(24 hours in) New Hampshire

From Maine, our next goal was Stowe, Vermont. It was about a four hour drive and entailed crossing New Hampshire. I have to be honest, I knew nothing about New Hampshire and when I got a map before me, I realised it was BIG, empty, beautiful and mountainous. New Hampshire is home to the White Mountains – perfect, I thought, let’s go there. There’s a BIG mountain, Mt Washington. We could do that.

IMG_9126

And then I started reading and it turns out that the White Mountains are surprisingly lethal and Mt Washington, whilst not a particularly hard hike, isn’t the safest of places. Weather turns on a dime. Lightening strikes. People fall. In fact when we chatted with a ranger, later, he said that his main role is to make sure that day-hikers realise the gravity of the weather and topography in New Hampshire, and take the hikes seriously enough. So nope…not with our little people. I opted for the other beautiful way across New Hampshire, through Franconia Notch State Park.

IMG_9120

We saw signs everywhere about Moose crossings. This was the only moose we saw! Bummer.

We stayed one night in a sweet, old motel in Franconia on a quiet little river, with picnic tables outside our room. On the first afternoon, the boys and I quickly visited Echo Lake (too chilly to swim) and popped to the visitor centre at Flume Gorge where a super-helpful ranger proposed the next day’s hike for us and I bought a map. The ‘notch’ in Franconia basically means a mountain pass, and the whole of this beautiful state park is a big pass between mountains. Big granite cliffs reminded us a little of Yosemite – we could have spent much longer in this gorgeous part of the world.

nh2

After 12 weeks on the road, I really appreciate hotel rooms with outdoor space!

nh1

Echo Lake…faraway in time…

The next morning, I snuck out for a couple of miles’ run. I’d mapped out a three mile route, as we’d be doing a family 2-miler later in the day. However as I turned onto my path, I saw a fresh, juicy pile of berry-filled bear poo…so I immediately changed direction and ran round the little village. Franconia is tiny and pretty, with an old iron forge which has been lovingly restored.

nh5

Spot the berry 🙂

nh4

Franconia’s sweet Gale river and Iron Forge

Our hike that day was beautiful. It was a 6.5 mile round trip. We started at Basin trailhead and set off up Basin Cascades trail with the goal of Lonesome Lake and the hikers’ hut. The next 2.5 miles were solidly uphill. It was never steep but it was steady, and nearly always impossible to get into a hiking rhythm. There were boulders to clamber over, endless gnarled roots to work through, several river crossings (on boulders, and water levels were low and safe). It was however really beautiful and peaceful – we saw only 2 or 3 other hiking parties, enough to make me feel reassured but not enough to be busy. We hiked up and up through the trees, till we thought we’d never get to the top but suddenly though the trees we saw the glimmer of water and we’d arrived at Lonesome Lake.

IMG_9142

IMG_9137

IMG_9147

Stream crossing

Lonesome Lake was not lonesome. There were lots of people up there and we couldn’t figure out how they’d all made it. Lonesome Lake is on the Appalachian Trail and there’s a hiker’s hut there, so we bought some lemonade and sat by the lake drinking and resting for a while.

IMG_9151

IMG_9154

We hiked on – there’s a half-mile flat trail around the lake where you walk on planks over marshland, and then we took Lonesome Lake Trail down to the campground at the bottom…and we realised where everyone else had come from. This was a busy, busy trail…and ridiculously steep. It gained the same elevation we’d gained over 2.5 miles but in about 1.5 miles. We were all glad we’d done this loop in a clockwise direction.

IMG_9165

nh7

At the campground at the bottom, we got ice-creams and debated what to do next. We could either hike the 2 miles back to the car along the Pemi trail or we could kill two birds with one stone and RUN the 2 miles back along the paved bike-trail, so we wouldn’t need to run later for Operation Garmin. Everyone thought that running would be a sensible decision. Alas, it was our least successful family run. But we live and learn.

nh3

And then we drove on through New Hampshire to the Vermont border. We’d had just a short time in this lovely state, and it is REALLY beautiful. I’d love to have explored more. But Vermont was calling, and we had to go.

IMG_9166

About Cathryn

I'm from Wiltshire, a beautiful rural county in the south of England. My husband, son and I moved to California in August 2010 with my husband's job, whilst I stay at home with The Dude, our gorgeous five year old son. I love running and cycling. I'm a Christian. I am finally learning to cook (about time too). I'm loving exploring this new part of the world and meeting its wonderful people.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to (24 hours in) New Hampshire

  1. My home state! Yay! So glad you got to breathe in some of that good mountain air!

  2. bt says:

    Finally got some time to catch up with your travels — looks like you are having a wonderful time. You’ve seen more of America than most Americans!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s