White Mountains in New Hampshire

Trip Start Jul 10, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United States  , New Hampshire
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tue, Sep 11 - Reluctantly leaving Maine (one of the highlights of this eastern trek), we took a circuitous, but more interesting, route through Maine's back country along US 2 and into the New Hampshire mountains.  In the western US, we have seen 6%, 7%, and occasionally 8% grades, but on this leg of our adventure we got to experience 10% to 14% grades.  Thankfully, they were relatively short, and the RV chugged up them; however, coming down them (with a diesel engine) is exhilarating.  

Maine touts its vast moose population, and we were told there were more moose than people in this state. Unfortunately, we looked and looked and never saw a moose. Hopefully New Hampshire will provide some moose sightings.

On the map it appears this new RV Park is close to lots of areas we wish to explore, but what the map doesn't show is how involved it is to get from one place to another. Our campsite seems remote, but we are in a beautiful forested location with a lovely "moosey-looking" pond, have full hookups, 50 amps, Wi-Fi, and our DirecTV works just fine.

Wed, Sep 12 - We decided to drive around and through the White Mountain National Forest. We are only a few miles from Mount Washington whose weather station measures some of the most erratic weather in the world.  In 1934, a wind gust measured 231 mph.  We took a picnic lunch and stopped in Crawford Notch to gawk at the mountains, streams, and waterfalls along the route.  We saw one of the famous covered bridges as we neared the end of the day's foray into North Conway, NH.  We bought a few duds at the discount outlet mall where they have no sales tax; got some groceries and got back home to the RV at dusk.  Nope, no moose sightings again today.

Thr, Sep 13 - Stay at home day.  Washing clothes, changing bed, reading.  Just some down time.  Yep, about dark we looked for them, but....no moose.

Fri, Sep 14 - We are camped only a few miles from the Vermont border, so today we made a pilgrimage into Vermont.  The drive along US Hwy 2 was delightful, this area is all hills and valleys, creating splendid vistas.  The hills/mountains are almost entirely tree covered, but there are many farms interspersed where the land has been made arable.  

We stopped at the Cabot Cheese plant, (Cabot is actually a very old co-op) where we had lots of samples and an excellent tour with some really good information to share.  This plant is extremely clean.  We were impressed at the great care taken to ensure a sanitary environment.
 
During the tour we were told to abide by the following instructions to keep cheese fresh:  when a block of cheese is opened, throw away the wrapper and re-wrap the remainder in plastic wrap.  When the cheese is used again, throw away the old plastic wrap it was in and re-wrap the then remainder in clean plastic wrap.  Do NOT use plastic baggies.  What causes cheese to mold is the bacteria from the air, so re-wrapping in clean plastic wrap denies air to the bacteria which promotes growth.   This ends the lesson for today.  Nancy now promises no more green stuff on our cheeses.

On we continued to Waterbury, VT, home of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream for another tour.  The tour was pretty good and ended with a generous sample of the ice cream of the day.  We did not care for it, so we went to their "Scoop Shop" to buy a couple dips.  Before today, I was probably the only living American that had never eaten Ben & Jerry's.  After today, I probably will not eat anymore.  I guess, I've just become accustom to skimmed milk and low fat ice cream.

On the way home, we drove through Montpelier (capitol of Vermont) and also St. Johnsbury. We will return to both towns.  They are quaint with lots of well restored homes and buildings. The downtown areas are vibrant, not tee shirt shops, but real downtowns.  They are both college towns.  Still no moose.  Where do they keep those suckers?
 
Sat, Sep 15 - Farmer's Market and a down day including a very nice nap, then an evening moose hunt.  We think they are hiding the moose from us.  I am beginning to feel like I am on a "snipe hunt".

Sun, Sep 16 - What a great day to drive one of New Hampshire's scenic by-ways!  We went south out of the RV park into the White Mountain National Forest which surrounds the White Mountains.  These tree covered mountains rise starkly from the valleys below and are generally rounded at the tops, as opposed to the younger, jagged peaks in the Rockies.  These mountains are much older than the Rockies and were eroded during the last ice age, about 12 to 20,000 years ago.  There are passes in the mountains that the early settlers called notches, and it was through these notches they traveled from the highlands to the seaports on the Atlantic.  

Today's journey took us through Franconia Notch.  "The Old Man in the Mountain", a rock outcropping resembling an old man's face, graced the side of a mountain in this area until 2003 when it fell from its iconic perch.  This area is filled with mountain lakes and streams, which form numerous waterfalls.  Many of these streams have eroded the rock bases and formed gorges.  They are numerous, and they are beautiful!  

At the village of Lincoln, we turned eastbound to traverse the Kancamagus Highway.  This is purported to be one of the most scenic roads in New Hampshire and a place of natural wonder. It was nice, but we cannot truthfully say it was wonderful.  

There are a number of scenic lookouts where you can gaze across the tree filled valleys and view lots of mountains; and in truth, this will be spectacular when the trees are ablaze with color.  The trees have begun to color as the temperatures have been in the 30's for the last couple nights.  

We crossed Kancamagus Pass, then took a walk back to visit Sabbaday Falls.  That falls was a good example of a stream cutting a gorge into the rock.   Hopefully, our pics will capture the natural beauty.  We made various stops to gawk at the scenic overlooks, had lunch at Lily Pond (which had no lilies or moose), then ventured on into Conway, NH.  That is where we came across 3 covered bridges, also called "kissing bridges".  They are quaint, pretty and very well kept.  

At day's end, Nancy saw no moose.  Neither did I.

Mon, Sep 17 - How exciting is a 6,300 ft mountain?  Just think, Denver, the mile high city is at 5,280 feet and Pikes Peak is over 14,000 feet tall.  But Mount Washington is nothing short of amazing.  We elected to take the guided van tour rather than take the car, and I am glad we did. (There is also the Cog Train, both steam and diesel models.) The 8 mile road is mostly paved, but extremely narrow and very steep; one short segment is a 22 degree grade.  

Today was mostly clear, mid 70's degrees at the base and about 40 degrees at the top with sustained winds of 40 mph.  This was an exceptionally good day; normally it is cloud covered at the summit.  The location of this mountain is what makes the weather so extreme, but I can't remember the science.  There are a number of high mountain experts who say the weather on this mountain is worse than some of the world's highest peaks.  

The vegetation at the top is what is found in the tundra.  We could see the Atlantic Ocean on the east and Lake Champlain on the west, as well as far into Maine. There is a large weather station that is manned continually, and its roof was the observation deck for us. We had a great guide, and we learned (well, heard) a lot of information - remembering it is the problem.

After our trip up the mountain, we drove a few miles south to visit Crystal Cascade Falls.  It was a rocky 1/2 mile trip up to the falls, but so worth the climb.  Nancy (and her new knee) did great.  We could have stayed there for a long while, but tonight was date night for us.

We decided on dining at the Mountain View Grand Resort and sat outside on their spacious veranda.  It is gorgeous view over their golf course down into the valley below, with mountains in every direction.  It was near sunset so we sat outside with an adult beverage and watched the spectacular sunset. Then we went into the restaurant for supper.  Nancy loves duck, and there it was on the menu.  We enjoyed today, but we still saw no moose.  This is becoming frustrating since mating season has begun, but maybe they have all gone out for dinner and a movie.

Tue, Sep 18 - We headed into Vermont to travel the Green Mountain Scenic Byway and the Mad River Scenic Byway.  As we were driving through St Johnsbury the rains came down.  So, we went back to the RV.  ... and it rained all day and night too.  Any moose desiring to be seen would have to make a house call.

Wed, Sep 19 - Off to Vermont to see those byways.  The leaves have begun to color but no where near peak colors, which we shall miss.  We got off US 2 & headed northwest through the back country on VT 15 and were glad we did.  The pastoral views of the farms in that valley along the river with hills in the background will be remembered, but only in our minds, no pics

Then we came across Martin Covered Bridge which has been restored.  Just more eye candy.
Headed south on VT 100 from Morrisville toward Waterbury along what is called the Green Mountain Scenic Byway.  It was pretty, but we must have missed something spectacular.  The village of Stowe has lots of artists and galleries. We didn't spend much time here and probably missed some good stuff.  The town of Waterbury is very interesting and also pretty.  It is also the home of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, but we did not stop there today.  

Continued south on VT 100 along what is called the Mad River Scenic Byway.  Now there were some very pretty sights along the way, particularly Moss Glen Falls.  We would loved to have stayed there for a while, but it was located right by the highway, and it was getting dark and cold.  Dark because it was in a deep valley.  At the end of the byway, we cut across country again along VT132, and I swear we could hear dueling banjo's playing.  No, actually it was great to see how people live in those rural areas.  Lots of small villages every so often.  We saw a lot of Vermont today, and it was all up and down with trees and streams everywhere. Well, outside the corn fields.  But, no moose.
 
Thr, Sep 20 - Nancy was not feeling very well this morning.  This afternoon we drove over to the Mountain View Grand Resort.  I played 9 holes of golf, and she sat out on the veranda and read. The cost of golf was $25 with a cart.  It was a very nice 9 hole course with beautiful vistas and lots of terrain to negotiate.  Good greens with lots of movement; and I swear the ball rolls uphill on the 8th hole.  Speaking of which, as I was about to tee off, up came 8 or 9 turkeys.  There was another tee box near by, and they got upon it.  Heck, I thought they were going to tee off too.  They stayed there even when I teed off; I would have thought the whack of the club would scare them.  

Today is our last night in New Hampshire, and we are getting ready to travel tomorrow.  The temperature got down to freezing last night and will again tonight.  That will certainly cause the leaves to color, but I am told it will be about another 10 days before peak color.  However, we are leaving with one other regret.  We have been up here in the north woods for nearly 3 weeks and nary a moose have we seen.  I just don't know what we are going to do with the muffin:) Check out:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/if-you-give-a-moose-a-muffin-laura-numeroff/1101967267 )

What a great trip and adventure this has been for Nancy and me!  We have talked frequently about how blessed we are to have been able to travel and see the beauty of the eastern part of the USA and Canada. What a great country we live in!  

This will be the last entry in this travel blog.  We are going to beat feet back to Texas.  It's been lots of fun, but it's time to go home.  We need a family fix.  We plan to spend some time around the Dallas area to visit our kids and friends.  Should drive in the gate at Emerald Bay on Monday, October 1st.


















 
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Comments

Charles Yockey on

Great Read, I am looking forward to your next trip !!

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