There and Back Again

As you know (if you read this post), I traveled to New Hampshire and back last week.  We left on Sunday morning, right when the skies decided to open up and rain its sorrow upon is for days.  Luckily we still had about a day and a half of nice weather … and plenty of time to take hundreds of photos.  Here are the highlights:

Here’s our campsite at Eastern Slope Camping Area.  I don’t really like sharing my tent, so my brother and I both have our own.  Mine is the yellow, white and blue one in the front.

Just through the treeline in the previous photo is the bank of the Saco River.  It’s a weird, slow-moving river with sandy shores and crystal clear water (at least in the Conway, NH area).  Lots of people swim, canoe and tube in this river, but river-swimming creeps me out, so I did not partake.

The campground featured “Free Wifi” (I guess it only reached to the bounds of the ‘office and store?), so I was stuck in my tent without Internet access!  “OH THE HUMANITY!” I screamed over and over again.  At least this tree had an electrical outlet, so I could charge my cell phone, camera, Kindle, my other camera and my iPod every night.  At least I was able to access the free Wifi at McDonalds…

Each night we had dinner at the same restaurant, Thai Nakon Ping Restaurant‎, where I enjoyed my second alcoholic beverage of the year!  It’s a Singha Beer, imported from Thailand.

While the road signs claim that there are actually Moose in New Hampshire, we did not see any.  If you ever see a moose, you’re supposed to break … otherwise you will just up and die.  I have a feeling that it’s much like hitting a brick wall, cuz those things are huge.

Our plan was to hike Mt. Washington along the 4.1 mile Tuckerman Ravine Trail (pictured above), leaving from Pinkham Notch around 9am.  In reality, my brother quickly realized that he was in much worse shape than when we hiked the mountain two years ago, and we had to turn around about 45 minutes into the hike.  I was crazy-disappointed and kinda pissed … but didn’t feel right leaving him behind to hike the mountain alone.  Next time I go to NH, I’m bringing someone who can handle the hike … any volunteers?

We did end up driving to the top of Mount Washington by way of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. From their website: “Most vehicles take about 30 minutes to make the 7.6 mile ascent and from 30 to 45 minutes to come down depending on traffic, weather conditions and whether or not you need to stop to cool your brakes. The Auto Road is a steep, narrow mountain road without guardrails. The average grade is 12%. As the sign at the base of the Road states – “If you have a fear of heights, you may not appreciate this driving experience”.”

Driving up the mountain was actually a lot scarier than I was expecting.  I’ve never really had an issue with heights, but the lack of a guardrail kinda freaked me out a little bit.  I know that guardrails don’t really protect you … but knowing that I could drive off the road and go barreling down the side of a mountain at any moment was a little freaky.

Seriously… Ahhhh!  I found that holding on tight to the steering wheel and keeping my eyes pointed directly at the road was helpful.

Views from the summit of Mt. Washington were breathtaking.  From WikipediaMount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft (1,917 m). It is famous for its dangerously erratic weather, and long held the record for the highest wind gust directly measured at the Earth’s surface, 231 mph (372 km/h) on the afternoon of April 12, 1934.

Here I am, perched on top of the world and grinning like an idiot.

Luckily the drive down the mountain didn’t freak me out as much.  To avoid overheating the brakes, we made lots of stops on the way down to take photos, wander around, pee in the bushes and enjoy the sites.  Here’s another shot of the breathtaking views from Mt. Washington.

The weather that day was amazing, and I really regret not being able to hike the mountain.  I guess I’ll have to wait until next year…

The drive home was another rainy mess, as baby Jesus decided to cry all over us for the 7-hour, 415 mile drive.  Clearly there were some high points, but the rain + no hiking = kind of a sucky vacation.  At least I had four more days off of work after I returned, to bum around NJ with my friends and family.  …but yay!  I get to go back to work today!  ((slams head against desk in disgust))

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11 thoughts on “There and Back Again”

  1. McDonalds and the internet? Aren’t you supposed to be roasting wienies and telling ghost stories?

    Driving on steep mountainous roads CREEPS ME OUT. That pic of the road without the guardrail gives me the heebiejeebies.

  2. Great pictures. We didn’t see any moose as we traversed New Hampshire either. They are big, and ugly, in a cute kind of way.

    Sorry the rain and the abandoned hike kind of made the vacation sucky. I HATE camping in the rain.

    Weird that the kid and I were just talking about a road like that in the Yukon yesterday. Apparently there are no guardrails and her teacher’s husband was so freaked he drove on the side of the road furthest from the edge no matter which direction he was going. Luckily not much traffic there. I would definitely be nervous.

  3. Despite living relatively nearby, I have never been to Mt. Washington. Thanks for the visuals, though. I am absolutely hiking up it, because there is no fucking way on Dog’s green earth that I am driving up and down that road.

  4. I am terrified of heights and I would not have done well driving up that mountain. My family in the Southern VA and Northern VA area would zip through the mountains in cars…and i was always huddled in the back focusing on the floor…

  5. Great pics! I haven’t gone camping since I was a kid, but I really really want to. I’m terrified of bugs though, which may prove to be a problem.

  6. Wow, looks very pretty, I thought I was gonna fall off that road at one point ! And I like the idea that even the tents have a shelter at the campsite!

    Really nice to see new parts of that vast wilderness.

    Thanks for this lil bit of freshair.

    Oh btw added a link to you in my lil blog. http://www.seafrontdiary.com

  7. Sorry to hear that the hike didn’t work out. Hiking up a mountain can be very challenging. I hiked up (and down) Mount Ampersand in their Adirondacks three times, and it was always a serious test of my physical endurance and ability to work through my fear of heights.

    How did that tent placement work in the rain? I would be worried about being under a waterfall of runoff from the shelter.

    Eating out, and trees with electric outlets, hmm… This isn’t the kind of camping I did in the Boy Scouts. 😉

  8. @Chris D. Hahaha I only lasted in the Boy Scouts for a few months. I’ve camped for *real* before, but if the campground offers electricity and a water spicket, i’m always willing to plop down a few extra bucks.

    The tent placement actually worked out pretty well. I think the angles of the shelter roof and the tent worked together a _little_ bit better than it looks in the photo. My tent was virtually leak-free the whole time.

  9. SO SCARY. Those pics of the uphill ride to death made me even more terrified of getting behind the wheel of a st00pid car. My current automobile has begun to practice the nasty habit of not starting whenever it’s hot outside [aka every day during the summer between the hours of 11AM & 5:30PM]. Maybe it’s Clint’s (my ’91 Subaru Loyale) subtle way of saying “Stop driving, idiot. You’re gonna go careening off a cliff & burn in hell.”

  10. I have never been camping. I also have no desire to go.

    Heights don’t bother me, so the drive up would have been ok. I will admit, however, that I would have to be the driver.

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