mushrooms inside log on dry river connection

Day 26 – White Mountain Wonderland

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Day 26 of a Year Long Road Trip Along America’s Scenic Byways

Winds in the White Mountains

I read in the Reader’s Digest book that the highest wind speed ever recorded on land (231 mps) was at Mount Washington in the White Mountains.  I was having a difficult time believing it until I camped about 20 miles away at Dry River Campground.  The wind was so forceful last night that it blew my tent right off the stakes which were hammered into the ground.  Also, the gusts were so loud that I wondered if there would be any fall foliage left to see or if all the leaves would be on the ground.  On the positive side, the bitter cold breeze blew away all the rain!

Dry River Connection Trail

I awoke around 7 and wish I took a picture of the clouds.  They were pink like the sunset rather than the sunrise.  Scout, Petey, and I went for a walk on a trail called Dry River Connection that travels all the way to Mount Washington.  We didn’t come close to Mount Washington.  In fact, at about six tenths of a mile, we had to cross the river, and that stopped us in our tracks.  With the rain gone, my damp shoes finally had a chance to dry. As a result, l turned around!  At least the short walk took the edge off the dogs and let me shoot a photo of mushrooms growing inside a hollow log…kind of cool.

White Mountain National Forest

From Dry River Campground, I moved on to Pinkham Notch where the dogs and I hiked a short trail to Glen Ellis Falls in White Mountain National Forest.  Dating back to the Ice Ages, the grinding action of ice steepened the valley cliffs.  It is thought that the falls was created by a series of avalanches from the east side cliffs.  The falls are 64 feet high and the volume is such that it could satisfy the daily needs of a 25,000 person town.

Glen Ellis Falls in White Mountain National Forest

Mount Washington

To the northwest of Pinkham Notch is Mount Washington, known as the most dangerous small mountain in the world.  While it is only 6,288 feet, due to high winds and unpredictable weather, Himalayan climbers use it for survival training.  The mountain’s summit can be reached by car, train, scheduled van rides, or hiking.  By car, it is 8 miles to the top; however, today on the Auto Road to Mount Washington, autos were only allowed up to mile four for $14 and no view!  Regularly it costs $28 to drive to the summit and $62 to take the train.  I suspect the van ride falls somewhere in between.  That’s an expensive 8 mile stretch of road!

base of mount washington in the white mountains
Base of Mt. Washington

Dolly Copp Campground

I had set aside a few hours for Mount Washington, but since summiting wasn’t an option, I rerouted to Dolly Copp Campground in White Mountain National Forest.  With rare cell service, I could geocache while hiking.  As a result, the dogs and I walked along the river for a couple of miles and picked up two caches around the campgrounds. 

The first was an ammo can hidden in a stump and the second was a camouflaged container hidden beneath some rocks near the river.  The second cache called “Pebbles” was home to a geocoin.  The geocoin was from Utah with a goal to share the state’s beauty far and wide, so I took the coin with me and will drop it in another cache soon.  Geocoins are trackable items by way of logging the number printed on the coin into the geocaching website.  The owner as well as anyone who has logged finding the coin may track its travels around the world.

Man-made Islands in the Androscoggin River

The only other stops along White Mountain road suggested by my Reader’s Digest scenic drive book were a few state parks.  Given I had hiked enough for the day, I decided my time was best spent out of the freezing wind and in a nice, warm house in Rangeley, Maine. 

Along the way, I came across an interesting historic marker…small man-made islands used to secure a chain of boom logs which divided the Androscoggin River during annual log drives.  Both the Brown Paper Co. and the International Paper Co. shared the river to float their logs from the forests to the mills.  The logs were marked to identify their ownership and sorted further down the river.  The log drives ended in 1963.

man-made islands in the androscoggin river

On the Way to Maine

Five miles south of Errol, NH where I was to turn toward Rangeley, Maine, a power line had fallen across the road, and the firemen warned that the two lane highway would be closed for hours. Apparently there was a nearby dirt road that could be navigated into to Errol, but only for those familiar with the area. 

As tempted as I was to do so with the help of Gina my GPS, I thought better of it given Gina wanted me to turn on T.H. 51 a few days ago.  For the life of me, I couldn’t determine what type of road T.H. was (Hwy., Rte, Interstate) until I saw the sign, “Trail Head.”  I’m not on a 4-wheeler, Gina.  I’m in VANilla.  Thus, 50 miles later, I knew when I was almost half way as Gina stopped trying to U-turn me. I had detoured the fallen power line!

Jody’s five bedroom, white planked home with a view of a lake from the front porch and a view of a golf course from the back porch was a welcome sight!  Jody, who I’ve never met, is the son of one of my father’s best friends from college, Shaky.  I’m thankful he was nice enough to let me stay for the evening, especially without him being here.    While the house is fantastic, the biggest treat for me after switching on the breakers, was to enjoy a hot shower and know when I finished the inside temperature would be above 45 degrees!

white clapboard house in maine

Parkside & Main

A two mile drive took me into to town to Parkside & Main for a burger and beer (I’m going to have to get back to salads soon).  The place was packed.  At 6 O’clock patrons were waiting to be seated…Saturday of a holiday weekend I guess.  With a content tummy, I’m currently sitting at the kitchen table next to a wood burning stove enjoying the toasty warm heat radiating throughout the room.  I’m going to sleep well tonight! ETB

Map of My Road Trip Across the USA

For a summary about my road trip across the USA, click HERE. For the interactive map, see the below link.

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Check out the photographic note cards and key chains at my shop.  Each card has a travel story associated with it.  20% of proceeds are donated to charity.

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Beth Bankhead

Former public finance professional turned award winning travel blogger and photographer sharing the earth's beauty one word and image at a time.

8 thoughts on “Day 26 – White Mountain Wonderland

  1. Finally got back to the computer. The pictures were fabulous. What fun to stay at Jody’s house and relax. Is this a vacation house? I can’t remember where they live.

  2. Onceagain your photos are fabulous! Although you were freezing you manage to see sone interesting things.

    Mushrooms inside the log — very cool. And the base of Mt. Washington is very picturesque. Am I seeing things, or are there some wild flowers there?

    Glad you found a cool cache! Where will you take it?

    I bet your hot shower felt fabulous! Sometime a bath or a shower is the ONLY way to warm up your core when you’re chilled to the bone. And it’s great you know how to operate a wood burning stove! It is so nice of Shaky to help you out and of Jody to treat you to a warm abode for the night.

    Hope your burger was tasty! Have you run into “Bullwinkle” yet?

    Hope more of readers will start commenting on the blog. I love reading their comments and I know you do too.

    Loved our chat today — miss you tons! Hi to George!

    xo’s Mom

  3. Do Scout and Petey get to enjoy a warm kitchen too? That might be hard since you are couch surfing! I hope they get inside! Have a great time. Can’t wait until you get to the West Coast where I grew up (SF) and maybe I can give you some place to stay! Hello to Scout and Petey from Tripper and Angus on Lilac Lane!

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