If you have never been to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, make sure you go there. We had no idea what to expect when we drove up to it on the highway from Northeastern Vermont. It was the end of May and the first thing we saw when entering the highway, was a “Winter Storm Warning”. And they weren’t kidding. There was over 4 inches of fresh snow and it was barely above freezing temps. The second thing that we noticed, was that the mountains were actually quite HUGE. Much more that what I would expect for any mountain in the East. As we came into Fraconia Notch State Park, we found our campground. There was a lot of snow…..and we were not lucky enough to get a lean-to this time. The thought of setting up camp in the snow, when all we had for warm gear were jeans and some fleeces, was not appealing. We ended up cancelling our camping reservation and driving around looking for a motel. There were a lot of lodging choices in the area, but after driving around and inquiring on prices, we opted for the Mt. Coolige Motel. It was the cheapest one around at $60 and was soooo worth it. The owners were very friendly and the rooms were clean. We unpacked the car and hung all of our gear up to dry by the heater. After days of biking and driving, the car was a mess and everything was soaked from the snow/rain in Vermont. It was nice to get everything organized.
Although the weather was still sleety and cold, we wanted to go for a hike. There are tons of hiking trails in the White Mountains. We picked a shorter (3-4 mile round trip) hike up Mt. Pemigewasset (see map). We were hoping to do a longer hike, but it was already 5pm and the visitors center said a lot of trails were closed because of the snow. The hike was very wet and slippery. By the time we got to the top, it magically stopped raining. The view was incredible! The trees were just starting to get their leaves, so it was very green. The clouds were rolling out of the mountains and you could see for miles. The hike down was a little harder because the rocks and roots were so wet. I couldn’t wait to get into dry clothes! I swear that I was starting to have foot issues from wearing wet shoes for 5 straight days.
I made an excellent dinner on the camp stove outside of the motel that night. Tofu curry with fresh veggies and brown rice. We watched movies and slept like babies in the warm and DRY bed. I do like “roughin’ it” but that motel was worth every penny.
The next day, the clouds cleared up and it was gorgeous outside! It was even warming up to be in the 60’s for a change.
Nic and I drove back up into the mountains for some pictures and then headed south to Rumney, NH. The deal between Nic and I about this trip, was that I would pick the general destinations and Nic would pick the adventures. He really wanted to go rock climbing and Rumney was one of the areas that he researched online. We thought that there were going to be a lot more places to climb out East, but we were kind of disappointed by what we found online. There wasn’t much sport climbing and we didn’t have trad gear, so we settled on Rumney and were very pleased.
The Rumney rock climbing area was very easy to find. It was Memorial Day and we expected it to be busy, but the parking lot was completely full of license plates from every state in the country. A lot of the easier routes were occupied, so we waited for one to clear up. It was a lot of fun. Nic also tried a harder route, that was much taller. I don’t like heights, so I was perfectly fine just belaying on this one. There were people climbing everywhere and it was cool to watch them.
Next on the agenda was the Kancamagus Highway. It was the first highway that was designated a “scenic drive” in the country. Beautiful twisty, turny roads for 20+ miles. There were campgrounds and hiking trails all along the road. Nic and I stopped and hiked at Sabbaday Falls. It was a nice, short hike. The highway spits you out right onto the New Hampshire – Maine border.
I would love to come back to New Hampshire again. Hopefully when the weather is a little better so we can do some more hiking!