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A Sweet Hike

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March is maple sugaring season in New Hampshire.

The latest outing in our "Five Easy Hikes in Five Weeks" series celebrated this traditional rite of Spring with a visit to The Maple Guys sugarhouse in Lyndeborough. Chris Pfeil, owner of The Maple Guys, graciously hosted 37 hikers for a soup to nuts tour of his sugaring operation. The Forest Society's Director of Education Dave Anderson led the group through the woods adjacent to Pfeil's sugarhouse, a forest managed specifically to encourage the growth of healthy sugar maples.

Tromping through deep snow and navigating an occasional limbo under bright green sugaring lines, participants learned about sugarbush management, layout of mainlines and lateral sugaring lines, tapping intensity and how vacuum systems can help increase sap yield considerably. The Maple Guys have 1900 taps currently, with plans to expand to as many as 3000 in the next few years, which would include tapping maples on a portion of the Forest Society's 99 acre Whittemore Forest, also in Lyndeborough.

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After hiking through the sugarbush, Chris welcomed everyone into his sugarhouse, where they were treated to maple coffee and donuts while watching the sap boil in The Maple Guys' massive wood-fired evaporator.  Small maple producers like The Maple Guys admit that sugaring is a labor of love- to be profitable, they need to sell their products for a bit more than what you'll find on the shelves at your local supermarket, but the syrup can also be considerably tastier. And don't forget to join the Forest Society and WMUR for more "Five Easy Hikes in Five Weeks" this Spring, Summer and Fall.  For details on upcoming hikes click here or visit our events page.