Brian and I arrived in the White Mountains of New Hampshire six days ago after a delightful visit with James and Danielle, our Camino buddies, in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.
We had the best of fall colour in Quebec but there was still a pretty good display awaiting us here. In the past few days the colour has been fading from the mountains so that now only the yellow birches and a few hesitant red maples are still contrasting their colours with the hemlocks and pines.
We have been blessed with great weather. True, it started pretty cold at -5C and we did get snowed on, but the rain has limited itself to night time and early morning. How perfect is that! The sun made an appearance for at least a few hours each day, but we have not seen a sunset as the clouds have rolled in as if on cue around four each afternoon.
Shawn, Agnes and our grandchildren arrived in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Brian had to beat me at two games of Hand and Foot to keep me awake until their arrival. We have had nothing but fun ever since, well maybe a little fatigue!
On Saturday we drove to the Flume Gorge in Franconia National Park. Even though plenty of other visitors were on the trail, we hiked at a good pace, examining the flume, caves, forest and waterfalls. We stood in awe where an enormous suspended boulder was swept away by an avalanche in 1883.
On Sunday we visited The Lost River. From the description online I was concerned this might be somewhat hokey but it not only captured Julie and Alex interest for an hour and a half but all four of us adults were fully engages. Julie was often the leader taking us through each narrow cave opening and grinning from ear to ear because this was easy for her to do. We big folks had to slither on our bellies and pull ourselves forward on our elbows. The forest and caves sheltered us from the windy day and sunlight streamed down on us.
On both days we enjoyed a lengthy swim in our condo’s big indoor pool followed by a relaxing hot tub. Brian and I are very pleased with our three bedroom condo rental at the Village of Loon Mountain.
Shawn biked up to the Kancamagus Pass. At 2855 feet, it is considerably higher than Kemble Mountain. We had no idea just how far Shawn had gone until we drove past there on Tuesday.
Before heading home on Monday, Shawn and Alex enjoyed a bike ride together along the Pemigawasset River. While they made the four hour drive home to Connecticut, Brian and I attempted to climb East Osceola Peak.we gave up a few hundred feet from the top. Monday was still very cold and the ice on the sloped stone slabs that served as our path was daunting. We decided our descent would be difficult enough without venturing further and really, we value our lives more than bagging a peak. We need mountain goat training. Completing seven kilometres in three and a half hours was enough to warrant a soak in the hot tub.
On Tuesday we opted for a much flatter ten kilometre walk along the Pemigawasset River to Franconia Falls. We marvelled at the card-deck style stacks of multi-coloured maple leaves floating in streams and pools. We watched for perfect red maple leaves in the carpet at our feet.
Today we tested our climbing ability again. We still will not receive a mountain goat certificate, but we had a very challenging hike up Falling Waters Trail. We did not make it to the summit of Little Haystack. It was enough to climb 800 metres in 3.2 kilometres in two hours and twenty minutes. Although we would have liked to arrive at the top in sunshine to have our lunch, we contented ourselves with a large cold rock to sit on in the forest. The descent did not take my breath away as the ascent had, but I was certainly glad to have two hiking poles to inch my way down.both of us found this to be a hearty knee workout.
The Falling Waters Trail is aptly names with five beautiful waterfalls and many many cascades and Rapids. We were never far from the sight and sound of falling water. We are heading back to Niagara tomorrow but we look forward to returning to the White Mountains.