the woods from the swath and at the crossing of the Connecticut River. Despite not being the most difficult or longest hike in the world, it certainly was cool. If you decide to go on this hike watch for moose as just driving up Route 3 from Pittsburg we saw 2 moose on the way up and 3 on the way down, and they were all different.
One Note: I was only able to find two descriptions for this hike and one of them mentions that a passport is required to go on this hike as the trail criss-crosses the boundary line. This is NOT true. You only need a passport and to report to either customs office if you are actually going into Canada.
One of the benchmarks along the trail. One foot in Canada one foot in the US.
Some snow around the trail.
The Fourth Connecticut Lake from near the northern end.
Connecticut River about 40 feet from it's beginning.
The view into Canada from the swath. Canada is trees on the left, US is the trees on the right.
Parking area across the road from the trailhead. Where the two colors of pavement come together on the left is the border, and actually my car is parked in two countries as well.