We headed back to the great ole USA returning from Canada, we were ready to have normal phone and internet access, cheaper gas prices and warmer weather. We headed towards New Hampshire based on recommendations from a few of our peeps. We needed to break up the long drive so we decided to do another overnight at Walmart, this time in Bangor, Maine. Speaking of long drives, check out the picture we took at a rest stop in Maine – public service at it’s best?
There were several others staying overnight at the Walmart, including a guy in a beat up truck who creeped out Renee! And she does not creep out easily. Other than the creeper, the overnight stay was fine and free! Now that summer is upon us we won’t be camping for free/boondocking because of the rising temps. Unless we decide to invest in a generator?
We took US Route 2 through Maine and into New Hampshire, passing through small rural towns in Maine and the Presidential Mountain range in NH including towering Mount Washington the highest peak in the Northeast. We landed at a private campground in Ashland, NH centrally located between the White Mountains and Lake Winnipesauke. We really enjoyed our campsite, check out some of the pictures we took.
The campground was 5 minutes fromSquam Lake aka Golden Pond. Squam Lake was featured in the movie On Golden Pond, starring Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda (some of you have no idea who these actors are because you are so young and we are getting old).
We decided to drive to the Cannon Mountain Range, about 40 minutes from our campground, to Franconia Notch State Park. We discussed hiking trails with one of the rangers. He suggested a few hikes that would be good for the dogs. After about 2 miles we decided to head back because the trails were very wet and muddy. We did take a few pictures, beautiful area for sure.
Tim was looking for a more challenging hike so the ranger suggested a hike that attracts hikers from all over the US looking for a challenge. The Franconia Ridge Loop Trail is an 8.9-mile loop over rugged terrain typically taking 6-8 hours to hike. Tim did some research and decided to do the hike. He got up early the next morning and was on the trail by 8am. The weather was perfect, cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon and sunny. The loop trail consists of the following:
FALLING WATERS TRAIL (3.2 MILES)
FRANCONIA RIDGE TRAIL (AT) (1.7 MILES)
GREENLEAF TRAIL (1.1 MILES)
OLD BRIDLE PATH (2.9 MILE
Tim hiked to the summit via the Falling Waters Trail, which follows the rocky, rushing Dry Brook upstream to meet the Franconia Notch Trail. Most of the hike consists of constantly criss-crossing the brook. At many crossings there are no bridges and slipping can be a concern. This part of the hike was difficult but scenery was beautiful.
The first summit is Little Haystack Mountain, followed by a rocky trail that leads to Mount Lincoln, and on to Mount Lafayette. Once at the summit of Little Haystack, you are on a ridge trail that is well above the tree line and very exposed to the weather. Tim put on a layer of clothes, as the temperature was much cooler and windy. The ridgeline is actually part of the Appalachian Trail (AT). This section of the hike is amazing because there are three cosecutive summits with completely open views of the surrounding area.
Tim started the descent on the Greenleaf trail, which passes an Appalachian Trail Managed Hut where you will find AT thru hikers taking a day or two off from hiking. The hut offers bathrooms, lodging and food options. Tim left the Hut and headed down via the Old Bridle Path, a winding, forested trail that gradually slopes back down to the parking lot. The descent was tough mainly due to the rocky trail leaving the footing treacherous at times. It took Tim exactly 6 hours to complete the hike; he slept very well that night and was a little sore the next day. A humbling moment came for Tim when trail runners passed him as he hiked up the mountain, yes people run the trail. The record for running the loop trail is 1 hour and 44 minutes - crazy! Check out a slideshow of some of the pictures he took along the way with his iPhone no less.
We decided to take a day trip around Lake Winnipesauke and specifically Wolfeboro. Renee’s old boss Lindon (not that he is old… he is her former boss) is from the area and Tim’s dad lived in Wolfeboro for a period of time when he was younger. He has fond memories of the area including eating at a restaurant called Dockside that is still there today (50+ years later)!!!! Of course Renee said she had to have an ice cream cone in honor of Tim’s dad, any reason to eat and she is on it. All of her friends that are reading this know that she is a bottomless pit when it comes to food. Lake Winnipesauke was absolutely beautiful and Wolfeboro is a quaint romantic lakeside town. We definitely would like to go back.
One of our main reasons for going to Vermont besides the stunning scenery was to partake in some local beer. Vermont is known for excellent craft beer. Our friend Adam even sent us a map showing all of the breweries and said we had to go. We tried a few different types of beer and everyone was right, they were delicious.
Tim mentioned Twiggs restaurant in his “Tidbits” but we also wanted to share the progression of a mural that was being painted the night we were there. Since we were working on our blog we stayed for hours and were able to watch the artists at work. We also need to give a shout out to Kelly our bartender/server. She was so much fun and very attentive. She and Tim really hit it off!!
We happened to be in Burlington during a jazz festival. The weather was amazing so we were able to walk around with the dogs and listen to some great bands. Burlington is the perfect sized city (reminded us of St. Petersburg), not too big and not too small and it is on Lake Champlain. We sat outside and tried some local beer with views of the lake and mountains, can’t beat that!! Check out the slideshow of Burlington and others pics from our stay in NH and VT!
We were in New Hampshire and Vermont for a total of a week and that was definitely not long enough. We have put both areas on our list to go back to in the future. We want to explore the lakes region, small towns and do a lot more hiking.
Sites We Follow