Friday, August 9, 2019

Audiovisual Hiking - Friday, August 9, 2019

Our senses were in tune with nature today as she serenaded us with the best kind of rock music: the East Branch of the Pemi River flowing over and around boulders. From our campground in Lincoln, New Hampshire, we made a short drive to the National Forest Service's Lincoln Woods Visitor Center on the Kancamagus Highway, known locally as The Kanc. 

Just so you know if you come to this part of the country, a parking pass (purchased at a kiosk) or a national park pass needs to be displayed in your windshield when you park in one of the trailhead lots.

After reading trailhead warnings about Lyme disease, ticks, and bear encounters, along with admonishments about what to take on the trail (compass, water, suntan lotion, etc.), we set out on our 6.8-mile round-trip "easy" hike to Franconia Falls on the Lincoln Woods Trail.

The 160-foot suspension bridge at the beginning was a plus. I love to bounce them up and down to make them sway. 

Bob in suspended animation.
Our rock concert, the East Branch of the Pemi River.
Immediately after the bridge, we turned right onto what used to be the railroad tracks used in clearcutting the forests in this area in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The clearcutting of trees fueled the local economy until the reality of deforestation set in. 

What happens when you denude the mountains of their forests?
1. Lightning ignited a fire in the slash leftover from clearcutting.
2. After the fire, massive rainstorms stripped the mountains of their soil in an erosion event of massive proportions.
3. Runoff from future rain caused more flooding. 
4. Textile factories downstream in Manchester, New Hampshire, were flooded and closed creating a substantial economic loss. 
5. This got the attention of legislators and businesspeople.
6. All of the above allowed the conservationists to get their program implemented. Their agenda was to have the federal government purchase private property to create national forests in 1911 when the Weeks Amendment passed.

But I digress. The trail is wide and in the trees, protecting us from the late morning sun. Many of the trails in the White Mountain National Forest are on old railway logging beds.

We are off to Franconia Falls Trail and from there
it's 0.8 mi. roundtrip to the falls.
The old railway bed.
Verdant greenery of the
White Mountains.
At our turn-off on the Franconia Falls Trail, fungi were prevalent. I liked the way they presented themselves on this rotted stump.

Fabulous fungi.
Well-marked trails.
Mushrooms or fungi? Or are they the same thing?
The Lincoln Woods Trail was easy. Once we turned onto the Franconia Falls Trail, the trail became more rugged. I was glad I had on my hiking boots. Roots, rocks, and mud kept trying to get in my way, and I did my best to sidestep them. The rock music around us kept right on playing. It was such a great remix.
Our music selection for the morning.
Bob at Franconia Falls hopping the rocks
trying to find a good viewpoint of the falls.
Franconia Falls finds many ways through these boulders. There are pools where people cool off. It was good to use caution on these boulders because the water was powerful and not all ways into the water were good. Warning signs were posted around the falls, and there was a memorial for someone who had died there.

Franconia Falls.
Water making its way through a chute.
Looking downriver, you can see Bob (barely) on the left.
There are also a couple of people in the pools below.
This water is powerful stuff. 
Looking upriver toward the falls. It was hard
to get a good photo!
After the hike, we went back to the 5th wheel and had tuna and avocado sandwiches. Bob put them together and we chowed them down. 

We then headed to the Lincoln Visitor Center at Exit 32 off I-93. Bob had been to it yesterday to pick up brochures and info on waterfalls. Wow! He sure found some great stuff to do and will keep us busy for the week we're here. 

The reason we went back today is that I left the one brochure we needed for The Kanc back in the rig. When I went in to pick up the same brochure, there was a note on the counter that certain postcards are free. You can write them on the spot, put them in their little indoor mailbox, and they will stamp and mail them for you. So I wrote one to Mom.

Back on the road, we saw the following sign. In fact, we have seen these signs on the freeway and just about every road up here. I'm hoping we see a moose,  but in a moose wallow, not on a roadway! 

We stopped at a couple of overlooks and learned some new things. A local pastime is to hike to the summits of the White Mountains over 4,000 ft. in New Hampshire and Maine. These hardy souls call themselves "peak baggers." (This is much like the 14ers in the Colorado Rockies, only in Colorado the mountains are much higher! There they have to do 14 peaks of at least 14,000'.) Some people sure have lofty goals!

Bravo and brava...quite the accomplishment!
And they did them in WINTER.
I think I'm a mountain tramp!
We couldn't wait to get to the next hike: Sabbaday Falls. The trail is touted as an easy 0.3 miles. They got that right. 

We LOVED this waterfall. It is very different from the last one we saw. 

The very easy trail.
Zen rock stacking.
Bob way ahead on the trail.
I get way behind taking photos.
This looks like a very old historical marker!
Looking up a dike (the dark-colored
rock) to part of Sabbaday Falls.
This is one of the more unusual waterfalls we've been to and it all has to do with the geology here. There was a sign that showed and explained it, but Bob and I were having trouble figuring it out. There are dikes and a fault, somehow this waterfall made a 95-degree turn and we're good with that!

This isn't the confusing sign. I didn't take a
picture of that one.
Quite a chute coming out from the falls.
This was a harder part of the trail.
But it was worth it.
Bob at Sabbaday Falls overlook.
We continued our drive on The Kanc, continually looking for waterfalls. The falls below are in the Rocky Gorge. So-so. Pretty scenery nonetheless. There is swimming here, but not right above the falls.

Rocky Gorge.
Close-up of the Rocky Gorge Falls.
Just down the road a few miles from Rocky Gorge is a series of waterfalls that is a totally different experience. This is the swimmin' hole where it seems EVERYONE shows up on a sunny day to cool off, picnic, swim, and pass the time. Wow! We got there around 4:00 p.m. The falls are in the sun in the afternoon. It looked like a grand time was happening here. The parking lot was packed and there is overflow parking along the highway just downriver from the main parking area. Just be sure you have a parking permit or national park pass in your windshield!

The place to be: Lower Falls.
I have included the photo below of the glacial erratic boulder because it really reminds me of our family camping trips in the Sierra Nevada of California when I was a child. We would camp near huge boulders like these that we could climb all over. Some of those boulders had big cracks in them that we could walk through or play Hide 'n' Seek around. GREAT memories.

Back to the present: Take a look at the following photos. This place looks like a blast! [Oops, back to the past: The photos below remind us of taking OUR boys camping in Oregon. We liked to camp near a place called Little Falls. There were all levels of rocks from which to jump or dive into a huge, deep pool. We'd go there as often as we could for weekend trips. Much like these families are doing here.]

Kids of all ages finding the right spot to cool off.
The awkward teens.
A rock slide into a shallow pool. 
This day is so enjoyable. It makes me think about how life works. In my case, we grew up on the West Coast, mostly southern California and Oregon. Our parents took us camping, hiking, and traveling. We went to places like Yosemite, the Mojave Desert, the beach, the Palomar observatory, the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Rainbow Falls, Devils Postpile, and we loved it. It was our normal. We were accustomed to it. Dad took us fishing. Mom liked to sit and paint lakes and mountains. But a person can become narrow-minded, think where they grew up is better than somewhere else. Until you travel and see things like this, you don't know how similar people (and places) really are. 

The yellow flowers below are blooming now in the mountains. Thank you to Nikki Tiffany for the identification of the goldenrod!

Goldenrod in bloom.
So, here we are in the middle of the forest, hardly any traffic, and we decide to go to Conway, New Hampshire, which is the other end of The Kanc from Lincoln. The Kanc comes to a T intersection and we were going to go one mile north to the town. HA! We got to the light at the intersection and the highway north is jammed solid with cars, trailers, and semi-trucks. Holy cow! It was 5:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. Is this rush-hour traffic? Are these people coming up to the mountains for the weekend or vacation?  

We made a U-turn right there at the T intersection and high-tailed it back to Lincoln. Again, very light traffic. That's more like it. 

Two more overlooks later and again we had new knowledge of this foreign (to us) place. 
Plant zones along the Kancamagus.
Where does all the water go? Just like in the West where we have the Continental Divide that determines if water goes into the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean, here the divide makes the water go either into the Pemigewesset to the Merrimack, or the Swift River into the Seco River. It all ends up in the Atlantic Ocean, though. 

And that was our fantastic day on the Kancamagus Highway. As we drove into Lincoln, Bob asked if I wanted Thai or Mexican food for dinner. That would be Thai. We ate at Thai 9 and had a yummy, satisfying meal. 

Very good restaurant.
Lincoln Town Hall in New Hampshire.
When we drove by the restaurant below earlier in the day, there was a line to get in stretching down the sidewalk. We decided to go here for breakfast on Saturday morning. Hopefully, we'll get there when they open at 7:00 a.m. and can get right in.

Cute sign. It tickled my funny bone.
Driving into Country Bumpkins RV Campground, we saw this rainbow overhead. What can I say? The perfect ending to a perfect day? You betcha. 

Rainbow over the entrance to our campground.

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