I read in the Reader’s Digest book that the highest wind speed ever recorded on land (231 mps) was at Mount Washington. I was having a difficult time believing it until I camped about 20 miles from it. The wind was so forceful last night that it blew my tent right off the stakes which I had hammered into the ground. Also, it was 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. Thankfully, it blew away the rain, but wow was it a bitter cold breeze!
Dry River Connection Trail
I awoke around 7 and wish I took a picture of the clouds…they were pink like it was sunset instead of sunrise. Scout, Petey, and I went for a walk on a trail called Dry River Connection that went all the way to Mt. Washington, but it was only about six tenths of a mile before I had to cross the river. I thought, my damp shoes finally have a chance to dry…think I’ll turn around! The walk took the edge off the dogs who I had hoped would be tuckered out from the walk yesterday and also gave me a good photo opportunity of mushrooms growing inside a hollow log…kind of cool.
White Mountain National Forest
I moved on to White Mountain National Forest near Pinkham Notch where the dogs and I hiked a short trail to Glen Ellis Falls. 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.
Next I attempted to take the Auto Road to 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 by hiking. By car, it is 8 miles to the top; however, today autos were only allowed up to mile four for $14 and no view! Regularly it costs $28 to drive oneself to the summit and $62 to take the train. I suspect the van ride falls somewhere in between…expensive 8 mile stretch of road!
Dolly Copp Campground
I had set aside a few hours for Mt. Washington, but since summiting wasn’t an option, I noticed I had cell service so I stopped at Dolly Copp Campground in the White Mountain National Forest to do some hiking and caching. 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 the Reader’s Digest scenic drive were a few state parks, and I had hiked enough for the day, so I determined my time was best spent out of the freezing wind 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.
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 suggested that the two lane highway would be closed for hours… I’m told there was a dirt road that could be navigated into to Errol, but only for those familiar with the area. As tempted as I was to rely on Gina the 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 it…Trail Head…I’m not on a 4-wheeler…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 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, and 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!
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!