On to part 2 of my vacation. If you missed my Boston recap make sure to check it out here.
On Tuesday morning we left Boston on a quick 2 hour drive to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with one purpose: hiking. The Appalachian Mountain Club has a system of huts on the Appalachian trail (although, I’d call it a cabin—it’s much more luxurious than a “hut”) that are accessible only by hiking.
Difficult to reach, remote, and in the mountains? That kind of lodging is right up my alley!
Free dinner and breakfast? Yes!
Bunk beds? Hell yes!
No showers? Well, who needs ‘em?
I had booked Matt and I for the night at the Greenleaf Hut at 4,200 feet above sea level, near the summit of Mt. Lafayette. The hut is accessible by 2 trails: Old Bridle Path and Falling Waters. I chose the shorter Old Bridle Path trail (which was good because a bridge was out on Falling Waters so that trail involved wading in knee-high water).
Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,450 ft
Duration: 2.5 hours
Matt and I have done our fair share of hiking, particularly in Europe. In Europe we’ve finished hikes in nearly half the time that’s allotted. Evidently the Europeans factor in time for picking wildflowers, eating a gourmet picnic, and an afternoon siesta into their hike times. So we were expecting to finish this hike in about an hour or so. Let me tell you, these AMC hikers mean business. It’s no nonsense hiking all the way (many people were even running!) It took us a solid 2.5 hours to complete this hike and it was quite tiring.
Once we made it to the hut, we relaxed and enjoyed the views, picked our bunks, and played cards until dinner time.
The next morning after a very hearty breakfast of oatmeal and pancakes, we hiked back down the mountain (we decided to forego the hike to the Mount Lafayette summit since it was in the clouds and there would be no views. We spent the afternoon doing some flat land hikes and kayaking in Echo Lake.
Afterwards, we headed to Jackson NH to our home for the next two nights: Carter Notch Inn.
This place was my favourite part of the trip! It is probably the best B&B I’ve ever stayed at. Dick and Sally, the Innkeepers, were so friendly and welcoming that you really felt like you were at home. They really provided everything you could want on a vacation: books, movies, a hot Jacuzzi tub, tea and fresh baked cookies, and even wine and beer. Plus they have an adorable English Sheepdog named Henry.
Sally’s breakfasts were spectacular! She made moist and delicious coffee cakes and a hot breakfast every morning. I can’t wait to go back and stay again.
Dick and Sally recommended Moat Mountain Brewing Co. for a hearty dinner, and it was gooooood. One of my favourite meals on the trip. I tried the micro-brewed stout which was really rich and chocolaty tasting.
Me: “Matt, what are hushpuppies? Besides the shoes.”
Matt: “I don’t know?”
Me: “Let’s try them!”
Hushpuppies are new to me (are they actually obscure or have I been living under a rock?) Imagine a savoury cornbread doughnut topped with pure maple syrup. Yeah. Welcome to my belly, hushpuppies, and feel free to come back any time.
My dinner was a fantastic roasted chicken with squash and green beans and Matt had a beef brisket (which he thought was good, but not the greatest).
On Thursday (Canada Day!) we had every intention of hiking to the summit of Mt Washington the highest peak in New England (6,288ft). Naturally, the weather did not co-operate. We took the popular Tuckerman’s Ravine trail and were able to hike up about halfway, to the Hermit Lake shelter.
Distance: 2.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,800 ft
Duration: 1.5 hours
When we got to the shelters we were freezing and it started pouring rain. There was no chance we would be able to hike to the summit under the extremely windy, bitterly cold (-5*C), and very slippery conditions. I was so disappointed. But on the bright side, now I have an excuse to visit again
On our way back down the mountain we saw a black bear! It was my first bear sighting ever so I was really excited (and not remotely scared, I swear). Some hikers were yelling at it and making lots of noise (good!) but then they threw food at it (bad) so Matt and I high-tailed it out of the area before the bear started following us for the rest of the hike. You’re definitely supposed to throw rocks at bears…not food. Of course I didn’t take a picture of the bear (as wildlife photography was not the first thing on my mind at the moment) but it’s safe to assume that it looked a lot like this:
I stole this picture from here. This is the bear that had been hanging around our B&B in Jackson (we never saw him but some other guests did).
The rangers were notified about the bear and brought a humane trap to catch it.
After the freezing cold and wet hike, we spent the remainder of the afternoon warming up with red wine and tea in the hot tub. Ahhh… I could get used to this.
I was actually sad to leave Jackson and wish I could have stayed another day (especially since Mt. Washington was supposed to have great weather that day), but we had exciting things lined up for Montreal. Very exciting things. We finished off the trip with a delicious breakfast and then hit the road.
Well, there was one more stop before we left.
Me: “Cider Slushies and Doughnuts! Matt, did that sign say Cider Slushies and Doughnuts? Yummm! Do you want one?”
Matt: “No, I’m okay.”
Me: “I’m turning the car around.”
Dear New Hampshire, I love you.
Stay tuned for my Montreal re-cap this week!
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Start (Aug 15): 83cm/ 91cm/ 166.8lb
Aug 31: 82cm /89cm/ 166.8lb
Sep 10: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Sep 20: 83cm/ 89cm/ 166.2lb
Oct 1: 83cm/ 88cm/ 165.6lb
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Dec 1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.2lb
Jan1: 82cm/ 88cm/ 169.4lb
Feb 1: 84cm/89cm/171.8lb
Mar 15: 83cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb
Apr 15: 82cm/ 88cm/ 170.0lb