Georgiana Falls

We are a little behind with getting this blog post out, but we were busy with holidays and just life in general.  However, we really wanted to blog about this outdoor adventure because Andrew and Lindsay got a day away to get out on our own (without a 2 year old in tow).  Since we did not have to worry about trying to carry Alden in a backpack carrier or think about his comfort level, we wanted to pick something that we couldn’t do with him.  We chose to check out Georgiana Falls in Lincoln, NH.  As most of you will remember, December of 2015 was nearly snow-less and warm, as you’ll see from the photos and videos below.

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Andrew checks out the snowmobile trail that leads up to Bog Pond (above Georgiana Falls).

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Big Rocks and a Bridge

A few weeks ago, our little family headed to a popular summer hiking spot: The Flume in Franconia State Park.  This time of year the trail through the Flume is closed due to dangerous ice that develops through the notch.  Rangers even remove the boards and steps that thousands of tourists walk on in the warmer months.  However, we knew that we could still conveniently enjoy others areas of the park, especially since we have come to realize that Franconia Notch State Park can serve as our easily accessed local park with big rewards.

 

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Hey, look, a big rock!

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Fall Foliage Walk

A couple of  weekends ago, our friend Sarah was visiting and we headed down the road to The Rocks Estate for a fall foliage walk in Bethlehem, NH.  The Rocks Estate is owned by The Society for the Protection of NH Forests and this particular property is mainly a Christmas Tree Farm.  We’ve hiked here before, read about it here: On The Go-zzo.

The Michael A. Gozzo Memorial Trail.

The Michael A. Gozzo Memorial Trail.

After we parked we checked out some interpretive information inside a small cabin where you can find a short historical video and lots of pictures.  We grabbed a map and headed up the Gozzo Trail. There was plenty of color in the trees and lots starting to fall on the ground.  We entertained Alden by looking and collecting the best leaves.

Andrew and Alden head up the trail.

Andrew and Alden head up the trail.

Andrew and Sarah leading the way down the Gozzo Trail.

Andrew and Sarah leading the way down the Gozzo Trail.

We followed the trail down to the Maple Barn and took a quick tour inside.  Andrew hoped we’d find free maple syrup samples, but no such luck.  We will have to come here during their NH Maple Experience event next year.  Despite the beautiful foliage this weekend, there were very few other people here.  The temperatures were a little chilly, so perhaps people were opting for foliage drives instead of foliage hikes.

Lindsay and Alden stop for a quick picture.

Lindsay and Alden stop for a quick picture.

The maple barn at The Rocks Estate.

The maple barn at The Rocks Estate.

We quickly made our way to the powerline and then down to the bridge.  From this point the trail continues on, toward the back of the property where Andrew and Lindsay had hiked and blogged a few years ago (On the Go-zzo).  So we turned around and walked down to the beaver pond.

The foliage from the powerline.

The foliage from the powerline.

Lindsay, Alden, Sarah, and the Turtle enjoying the fresh air.

Lindsay, Alden, Sarah, and the Turtle enjoying the fresh air.

It started to rain a little so we put up Alden's rain cover.

It started to rain a little so we put up Alden’s rain cover.

The beaver pond.

The beaver pond.

We found this area of the woods covered in horsetails.

We found this area of the woods covered in horsetails.

On the way back to the car we stopped at a building that used to be an old schoolhouse and barn.  Then we explored the bee keepers pavilion and old swimming pool area.

Stepping out of the woods toward the Christmas Tree Farm area of The Rocks Estate.

Stepping out of the woods toward the Christmas Tree Farm area of The Rocks Estate.

Happy fall everyone!

Andrew and Sarah walking in the yellow tunnel.

Andrew and Sarah walking in the yellow tunnel.

Long Pond

The other day we decided to head out for a canoe ride on Long Pond in Benton, NH.  Long Pond is within the White Mountain National Forest and as its’ name describes it is a very long, narrow, and somewhat shallow pond.  This was Alden and Lindsay’s first visit to Long Pond, but Andrew had previously visited the shore a few times while traveling by on the Forest Service road to the east called Long Pond or North and South Road.  He never put a boat on it’s waters, but has always had it on the list for a “must-visit”.

This was anticipated to be a very special place as it is located in a higher elevation valley between the massive bulk of the Mount Moosilauke mountain complex to the east, and a lower range to the west that buttresses the Connecticut River Valley.

There is a nice boat launch with plenty of parking (be sure to pay your fee in the iron ranger).  The pond has a dam on one end and we saw a family fishing off of it while we were there.

Alden is ready to paddle on Long Pond.

Alden is ready to paddle on Long Pond.

Long Pond

Long Pond

There were many other paddlers out there on this beautiful sunny morning.  The fun thing about this pond are its’ many rock islands that you can explore.  The water is shallow around these islands, fun to be able to get out and stretch your legs, but don’t get your boat stuck on rocks and logs!

Long Pond has many small islands to paddle around and explore.

Long Pond has many small islands to paddle around and explore.

A beaver lodge on the side of one of the islands.

A beaver lodge on the side of one of the islands.

Alden looking for fish from the canoe.

Alden looking for fish from the canoe.

We took our time, paddling on the western edge of the pond heading south.  The pond is surrounded by a spruce-fir forest, making little opportunities for shade along the shore (unlike a hardwood forest shoreline with its’ overhanging maple tree branches).  However, this type of shoreline seems to evoke a more secluded feeling.

Evergreen shore.

Evergreen shore.

Alden pulling his red boat next to the canoe.

Alden pulling his red boat next to the canoe.

The south end of the pond.

The south end of the pond.

We saw lots of wildlife: fish, crayfish, osprey, and what we think were peregrine falcons.  The views were spectacular on this bluebird day.  We didn’t realize the sunshine we were getting until we got home that night to slight sunburns.

Crayfish

Crayfish

Smiling next to a rock pile someone built. Alden proceeded to add his own rocks to the display.

Smiling next to a rock pile someone built. Alden proceeded to add his own rocks to the display.

Stretching our legs at one of the islands.

Stretching our legs at one of the islands.

After checking out the semi-boreal marsh on the south end with hopes of spotting a moose or some turtles, we pointed the canoe north and made our way along the eastern shore.  On the way back Andrew had unexpected glimpses of expansive ledges rising from the forest to the northwest.  He realized after a look at the map that these were mountains he had always wondered about when looking west from the summits of the higher peaks to the east.  Some research later at home revealed some interesting possible future hiking explorations of Black, Sugarloaf, and Hogback Mountains; all of which feature either open ledges, precipitous cliffs, or abandoned ladder trails and bushwhacks.

This was a really wonderful, quiet pond that was a pleasant place to paddle.

What a fun day!

What a fun day!

Beating the Heat in the Basin

Last weekend we beat the heat by heading to The Basin in Franconia Notch State Park in Franconia, NH.  The Basin is one of many roadside natural attractions in the park, that has well developed accessible trails that showcase the dramatic beauty.  Our friend Sarah joined us for this adventure too!

The Basin

The Basin trail sign.

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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.

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