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.

Andrew promised Alden that we would find train tracks and that made the walk up the road tolerant for a two year old.  Sure enough, just a 100 yards or so up the trail we crossed an active railroad.

Train tracks through Crawford Notch.

Train tracks through Crawford Notch.

Who doesn't bring trains with them on a hike?

Who doesn’t bring trains with them on a hike?

After we stopped to play awhile on the tracks (which signs don’t recommend since it is an active line), we continued on to find the waterfall.  We had to promise Alden that after we found the waterfall we’d come back to the railroad tracks.

Stopping to read the sign to Ripley Falls.

Stopping to read the sign to Ripley Falls.

Alden insisted on being carried the entire way to the Ripley Falls in Lindsay’s arms, and we passed several groups of people heading down the trail.  When we could hear the falls and were making the final trek down to the viewpoint at the base of the falls, Alden started to get concerned and wanted to turn around.  Mom and dad weren’t sure if it was the sound of the water getting louder, or how the trail started to go down steeply into the ravine.  We took a moment to stop, pull out a snack, and talk about going to see the water before turning around to go back to the tracks.  After the break and watching a couple of older gentlemen walk down toward the water, Alden seemed better and we got him down to the Falls.

The second tallest waterfall in New Hampshire - 100 feet.

The second tallest waterfall in New Hampshire – 100 feet.

We could feel the mist from the falls on our faces.

We could feel the mist from the falls on our faces.

Memorized by the water.

Mesmerized by the water.

For the journey back we convinced Alden to get in his backpack and Andrew hiked him out to the railroad tracks where we stopped to play again.  Alden was very social and said “hi” to everyone we passed on the way back down the trail and road.  He also talked about how they were going to see the railroad tracks and waterfall, emphasizing the tracks as the more exciting destination.

Alden and Andrew hiking.

Alden and Andrew hiking.

Playing trains on the train tracks.

Playing trains on the train tracks.

On the drive back home, we stopped at the AMC Highland Center and played on the natural playscape.  It’s a playground made up mostly of trees, rocks, and rope.  The stairs are manufactured material but mostly everything else seemed to be made from natural materials. A pretty fun place to play.

AMC Highland Center Natural Playground

AMC Highland Center Natural Playground

Playing in the playground is lots of fun.

Playing in the playground is lots of fun.

We didn't walk across the rope bridge, but we had fun climbing up and down the steps.

We didn’t walk across the rope bridge, but we had fun climbing up and down the steps.

Climbing back up the natural rock slide.

Climbing back up the natural rock slide.

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4 thoughts on “Trains and Waterfalls

  1. What a fun day! Playing trains on the train tracks, now that’s having the right toys at the right place! That Alden is one lucky kid!!

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