Month: October 2015

White Mountains, New Hampshire

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.

Lost River

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.

Going down can be trickier than going up.

Going down can be trickier than going up.

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.

Cloudland Falls

Cloudland Falls

Swiftwater Falls

Swiftwater Falls

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Thankful for Memories

Cobble Beach

October 8, 2015

Happy birthday to my youngest brother and our wonderful daughter-in-law!

I have been closely following my friend, Fran, and her five female companions as they walk the Camino Frances. The Canadian Chicas are on Day 29 of their journey. One of the Chicas has been posting photos with one-liners to describe this awesome journey. I am basking in the memories of our trip as I watch progress toward Santiago, some 220 kilometres still to go.

They started with a more modest measured approach than we did, but then they also gave themselves forty-two days to complete their pilgrimage. Now at Day 29 they are where we were at Day 24, but they are picking up the pace. They completed twenty-eight kilometres yesterday, their longest day to date. I applaud them each step of the way. I think they have already dealt with more blisters than we did, but will not be defeated.

From the photos, it appears that they are wearing more clothing; thus, they have been experiencing cooler temperatures. They have already had more rainy weather but have not yet reached Galicia, the rainiest province. I wish them sunshine!

Whatever the weather they will continue to meet a host of international characters and they are participating in an incredible adventure. I still smile at the memory of ours, flip through our photobook, marvel at electronic images and forget about the aches and pains that formed some part of walking.

Next week we are going to visit James and Danielle, two of our Camino friends, in their home in North Hatley, Quebec. We are excitedly anticipating this reunion.

We had an email this week from two other Canadian Camino buddies. No dust is settling on Susie and Kanji. They walked 84 kilometres, paddled a canoe 450 kilometres then biked 880 kilometres around Lake Ontario, all in sixteen days. For anyone who thinks this type of triathlon might only be for a much younger couple, think again. Kanji and Susie are older than us. We are only as old as we think we are. Keep those bodies moving! There is much fun to be had!

I have renewed my weekly long walks of thirteen to sixteen kilometres with four friends. We have been hiking combinations of blue and white Bruce Trail sections in this area. I try to plan circular hikes and mostly this has worked. I am also trying to fit in completing other sections of the Bruce Trail, twenty or so kilometres at a time.

Inglis Falls

Inglis Falls

Circling the Slough of Despond

Circling the Slough of Despond

Still golfing

Still golfing…a practice swing…that is why the ball is still on the ground. 🙂 

Margaret and Rachel have been helping me complete parts of Iroquioa when Brian and I make our biweekly trips to Niagara. I would like to work on sections of Dufferin and Toronto. Any takers?

Happy thanksgiving to all! We have so much for which to be thankful!