White Mountains

The Last Hurrah

January 25, 2017

If you are confused by what appeared to be a duplicate blog two days in a row, there really is a write-up for January 24th. Just click on the link that still appears to be about critters and you should be able Tom find out about our hiking adventure. We have since read that others had very similar experiences trying to find their way on the Cot Trail. More signage is needed.

This morning Brian walked down to the beach at Hank’s Bar to try for one last attempt at fishing. Again the brown pelicans were more successful. I walked with Brian to where the road split then walked up Garibaldi Hill to where Stephan is building a 6000 square foot home. I don’t know Stephan but we heard the house has been in the building process for a year and a half. So far they are just starting to lay plywood over the foundation. The owner will have a great view of Isles Bay.

I walked 5.8 kilometres this morning in an hour and twenty minutes, stopping to take photos. I also took time out for a swim in waveless water at the beach. How unusual! I had my goggles on. Although the water was clear, all I saw below the surface were sand patterns.

Back at the Taj I needed another swim in the pool before all of us boarded the people mover, an eight passenger rental van, for a descent to a bank run and shopping in Cudjoe Head. Except for withdrawing money from the bank and buying fresh buns at the bakery, most other errands were unsuccessful because of a closed store or office or a store with no products. Some of us visited the artistic clothing store. The artist makes bright colourful dresses tops, pants and sheets in batik or tie dye. No purchases were made; so, some might say we were successful in not spending money.

I checked out a couple of the nearby stores; most were packed in narrow aisles with a huge assortment of goods. The best place to visit was the public library. It was air conditioned.

It was great to get back to the Taj to relax with a tuna melt and cold drink.

Yesterday afternoon we had one of our daily swims at our Isles Bay Beach just below us. The waves were calmer but nothing like this morning’s calm seas.

We went out for dinner at the Watermelon Cottage a couple of kilometres north of us. Trevor, the owner, chef and server, lives in the cottage which is completely surrounded by foliage. We felt as if we were in the rain forest. The dining area is open on three sides. One side opens to a pool and loung area. We had a table set for eight in the middle of the restaurant. Dining is by reservation only and Trevor never accepts more than twelve people. Last night he limited it to the eight of us. The one page menu changes daily. Everyone pretty well opted for the four course menu: coconut shrimp or escargots, lettuce salad with beets, filet wrapped in bacon with fries, broccoli and cauliflower, chocolate layer cake with mocha icing or butter pecan ice cream. All delicious. All accompanied by a steady stream of chatter from Trevor who has lived on the island for thirty-nine years after years spent entertaining on cruise ships and a couple of years in musicals on Broadway.

Trevor’s restaurant was filled with an eclectic mix of art and artifacts including a tiny operating carousel, carved masks, a camel, figurines from various cultures, a large hanging drum, a huge yellow butterfly kite suspended from the ceiling, the flower arrangements on the table include tiny birds of paradise.

We finished our evening star gazing.

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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