Sunset on the beach
By Kees Verburg
White Mt Natl Forest - Franconia Ridge
The first overnight adventure in the Northern New England region, the White Mtns are incredible. I would say the Rockies and the Appalachians had a little love mountain and called it the Whites. Much more rocky and aggressive than the southern Apps and the Green Mtns to the west, the Whites offer a great array of fantastic terrain, challenge and big payoff views. The Franconia Ridge Loop starts at one of the park trailheads and ascends via the Falling Water trail, a super rocky and steep trail of a whopping three miles haha, it had me smoked. Having (admittedly) not done my homework thoroughly enough to have a better understanding of what lay ahead, the trail is pretty much a giant boulder scramble up 3800+ feet. The many beautiful cascading waterfalls do well to keep the spirit up but the misty water that covered the rocks wasn’t so much haha. This trail was definitely tough on the body and mind. It just went on and on… While not the hardest trail I’ve ever done, I won’t soon forget it haha! After that gauntlet the trail meets the AT along the Franconia Ridge at Haystack Mt. Carries on North to Mt Lincoln and Mt Lafayette and Garfield, three of NH’s 48 4000ers. The beauty of the ridge made all the arduous work to get up there melt away. Soaking in the 360° views with clear skies and sun, I would have been just fine takin chow and admiring the view! But we had to get to camp! It was about 4 and that pretty, clear sky was quickly turning into a beautiful sunset haha. Too tired to get a fire going, made a notch out trailside and was in bed by 9! :#)
Day 2 was such an easier go! Descending about 3 miles on the Old Bridal Path trail, still rocky and slick in spots, was such a better descent than the idea of going down the Falling Water’s giant rocky slope… and the O.B.P. trail had several beautiful little vistas along the way to take in a perfect morning.
The inaugural White Mountain experience was a tough and awesome one. I look very forward to returning and having it’s mountains test my mettle all summer long! :D