A Hike along the Franconia Ridge Loop in New Hampshire
If you like ridgeline hiking in the Alpine Zone, then the White Mountains of New Hampshire are the best locally, and it's not too far from Ottawa for a trip of a few days.
On our first trip and hike in 2012 we camped at the Lafayette campground in Franconia Notch which allowed us to start from just outside the campsite.
Another good alternative if the park's campsites are full is the Ammonoosuc Campground just a few miles away. We stayed there for a visit in 2018 and it pro
proved very nice, well kept, and pleasantly close to the Franconia Notch Parkway.
With a minimum of storytelling for this one day hike, let the pictures give you a sense of the place, and why it's a great destination. Further along are pictures of our Mt. Washington visits, first ascent by cog train in 2012, and again in 2017 via Westfalia camper in 1st gear!
It was a delightful long hike, and we escaped without thunderstorms and rain, but came down quickly to below the tree line.
The next day we explored Mt. Washington and the cog railway.
Suddenly the clouds blew in at the top.
Hikers without extra wind gear go from hot to freezing cold in less that three minutes.
Notice how close the cairns are. It's practically impossible to see the trail if you can't see your feet.
A jolly winter scene at the site of 230 MPH highest wind recorded by man in 1934.
Last February 2019 the wind peaked at only 171 MPH.
Why are the windows stuck way in, and why are the walls thick and deep at the bottom?
So in 2018 we re-visited Mt. Washington from our base in Ammonosuc campground. This time, we drove up the road with the Syncro, pretty much in first gear all the way, except for granny gear (extra low) getting out of a pullover.
We had no overheating issues, but it was slow going even with the new Subaru engine. Coming down, we engine braked most of the energy at well below the redline, with some braking that didn't overheat the rotors.
Today's car automatic transmissions and their brakes are another story. Even in low the engines just whine, so it's pretty much constant braking for mile after mile after mile. Can you ever smell their brake pads, because there's absolutely no relief by stopping and cooling them if the pullouts are full (they were)
"Coming down the Mountain" in the fog on a sloped and slippery wet road with cars wanting to go faster.
(They had to wait)
Back at our campsite, we had a delightful visit and conversation with our neigbour Mike and his wife Sally.
Mike has the mind of an engineer and innovator and automatically works to help make manufacturing more efficient and sensible - just the kind of person I always looked for when hiring in manufacturing in the 80's.
We hope to see Mike and Sally again one day, prbably at the Ammonoosuc campground where they are trying out their new camper this summer (2019)!
Later on we visit a walking trail to stretch our legs along the Franconia North Parkway and visit the Basin.
We also took our bikes for a great jaunt along the pathways that stretch for miles.
The local towns are bustling with interesting artisans of all kinds. It's a place to come back to for sure.
Now we head home to Ottawa after a great loong weekend.
Remember, White Mountain hiking is only a few hours away!