Posts Tagged With: New Hampshire

Maine or Bust 2022: Hiking Trails Galore

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.

Reg poses on the steps of his favorite elementary school located in Bethlehem, New Hampshire.

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.

What a journey. We leave Littleton, New Hampshire for Maine, our destination from the outset of our trip. But maybe the destination is just the beginning…stay tuned, there’s more to come.
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Maine or Bust 2022: The World’s Worst Weather?

Upon leaving Vermont the only thing stopping us from reaching our goal was the state of New Hampshire. A relatively short drive across the border took us into New Hampshire and our riverside site just outside the small town of Littleton.

Hoping for a little extra space for our six-day stay, and knowing the Memorial Day weekend holiday crowds were close behind us, we reserved a premium site.

New Hampshire is home to the White Mountains, including the highest peak in the Northeastern United States, 6,288 ft. Mt. Washington. Mt. Washington is well know for it’s weather extremes…some claim it has the worst weather in the world.

Above chart from Alex Camerino at snowbrains.com

There are several ways to summit Mt. Washington. Mountaineering purists may want to hike to the top, a 4-5 mile journey that will take the most experienced hikers about that many hours of walking…each way. The Cog Railway offers a 3-mile ride up and down the mountain although we found the tickets to be as steep as the climb. Our choice was to drive the Mt. Washington Auto Road at a cost of $53.00, roughly 25% of the cost of two tickets for the Cog Railway.

It was a hair-raising drive on a sometimes narrow road with steep drop-offs. But we made it and I’m pretty sure all the other drivers did too. We had an extremely nice day; we were told we’d enjoy a 360° view with a visibility of 100 miles. We posed for our photo, enjoyed the view, bought lunch – a chili dog for Reg and clam chowder for me and chatted with a young man hiking the Appalachian Trail. By then it was starting to get cold and it was time to head back down the mountain.

Everyone’s first stop at the top is the line for a photo with the sign. This was free!
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