Lost in the Caves

Last weekend the weather forecast said it was going to be hot.  So we decided to head somewhere that was cool.  We went crawling through caves at Lost River Gorge.  This tourist adventure park is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the property is owned by the Society for the Protection of NH Forests, but the tourist park is run by another outfitter.  It’s a little pricey, but it is a fun time.  We had been here once before almost one year ago when Alden was barely walking, but it started to thunderstorm while we were there and got chased out (note: they don’t give refunds or rain checks if this happens).

The entrance to the gorge and caves at Lost River Gorge.

The entrance to the gorge and caves at Lost River Gorge.

The one mile trail is all boardwalk that starts off going down many stairs to the bottom of the gorge.  It was quite busy on this day with many large groups and other families crowding the boardwalks, but you can skirt around clusters and go back if one cave or feature is too crowded.  The caves are cool, dark, and easy to explore, although many require you to get down on hands and knees to squeeze through.  You can also by-pass them if you don’t want to go through any of the caves.

Walking on the boardwalk and looking at the scenery.

Walking on the boardwalk and looking at the scenery.

Group shot before we make take the final stairs into the gorge.

Group shot before we make take the final stairs into the gorge.

In the first caves Alden liked to crawl through and seemed to find them very interesting.  He also liked finding waterfalls and going over the bridges that connected the cave attractions.

The boardwalk is expertly crafted through the gorge.

The boardwalk is expertly crafted through the gorge.

One of the many scenic waterfalls to enjoy along the trail.

One of the many scenic waterfalls to enjoy along the trail.

We stopped at a well-placed bench to stop and eat a snack and watched a large group (several different families we think) pass by us.  Of course when we started on the boardwalk again, we quickly bumped into this large group at a part of the trail where several caves and loops intersect one another.  There was a short wait to go through the caves and unfortunately it felt like you couldn’t spend too much time in the caves because there was a line of people behind you.

Alden pointing out the bridge in the picture.

Alden pointing out the bridge in the picture.

Lindsay and Alden pose in front of a large waterfall.

Lindsay and Alden pose in front of a large waterfall.

About halfway through one of the caves, Alden turned to Lindsay and asked to be picked up and said “let’s go home.”  I guess he’d had enough, but he still had to crawl and squeeze out of the cave, which he did without much protest.  Even though Alden was done going in the caves, Andrew continued on to do a couple more while Lindsay and Alden did the by-passes.

Andrew helps Alden through one of the caves.

Andrew helps Alden through one of the caves.

Alden stops to watch the water flow under some rocks.

Alden stops to watch the water flow under some rocks.

Andrew popping out of a crawl space and about to head into another cave.

Andrew popping out of a crawl space and about to head into another cave.

We opted to do the boardwalk loop near the end which had some nice views through a pretty forest and got us away from the crowds.  We also checked out the new boardwalk and pavilion that had recently opened.  Afterwards Lindsay found out that just the day before Governor Maggie Hassan cut the ribbon for the grand opening.

The new suspension bridge.

The new suspension bridge.

Back at the building, we checked out the rock sifting stations and played in the rushing water.  Even though we usually get outside in lesser traveled places, this was a great choice on such a hot day.  Any level of hiking/walking ability can do it and there are lots of benches to sit and rest, have a snack, and enjoy the view.  We saw the full range of ages too, from babies to grandparents, and everyone seemed to be having a good time.  We certainly had fun climbing through the caves and will come back again as Alden gets older in order to take advantage of the natural air conditioning.

One more picture.  Alden is ready to go home.

One more picture. Alden is ready to go home.

He was ready to go home, but then Alden found the water for the rock sifting activity (you can buy a bag of sand/rocks to sift).

He was ready to go home, but then Alden found the water for the rock sifting activity (you can buy a bag of sand/rocks to sift).

Trains and Waterfalls

Last weekend we headed over to Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  We wanted to go on a short hike to Ripley Falls, which is reported to be the second highest waterfall in NH.  The trailhead is easy to find within Crawford Notch State Park off of Route 302.  A large sign lets us know that this is a short 20 minutes hike to the falls.  We parked at the bottom of the road, but there is additional parking just a short distance up the road where the kiosk and trail begins.

At the start of the hike.  The boys said they were smiling.

At the start of the hike. The boys said they were smiling.

More

First Boat Ride

A few weeks ago we decided to take our canoe out for its’ first float of the season.  It was also Alden’s first ride in a boat on water, (he has been sitting and playing in our boats in the yard for a while now).  We loaded up two vehicles.  We will have to figure out a better routine, but right now it’s easier to put the boat on the truck and with Alden’s car seat we don’t all quite fit, so we took Lindsay’s car too.

Streeter Pond

Streeter Pond

More

Puncheon Place

On the weekend before last, we loaded up in the car and made our way over to Jim Noyes Hill Road in Landaff, NH to hike NH Audubon’s Scotland Brook Wildlife Sanctuary.  We didn’t find a lot of good information on NH Audubon’s website, but we did find some great information from fellow hiker and blogger, 1HappyHiker (http://2small2bbig.blogspot.com/2015/02/a-winter-visit-to-scotland-brook.html)  The quiet back-country roads to get to the trail head were fun and beautiful, a pleasant close to home drive for an early spring day.

Andrew checks out the information on the kiosk before we hike.

We're ready for our hike!

We’re ready for our hike!

More

In Our Woods

A couple of weekends ago we didn’t travel far to get outside.  We just headed into our woods for a short stroll.  Prior to this, Lindsay and Andrew put on snowshoes for a short walk in our woods and Alden got upset that he didn’t have a pair of his own.  So after several inquiries to friends about hand-me-downs, we ended up buying a pair from LLBean.  They are a little big and Alden can’t really walk in them, but he gets excited to put on his own snowshoes.  They will be perfect for next winter and maybe the following one too.

Alden and Andrew with their snowshoes.

Alden and Andrew with their snowshoes.

We immediately found deer tracks criss-crossing throughout the woods.  It looks like a lot of tracks, but we think it’s really just one deer.  Alden really liked looking at the deer scat we found and even asked to look at it again and again.  We also found several sheltered evergreen areas where the deer has bedded down for the night.

After the snowshoes proved too difficult for Alden, Andrew walked him into the woods.

After the snowshoes proved too difficult for Alden, Andrew walked him into the woods.

In addition to finding sign of red squirrel, deer, and mouse, the coolest sign was multiple ruffed grouse nocturnal snow roosts.  You can see in the photos below how the grouse tunneled under the snow to keep warm overnight and with a flap of the wings took off in the morning.  A couple of the roost sites we also could see walking tracks and scat.

Ruffed grouse will dive into deep snow to roost for the night, staying warm under the snow insulation.

Ruffed grouse will dive into deep snow to roost for the night, staying warm under the snow insulation.

We walked to the back perimeter of our property and followed an old logging road through the neighbors woods.  We found some trees that porcupines had been chewing on and ambled our way down toward the road.  All of sudden Andrew’s snowshoes, which were holding together with just a few strings, snapped.  Lindsay joked that we were now in an episode of “Dual Survival” and picked out a shelter spot.  Andrew managed to hang on to part of his shoe and we quickly made our way out of the woods to the road so Andrew could pull off both snowshoes.  I guess it’s time for Andrew to get a new pair too!

While we were out there we didn’t see any wildlife, but we sure saw lots of sign all within a 5 minute walk from home.

A nice walk!

A nice walk!

Valentine’s Ski

The temps might be cold, but if you bundle up, keep active, and stay in the woods, you can stay very comfortable.  For this adventure, Andrew and I went to explore the newest cross-country ski center in the White Mountains of New Hampshire: Ski Hearth Farm in Sugar Hill.  We learned about this place from an article in a local paper which mentioned that the ski touring center was open for its’ first season this year, and no fees would be collected until they had a chance to amend a conservation easement.  It is also an active growing farm with a CSA that we plan to join for fresh veggies all summer long.

The wonderful view of the mountains and the farm from the Red Trail Loop.

The wonderful view of the Franconia Range and the farm from the Red Trail Loop.

More

Sno-Mo Walk

The other day we were desperate to get outside for a short walk so we headed down to one of the closer snowmobile trails.  The snow wasn’t too deep and we knew that snowmobiles wouldn’t be on the trail, and we were excited to explore a new area in our hometown of Bethlehem.  We parked at the corner of Trudeau Road and Route 3, put Alden in the backpack and headed out on the trail.

Andrew carries Alden at the beginning of the walk.

Andrew carries Alden at the beginning of the walk.

More

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45 other followers