Friday, October 4, 2013


THURSDAY, October 3, 2013
Cannon Mt. Aerial Tramway
Ammonoosuc Rail-Trail and Covered Bridges!
Today's route
64 mile Loop

         Brrr!!  When I awoke at 6, I rolled over to try the internet again and still couldn’t get on.  Good excuse to sleep some more.  Got up at 6:30 to dig the heater out of storage.  It is 43 degrees in the trailer.  The little heater brings it up to mid-50’s in no time.  At 7:15 I go up to the office to get coffee for us both and ask why the internet still doesn’t work!  It has been re-set and I am able to get back on so must check out more things! 

The median strip on I93 is filled with flowers!
We really might have enjoyed a day of rest, but today is forecast to be the best of the next six, so…..we are off around 9am!  First stop is a grocery store and a bag of ice, then the Visitor Center to hopefully get a little more information.  Since I want to hit a Weight Watcher meeting tonight in Woodsville, it seems prudent to plan our days outings to finish there late in the afternoon!
Rock formations near Cannon Mt. 
 We decide to take the Cannon Ski area tramp (the first aerial tram in North America, built in 1938) to get some mountaintop views while the skies are blue!  Up the freeway through Franconia Notch to the tramway exit.  Our tickets are $15 each and we virtually walk right in as the next car is loading.  Good timing again!! 
Echo Lake is stunning from the tram! 
It is an 8 minute ride up the tram.  Below us we see Echo Lake, and all around an array of hills, valleys, notches, and peaks – covered with a carpet of orange, red, and gold.  Spectacular!  At the top of the mountain, a rim trail wanders through the alpine trees (all about head high) to the Observation Tower at the summit itself.  It smells so good!  The fir/pine scent is strong early in the morning with the dampness.  We have awesome views down the Franconia Notch valley, across to the 4 mountains of Franconia Ridge, all right around 4000’ elevation.  The White Mountains are home to some 40-plus 4000’-plus peaks (how is that for accuracy of numbers?)  Visibility today is good – 80 miles or more. 
Along the rim trail
Our big news for today is that….the Old Man in the Mountain is gone!!  We remembered hearing something years ago that the nose fell off or something, but no…it was the WHOLE THING! Happened in 2003.   The entire set of granite ledges that created the icon of New Hampshire collapsed.  First the jaw rock, which then left everything above it unsupported, and overnight….Gone!  Rick and I commented that when we visited in 1998 there was talk about stress, and precautions had been taken to stabilize and strengthen the outcroppings.  We probably noted all that in 1998 and then said, “Yeah, but it will probably still be standing for another 100 years!”  Little did we realize, just 5 more years and the mountain fell.  There is a whole website dedicated to the stories and obituaries that NH folks have written for the death in their ‘family’. 
My little inuk on Cannon Mt.
It is cold up on top!  A good west wind is blowing and the temps are in the 50’s, which makes the wind chill…hmmmm cold!  We enjoyed time looking out in all directions, and then visiting with another couple from California who now live in Massachusetts.  They were from Sacramento, having taught at Kennedy High School downtown!  Small world.  We chatted for about 15 minutes. 
Before heading back down the tram, Rick and I hiked a short distance down the Profile Trail.  It is a rather rough trail over the rock outcroppings of the Cannon Mt. face.  Ultimately it would have taken us 1.6 miles to a hill where you had a good view of the Man of the Mountain.  No point in going now, but in one area where a number of rock piles had been erected, I stopped and built an inuksuk just for good measure.  It wasn’t an artistic sculpture, because I didn’t want to totally dissemble the stone wall that was providing the rocks!  We take the noon tram to the bottom and visit the Ski Museum briefly.  Olympic skier Bode Miller’s 5 medals are on display.  Miller grew up in Franconia and learned to ski at Cannon Mt.  Pretty interesting, especially the early chair lifts! Lunch on the tail of the truck!
White trunks of the birches
We drive north to Franconia and then west on Hwy 117 to Sugar Hill and then Lisbon.  At Lisbon we find the railroad station and the Rails to Trails path behind it.  Time to pull out the bikes!  Our destination is 5-6 miles south on the Ammonoosuc River Rail Trail to Bath, NH and the site of a 375’ covered bridge.  The trail is advertised as ‘rough’ in places.  The beginning supports this claim.  VERY rough!  The ballast is loose and soft and pedaling is difficult.  But it gets better after we leave town.  Overall a pleasant ride – the colors are gorgeous, especially the sumac, and the river is peaceful.  We pass some green fields and corn fields that are completely cut down.  We go over an old trestle bridge at the midpoint.  I found it interesting because all the lines of the bridge were at angles.  Nothing was square. 
Rick along the bike trail
Trestle Bridge
Bath church reflected in water. 
Bath Covered Bridge all 'covered' for renovation! 
The Bath Covered bridge was closed.  It has been in ‘overhaul’ since November of last year and should be completed by next May!  The bridge sits right at the top of a series of waterfalls and thick rocks in the river.  The supports are solid – all fitted rock with no mortar.  We stopped and talked to who proved to be the foreman for the restoration project.  A pleasant guy who answered many questions.  Below the bridge is an old mill site and behind it is a newly restored church steeple – all cedar wood with a copper tip.  It was very striking, especially when reflected in the water of the river.  While Rick talked with the foreman, I snapped picture upon picture!  They are going to try to reuse some of the original timbers for one side of the bridge, ….if they have enough!  This bridge was originally built in 1832.  It is nearing it’s 200th birthday and the stone foundations didn’t have to be touched!  Wow! 
Fall colors along the Ammonoosuc River
The ride back seemed quicker…until we got to the rough part through town.  We figure we went about 10 miles and that was enough for our first ride out in a while.  The weather is absolutely perfect – warm but not hot, blue skies and sunshine. 
I drive down to Woodsville and we find the Bath-Haverill bridge, a 259’ span with a ‘sidewalk’ on one side.  Then a trip to Wal-Mart, partly to kill some time, but we kill too much and it takes us awhile to locate the Weight Watcher meeting.  I am late, but am able to weigh and then slip out! 
Bath-Haverhill Bridge in Woodsville, NH
I drive us back to Lincoln, over the same road we came across yesterday.  The bumps are nearly so noticeable today without the trailer!  We stop in Swiftwater to see the last of today’s bridges – the Swiftwater Bridge.  It is the shortest of the day and actually still in use!! 
Ah….back to Lincoln, the trailer, showers, dinner, and an evening of planning, writing, etc. 

Click HERE for all of today's pictures. 

Our route for today! 
Friday, October 4, 2013
Sabbaday Falls Hike and Covered Bridges
Mt. Washington Auto Toll Road 
125 mile loop

        What a difference a little heater makes!  We turned it on last night as soon as we got home and it warmed the trailer up.  This morning it was 38 degrees in Lincoln, 42 in the trailer.  I turned it up and within an hour we were a toasty 60 degrees and climbing still!  It makes a difference when we can keep it warmer in the evening. 
Colors and mountains from viewpoint
        Anyway, a lazy morning somewhat.  I go up to get our coffees at 7:15 and we read, etc. until 8 when we really start moving for a 9am departure for today’s adventures.  I had checked the weather and it was to be cloudy, even foggy, at the summit of Washington until noonish and then improving for even a little sunshine by 2pm.  So….we switch plans and decide to take the long way over to the mountain and take our time getting there!  That involves the Kancamagus Highway across the southern part of the White Mountains.  I drive – time for Rick to have a break!  We stop at several viewpoints, noting that we are now in National Forest and the bathrooms are closed, etc. due to the Federal shutdown.  The colors are still spectacular on this stretch.  Climb up a notch and enter a new watershed. 
This hillside was way too pretty!
        We stop at Sabbaday Falls trailhead (at least no recreation parking fee required with the shutdown!) and walk the short .3 mile up to the falls.  This is a series of falls which take a right turn due to soft basalt and a fault in the rocks.  The lower section is like a square flume.  Pretty, and the woods surrounding are filled with trees and changing foliage.  I even spot a bright cluster of purple flowers! 
Upper part of Sabbaday Falls
        Just past Sabbaday Falls, we stop at the oldest remaining homestead in the White Mts: the Russell-Colbath house.  It was built in the early 1800’s.  The story goes the last woman to live there said goodbye to her husband one night as he said he was going ‘out’.  She put the light on for his return.  He didn’t come.  For 39 years, she lit a light every night to welcome him home.  He returned 42 years later, 3
Trail colors along Sabbaday trail
years after she died at the age of 80.  He had been wandering the world legend says.  What a jerk I say!  I would have been neat to go inside the house, but….government shut down!  Closed! 
We turn north on the Bear Notch Road, which will cut off a little distance as we drive up to Mt. Washington.  I also wanted to take this route because it takes us past a covered bridge at Bartlett which houses the Covered Bridge gift shop!  Two in one!! Did a little Christmas shopping and picked up a little covered bridge ornament for the tree.
Covered Bridge Gift Shoppe! 
North on 16, we stopped at another bridge to the town of Jackson.  This covered bridge was very similar to the one in Bath, only it is actively in use.  The pedestrian sidewalk is much appreciated as the cars came whipping through the bridge.  We tried to stop at another waterfall, but ….government shut down – they had the road barricaded for this one!  L
Finally, around 12:30, we arrive at the Mt. Washington Auto Road Toll Booth.  We pay our $34 ($26 for car and driver and $8 for each passenger).  We get a CD audio tour, a bumper sticker, and lots of information about roads at high elevations, no guard rails, fear of heights, etc.  Drivers are advised to use low gear the entire way both ascending and descending from the summit.  It is 7.6 miles up, rising from an elevation of about 1800’ to 6288’.  The AVERAGE grade is 12%.  The amazing thing about the road is that it was completed in 1861!!  The Civil War was being fought!  Cars hadn’t even been thought of.  And modern engineers, when given the opportunity to reassess the route, couldn’t find any fault with the route designed back in the 1850’s!  Rick’s comment for the day (and he said I could quote him!):  “That was one bad-ass road!”  It is narrow, bumpy in places, with some sharp turns.  There are pull offs which are especially important in the summer for cooling off engines and brakes.  It takes about 25 minute to drive up to the top.  I commented that neither of our mothers nor Patty Bogart would have like riding on the outside edge of the truck! 
Lower section of Mt. WA road
Needless to say….Rick and I switched drivers at the toll booth!  I had NO INTENTION of driving!   Hondi handled the pressure beautifully!  It is fascinating to watch the change in the environment as you climb.  First we went through gloriously colored hardwood forest, then a mixed forest of hardwood and conifers, then stunted firs, and finally alpine tundra like terrain.  To one side four other peaks of the Presidential range rise up above a sweeping chasm.  Below in the valley, the red-orange carpet of trees covers everything. 
Cog railroad approaches the summit
Rick's long arms so come in handy! 
The valley colors below.
We park and walk up the stairs to the 30 year old State Park visitor center.  The top of the mountain is a NH state park.  Restrooms, cafeteria, gift shop, you name it.  Appalachian Trail hikers come through regularly.  This is the site of the Mt. Wahsington weather observatory.  It is known for the ‘worst weather in the world’.  Here the highest recorded wind speed was 231 mph in 1934.  It averages hundreds of inches of snow each winter and the park keeps a crew up there!!  Since 60% of the time the summit is in the clouds, I consider it a good day that we could see for miles!  It was cold! 
Tip Top House
We visit the Tip Top House, which was built in the late 1800’s as a guest house for the many visitors who traveled up the road (usually by horseback or wagon in those days!)  A wonderful little museum.  We liked the ‘bunk room’ which was a series of 3 high bunks along a wall.  Little cubicles with a curtain in front.  A blanket and not much in the way of mattress! 
A cog railroad was built at some point to carry people and supplies to the summit.  The access for the railroad is on the opposite side of the mountain.  While we were there 4 cars came up, depositing 30-40 people each.  In peak season the railroad probably helps relieve the congestion at the top. 
Road heading down, drop ......
You have to love the contrast of the trees!
We took pictures, checked out a gift shop for a few postcards and a pin, and headed back down the mountain around 2:30.  The sun had broken through about a half hour earlier.  Guess the weatherman was right for a change!  The trip back down was just as spectacular, and fortunately, uneventful! 
Another colorful vista! 
Happy Hour at Woodstock Station! 
Rick continued to drive and we headed back around a circle to Lincoln via the towns of Gorham, Twin Mountain, and back through Franconia Notch.  Decided to drive right past the campground and pick up a little dinner in ‘town’.  It was 4 pm.  We struck out on the strip in Lincoln so went to the Woodstock Station Inn right in North Woodstock.  It is an old railroad station that was cut in half and moved to this location.  A maze of rooms and hallways, but we finally got directed to the outdoor bar and inquired about happy hour!  Yes!  From 3-5 – appetizers half price!  Rick tries the local brewed Pigs Ear Ale and I have a glass of wine.  We order ‘Nasty Nachos’ and Sweet Potato Raviolis (with a cayenne kick!) – Another great meal!! 
Back to the trailer to relax for the evening.  Tomorrow?  A hike!!!  G’night!

Click HERE for today's pictures

Saturday, October 5, 2013
Falling Waters Trail Hike
Franconia Notch SP

        Today could be our last decent day in the mountains, so a hike is in order!  After a not so quiet morning (the campground is filled with some families and young children, most of whom are NOT very quiet nor did they sleep in very long!  We are right on the corner by the ducks and the playground, so…..’nuf said! 
        We are on our way up Franconia Notch again, this time to stop at a Trailhead Parking area for the Falling Waters Trail.  This is one of the more popular hikes in the area and the parking lot shows it!  Rick and I have to park in a bus parking spot (when we return later, at least 10 other cars are so parked as well, not to mention the half mile of cars parked along the side of the interstate!)  We somewhat had the feeling at times that we were hiking up Everest….a long line of people at times on the trail.  All sorts of languages heard!  Japanese, Indian, French, a Scandinavian, etc.  Amazing.  LOTS of young people!  College students in many cases.  The trail continues up about 3000’ to Little Haystack Mt. and the Franconia Ridge Trail (and two 5,000' peaks) – it is reportedly a fantastic hike.  Our goal was to hike the thousand feet up to view a series of three waterfalls. 
Ginger climbs up some
        rock 'steps' along the trail
    Having hiked now in the White Mountains, my esteem for those who traversed this portion of New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail has risen highly!  These are rugged peaks – the trails are boulders in places, the routes steep.  ACT hikers often are quoted as saying the White Mts. are the most spectacular of the through hike AND the most difficult with dramatic climbs and drops in elevation. 
Swiftwater Falls
        About a scant half mile past the last waterfall, Rick and I stop to ascertain a plan.  We realize there are no more waterfalls, having asked several hikers as they passed by us on the trail.  Now rested, I suggest we go a little further (somewhat not wanting to let go of the hard-earned elevation I had just gained!)
Rick at the upper part
of Cloudland Falls
        Well…..we soon got separated as I couldn’t keep up with Rick and more and more people came between us.  Rick eventually climbed up to a side trail down to what is called Shining Rock – a huge granite slab with views of the valley.  He probably logged about 2.5 miles one way and 2500’ in elevation.  The summit of Haystack was about a half mile away. I figure I went 2 miles one way and 2000'.  
Colors in the trees
        Not certain if Rick was ahead of me or behind me (I wondered if he had gone off trail for a RR break) I continued hiking for about another half mile before finally stopping.  With the message to several groups of hikers to let him know that I had turned back, I headed back down the trail, passing a steady stream of people coming up the trail. 
        Long story short….At the top waterfall, I left my tie dye bandana as a marker with the word CAR spelled out in birch sticks. (I didn't think to take a picture!)  We were reunited at the bottom of the trail! And Rick returned my bandana to me!  
Cloudland Falls
        So….what did we see along the way?  Lower elevations of hardwood trees – lots of yellows and golds, scattered patches of red.  Thick woods, mushrooms, and lots of rocks in the trail!  The waterfalls were more cascades, although the Cloudland Falls is more of a horsetail fall – narrow at the top and widening with feathery cascades to more than 25 feet at the bottom.   All the pools were filled with swirling leaves. 
Colors with birch trunk
        After the falls, the trail wound through thick conifer forest, climbing steadily in a series of switchbacks.  The trees prevented any views of the valley.  Rick did say it opened up a little up by the junction, but the trees were pretty thick all the way to the top, reaching treeline shortly before the Haystack summit. 
        We then drove on up to see the Old Man of the Mountain Memorial near Cannon Mt.  The citizens of New Hampshire have donated funds to create this park on the shores of Profile Lake which sits at the base of the cliff where the Old Man USED to be.  They have done an amazing job of creating a series of black posts, with a carefully crafted (we are talking major engineering in art here!) to
These were pretty amazing!  
create the image of the Old Man when you stand in the exact correct spot according to your height.  It worked! 
        From there we drove down the highway to The Basin – a series of pools and mini waterfalls on the Pemigewasset River.  The Basin itself is a deep pool created by eons of water, round granite walls, with the water entering in a kind of spigot fashion.  Pretty cool. 
Pemigewasset River above The Basin
        Back to the trailer around 3pm to shower, relax, and eventually get dinner.  Rick is able to pull up a college football game on the TV! 
        The next three days are forecast for 60% chance of rain….we will plan our days accordingly.  The only church in town other than the Catholic church is the Loon Mt. non-denominational…..take the gondola to the top of the summit for church.  If the weather was forecast for something better, we might bite on that.  You get a special ‘church rate’ of half price on the gondola!  We need to do laundry.  There are shops to check out and the Christmas Cottage.  Should be enough to keep us occupied while we hope for a little weather break! 
The Basin in Franconia Notch
  Click HERE for today's pictures

SUNDAY, October 6, 2013
A Sabbath Day of Rest!

Entry sign for Country Bumpkins
        Well, this won’t take long to blog today!  Families are up early, the campground is active, but I still roll over in my toasty warm bed and read until 8am.  Once up with the heater running, I work on updating my devotional blog entries, drawing a few scribbles as necessary, most of the morning.  Rick takes a long walk along the river while it is still overcast and dreary, but not WET!
Moose at entry gate - he is 12' tall! 
        The campground empties quickly around the 11am checkout time and shortly afterwards I take a walk around the Country Bumpkin acreage.  I realized I hadn’t even walked down to see what kind of river frontage we were on (only tent sites down along the river with no electricity).  We are on a beautiful junction of Harvard Brook and the Pemiwagasset River!  I took a number of pictures, including some of the campground décor itself.  There are a number of cottages, some very nice. Everything is decorated for autumn.  As I wandered around, one of the workers (the man I talk to every morning when I go for coffee!) was giving a toddler a ride on an old red tractor!  I love the big moose wooden sculpture as you enter with a little bear poking through his legs.   Eventually I set my chair out along the river bank and drew another scribble. 
Along the Pemigawasset River
        We did our laundry here at the campground as the rain started to fall mid afternoon. Dinner late afternoon in the trailer as we combined two types of Mexican soup into one pot and ate chips with it!  High class!  Other than the $4.50 for laundry, today should have helped our budget! 
Red maple leaf
        Around 5 we drive 3 miles toward town, park in the post office parking lot, and make phone calls to both our moms and Luke (checking on mail and the Pirates!)  It was cold and wet….Rick went to the shelter of the post office awning to talk to Mom R while I sat in the car with Mom Mac.  He returned and turned on the car and the heater!  We both talked with Luke to check on things at home, back to the trailer for a little TV, end of Pirates game, and….a game of rummy!  Rick won. 
        The little heater can bring the temp up in this trailer 20 degrees in a short time.  Glad we brought it along!!!  We also learned this evening that you can’t run both the microwave and the heater at the same time.  The circuit breaker in the strip worked and everything shut down but the computer!!!  Learned that lesson!  

MONDAY, October 7, 2013
Littleton, NH “Main Street USA”

        A lazy morning, listening to the scattered rain showers fall!  We finally shower (this campground wins the award for water pressure AND hot water!) and get ready to face the day around 10:30!!  In getting our morning coffee, the office asked what our plans were for the day and I said shops around Lincoln.  He suggested we drive up to Littleton, about 25 miles north of here, and check out their Main Street.  They have won awards for the revitalization of their historic district downtown (sound familiar?)  Well, it was a good decision in many ways!
        I drove up to Littleton and encountered thick fog as soon as we left Lincoln.  Much like driving into the clouds.  The rain was more misty than waterdrops.  Once we got through the notch, we suddenly emerged into sunshine!  Wow!  When we got out of the truck in Littleton, it was muggy warm! 
Pedestrian covered bridge in Littleton
        We enjoyed Main Street.  I think Baker City has done just as good a job in many ways, but there were a few special aspects we really enjoyed.  They built a covered bridge to connect the two sides of town across the Ammonoosuc River – a 400’ long bridge!!  It is for pedestrian traffic only, and since it was built in 2004, definitely not very historic.  But it spans a very scenic section of river with multiple ripples and 1-2’ falls, so the viewing was good!  There is an old grist mill down along the riverfront which is still in use. 
River and grist mill in Littleton

Congregational Church
        Two churches, Congregational and Methodist, anchor each end of Main Street with their white steeples and crosses.  The Post Office/Courthouse was built in 1935 – a beautiful building.  Before we leave town, we drove up to High Street on the hill to see the Catholic church – it was built from rock – all of it!  Really cool. 
        Rick got a haircut in Littleton!!  Much improved from the hippie look he was starting to sport, especially when he wore his hat! 
Rock Catholic Church
        What we really enjoyed was called The Piano Project.  Scattered along the sidewalks of downtown are at least 4 pianos, covered with a waterproof tarp, brightly painted, with lettering encouraging anyone to sit down and play a tune.  “All we ask is you cover us up when you are done!”  When we first encountered a piano, someone was playing it….I was amazed at the paint job, but not sure exactly what was going on.  Then we uncovered one other to take a peek, and saw two more.  There was also a guitar all painted up and sitting on a chair in a store front alcove.  It also said The Piano Project on it.  This reminded Rick and I of all the transformer boxes that were painted in Mankato.  Maybe Baker City needs to find it’s niche for the downtown.  A good project for Crossroads to sponsor.  Hmmmmm….what could we paint that would be interactive, fun, and represent Eastern Oregon??
The Piano Project....being played! 
        Since we didn’t take very long in Littleton, it wasn’t time to eat yet.  So….a drive back down the highway to Lincoln.  We drove right back into the storm…only worse now!!  The fog was super thick through the notch and the rainfall harder.  
We drive right back into the storm as we near the Notch. 
We visited three stores in Lincoln, made one small purchase, and by then it was 3pm.  Time for Happy Hour at the Woodstock Brewery!!  We ordered another Nasty Nacho and this time tried the Loon Dip as well.  It was pretty rich with Gorgonzola cheese, peppers, and spinach.  I also opted for a Sangria today – served in a 12 oz glass!  Wow.  We asked the bartender to change the station to the Pirates game, which she did.  Unfortunately game didn’t end well.  We left in the 5th inning and made our last stop of the day: The Christmas Shop.  So many little rooms, I kept getting lost!  While we were inside the storm really picked up again, howling wind and pounding rain.  The lights all blinked out for a few seconds at one point. 

Boards in the morning light...most of the puddle is gone too.
        Now settled into the trailer for the night.  Rick had to put boards out to walk on from the truck to the trailer door.  We have a rather large puddle in our campsite!!  But now.....the rain seems to have finally stopped…momentarily.  It is forecast to end sometime around midnight, and then begin clearing!  Hurray, for we hope to hike tomorrow up to Lonesome Lake.

Click HERE for today's pictures

TUESDAY, October 8, 2013
Lonesome Lake Hike, Franconia State Park
4-5 miles UP!
Today's hike

        Sure enough, around 11 pm last night the world was silenced – no more rain drops!  Glad we left the little heater running as it cooled off!  Today as we arise, we can see patches of blue sky through the fast moving clouds.
        As I got coffee this morning, I talked with the owner about the nickelodeon piano in the office/store area.  Yesterday as we picked up ice and asked to have the internet reset after the storm, Amy (office gal) gave us a quarter to put into the piano so we could hear it play.  Wow….what sound came out.  Sometimes a little out of key, but….  The front is inset with stained glass, as is a section cut out above the foot pedals at the bottom.  I can’t even remember what song started playing, but with the second verse it sounded like a whole orchestra.  I realized the nickelodeon part is the 7 additional instruments: drum, cymbal, tambourine, organ, etc.  Many are housed in the bottom section.  Fun to watch.  Anyway, Amy’s dad is quite the antique buff and he collects this stuff (the store is filled with things).  Pretty fascinating.   He has been so gracious all week as I daily go up to fill our coffee cups. 
Trailhead sign and colors
        On the road by 9:30ish and as soon as we enter the ‘notch’ the winds are back!!!  And although there are still clouds on the high peaks, mostly the skies are clearing!  We park at the trailhead.  It is still cool outside….2 t-shirts, vest, and windbreaker, plus gloves! 
        The storm last night has done a number on the leaves.  Whole hillsides are now barren – they look light gray from a distance.  Where has all the color gone?  Into the wind!  Still a few golden trees right down in the campground area, but those coming up for the ‘peak’ this weekend are going to be disappointed!!  The hike up to Lonesome Lake is about 1.2 miles to the edge of the lake and another .3 to the Appalachian Mountain Club hut.
Entry to AMC Hut at Lonesome Lake
    The AMC maintains a series of 8 huts across the White Mts., each about a day’s hike apart.  The Lonesome Lake hut is open year round, as are two others.  In the winter season, a caretaker is on duty for 7 days, and then has 7 days off.  Two people share the job.  This is still ‘summer season’, so the hut was ‘manned’ by three – 2 guys and a gal.  This is their JOB for 2 months: cook, host, lead a few nature classes, emergency search and rescue, advise hikers.  We each bought one of the cookies available – a giant peanut butter chocolate chip!  Tasted good!  The bunkhouses will sleep 48, and while they were empty the night before, they often run at capacity in the summer months, charging $98-118 each, which includes breakfast and dinner.  It was interesting to talk with the gal.  
Lonesome Lake at outlet
Wooden plank walkway in bog
    The lake sits somewhat in a low lying bog – so the trail is largely a series of wooden planks around the lake.  The Appalachian Trail itself comes down off Kinsman Mt. to the hut, and then veers off along Cascade Brook down to the notch floor.  We hiked on it for about a 100 yards from one trailhead to the hut! 
At the lake
Lonesome Lake
from High Cannon Trail
        Upon leaving the hut, we hike around the lake (.6 mile) and then take the Dutch Cutoff (.3) up to High Cannon Trail.  From this junction, the HC Trail climbs….steeply…up the hillside to connect with the Kinsman Ridge Trail.  There was a viewpoint marked on one of the maps that was our goal as we knew we didn’t have the time or the supplies to tackle the whole loop.  Neither of these last two trails are highly maintained.  We  hiked about a half mile, climbing probably another 500-600’, to where Rick found a rock slab overlooking Lonesome Lake and the valley floor.  In one place the trail climbed up a ladder to ascend a sheer rock outcropping!   Altogether from what I can figure, we went about 4.6 miles and climbed between 1500 and 1600 feet. 
Ginger ascends ladder section. 
     I have a definite new appreciation for the White Mts. trails again after today. The mountains may not be high in elevations, but they are rugged.  Trails are rarely flat or smooth! Grades are steep!   Especially our latter routes – rocks, roots, and leaves.  Always leaves right now!  And yesterday’s downpour probably didn’t help the trail at all.  You could tell where rivers of water had poured down the trail, piling up the leaves behind every rock.
I-93, Franconia Ridge mts., and our rock slab.
Back to the truck by 3pm, to campsite for showers, etc.  I drive over to Lincoln around 4:45 to do a little grocery shopping and attend the Weight Watcher’s Meeting at 5:30.  (A good weigh-in….down 1.4 pounds!)  We leave in the morning, so we have to do a little thinking ahead as we will be sleeping indoors for the next four nights!  Good thing, because it is forecast for 30 degrees tonight.  All layers on this evening….little heater working hard to keep up in the 50’s!!

Click HERE for today's pictures.  


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