Go take a look!
Posts Tagged ‘White Mountains’
On Monday morning, I let us sleep in just a tiny bit before waking up Dan so we had time to explore the area just a bit more as non-hikers.
Our morning started at Moonbeam Cafe with a delicious egg and gourmet-bread filled breakfast. We bought a loaf of bread to take home with us, and Dan claimed those were among the best sandwiches I’ve ever made. Hmm… I’m all for good sandwiches, but that’s a bit far to go for bread! They also had the cutest (not so) little flowerpot in the window.
We ambled over to the train museum – unfortunately it was closed, but fortunately most of their exhibits were sitting on the tracks outside.
This little vignette almost sold me on the place – I mean, c’mon, a library with a reading area on the porch?! How awesome is that?
We drove to North Conway with the intention of sightseeing a bit and maybe hitting up the Outlet mall I had been told about. We stopped at Moat, one of the local breweries, and decided to linger for a while.
I’m glad I skipped the shopping, since it left us time for adventures such as these.
Driving back, we had possibly the shortest border crossing ever – with no car in front of us and a bored border guard who listened to my yammering on about the bread and beer we were bringing back for all of 30 seconds before passing back the passports and waving us through. Of course, this was balanced out by being stuck in Montreal traffic for over an hour. Never again, Montreal – you are dead to us as a road-trip pass-through point.
For a getaway weekend planned about two weeks previously, I’m very happy with how this turned out. New Hampshire is absolutely gorgeous, and I would love to come back in the fall. The peaks in the White Mountains are nothing to scoff at, and there are still plenty of them left for us to explore. Even the food was above and beyond any of our expectations! Now, if only all this wasn’t a 7-hour drive away…
Sunday morning, we got up early, and following my little warm-up excursion, took the ridge trail back up to the hut. Ideally, we would have continued on with our route after hitting Mt. Adams, but because you’re not allowed to camp in the alpine, and the rest of the trail is ALL alpine until Mt. Washington, we had to descend to spend the night.
Burdened with all our gear, Sunday’s hike was much slower, but we still made decent progress. I’ll admit that I don’t want to always hike around with 40 lbs on my back, but I’m glad to have done it once, just to know that I can do it. Also, it really reinforced why I never want to gain that much weight – hiking around, even on a flat, with an extra 40 lbs on you is HARD, especially on the knees.
The Gulfside trail took us pretty much directly over the remaining summits on our route, including Jefferson, Mt. Clay, and finally Mt. Washington, possibly the most tackily touristy mountain in the vicinity, with a $29 bus tour and a $70 railroad leading right to the top. Now the tourists become the attraction?
The hike down had a fairly unpleasant section, which made us question just how this could be on arguably the most popular trail in the park. We saw plenty of day hikers, including people with dogs and kids, while the unpleasant section rivalled some of the stuff I’ve seen on our truly back-country scrambles. My conspiracy theory is that this section is intentionally kept in such a poor state so that after trying it once, people decide to pony up for the bus tour next time.
Even with extra un-budgeted-for time spent navigating the Tuckerman’s Ravine Trail down (really, avoid it), we had time to enjoy the hot tub and pool at our hotel before heading out for dinner. Here, we were pleasantly surprised to find a somewhat boho pub in the middle of our sleepy host town of about 1700. Perfectly grilled crabcakes, golden samosas, perfectly spiced lamb burgers on flatbread buns (of which I of course forgot to take a picture because I was too busy gobbling it all down) – and a selection of local craft beers made for a wonderful evening. If you ever find yourself in Gorham, NH, definitely stop by Saalt Pub and try Chef Kenny’s food and the welcoming hospitality of everyone else in this lovely joint.
For the August long weekend this year, I was finally able to convince Dan to try hiking in the Appalachians. And by “convince”, I mostly mean “plan and book everything, and then tell Dan that we’re going”. You see, after Vancouver, he’s been under this impression that there are no mountains worth climbing out here. I think he was pleasantly surprised!
We started our drive on Friday afternoon, choosing to avoid Montreal and go along quiet country roads and through Cornwall instead. The views from the scary bridge at Cornwall were fantastic, but try not to look at the road too closely. Shortly after crossing the border, we had our first Amish sightings, including two buggies and a few roadside vegetable stands.
In addition to the Amish, New York seems to be a patriotic
What I didn’t know when I mapped out the drive was that our route involved a cute little ferry between NY and Vermont. A lovely evening made for smooth sailing, and we were on our way in under 15 minutes.
Our plans to have dinner at a small-town restaurant on the way were thwarted by the fact that that’s what EVERYONE in those small towns does on a Friday night, so everything was packed. We gave up after two attempts.
Hiking trips are usually much more interesting if you don’t have to double back to return, so we caught a convenient (but expensive) hiker shuttle to our starting point. We’d be hiking up and across the Presidential Range, and then back down to our car.
Saturday involved a 2-hour hike up to the tent platforms where we’d be spending the night. After a quick lunch and tent setup, we left our main packs with the tent, and set off to summit Mt. Madison and Mt. Adams. Both are conveniently accessible from the Madison Hut (which will gladly cater to your unheated bunk-bed, dinner and breakfast needs for an un-thrifty $108 usd/night/person). Both peaks are within 30 minutes to an hour from the hut, making for a lovely afternoon hike with our little day packs. The trails are all well-maintained and, while you sometimes feel like they maybe overdid it on the cairns, there’s definitely no danger of losing the path.
On the way back to the tents, we took the ridge trail, which both of us found much more interesting than the forest trail we took up to the hut. Guess which trail we took the next morning?