Kent and Carol - Mobile travel blog

Flume Gorge @ Franconia Notch State Park

Flume Gorge

Roots growing around a boulder

Covered Bridge

Echo Lake & I-93 as seen from Cannon Aerial Tramway

Train at Clark's Trading Post

Steam Engine train @ Mt. Washington Cog Railway

Diesel Engine train going down from Mt. Washington

Cog Track at the Summit

At a small section of double track - This train is coming...

Mt. Washington Hotel Resort

Me going down the Zip Line.

P.S. to the last posting. I forgot to mention that on the property of the Conway Scenic Railroad, in the old freight house, was a train layout. A club that meets there built the HO gauge layout and the display is open to the public three days a week.

Friday 28, 2009, we drove the RV through the scenic Crawford Notch State Park. It was not as high in altitude as I anticipated, so it was a very scenic and a pleasant drive. We parked at the Apple Hill Campground, which is a Passport America member, which makes it a cheap price, my favorite kind of price. The campground is a forest of tall pine trees, which is pretty but blocks the satellite reception. The Wifi signal was very weak, so a guy at the end of the row showed me how to get on his network; I then had a good Wifi signal. So, I am happy but Carol has to rely on just local TV.

This part of northern New Hampshire is gorgeous. I did not realize the beauty of the tree-covered mountains, although not as tall as the Rockies, they are pleasant to the eye. I wished we had planned to be here in the fall. I-93 narrows to one lane each direction through the Franconia Notch State Park, which is formed by high mountains on either side of the highway. We spent the first three days there exploring this state park. Sunday afternoon I ventured up the Flume Gorge, which was a ¾ mile up-hill hike followed by some 200 stairs and suspended walkways to witness a truly gorgeous cascade of waterfalls. The moss-covered rock gorge was only a few feet wide at some areas. My pictures just don’t show the true beauty of the place. The path then continues on to other smaller waterfalls, a covered bridge and interesting trees roots grown around huge boulders. The overall trail was almost two miles long and I am not in shape for such up-hill climbs, so I was very tired but glad I went on this trek. I stopped often to take pictures (rest). The visitor center there also has a HD movie on the Franconia Notch State Park.

Monday, we stopped at Echo Lake and later took the Aerial Tramway to the top of Cannon Mountain. It was a sunny day but it was cold at the top. The gondola will hold 80 people during the summer and 72 people with ski equipment during the winter. This gondola and 6 other chair lifts at this State Park location are busy during ski season. We have driven past 4 different ski areas while in this area of New Hampshire and I am sure there are other locations. Tuesday we visited The Basin area of Franconia Notch State Park. It also has some waterfalls and picturesque babbling brooks. It was close to the road, so Carol witnessed the first part while I did the rest.

Another time we visited a tourist trap called Clark’s Trading Post. It started years ago with just a gift shop but now have added a trained bear show, Chinese Acrobatic Troupe, train rides, Segway Safari, climbing wall, couple of kids rides and several buildings containing museum displays, photo shop and food. All of this was covered with one price of $15. The train was a full size steam engine, which takes you only a short distance into the woods where “Wolfman” attacks the train. The Segway machine was something I have always wanted to try. They give you a free trial session on the Segway, which last a few minutes but then they offer a 45 minute cruise through the woods which is an extra $25. Cheap me, I was just happy with the free lesson and also I was not sure I could have taken the standing for 45 minutes leaning on your toes and then your heals for that long after all the hiking I have been doing lately.

Wednesday was a beautiful day and the main destination for this trip to northern New Hampshire, the Mt. Washington Cog Train. This was the first Cog train ever built in the world and was opened in July of 1869. The cog train is driven by gears on the axels of the locomotive that meshes with a rack gear laid in the center of the train track rails The reason for doing this is to give the train traction for the steep inclines. On the Mt. Washington Cog train there is one section of track that has a 37% grade which is a gain in elevation of 14 inches for every three feet forward. After arriving at the depot, I learned that they only run the steam engine the first run of the day and then they use their new diesel engines (3) for the balance of the day. They said that was because of the complaints they had gotten about polluting the air with all the coal smoke from the steam engine. It was a great trip with the diesel anyway, with lots of things to see besides scenery up on the mountain peak. There is a gift shop, restaurant, museum, post office, restored guesthouse and weather station data to observe. The peak is 6,288 feet which is about half that of Pikes Peak in Colorado but it is the highest mountain in the northeastern part of the US. You can drive your car up Mt. Washington or hike since it is part of the Appalachian Trail. We saw several folks with their walking sticks and backpacks making it up the trail or already there. I much prefer the train. Mt. Washington claims to have the worst weather in North America, with the highest winds clocked at over 200 mph and they are in the clouds 60% of the time. They have a very funny movie clip running in the museum of a guy trying to eat his breakfast off of a folding card table on a windy day. He has to hold the card table to try to eat. He lifts his hands off the table and the table is gone with the wind. As I said earlier, it was a beautiful sunny day with only a light breeze while we were there. On the road leaving the Cog Train we stopped at another waterfall, which was close to the road. Then we stopped at the plush Mt. Washington Hotel Resort. It was built in the late 1800’s and is still a stately, picturesque hotel with two golf courses, stables and view of Mt. Washington out on the back veranda. Across the highway is the Bretton Woods ski area. At the ski area they have a zip line ride. I have never done anything like that before, so I decided to try it. They hook you up in a harness, take you a little ways up the mountain in a golf cart and hook you to the zip cable and away you go. They said it was about 30 mph by the time you reach the bottom and then you come to an abrupt stop at the landing tower. The whole zip probably lasted only 10 seconds, less time than it took me to walk down the steps on the three story landing tower. It was great fun and I would probably do it again. At this place they also offer a Canopy Tour, which includes 10 zip lines, 2 sky bridges, 8 platforms, 3 rappels and ends with the zip line that I did. That whole tour takes over 3 hours and I did not want to spend that much time or money.

Friday, September 4, we drove the RV into Vermont and landed at Groton Forest Road Campground near Marshfield, VT.

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