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Mostly White Mountains, New Hampshire

The night was extremely windy.  I began wondering if the wind were ever strong enough, would the pop-top on VANilla fall down on top of me or would the van would just get blown over due to being so top heavy.  I learned the top falls down a little anyway.

We started the morning with an hour hike in our campgrounds.  I wanted to make sure to get a good one in since yesterday was full of short stops only.  First we walked leash free around an interpretive trail through the woods and by the stream.  The dogs bounced through the chilly morning air.  Upon completing the loop, we took an out and back walk on Beaver Trail…again through the woods and across a few streams.  We also passed remains of a work area that housed men enrolled in the Civilian Conservation Corp, a national work project during the Great Depression.  Fireplaces as well as a water storage building stood nearby the path.

My next stop was in Bath, NH to actually drive across one of the covered bridges I’ve been photographing.  I simply drove across, took a few pictures, and drove back.  I arrived just as the tour bus did, so several people were walking across the bridge as well.  I suspect the locals appreciate the end of the tourist season so they can drive home without dodging picture happy pedestrians.

In Littleton, I stopped at Chutters, home to the World’s Longest Candy Counter.  Yes, it is in the Guinness Book of World Records.  I grabbed a handful each of gummy coke bottles, cherry balls, chewy sprees and hot tamales.  I also helped myself to a few pieces of Bazooka and a GIANT Pixie stick!  While I have fond memories of my brothers (Bart and Ed) and me licking on giant jaw breakers and stuffing Big League Chew in our mouths like tobacco, I decided to pass on the potential mess.  Don’t worry, the dogs weren’t left out, they got some homemade peanut butter dog treats.

Littleton was quite busy too.  In order to cross the 2 lane highway, you “stop, look, [and] wave” at the cross walk according to the block lettered paint on the side of the street.

Given the holiday weekend, I continued on to find a campground early.  Also, the White Mountains are host to a plethora of trails, so I wanted to get one more good hike in for the day.  I found one of five remaining sites at Dry River Campgrounds.  I set up my tent for the first time to reserve my spot, as I planned on driving to Arethusa Falls.  The weather forecast called for mostly sunny with a slight chance of rain.  I hadn’t seen the sun since early this morning as it was rising over the mountains in Vermont, and yes, by the time I got to the trail it was sprinkling.

The ranger at the campground described the 1.4 mile trail to the falls (2.8 miles roundtrip) to be moderate and that it would take two hours to complete.  With the old mutts, a weak ankle, and the time around 3 pm, I filled my pack with a few Reese’s, water, bear mace, and a rain coat and began climbing up the mountain.  As expected we scrambled over large rocks and trees roots as we ascended upward.  The path leveled out enough to capture the rain and create a boggy mess.  Regardless, it was worth the trip.  The falls are the single longest drop in New England.

Along the trail, I met Ruth and Terry from Florida near Palm Beach.  They were traveling around New England enjoying the foliage as well and will be in Maine around the same time I am.  Who knows, maybe I’ll run into them again!  Terry is a vet in Florida…nice to know in case I need anything for Scout in the South.  Ruth is a physical therapist, and I needed her right then and there!  My hip has been on fire from driving in the car all day long.  I’m not sure what stretches to complete, not to mention, it’s not like I could even lie on the ground and do any during the last week unless I wanted a river to flow over me.

As I completed the hike, the rain just kept falling harder.  I kept being optimistic and hung on to the weather forecast of only a chance of rain, thus I never removed my raincoat from my pack.  By the end of the trail, the dogs and I were soaked, but I still stopped to get a picture of the Frankenstein Cliffs…they were enormous.

Going back to the camp at five to be cold and wet was out of the question, so I drove 8 miles down the road to Bart’s Deli in Bartlett, NH.  After a Philly cheese steak sandwich and a decaf coffee, I’m luke warm!  The deli has Wi-Fi, so I’m hanging here until it closes to try to finish blogging for the night.  I noticed the cell service in the White Mountains has been virtually non-existent!

While I’m tired of being cold and wet, I enjoyed getting a long day of hiking in, and I get to enjoy a house the next two nights I think!!!

websites:  www.nh.gov.nhes/elmi/htmlprofiles/bath.html, www.nhstateparks.com/crawford.html, www.localhikes.com/hikes/frankensteincliff_0000.asp

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