One of the first things my friend Laura and I did here was go moose hunting. There is a Moose Tour in town, that supposedly sees moose every night, but we thought we could do it on our own. We really wanted to bag one for Laura's life list and of course we are only shooting pictures. So we headed off in Laura's rental car, up Rt. 3 and then a little way northeast on Daniel Webster Highway, driving slowly and peering into the woods. To be honest, we didn't find the moose; someone had already spotted one and had stopped along the road.
He really wanted to cross the road, and walked back and forth looking longingly at the other side, but was understandably bothered by the traffic. So he stood there, ankle deep in water, munching on plants, dribbling water from his mouth - just like you imagine moose doing. When most of the cars left he crossed the road to show us just how amazingly long his legs were. So, success in our hunt the very first time out!
Laura and I teach all morning during the week, and we try to find a good hike to take every afternoon. One of the first days we took a six mile hike in the Linwood State Scenic Area up to Franconia Falls, and that was a great one. (No camera with me that day though.) The trail was mostly flat all the way and ended at a large cascading, rolling, sliding rocky falls area (much like The Basin, but much larger - see below) where a whole passel of seminary boys on a field trip were romping in the water. Great fun and loads of testosterone. We soaked our feet and watched, then headed back.
The next day we went to the area around The Basin, which is large sink hole near the confluence of the Cascade Brook and the Pemigewasset River, just off Rt.3/93. Here's a picture of The Basin.
Along the "Pemi" River there is one place that widens to a sandy bottomed pool that looks like it would be awesome for swimming. I think the water is probably still too cold for this family that looked like they might have been thinking about it.
We thought we'd like to take the Basin-Cascade Trail, along Cascade Brook, but because there has been so much rain, every day since we arrived, the path was very muddy. It looked like a beautiful trail, so we may try to hike it again if the rain lets up. (No sign of that happening in the near future though.)
Spotted these tiny fungi on a tree before we headed back to do the Pemi Trail instead.
The Pemi Trail (not the parallel paved multi-use Recreational Trail) took us along the Pemigewasset River for a long way, until we thought we needed to get across and head back south to the parking lot. We didn't know if there was a bridge so we decided to cross the river on foot. I stepped right in with my shoes, and Laura went bare foot. The water wasn't deep at all, and felt great on our tired feet.
On Saturday Laura went to the Manchester airport to pick up her husband Ian. While they were gone it rained some more, but during a clear moment I explored across the street, looking for the local swimming hole. I think this river is called the Hancock Branch, and it may be part of the Pemigewasset, but I'm not sure about that. In any case, it's much larger than the one that the Pemi Trail follows. You can see the Loon Mountain Resort ski trails on the hill beyond the river below.
There's a swimming hole on this river, called the Old Lady's Bathtub, where locals go swimming. Someone painted this little cartoon above the pool, on one of the granite blocks that line the river here. It looks like there have been efforts over the years to channel and contain the river here so that it doesn't flood the town.
The water is pretty high right now, due to all the rain, but nowhere near as high as it has been recently, as evidenced by the state of its banks. But there is enough rain to hide where the Old Lady's Bath might be under all the rushing water. There's no way this old lady is getting into that water right now.
This river generates a lot of mist (cold water/warm air phenomenon I guess), that sometimes passes through the valley like low clouds that we can see from our condo porch. The day I visited it was still hovering close to the water.
After Laura and Ian returned we took a little sightseeing drive.
We didn't spot any moose, but we did catch a bit of the sunset over the mountains.
Next post I'll show you some more beautiful hikes we're taking in the area, and a trip to Littleton, NH.