11 August 2012--Headed out for Franconia Notch this morning, a big recreational area of the White Mountains west of where we are staying in North Conway. We keep hoping we will happen upon a moose, but so far nothing to report. Cathy read somewhere that, unfortunately, about 200 moose are killed in car collisions every year, so they have to be out here somewhere.
This entire area is highlighted as a scenic byway, with waterfalls and swimming holes galore.
It was a 48 mile drive out to our final destination, but the state park actually encompasses the 2 areas we wanted to go to, the Flume Gorge and the tram ride at Echo Lake further north. Lots of clouds along the way, but we got lucky and didn't have any rain until we were just about to head home for the day.
The Flume Gorge is a 2-mile walk/hike thru the mountains, but of course you have to go thru the official site building 1st. This stuffed moose has been the closest we could get to one so far.
Got our hiking shoes on, so off we go! Saw a few glacial rocks and lots of seemingly rootless trees.
They said the 2-mile hike generally takes about 1 1/4 hours, but that could only be if you didn't stop to take a single picture. It took us 2 1/4 hours.
Getting later in the day, the clouds continue to gather as we head further west to Franconia Notch and the Cannon Mt Tramway. This, by the way, is the home of Bodie Miller, the Olympic snow skier.
As we approach the Tramway...Bodie grew up skiing these mountains.
Cathy and I head up the mountain and look down at Echo Lake, a holdover from the Ice Age. A brochure encouraged swimming in the lake, but I can't imagine even on the best of days it is anything short of freezing.
By the time you reach the top of the mountain you are at 4100 ft above sea level, and unfortunately today it is getting colder, windier, and foggier by the minute.
By the time we actually reach the top, the view is almost obliterated. But at least at the top they had a little display showing us that Bette Davis and her husband visited here...haha.
We could have walked the rim trail, but decided to conserve our energy. I had a video that would have shown how windy and foggy it was at the top, but I took it without thinking and had the camera in a vertical position, therefore you would have to view it side ways...I left it to your imagination instead. So we headed right back down the mountain instead.
It is also from here that millions of tourists have viewed the famous "Old Man of the Mountain", so we took the walk around the side of the mountain to see where it was.
As far back as the 1870s geologists recognized that the Old Man risked collapse, so they tried to prevent it. Unfortunately, their fix only lasted till May 3 2003, when sometime overnight the Old Man was no more. This explains what happened.
Ever industrious, the people of New Hamshire have figured out how to keep the tourists coming to this "non-event"...haha The 2nd last picture here shows what the mountain actually looks like, while the last picture shows how you can view it if you stand just the right distance from the profiler pole. Pure genius!!! haha
And last but not least, a little about the Appalachian Trail, which cuts through Franconia Notch.