New Hampshire was not a new state for either of us, but for Reg it was a bit of a homecoming. As a 7-year old, Reg attended second grade in a K-12 school in Bethlehem, a small community not far from our campground. The school still stands although it now serves only elementary school students.
With six days to fill we worried that we might not be able to fill our time once we visited Mt. Washington, but Franconia State Park saved the day. Hiking trails galore! Here are a few photos of our favorite spots.
Our first stop took us on a walk to see New Hampshire’s iconic Old Man of the Mountain, a series of rock cliffs stacked on a peak that together depict a man’s profile. Little did we know that the Old Man had crumbled and fallen away back in 2003, leaving just a smidgen of rock at the top. The state has done its best to honor their fallen hero, creating a rather extravagant memorial plaza where visitors can squint to see what was once a great ”man.”
The walk up Franconia Notch State Park’s Flume Gorge was pretty spectacular. Tickets are required for the roughly 2-mile Flume Path that leads up a series of wooden stairs and along raised walkways to the top of the gorge. It must get pretty crazy in the summer months, but we were able to easily enjoy the views.
We weren’t the only hikers trekking up the trail to Lonesome Lake, but once we arrived it was just us and one lone fisherman hanging out lakeside. The 1.25 mile trail was uphill all the way. If the weather had been a little nicer we might have opted for the extra mile or so around the lake, but fearing drizzle and wet rocks on the downhill trip, we simply ate lunch and headed back.
We caught the trailhead for 2.8-mile Liebskind’s Loop at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Normally we start our hiking in the morning, but this was an afternoon walk for us and the bugs were out in full force. Just as we began to wonder why in the heck we were climbing yet another mountain, we came upon an impressive sheer wall of rock that led us to Brad’s Bluff, a spectacular viewpoint. Thinking we were taking a shortcut back we scrambled steeply down George’s Gorge, a rock-filled chute that abruptly ended at a pretty little waterfall. GPS couldn’t help us so we had no choice but to turn back, (adding another half mile to the hike) and take the well-marked route back to the car.