"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Friday, June 16, 2017

Franconia State Park, New Hampshire

We had visited Franconia State Park 14 years ago while I working in Connecticut. We knew that we wanted to return someday and this was someday. It didn't disappoint.

Echo Lake 

Cannon Mountain Campground is a small campground with 7 spots with full
hookups at the base of Cannon Mountain Ski Resort and around the corner from Echo Lake. It was in a great location between Lincoln and Franconia in the state park.
 Wood ducks have the coolest hats or is it a pinhead?
A great spot all alone.
The rec bike trail was just around the corner from us.

Franconia Notch

  We had visited Franconia Notch 14 years ago and loved the area and Polly's Pancake Parlor. We
had the opportunity to return and had to try the pancakes again. My favorite was the cornmeal and
coconut but the gingerbread and walnut weren't so bad themselves.

The Lupines were out again on our return visit.   
 The Only Blast Furnace Still Standing in New Hampshire

Hiking to Franconia Falls

After several days of reunions, eating and visiting, it was time to get some more exercise.
We headed out for a 6.8 mile hike to find the Franconia Falls. The Lincoln Woods Trail started
with a bridge crossing and along the creek in the White Mountains near Lincoln, NH. The ranger told us that the moose and bears were very active but must have been hiding from us.
Almost there 
With all of that walking, you would expect a bigger waterfall. Some boys were using the falls as a waterslide. It looked enticing.
The lake would close at 9 pm to the public but was empty by 7:30pm. We would walk down and listen to the frogs and  start their night songs. 

The Basin

We spent the next day seeing the sights and walking in the state park.
 The Basin, located in Franconia State Park is a giant nature-made pothole formed thousands of years ago by ice and river rocks. It's granite bowl spans 20 feet and is filled by a roaring spout.
 It was peaceful listening to the rush of the water making us want to follow the trail even further.

The Flume Gorge

 Mount Liberty and Mount Flume as we leave the visitor's center.
This picturesque covered bridge is one of the oldest in the state. It was built in the 1886. Such bridges were often called “kissing bridges” because of the darkness and privacy they provided. This bridge was built across the scenic Pemigewasset River. Pemigewasset means “swift or rapid current” in the Abenaki Indian language. 
Heading into the Flume Gorge 
The Flume Gorge
  The 2 mile walk includes uphill walking and lots of stairs. The boardwalk allowed us to look at the growth of flowers, ferns and mosses found here.
At the top of the Flume is a close view of Avalanche Falls. The 45-foot waterfall creates a roaring sound as the Flume Brook enters the gorge. The falls were formed during the great storm of 1883, which washed away the hanging boulder. As we walked along the boardwalk the mist would blow across us.
  Liberty Gorge, a beautiful cascading mountain stream that flows through the narrow valley.
The Pool is a deep basin in the Pemigewasset River. It was formed at the end of the Ice Age, 14,000 years ago, by a silt-laden stream flowing from the glacier. 
 This is a narrow, one-way path that involves crawling on your hands and knees and squeezing through rocks called Wolf's Den.
Coming out of the Wolf's Den
The trees have to be hardy to hang on around here.
We could spend a few weeks here and not run out of new things to do and see. I was glad that we were able to take some time here before heading to Maine for the summer.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Family and Class Reunions

West Rutland, VT

A walk down memory lane

The sun was finally shining after two months of frequent rain and our first stop, as we pulled into Rutland, Vermont was Gills Delicatessen, a favorite of Mike's when he was growing up.
We had a full line up of activities and reunions for the weekend planned. You never know how things are going to turn out. They could be fun or boring, happy or sad, satisfying or disappointing. But we were here and ready to get to it.
Growing up in small towns where everyone knows each other meant that your parents would soon know what you had been up to sooner than later and is how both of us grew up.

White Rocks Recreation Area

Our first morning, we headed up to White Rocks Recreation Area to hike a section of the Long Trail that intersects the Appalachian Trail. Mike's family would have picnics here when he was growing up. The trail was very wet, slippery and steep in many sections. I thought to myself a time or two that I should have brought my hiking poles. I was right. On the way down, I slipped and fell twice but fortunately, didn't injure much except my pride.
An old spring house

Through hikers on the AT

White Cliffs Overlook

 Amazing views of the valley of the Green Mountains.

Funky fungi

Kind of an eerie figure in the forest.
I wasn't sure if we were being avoided or just special with all of that space for us. 

Lake Bomoseen

 We took a ride out to Lake Bomoseen where he spent many summers. The fish were jumping and biting.
A walk back on memory lane called for a visit to his parent's resting place. 
 There is something special about growing up in a small town. We spent a morning driving and going down memory lane. I could see his mind going back in time as we drove past his boyhood home.

His graduating class had 76, the largest for this school. This year they had 27 graduates. 

 It seems the classmates has a bad case of attention deficit. Getting a picture of them looking in one direction didn't happen. They seemed to have reverted back to their times in high school as I watched their interactions.
 Everyone was welcoming and I felt at home right away. I think many of them don't  think we are in our right minds living on the road. That's ok. We are fine.
A short excerpt of Carl Wener's poem
Who would have guessed that this time would arrive
Some fifty years later and yet we survive.
To just be together to laugh and to smile
And share some old memories; celebrate for a while.
We were thrown all together through no choice of our own
And started off strong in this place we call home.
Yes, our world has sure changed, on this we agree
Experiences different as leaves on a tree
We draw from the past and the things we have known
It filters our thoughts as we've aged and we've grown
But one thing's for sure, through our lives as we  roam
We got a great start in this place we call home.

The mandatory family lineup
 It was quite a nice long weekend of family and class reunions with plenty of good food. On our last day, Mike went for a long bike ride with his brother and a friend while I took a nice walk on the back roads and had some down time before getting together with everyone in the family.
Mike's brother in law's sweet ride.
The weekend not only turned out to be happy and fun but very satisfying. We were glad that the timing of our trip east allowed us to be a part of this great June weekend.